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SMWS unveils new collection for exceptionally rare releases

The first two releases in The Vaults Collection showcase the unique whisky available to Society members from 2nd October.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has unveiled The Vaults Collection, a prestigious new series, with the release of two of its most rare single cask single malt whiskies.

The first releases in the new series are ‘In a perfumed garden’ (£875), a 26-year-old single malt from a now-closed Lowland distillery, and ‘Meeting an old master’ (£980), a 27-year-old single malt from a renowned Speyside distillery. Whisky expert Charles MacLean has praised both releases.

They will be released on 2nd October exclusively to members of the Society, highlighting one of the key benefits of joining the whisky club. The Vaults Collection will focus on the Society’s rarest aged releases and exceptional examples of single cask, single malt whisky.

SMWS In a Perfumed Garden Credit - Peter Dibdin at Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (landscape)[1]

‘In a perfumed garden’ (£875) is one of only 170 bottles from a single cask of whisky from a distillery that closed in 1993. It was matured in a refill barrel before being transferred for further maturation to a second-fill Sauternes hogshead for 18 months. Finally, it was moved back to a second-fill bourbon barrel where it rested for a further year before being released under the Society’s Sweet, Fruity & Mellow flavour profile. The Society’s expert Tasting Panel describes the whisky as transporting the drinker to “a perfumed garden on a sunny day, with herbs, roses, and delicate, gentle blossoms.”

Charles MacLean added his thoughts saying: “This is an exceptional example of this closed distillery’s remaining stock, which is rare and diminishing with every passing day. Its freshness and vibrant character shine through in a classic example of what was considered the Lowland region’s leading distillery. You’ll never see its like again.”

SMWS Meeting an Old Master Credit - Peter Dibdin (landscape)[1]

‘Meeting an old master’ (£980) is one of only 437 bottles drawn from a single cask of whisky that was distilled on 7th May 1990. The Speyside whisky matured in an ex-Oloroso sherry cask before further aging in a first-fill Pedro Ximenez sherry butt.

From the Society’s Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile, the whisky is described as being “dark yet sweet, with chocolate-covered Brazil and macadamia nuts, figs, prunes and old leather, followed by Muscovado sugar, all spice and a finish of rye whisky with dark, strong coffee”.

Commenting again, Charles MacLean added, “An absolutely gorgeous dram and a wonderful example of this distillery’s traditional style of classic sherried whisky, as it was made in a previous era. It is big, voluptuous and stimulating, with a deeply complex texture. Precious as it is, I wanted to pour myself another dram immediately.”

Kai Ivalo, Spirits Director at the Society, said: “The Vaults Collection encompasses the finest and rarest casks from our treasure trove of single cask whiskies. These casks have been stored over decades and nurtured through their maturation as the ultimate expressions of their kind – these are once-in-a-lifetime bottling of liquid history.”

The Vaults Collection bottles ‘In a perfumed garden’ and ‘Meeting an old master’ are available to full SMWS members in the UK and EU from 2nd October with key allocations following in the US and Asia.

Tasting Notes

‘In a perfumed garden’

The nose, true to the distillery’s name, takes us to a perfumed garden on a sunny day, with herbs, roses, and delicate, gentle blossoms. Someone is handing out fruit jelly sweets and elsewhere there is a waft of cigar smoke. The palate also evokes gardens – sophisticated afternoon tea-parties, with Lady Grey tea, oranges, walnuts, cinnamon toast, tropical fruits and milk chocolate on offer. With water, the nose turns more masculine again, with fresh tobacco leaf, dry oak, eucalyptus, tangy citrus and dark chocolate, coconut and raspberry. With water there are medicinal notes, oak and spice underpinned the pomegranate, physalis, cranberry and Torrontés wine.

‘Meeting an old master’

The whisky cascading into the glass is like a sunset over the Sahara desert, burning the sky with a life-enhancing deep orange radiance. First nosing reveals an old artist’s studio with old easels and the smell of thick canvas, linseed and sandalwood oil. The blinds are pulled shut to direct a single beam of sunlight through the darkness, illuminating a still life with stark contrasts. It intensifies the vibrant colours of the oranges, prunes and dried apricots carefully positioned beside a dusty bottle of tawny port and a glass of sweet Tokaji wine. The palate is dark yet sweet, with chocolate-covered Brazil and macadamia nuts, figs, prunes and old leather, followed by Muscovado sugar, all spice and a finish of rye whisky with dark, strong coffee.

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