The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has teamed up with four experts from the rum, gin, bourbon and cognac fields to stage a special tasting event that celebrates the joys of single cask spirits.

Spirits specialists Ian Burrell, Geraldine Coates, Michelle Brachet and Matt Hastings will join the SMWS for ‘The Single Cask Session’ which will take place on Thursday 3rd August at the Society’s recently opened Kaleidoscope Bar, in London’s Devonshire Square.

The event will explore the unique flavour and taste of spirits bottled direct from single casks and how they differ dramatically from everyday off-the-shelf spirits.

The SMWS specialises in bottling single cask whisky but also bottles other spirits from single casks, which will now be released under a newly created Single Cask Spirits brand: www.smws.com/spirits.

The first batch of these Single Cask Spirits, featuring limited edition rum, gin, and cognac, will be released in August. The above-mentioned spirits experts have been appointed as spirits ambassadors to help the Society launch the range.

Talks and tastings

Michael Cook, manager at Kaleidoscope Bar will host the event, with the four experts giving a guest talk about their specialist spirit along with a tasting.
Providing insight into the rum category is charismatic rum expert Ian Burrell, who helped the Society select the rum for bottling and wrote the accompanying tasting notes.

The rum being tasted at the event will be Cask No. R8.3: Fruit and nutcase, a 12-year-old Nicaraguan rum, which Ian described as having a “medium-bodied fruitness, with dark stoned fruits and cocoa waiting to erupt… butterscotch and marzipan on the palate with a long, dry finish”.

Gin guru Geraldine Coates, who has written numerous books on the category, will discuss gin. Guests will taste a 50% proof gin from Glasgow called Cask No. GN1.1: Gee-Whiz, which has a “fresh aroma of juniper and lime juice, eucalyptus syrup and lemon drops… sweet perfumed flavours balanced by a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence”.

Cognac expert Michelle Brachet will be talking guests through her category and a tasting of a special bottle of Cask No. C5.2: Herby goes bananas. This XO (extra old) cognac has notes of “freshly cut grass, dandelion, carnations and salted butter with lemon balm… crispy rye bread with a satisfying woody finish”.
Later in the year, the Society will add bourbons and rye and grain whiskies to its range. Bourbon expert Matt Hastings, an international drinks consultant at Fluid Movement, will give a talk on the bourbon category while guests taste Cask No. B5.1: Sheer Brilliance. This Tennessee bourbon has “an oily/silky mouth feel and an explosion of flavours; glace cherries, marzipan, chocolate coconut and Turkish delight truffles.”

After the talks, Kaleidoscope Bar will offer special serves created by the spirits experts, such as the gin-spired The Society Martini, which combines the Gee-Whiz gin and a smoky Society whisky. Also available will be the Society’s in-house whisky cocktails and its ever-changing selection of single cask whiskies.

Michael Cook, manager at Kaleidoscope Bar, said: “While single cask whisky will always be our absolute priority, we have released many bottles of other spirits in the last 19 years as part of our mission to explore the unique flavours and characteristics that single casks produce.

“This Single Cask Session is the perfect way for spirits fans to discover what makes the flavours of spirits from single casks so interesting and so different from what can you buy off the shelf.”

The Society’s new Single Cask Spirits range will go on sale in the UK and EU in August, with 10 casks available, and follow in US and Australian markets from September onwards.

Event details

The Single Cask Session, 6.30 – 9pm, Thursday 3rd August, Kaleidoscope Bar, 9A Devonshire Square EC2M 4YN

Tickets £20 includes welcome dram, tasting of four single cask spirits and light food: https://billetto.co.uk/e/the-single-cask-session-tickets-206070

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