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Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

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Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bamber » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:58 pm

Well, after trecking 120 miles into London and braving a closed North Circular road, the SMWS bar had decided to close 1.5 hours early. A friend of mine had travelled from Cambridge also for the pleasure. My journey time was about 5 hours.

The reason ? Stock take apparently.

Seriously not good enough, when we have to pay an annual membership to receive mail shots and then be turned away without warning.

I phoned up the manager to complain and she did offer a "couple of free drams" next time we are there. However, I seriously doubt I'll ever return as my usual drinking partners were so fed up with them and it usually takes a lot of cajoling from me to get people down there.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bryce_3 » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:48 pm

Sorry to hear that Bamber!!
That's my worst nightmare
8)
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bamber » Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:56 pm

Ta,

When I said to my girlfriend we might not go back she laughed out loud. She also said she did not think it was that big a deal :evil:

I guess we did save about £200, as we had a couple of pints and then attacked a home based whisky selection.

If / when I go again I'll ring day before and day of going.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Ganga » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:01 pm

Bamber, you should have volunteered for the inventory check. They can check the quantity and you the quality. :D
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:12 pm

Total bummer Sion, I'd be very P'ed off too .....

As you say Not good enough and a bloody bank holiday too .... :evil: :twisted:

And if they are so intent on sending you plenty of mail you would of thought they could of bothered to send out a mail about the impending stock take :x

Anyway at least you spared yourself £200 :wink:
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bamber » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:27 pm

Ganga,

I wish I'd had the poise to say that but I was too busy trying to contain my annoyance. Last time we were there we had 9-10 drams each - so we definitely helped simplify stocktaking.

Adrian,

Apparently they did not know about having to close until the last minute because of some staffing issue. It just gets harder and harder to do these things as we get older and I was really looking forward to putting a dent in the new list.

Anyway I will stop winging now :)
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby yangbrucey » Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:20 pm

SMWS Edinburgh Queen Street is not much better. I've been turned away twice on Saturday nights with friends I hoped to introduce to the society. The reason I was given both times was that there was a function on and the bar was full (and I was not wearing jeans and trainers, or covered in kebab chilli sauce). As a SMWS member for 12 years I was most upset and on the second occasion contacted the society the next day. They too tried to pacify me with a couple of free drams - not much use when my friends were only up from London for the weekend.
I was at the Islay vs. Island tasting at the vaults last month where it was announced that the tastings would now be conducted in a room through the back - not in the members bar. Another decision taken without consulting the members.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:13 pm

Bamber and Yangbrucey - these episodes are clearly unacceptable. People travel from distances to come to the SMWS and they expect (and deserve) a special experience when they get there. The opening hours are published in the newsletter and should be adhered to. When the Society can't open during published hours, it should be planned and well notified to members.

Is there some way of communicating this back to the society at a high level - not with a view to getting compensation, which isn't the point - but actually changing the way these things are done? I know I should know, but is there a Chief Executive of General Manager of the Society?
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby yangbrucey » Mon Jun 02, 2008 9:30 pm

Nick, my father in law has been a member for longer than I have (he introduced me to the SMWS). He spoke to a manager at SMWS about the change of tasting venue at The Vaults and expressed his unhappiness that the change had been made without consulting the members. The manager agreed with him and said the decision had come from higher up. Hosting the tastings in another room allows the members bar to be open on a Monday night.......
I guess we would need to speak to someone like Simon Downs, Whisky Manager.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby jmrl » Mon Jun 02, 2008 10:04 pm

Am I right in thinking Queen Street has opened its dining to non-members. Not that I've ever eaten there but it would be difficult to charge membership in exchange for exclusive access when the service may be used up by non-member's business.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bamber » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:10 pm

Nick,

I had a good look around the website and could not find anything. I phoned the membership number to complain as I could see no reason to contact the management in London as it was her decisions which lead to my grievance in the first place. I was directed to call her and just got a load of unacceptable excuses about staffing.

She claimed Saturday evening was the best time to do a stock take as people were less likely to visit then - I cannot agree with this.

I saw 2 barmen there - they were staying to do a stock take - wouldn't their time be better spent serving paying customers on a Saturday evening.

Here are there opening times:

Monday to Friday, 12 midday-11pm
Saturday 12 midday-9pm

Seriously 7.30 -> 9.00 pm is THE ONLY TIME working, non-London members can get there and can it really be busy at 2.30 pm on a Monday ? Could they not do a stock take then ?

I've written the manager there an email asking for her line manager's contact details.

It appears I haven't stopped whinging.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:11 pm

not good enough

i am a new member and am unimpressed by the tastings locations - as i have a young family, a trip to london or scotland for a tasting is out of the question (unless i want a divorce, hmmmm..)

there has only been one tasting near me so far this year and that was burns night in leeds, when i already had plans, as you do

since then nothing, and now they have offered me a £10 credit off a bottle if i return the tickets (face value of £60 iirc)

not that good imho

think i'll hang onto them for now, thankyou, and maybe offer them to a member on here to make use of for a tasting near them if nothing comes up within the next month or so


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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:46 pm

I think people should e-mail their experiences of finding the bars shut to Kai Ivalo - not looking for compensation but looking for things to be changed so this doesn't happen any more. People shouldn't have to check in advance that the bar is actually going to be open before they travel. And the nature of the society means that people will often be travelling some distance to get there.

As for tasting events, I think they are expensive given the price of the drams involved. But they are good fun - the chance to talk to other whisky enthusiasts, the chance to hear guest speakers, etc. In the Edinburgh venues, I would tend to go only when there is an event with a particular theme - e.g. Highland Park, Arran or suchlike. The more general tastings are too easy to replicate by buying five drams from the bar. But outside Edinburgh, I guess the standard tastings are an opportunity to try SMWS drams that would otherwise be hard to get without a trip to one of the bars.
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby bamber » Thu Jun 05, 2008 3:47 pm

Got very nice apology from the Venue Director, Anne Griffiths.

I now have officially stopped whinging :)
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Ryguy » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:10 pm

Has anyone here tried anything from Glenochy before? I'm having a real hard time finding any notes at all on this.

The SMWS has offered #62.16, Glenochy 26yo, sounds like a good one to me, but I was hoping to do a little research first. I was hoping someone here may be able to provide more information on this distillery.

Maybe I'll just buy it anway. :iwbrnt:
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:35 pm

It's Glenlochy - an elegant, fruit driven whisky
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Re: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gripes

Postby Ryguy » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:32 am

Thanks Nick! :thumbsup:
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