The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has launched a new range of premium whiskies that will sit above its standard range in both price and rarity.
The series, which emerges as part of the Society’s recent packaging redesign, arrives with expressions from closed Lowland distillery Rosebank (25.70) and iconic Speyside giant Macallan (24.129).
Founded in 1983, the SMWS releases single cask, cask strength expressions with the whiskies identified by a number system (the first number is denotes a distillery, the second the release from that location). Recently the Society underwent a label revamp – their first in a decade – to colour-code flavour profiles and also enable them to expand their offering of other spirits, including cognac and rum. They’ve also ushered in their first blended malt ‘Exotic Cargo’.
The Vault series gets its name from the Society’s home in Leith and featured a dark green-and-copper-foil design.
The 26-year-old Rosebank expression 25.70 is dubbed ‘In A Perfumed Garden’ and is the society’s last cask from the distillery. There are 170 bottles worldwide. 24.129 from Macallan, named ‘Meeting An Old Master’, is a 27-year-old matured in an ex-oloroso cask which was transferred into ex-Pedro Ximenez cask.
The Society’s casks are offered to members in branches around the world. In Australia membership is obtained through an annual subscription of $120. As their own importer and retailer, Society prices are often very competitive when compared to similar single cask offerings.
The Vault series of casks will be offered to Australian members, although it is likely very limited quantities will escape the UK.
No Australian pricing has been confirmed but in the UK Rosebank will sell for £875 and the Macallan for £980, so expect them to top the AUD$1,500 mark.
Whisky legend Charles MacLean cast his nose over both releases and offered the following opinions:
25.70 (26-year-old Rosebank): “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 it’s like again.”
25.70 (27-year-old Macallan): “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.”
The Australian branch of the society recently released a 15-year-old Aultmore to mark their 15th anniversary down under.