I used to be a member several years ago as there quality was second to none - buying an SMWS bottle meant buying something intriguing and superb. Unfortunately that quality dipped and while the period where Arthur Motley was working there things did turn for the better - I was thinking of rejoining - his departure and subsequent bottles have led me to believe that the club is now a rip-off taking its many 'occasional' drinkers for a ride.
Why join a club when you can walk into any Cadenhead shop and actually try before you buy most of their malts, or go into any good specialist shop and get an educated opinion on what to buy - chances are you will not only save the joining fees and yearly costs, but you will get better quality whisky cheaper.
And unless you live in Edinburgh (or London) you aren't going to get any real benefit from their bars.
Hope this helps.
To be honest, this was my susipicion. I live in Bristol and they have a tasting event coming up. I'd really love to chat to other whisky lovers in person, but being so far from London it's unlikely I'll get much benefit after that event. Furthermore it will end up costing me £100 for one evening tasting 6 whiskies.
Ah well - I'll probably have to wait for the next big event.
Each to his own but I really enjoy the Society & it's whiskies.
I encourage you to at least go to a tasting before you make up your mind.
I'm also a big fan of Cadenheads but I've had problems buying bottles of my favourites as they're always sold out when I visit.
As for been able to try cadenheads bottlings before you buy , i bet you can't walk into their shop and try anything off the list (i couldn't with the last Ardbeg !) .
IMO the SMWS is well worth the money and a good way of discovering Malts .
After all where else would you get a 38yo Farclas for £120 ?
Argyll isn't a certain Scottish author is he ????
They also have a decent newsletter so,I for one, will continue to be a long distance member.
I enjoy the regular meetings - we have about 4 or 5 tasting nights a year where (in Sydney, at least) between 30 and 50 folks gather to sample 5 of the Society's latest bottlings. Most evenings will also feature a presentation or display, and it's always a good-humoured and relaxed night.
In my opinion, the general overall quality of the bottlings have been excellent. Some are just good, others are absolutely sensational. I've probably sampled over 25 different bottlings by now, and I don't recall being disappointed by any. Others were so good, I couldn't buy a bottle fast enough.
It's important to remember how and why the SMWS came into being - it was chiefly to bottle single casks and to appreciate just how individual and different a single cask from a certain distillery can differ so much from its commercial bottling.
My one and only gripe is the cost of the bottlings. Even though they are all at cask strength, even the youngest bottlings (e.g. a 9yo) sell for at least $155 (Australian dollars). By comparison, an OB 17yo Bowmore costs $120, Lagavulin OB 16yo costs $85, and an OB Macallan 18yo costs $135, so the SMWS bottlings are not cheap.
However, they are unique; good quality; non-chillfiltered, non-coloured, and offer the discerning malt drinker the chance to drink from distilleries that are otherwise not bottled as a single, or have closed, or to simply try an alternative expression of your favourite malt.
Although in August I did drink a lot of a Japanese malt.
I'll look back through the past bottling lists and see if I can find any other descriptions.
Admiral wrote:OK.....I knew the SMWS had bottled both Irish and Japanese whiskies, but bourbon???????????????
Do you recall which distilleries they were from?
They were both Heaven Hill.
The 14YO was really fantastic and the tasting notes spot on. In fact it is one of the best bourbons I've tasted. No more left to sell on web and I am really kicking myself about not buying a bottle.
I don't know for sure, but I got the impression off the barman that they had *only* bottled Heaven Hill up to this point. Given the high quality of what we sampled on Saturday, I would just so love to try other American distillery offerings.
BTW, I don't know if you've picked up JM's Whisky Bible 2005 (another great book), but it has a high review of a 12YO HH bottling by the SMWS.
Its been out a while, I had no idea but someone mentioned its impending release, in the US, at straightbourbon.com. Went to the shop and there it was.
He's released it 2 months early in time for Xmas. There are 750 new tasting notes, the rest being identical to last year.
I don't need to tell you all to 'go get' as JM says of some whiskies.
4 more years... 4 more years... 4 more years... till then im hunting cadenheads
why is the age standard so damn high for the SMWS US club? 21 and over is what it takes to drink here anyway...
Do other international branches of the SMWS stipulate higher age requirements than the legal limit permitted by the country in which it operates?
You'll have to come south, Amir.....here in Australia, the legal age for drinking is 18, and I'm not aware of the SMWS requiring anything different.
(Although it must be said, the vast majority of members are on the other side of 50!! Makes me feel very young!)
Lawrence wrote:Amir, I phoned the Society and they told me that if an individual is of legal drinking age in their state and under 25 then the Society requires a copy of your drivers License proving your age (21). Then will then accept your membership and ship to you. But you have to be of legal age and over 21, I suggest you give them another call and try again.
THANK YOU LAWRENCE gosh if only most people could be as hard working as you!
now for my 2nd issue with SMWS.... how will i get the money
but thanks again
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