Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

The Single Malt Whisky Society "SMWS"

All your whisky related questions answered here.

The Single Malt Whisky Society "SMWS"

Postby JimHall » Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:36 pm

I am thinking of joining the society ... as it costs £95 to join I wanted to ask if you guys thought that it was good value?
Are you members ? what will I get from it?
I have visited their website but it's not quite like getting honest views from the people in the know.
JimHall
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 7:51 pm
Location: Alloa Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:17 pm

American viewpoints appreciated, too--I've been mulling it over for a while myself. (Isle of Mull? Or Mull of Kintyre?) I know most of you here who are members are very happy about it, but if there are any misgivings, I'd like to hear that, too. Do you ever get bum bottles? The one major downside I can think of is that it presents too much temptation, and perhaps diverts the larger part of our whisky budgets from our friendly local shopkeeper (if indeed we have one).
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Admiral » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:20 pm

The bad side: Bottlings are quite expensive, and do not appear to be priced in line with other IB's. (e.g. US$125 or GBP61 for a 10 or 11 year old malt is a bit rich).

The good side:

* All bottles are non-chillfiltered and contain no caramel
* All bottles are single casks and bottled at cask strength
* Bottlings come from well known and not so well known distilleries. Opportunity to drink from many silent distilleries too.
* Bottlings generally vary from being just plain good, to absolutely stellar. I cannot recall tasting a "bad" bottle, and I've probably sampled from over 30 in the last two years. In other words, quality control is pretty good.
* Meetings are a great opportunity to sit and discuss your malt enthusiasm with other like-minded people.
* If you happen to live in the UK, the facilities and club rooms, etc, are at your disposal. (Obviously, we non-UK residents don't really get to take advantage of this).

I enjoy my membership, unfortunately my wallet doesn't. :wink:

Cheers,
Admiral
Admiral
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2719
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:01 am
Location: Australia

Postby posterboy » Mon Mar 07, 2005 11:42 pm

I have been a member for a few years and share Admiral's thoughts on the good and bad sides.

But even the bad points (expensive bottles of relatively young whisky) are mitigated because even the younger bottles are often somewhat distinctive and, of course, you don't have to buy them. After the initial membership, annual renewals are only about US$35/20GBP per year, which is pretty reasonable. For that you get access to these bottlings, some of which are quite remarkable. I have a Glenfarclas 38CS which is just sublime, and have tasted many other bottlings from SMWS which are just spectacular.

Their tasting events (some limited to members) are very well done. Their large tastings have the advantage of having a very good selection of whiskies while not being overcrowded (a complaint I had about the last WhiskyFest event I attended). They also do certain small members-only tastings which I understand are very nice.
posterboy
New member
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: New York City

Postby Spirit of Islay » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:01 am

Bloody hell ! Didn't realise the price had went up for joining (it was £70 ) .
Just to correct admirals £61 pound for a 10/11yo , the price in the UK for one of that age varies depending on popularity . £38 for one of the lesser ones to £45 for a popular Islay (us Islay drinkers seem to subsidise others.... :lol: ) . the older ones are cheaper than their I.B. / O.B. comrades (£120 for a 38yo .....Bargain ) , another example - £50 for a 21yo Caol Ila , the 25yo O.B. is £90 plus . Again it depends on the Popularity of the malt but i've only had one reason to complain of recent times and that was the stroke they played with the Ardbeg bottling before Christmas and i let them know i wasn't happy :x ( not that it made much difference) .

But other wise i've been happy with my membership (take good advantage of the bottlings and The Vaults ).
Slainté
Gordon
User avatar
Spirit of Islay
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2537
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Usually somewhere with Whisky......

Postby Admiral » Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:10 am

Seems you're getting a better deal than us, Gordon.

Here in Oz, the cheapest bottlings start at AUS$160.

AUS$160 = 61GBP, so if you're paying less than 61 pounds, then you're getting considerably better value than we are here. :cry:

Many times I've looked in to the possibility of buying whiskies from the UK and having them shipped to me here, but the cost of shipping is always around 15 pounds per bottle. Then there's the risk of Australian Customs slugging me both excise AND GST (our equivalent of VAT) when it gets here.

Sometimes, the cost of shipping plus the taxes is actually more than the cost of the bottle itself!

Cheers,
Admiral
Admiral
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2719
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:01 am
Location: Australia

Postby bamber » Tue Mar 08, 2005 9:51 am

If you live in London, you can use their bar there and I would say it is definitely worth it.

I've spent a couple of great afternoons with a few friends sipping unique whiskies and we all had a really great time.
User avatar
bamber
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1913
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 3:57 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Postby posterboy » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:21 pm

The latest list of bottlings available in the US just arrived yesterday. Prices range from $85/bottle (Benrinnes 12 or Allt Abhainne 10) to $195/bottle (Glen Keith 32).

Also tucked in there is a new offering (their President's Choice this month): a Springbank 15 for $115. And yes, I already ordered one. :)
posterboy
New member
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: New York City

Postby Lawrence » Tue Mar 08, 2005 5:10 pm

I've been a member for nearly 10 years and it's been a completely positive experience, I cannot recommend it enough.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Postby patrick dicaprio » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:33 pm

Admiral wrote:The bad side: Bottlings are quite expensive, and do not appear to be priced in line with other IB's. (e.g. US$125 or GBP61 for a 10 or 11 year old malt is a bit rich).


i dont think it is that bad. if you thnk about the fact that you get about 2 bottles worth of drinks out of a bottle then it is pretty close to what you pay at a liqour shop here in the NY area.

Pat
patrick dicaprio
Silver Member
 
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 3:22 am

Postby Lawrence » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:47 pm

On the cover of the new bottling list from the Edinburgh branch of the Society they allude to the whiskies of the Society being both rare and exceptional. It is my opinion that this is generally true; they are cherry picking the industry and it show in the consistant quality.

As to price I fell that it is worth it. Having said that a few years ago the C$ compared to the US$ made purchasing Society whiskies from the USA a very expensive adventure, happily our currency has bounced back a bit and it is again a still a good deal. Further there are usually whiskies available that I would not normally have access to and I am always will to pay a small premium to try something that is not available here.
Lawrence
Matured cask
 
Posts: 5019
Joined: Wed May 21, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder