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SMWS renewal - worth it?

 
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lowlander
Single Malt Member
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Joined: 19 Jul 2019
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:29 pm    Post subject: SMWS renewal - worth it? Reply with quote

Hi all,

Renewal is coming up for the SMWS this year and I'm really wondering if I should bother renewing it.

While I enjoy the odd dram down at The Vaults or Queen Street when I have the chance, I just find the price of their drams for some of the good stuff to be a bit too much for my wallet. I noticed other things like the quality of the food not being quite as good as it used to be too.

Would I be better off with a Cadenheads membership for £50 for life?

I guess one of the good things about the SMWS, is that you can try the whisky before you buy it.

Perhaps I've answered my own question, but I'd appreciate some feedback from those of you on the forum.
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Dave h
Triple Malt Member
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Joined: 26 Jan 2018
Posts: 249
Location: Perth Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im not familiar with clubs, but although I don't like The Whisky Shop, I was in branch killing time and found out their W Club is getting a revamp soon. Was mentioned likely going up to £30 per year but will be improved and better offerings (no idea what its like till now).

I signed up primarily for free or cheap tasting events. Bought 1st October for £20 for 12 months, it'll soon be increasing so thought I'd get in before any increase. Quarterly magazine, no need to register and pay £5 to use their auction site. They've just released an WClub only Old Pulteney single cask 12 or 13 year old for £99.

Is it any good? No idea just yet, first 'membership' Ive had.

Be good if there was a review article on all the benefits to different memberships. Guess things are forever evolving and increasing in prices
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deadz101
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Joined: 02 Feb 2016
Posts: 139
Location: scotland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve got both memberships w SMWS and Cadenhead. I do buy both of their bottlings regularly though I think the better value is with Cadenhead as it’s a one off. I’ve been lucky enough to land the chichibu from smws, but a lot of the time with both memberships it’s about buying right when the sought after bottles are released. I’ve only used the membership at the vaults or Queen st a few times but it’s always been a good experience. Delivery is also free for bottles there so buying just a few bottles pays for itself, I feel, in a short space of time. My recent renewal notice has included a mystery bottle at a discount which was a craigellie and a profile I would have previously not tried.

Personally, I don’t rate the whisky shop membership having been gifted this earlier in the year, though I bought their ‘exclusive releases’ of HP single cask and OP sherry sc, I think they could offer members ‘first in’ for all new releases rather than just putting them out generally on their website.

If you had to chose though, I’d probably go with the cadenhead, they are an amazing bunch in the shop in Edinburgh and quite often when you go in they will offer a couple of samples of what they’ve got open with no pressure to purchase and offer several yearly ‘club exclusives’ such as a 20 year old blended sherry for £40.
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William
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Joined: 10 Apr 2006
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Location: Scotland

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if this would make a difference to anyone, possibly if you are in the Glasgow area, The SMWS has announced plans for a new Members’ Room in Bath Street Glasgow, set to open at the end of January 2020.
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There's no bad whisky. Just good whisky and better whisky.
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James T
Master Of Malts
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Joined: 05 Feb 2011
Posts: 2308

PostPosted: Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

William wrote:
I don't know if this would make a difference to anyone, possibly if you are in the Glasgow area, The SMWS has announced plans for a new Members’ Room in Bath Street Glasgow, set to open at the end of January 2020.
That is interesting news.
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lowlander
Single Malt Member
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Joined: 19 Jul 2019
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for your replies.

I guess I'm just frustrated at what they offer nowadays compared to what was available as little as 5 years ago.


  • Increasingly younger age expressions in each months outturns.
  • Bottles in the 12-18 year age range are pretty expensive these days.
  • Dram prices are now pretty hefty.
  • Hardly any sherry bottles.
  • As a personal side issue: The standard of the food has dropped (at both venues) considerably. The chips with mustard mayo used to be top notch!


I may stick about for another year as overall, I do enjoy having a couple of drams in The Vaults and I'm in the fortunate position of being able to being able to afford paying for membership with a voucher to knock a bit of the renewal fee off, which makes the £61 renewal less of a ripoff.

Rant over! Laughing
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MattS
Master Of Malts
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Joined: 23 Apr 2018
Posts: 353

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave h wrote:
Im not familiar with clubs, but although I don't like The Whisky Shop, I was in branch killing time and found out their W Club is getting a revamp soon. Was mentioned likely going up to £30 per year but will be improved and better offerings (no idea what its like till now).

I signed up primarily for free or cheap tasting events. Bought 1st October for £20 for 12 months, it'll soon be increasing so thought I'd get in before any increase. Quarterly magazine, no need to register and pay £5 to use their auction site. They've just released an WClub only Old Pulteney single cask 12 or 13 year old for £99.

Is it any good? No idea just yet, first 'membership' Ive had.

Be good if there was a review article on all the benefits to different memberships. Guess things are forever evolving and increasing in prices


https://whiskyreviews.net/2019/11/04/whisky-shop-w-club-old-pulteney-2006-single-cask/

£99 for a 13yr old cask strength. Not so sure on the value when the standard 12 is often £24/25.
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Carbonara
Member
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Joined: 27 Aug 2019
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think smws bottles actually represent decent value,if you factor in delivery,im a member and a member of cadenheads,which i find very difficult to get anything i like from,or even if i find something its gone in seconds ,most have no society discounts and p/p is expensive.
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eelbrook
Master Of Malts
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Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 626

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For access to club rooms - Yes
For bottles - No
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