Founded in 1983, the mission of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is to ‘provide their members with an adventurous and fun journey of discovery of the world's widest collection of single cask whiskies’. Each bottling has to be approved by their Tasting Panel, with samples being judged with no prior knowledge of age, distillery, region or cask type.
In August’s Rare & Collectable Whisky Auction, McTear’s has a handful of SMWS bottlings, but the highlight must surely be Lot 430, SMWS 1.100: a 36 year old bottling from Glenfarclas Distillery in Speyside. The clue to the significance of this bottling to SMWS is in the bottling code: the first ever cask purchased by founder Phillip ‘Pip’ Hills was a cask of Glenfarclas (known as ‘Distillery No. 1’ from then on), with this particular expression being from the hundredth cask purchased from Glenfarclas by the Society.
One of only 481 bottles, its maturation in an ex-sherry butt goes some way to explaining the bottle’s name: ‘Blackcurrant jam and cigar boxes’. Expect rich, deep and complex aromas, with notes of dark toffee on the palate, along with dark chocolate, liquorice and – perhaps worryingly – Benylin!