Decrypting the Scotch Malt Whisky Society

31/10/2018     Whisky

In the 9 November sale, we have around 60 different single cask bottlings from the iconic ‘Scotch Malt Whisky Society’ (SMWS).

The history of the SMWS begins in 1983, when a group of friends bought a cask of Glenfarclas, which they had a number of bottles filled periodically. Once they found a home in the Vaults building in Leith, they founded a society of likeminded individuals who enjoyed a dram.

It was at this point then Glenfarclas 1.1 was released, a 1975 distillation, bottled in August 1983. Following this, new bottlings were produced each month for the growing membership.

Unusually the bottlings never state which distillery the spirit has come from, instead, a code system was employed, with the whole number indicating the distillery, and the decimal designating which release. Without having the codes memorised, it makes working through a consignment of SMWS bottles a real joy to work through.

Some of the highlights in the upcoming auction include a number of rare Springbanks (27) distilled in the 1960s, the first release of Glenlivet (2), Bowmore (3), Glen Grant (9) and Bunnahabhain (10), amongst others.

The bottling set to generate plenty of interest is lot 1105, which is the rarely seen Highland Park 4.2, which was distilled October 1973 and bottled in April 1984. This 10-year-old whisky is expected to sell for £900–£1,400.

To view the full catalogue, click here >>

Graeme Maxwell

McTear’s sells more whisky than any other traditional auction house in the dedicated whisky auctions that take place monthly, run concurrently live online on a platform that attracts six million visitors annually from over 120 countries worldwide. Come along to the Valuation Days at McTear’s on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week for complimentary auction advice. 

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