Scots whisky legend Charlie MacLean is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society next week.
Charlie has personally chosen a selection of whiskies to mark the society’s birthday.
The Edinburgh event takes place on Tuesday, 3 July, and features a whisky tasting, food and screening of The Angels’ Share, the Ken Loach whisky film in which MacLean starred, at the Dominion Cinema.
After a red carpet welcome at 7pm, guests will be escorted to the SMWS Lounge to sample a variety of MacLean’s top picks from his list. He will then give the background on the drams from the SMWS July outturn after which he will introduce the film.
Purchasing a ticket to this once in a lifetime tasting for members and non-members includes three samples from MacLean’s outturn, cinema ticket, and traditional cinema snacks for £39, from HERE.
SMWS are also running a special offer for non-members, which includes a Society membership plus two tasting tickets to the event for only £125 HERE.
The event is to celebrate Edinburgh-based whisky legend Charlie personally selecting a batch of 21 new single cask bottlings for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society as part of its 35th anniversary celebrations.
The whiskies, which range in age from 8 to 29 years old and feature tasting notes written by MacLean, will go on sale exclusively to the Society’s members around the world from July. As with all Society bottlings, each one is a limited edition having been bottled from single casks of whisky.
Eight of the bottles will be available to members in the UK, including a 16-year-old from the Old & Dignified flavour category called ‘Red carpet welcome’, which is described as “full-bodied and oily; sweeter and more complex than expected, with dark toffee, pecan nuts and a trace of sea salt in the long, spicy finish”.
While the whiskies are available to SMWS members only, the Society is launching a special membership offer for whisky fans keen to buy any of MacLean’s handpicked selections.
From Thursday 21 July non-members will also be able to buy a bottle of ‘All sweetness and light wood’, an 11-year-old from the Juicy, Oak & Vanilla profile, plus membership, for £99.
There is also a London event on Wednesday 4 July, which includes a tasting in the atmospheric crypt of St Etheldreda’s Church in Ely Place.
Charlie has been a longtime supporter of the Society; he joined the whisky club at its outset in the early 1980s, and became a chair of its renowned Tasting Panel in 1992. In 2016, he curated a selection of 30 rare discontinued whiskies from auction and his own collection for the Society’s Kaleidoscope bar in Edinburgh.
The process of nosing, sampling and selecting his favourite whiskies with The Tasting Panel took place over the course of a day at The Vaults, the Society’s private members’ rooms in Leith.
Charlie said: ‘It was a most enjoyable day and a fitting way to help the Society celebrate its remarkable 35th anniversary.
‘In keeping with the way the Society has always sought to unearth whisky casks that are hidden gems, I was looking for samples of distinction. We came across many samples that were okay, but not yet ready for bottling. We were hunting for whiskies that were unusually good examples of the distillery character.’
Euan Campbell, the Society’s Spirits Manager, who worked with Charlie on the selection process, added: ‘It was a pleasure and honour to work with Charlie on his cask selections and to assess the whiskies alongside someone with his depth of knowledge.
‘Ever since the Society was set up in 1983, we’ve always looked to do things differently and seek out the most amazing whiskies for our members. Having a whisky legend like Charlie choose these whiskies is a perfect example of what makes being a member of the Society such a special experience.’