Experimental ‘Exotic Cargo’ blend sees unconventional whisky club continue its mission to explore new flavours.

The world of Scotch whisky is being taken by surprise with the release of Exotic Cargo, the first-ever blended malt* from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), the industry’s foremost experts on single cask, single malts. The experimental new 10 year old blended malt is available in the UK and EU from 1st September at SMWS.com, before being released to international markets including the US, Canada and Australia.

The Society will always focus on single cask, single malt whisky, but this finely balanced blended malt with a heavy sherry influence is the latest example of its mission to explore the full spectrum of flavours in whisky and other spirits.

For ‘Exotic Cargo’, The Society’s spirits manager Euan Campbell sourced a number of pre-blended malt whiskies, all distilled on the same day on 2006, and all matured in firstfill ex-sherry casks. A number of blends at various strengths were then tried before the Society’s expert Tasting Panel selected a blend with a reduced strength of 50% abv which they describe as a “sherry-soaked cruise into paradise”.

SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell
SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell

In typically evocative Society style, the Exotic Cargo tasting notes read: “A wooden ship is sailing through the tropics with an exotic cargo of spices, scented flowers, medjool dates and mangoes… close your eyes and drift away on this sherry-soaked cruise into paradise.”

The Society revealed the blended malt to its members first, with a selection of volunteers being sent preview samples to feedback on.

Commenting on the whisky’s release, Kai Ivalo, Spirits Director at SMWS said: “The Society has always had an unconventional streak and we’re really breaking the mould of what can be done with a blended malt. We’re looking to our members for feedback on the bottle before releasing further intriguing creations, however, we’re sure they will be as eager as ever to get their hands and palates on what truly is a piece of exotic cargo.”

In its 34-year history, the Society has established a reputation for its unconventional approach to whisky; from focusing on single casks and not revealing the names of distilleries to bottling other spirits such as liqueurs, cider brandy and pioneering the bottling of Japanese whisky.

‘Exotic Cargo’ (£45) is available in an Outturn of 1,937 bottles, and as with all Society single malts, is neither chill-filtered nor coloured.

In July earlier this year, The SMWS released a new Single Cask Spirits brand for its rum, gin, cognac, bourbon and non-malt whisky releases. Later in the year, rye and grain whiskies will also be added to the range.

SMWS Exotic Cargo bottle


* Blended malt whisky refers to a combination of single malts, married together from more than one distillery. Unlike a blended whisky, a blended malt whisky does not contain any grain whisky. Prior to 2009, blended malts were sometimes also referred to as vatted or pure malts, but those terms are no longer permitted by the Scotch Whisky Association.

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