Whisky Magazine Issue 84
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The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has slowly but surely been evolving and growing. We look at its progress.
What does the Scotch Malt Whisky Society mean to you? If you think of the impressive Vaults, a bastion of style and tradition in the heart of Edinburgh's revamped and gentrified port of Leith, or of the modern and stylish members' club rooms in the city's Queen Street, chances are you live in Scotland's capital or visit it regularly.
If it means high quality, exciting and challenging cask strength malts, then as likely as not you're a whisky drinker that has been fortunate enough to run across a Society bottling or two.
And if it means a quarterly mailing, the occasional indulgence purchase of a special bottle based on extravagant but entertaining tasting notes, or the once in a blue moon Society tasting in your home town then you're one of the scores of members that now live across the world.
The Society is a broad church, but its toughest task has been maintaining a balance between its many diverse and conflicting components.
Getting that balance right hasn't come easily to an organisation that sells premium malt at a premium price and occupies two of the most exclusive sites Edinburgh can offer, a whisky world that is more Alexander McCall Smith than Wilbur.
So how do you evolve and grow without sacrificing everything you stand for? When Paul Miles joined the Society as managing director two and a half years ago, that was the task that faced him. So he sat down with his team to look at what the Society had originally stood for and what it stood for in 2007.