Finally, after being a member for many-a-year, I got both time and the opportunity to visit SMWS’s The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh.
As the spiritual home of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults are where the society was founded in the early 1980s, in the very room I was now standing in.
Quite understated in reality, The Vaults are built on top of some of the oldest alcohol cellars in the country and sport lovely high ceilings with murals depicting different aspects of whisky, the Society and Scotland.
Gregor, GM at The Vaults, showed me around, answered my questions and told the tales I had been longing for as I travelled over; friends buying and sharing casks back in the day, the tasting panel’s sampling sessions and exclusive bottles only found at The Vaults.
I love SMWS, always have, such a great concept and run by such lovely people.
My host was Ben, SMWS Ambassador and whisky maestro, as you’d expect, who guided me through a few wee drams of great single cask whisky.
Each one was as unique as expected and different in its own way; I won’t dwell on the whiskies themselves, there are photos below for that, but suffice to say drams from distillery 29, distillery 30 and distillery 127 stole the show. Stunning, and for very different reasons. Which distilleries? Shhhhh.
I sat for a while after the tasting, taking it all in, feeling the gentle hum of Society members chatting and enjoying their afternoons then wandered over to the bottle your own cask to dutifully bottle my own 48.65 as a souvenir of my trip.
Finally, I enjoyed one last dram, G2.2, a 35 year old single cask single grain whisky. Stunning.
Thanks to Gregor, Ben and Helen for making my first visit so superb, it really was a great first visit, I already cannot wait to go back again.