Whisky Focus - SMWS Celebrates 40th Anniversary With World Record Whisky Tasting

SMWS Celebrates 40th Anniversary With World Record Tasting


14th October 2023
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society establishes a world record by orchestrating the largest global online whisky tasting, with drams savoured simultaneously across more than 20 countries worldwide.

Madeleine Schmol SMWS Guinness World Records attempt event host (photo credit Mike Wilkinson)

A whisky club that originated with a close-knit group of friends in Edinburgh marked its 40th anniversary by achieving a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for hosting the largest online whisky tasting event. Established in Edinburgh back in 1983, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has since evolved into the world's largest whisky club, boasting nearly 40,000 members spanning over 20 countries worldwide.

On September 30th, in a celebration of their 40th anniversary, 447 SMWS members from across 15 countries convened online to undertake this record-breaking tasting endeavour. An official adjudicator from Guinness World Records presided over the event, which commenced at 2 pm BST. Participants from around the globe simultaneously sampled three distinct drams of whisky.

This remarkable event united whisky enthusiasts from the United Kingdom, Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, South Africa, Hong Kong, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, and Korea. The event's timing led to members in New York sipping their three drams at 9 am, while those in Australia were enjoying their tastings at midnight.

Broadcasted via a live stream, this 45-minute affair emanated from the freshly renovated The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, widely regarded as the spiritual home of the Society. The first dram was introduced by the Society's Master Ambassador, John McCheyne, who was situated in Edinburgh. The second dram was presented from New York by Tom Smith, Senior Director of SMWS USA, and the third from Melbourne by Matt Bailey, Director of SMWS Australia.

For the record to be established, each of the 447 participants had to attend the tasting individually, ensuring their camera was on and no other individual was visible on the screen with them, remaining present for the entire duration of the tasting.

Madeleine Schmoll, event host and Social Media and Community Manager at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society UK, said: "We are delighted to announce that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has set the world record for the most participants in an online whisky tasting event.

"Itís amazing to see how far the Society has come since the club was founded in Edinburgh by Pip Hills and a group of friends in 1983. With the Society turning 40 years old, we felt this would be the perfect way to share in a very special simultaneous tasting. We are the pioneers of cask strength, full flavour whisky that creates conversation Ė thatís why people become members Ė and the world record tasting worked across time zones and countries to bring our members together. Itís a great example of what we are all about."

The event was witnessed by Christopher Coates, Director and Editor-at-Large of Whisky Magazine, and Chair of Judges for the Icons of Whisky and World Whiskies Awards, who said: "It has been a joy to be a part of this momentous event, and to see people connecting with other whisky lovers from as far afield as Japan, or Australia, to celebrate some truly exceptional drams. This is something that wouldnít have been possible 10 years ago, and itís a testament to how technology and whisky can bring people together."

The trio of Society drams sampled during the World Record Breaking Tasting included:

The SMWS Guinness World Record attempt tasting pack with The SMWS Cask No. 55.78, aptly named "What a Spread!", he SMWS Cask No. 39.244 "Tutti Frutti in a Wooden Bowl," and Batch 15 "Smokus Fruticosus,".

The SMWS Cask No. 55.78 "What a Spread!" - A 13-year-old lusciously sweet expression from a Speyside distillery. This whisky entices with tasting notes of "spiced toffee, creme brulee, and a hint of fresh oak."

The SMWS Cask No. 39.244 "Tutti Frutti in a Wooden Bowl" - An 11-year-old whisky hailing from the SMWS Juicy Oak & Vanilla flavor profile, offering a delightful fruity experience.

The SMWS Batch 15 "Smokus Fruticosus" - A blended malt artfully composed of malt whiskies sourced from the captivating islands of Islay and Orkney.

If you would like to join the world record breaking whisky club and get access to their unique range of single cask whiskies you can join The SMWS here
www.smws.com
 

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