Whisky society sets world record for largest online tasting event

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has set the Guinness World Record for largest online tasting event to mark their 40th anniversary.

SMWS is the world’s largest whisky club – with nearly 40,000 members in 20 countries across the globe.

Last month, 447 of its members from more than 15 countries logged on for an online whisky tasting to mark the society’s 40th birthday.

An adjudicator from Guinness World Records oversaw the tasting, where participants drank the same three drams simultaneously.

The event took place across 18 countries and time zones with fans in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, South Africa, Hong Kong, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, and Korea. 

Credit: Mike Wilkinson.

While members in New York tasted their three drams at 9am, those in Australia were tasting at midnight.

Each of the participants had to attend the tasting on an individual device with the camera on and no other person visible on screen with them, and attend the full duration of the tasting in order for the Society to set the record. 

‘We are delighted to announce that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has set the world record for the most participants in an online whisky tasting event,’ said Madeleine Schmoll, from SMWS.

‘It’s amazing to see how far the Society has come since the club was founded in Edinburgh by Pip Hills and a group of friends in 1983. 

‘With the Society turning 40 years old, we felt this would be the perfect way to share in a very special simultaneous tasting. 

‘We are the pioneers of cask strength, full flavour whisky that creates conversation – that’s why people become members – and the world record tasting worked across time zones and countries to bring our members together. It’s a great example of what we are all about.’

The event was witnessed by Christopher Coates, director and editor-at-large of Whisky Magazine, and chair of judges for the Icons of Whisky and World Whiskies Awards.

‘It has been a joy to be a part of this momentous event, and to see people connecting with other whisky lovers from as far afield as Japan, or Australia, to celebrate some truly exceptional drams,’ he said.

‘This is something that wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago, and it’s a testament to how technology and whisky can bring people together.’

The three Society drams tasted were Cask No. 55.78 What a Spread!, a 13-year-old rich and sweet bottling from a Speyside distillery, with tasting notes of “spiced toffee, creme brulee and a touch of fresh oak”; Cask No. 39.244 Tutti Frutti in a Wooden Bowl, an 11-year-old whisky from the SMWS Juicy Oak & Vanilla flavour profile; and Batch 15 Smokus Fruticosus, a blended malt comprised of malt whiskies from the islands of Islay & Orkney.

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