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SMWS celebrates anniversary with 40YO whisky

As part of its 40th-anniversary celebrations, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has released a 40-year-old single cask whisky.

SMWS celebrates anniversary with 40YO whisky – bottle photo
The celebration whisky was matured in an ex-Bourbon barrel before being transferred to a Sherry hogshead

The 40-year-old single malt is bottled from a single cask and was first laid down in April 1983, the same year SMWS was launched.

SMWS has since extended to 28 countries – the most recent being Taiwan earlier this year – and amassed almost 40,000 members.

Society Cask Number 12.79 was selected by SMWS’s spirit team in 2018 and transferred to a refill Spanish oak oloroso Sherry hogshead to add a ‘birthday cake spice character’.

Only 130 bottles will be available to purchase exclusively to SMWS members, with 40 members being selected randomly to receive a complimentary dram.

SMWS set a world record for the biggest online whisky tasting earlier this month as part of its anniversary celebrations.

Euan Campbell, head of whisky creation at SMWS, said: “This cask was initially laid down to mature in 1983, which just so happens to be the year that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society was founded. It seemed only appropriate that we chose it for the 40th-anniversary celebrations.

“We’ve been monitoring this one very closely for a number of years. We knew this was the right time to bottle it and share it with people to enjoy this 40-year-old whisky in our 40th year.

“After so many years of maturing in an ex-Bourbon barrel, we decided to take the flavour in a different direction and moved the whisky into a refill Spanish oak Oloroso hogshead.

“The key to it being refill was that it would be quite relaxed and complementary, adding another layer of complexity without being too intense for such an old fragile whisky. It stayed in that cask for a further five years.

“There are only 130 bottles of this. It’s just one to really savour and appreciate the influence of cask on flavour.”

The bottle has no paper label, with information instead printed directly onto the glass. One-third of the bottle has been hand-dipped from cork to collar in dark green wax, making each one unique. It rests on a handcrafted walnut plinth within a museum-quality clear case.

Rebecca Hamilton, chief marketing and experience officer for SMWS, added: “We are the original pioneers in cask strength, single cask, one-off Scotch whisky.

“We have kept this exceptionally aged, cask-matured and flavour-curated bottling true to our origins with a nostalgic nod to our celebrated past throughout the creation process.

“It is also in a beautifully minimalistic bottle that really ensures the whisky itself is the hero. We have treated this bottle as we would create a piece of art, with craftspeople working together to do justice to the years in cask. We also wanted to pay homage to our beloved iconic green bottle, collected by many the world over.

“This bottle has been a passionate collaboration of artists and designers and is also a reflection of how the society began – from that ‘wow’ epiphany moment to the global single cask whisky fan club we are now.

“I know that members will cherish this spectacular piece for years to come.”

Society Cask Number 12.79 will be available in the UK, Europe, the US, China, Japan, Australia and Taiwan, with an RRP of £3,000 / US$3,995 / €3,480.

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