Whisky legend Charlie MacLean has personally selected a batch of 21 new single cask bottlings for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society as part of its 35th anniversary celebrations.
The whiskies, which range in age from 8 to 29 years old and feature tasting notes written by MacLean, will go on sale exclusively to the Society’s members around the world from July. As with all Society bottlings, each one is a limited edition having been bottled from single casks of whisky.
Eight of the bottles will be available to members in the UK, including a 16-year-old from the Old & Dignified flavour category called ‘Red carpet welcome’, which is described as “full-bodied and oily; sweeter and more complex than expected, with dark toffee, pecan nuts and a trace of sea salt in the long, spicy finish”.
Special offers for non-members
While the whiskies are only available to SMWS members, the Society is launching two special membership offers for whisky fans keen to buy any of MacLean’s handpicked selections.
The Edinburgh event on Tuesday 3 July features a tasting, food and screening of ‘The Angels’ Share’, the Ken Loach whisky film in which MacLean made a cameo appearance, at the Dominion Cinema.
The London event on Wednesday 4 July includes a tasting in the atmospheric crypt of St Etheldreda’s Church in Ely Place in London.
From Thursday 21 July non-members will also be able to buy a bottle of ‘All sweetness and light wood’, an 11-year-old from the Juicy, Oak & Vanilla profile, plus membership, for £99.
Longtime Society supporter
MacLean has been a longtime supporter of the Society; he joined the whisky club at its outset in the early 1980s, and became a chair of its renowned Tasting Panel in 1992. In 2016, he curated a selection of 30 rare discontinued whiskies from auction and his own collection for the Society’s Kaleidoscope bar in Edinburgh.
The process of nosing, sampling and selecting his favourite whiskies with The Tasting Panel took place over the course of a day at The Vaults, the Society’s private members’ rooms in Leith.
It was a most enjoyable day and a fitting way to help the Society celebrate its remarkable 35th anniversary.
In keeping with the way the Society has always sought to unearth whisky casks that are hidden gems, I was looking for samples of distinction. We came across many samples that were okay, but not yet ready for bottling. We were hunting for whiskies that were unusually good examples of the distillery character.
– Charlie MacLean
It was a pleasure and honour to work with Charlie on his cask selections and to assess the whiskies alongside someone with his depth of knowledge.
Ever since the Society was set up in 1983, we’ve always looked to do things differently and seek out the most amazing whiskies for our members. Having a whisky legend like Charlie choose these whiskies is a perfect example of what makes being a member of the Society such a special experience.
– Euan Campbell: The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Spirits Manager