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SMWS Spirits Awards and Festival Season

SMWS wins big at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and releases festival bottlings.

It’s been a busy week for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with a haul of medals from the San Francisco World Spirits competition and the launch of special bottlings for the Speyside and Islay Whisky Festivals

SMWS Wins Seven Awards at World Spirits Competition

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has won big at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018, taking home seven awards including ‘Best in show’ and ‘Best blended malt’.

The SMWS achieved an impressive presentation of awards, including Cask No. 29.224 We arrived! being awarded a double gold medal and ‘Best in show’, beating approximately 1000 whiskies entered into the competition.

In August 2017, the Society unveiled their first ever blended malt – a sherry-influenced 10-year-old bottling entitled Exotic Cargo. Proving that is not only a hit amongst members but also with the judging panel too. Exotic Cargo has swooped a double gold medal and ‘Best Blended Malt Scotch Whisky’.

Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) is one of the oldest of its kind and has become one of the world’s most respected spirits competitions. An SFWSC medal is a universally recognised indicator of exceptional quality and craftsmanship.

Commenting on the win, Euan Campbell, Spirits Manager at the SMWS said: “2018 celebrates the 35th anniversary of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and we’re delighted to mark this with such a brilliant array of awards. The awards are great recognition for the innovative approach we take at the Society. Our portfolio of malts, from 134 distilleries in Scotland, is a unique concept and to be rewarded and recognised on this international stage is testament to the quality of our whisky collections.”

Award Winning Bottles + Medal

SMWS unveils fiesta of flavour for Islay and Speyside Festivals.

SMWS takes members on flavour journey with a total of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside and Feis Ile festivals.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is making May a month to savour for its members with the release of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (3–7 May) and Feis Ile, The Islay Festival of Music and Malt (25 May–2 June).

The Society will also be holding a series of events at both festivals, as well as Speyside and Islay-themed tastings at its Members’ Rooms and partner bars throughout the UK and Europe.

Both regions have their superfans and this year the Society is urging members to make their voices heard, by joining the online debate between Speyside supporter the Craigellachie Crusader and peat freak the Islay Avenger at

The celebratory festival bottlings include:


  • 9.143: Graceful gravitas (21-years-old)
  • 107.13: Andalusian gazpacho (9-years-old)


  • 3.307: A journey into joy (20-years-old) bottling
  • 3.308: A maritime meander (13-years-old)
  • 10.141: Indulgence by the sea (12-years-old)
  • 10.146: Sweet smoky succulent sensation (9-years-old)
  • 29.241: A perfect moment (20-years-old)
  • 29.244: Weaving wondrous dreams (8-years-old) – available on Islay only
  • 53.248: Slapped by Poseidon’s glove (11-years-old)
  • 53.252: Smoky incarnations (11-years-old)

Helen Stewart, senior brand manager for the Society, said: “The Speyside and Islay Whisky Festivals are key dates in the whisky calendar, with May seeing the annual pilgrimage to the renowned whisky festivals. This year we have bottled more casks than ever before to give members all over the world even more opportunity to purchase one.”

For those fortunate enough to be travelling to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, the SMWS will be releasing 29.244: Weaving wondrous dreams. To reward members who have made the journey to attend the Islay festival, this limited edition will only be available for existing and new members to purchase on the island.

The bottling is an 8-year-old peated whisky from a refill ex-bourbon barrel. The palate is described as intense – with an earthy sweetness (chocolate brownies, flying saucers, aniseed, liquorice root) and smoke-derived flavours of tar, iodine and coal. The SMWS Tasting Panel said, “the long-lasting medicinal smoke will waft and weave into wondrous dreams”.

With only 222 bottles available to members, this will be a very limited edition and sought-after bottle.

Like all Society bottlings, the distillery name is kept a secret on all the bottles.

The six casks destined for the UK and EU will be available (while stocks last) online at and at the Society’s venues and partner bars (by the dram only) from Friday 4 May 2018.

Speyside events

SMWS will be hosting tailored tasting events featuring special celebratory bottlings at the Speyside Festival with Society ambassador Hans Offringa. These will be held in SMWS official partner bar, The Quaich at The Craigellachie Hotel on Friday, 4 May. (

Islay Whisky Festival

On Islay, the SMWS will be running a series of tastings and masterclasses
throughout the festival, starting with an Open Day on Friday, 25 May on the lawns at Islay House, home to Society partner bar, The Peat Cutter Inn. Tastings and events will be hosted by master brand ambassador John McCheyne.

SMWS Venues: Members’ Rooms & Partner Bars

If you can’t make it to the festivals, then throughout May, the SMWS will be running Speyside & Islay-inspired offers and menus with matched whiskies in its Members’ Rooms and partner bars. There will also be special Islay and Speyside festival flights to sample and enjoy. Tastings will focus on an Islay versus Speyside theme, where the two regions will be presented against each other. In the Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar in Edinburgh, Festival themed cocktails will be created from Friday 4 May.

SMWS_IslaySpeyside_FInals_Web_00012 (002)

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