Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS

Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS

Despite the burgeoning French whisky scene and the significant strides made by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in diversifying beyond the confines of ‘Scotch’ whisky, it wasn’t until 2023 that they ventured into bottling a French whisky. This trend isn’t unique to SMWS; a cursory glance at Whiskybase reveals a scant number of independent bottlers featuring products from Warenghem Distillery. This underrepresentation is regrettable, given my experience with over 40 whiskies tried from Warenghem, many of which were very good, and sometimes just properly exquisite though sadly elusive. Turning to SMWS and their foray into French whisky, it’s notable that their debut choice was Warenghem, renowned for their Armorik single malt. Let’s delve into the Armorik 2014 157.1 SMWS, marking a significant milestone as the first French whisky featured by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

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SMWS May 2023 Virtual Festival pack

SMWS May 2023 Virtual Festival

The month of May brings with it a vibrant whisky festival season, and the SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) takes advantage of this occasion by releasing special small batches specifically crafted for these festivals. These unique releases feature larger quantities compared to their usual single casks. To ensure that a multitude of whisky enthusiasts can savour these expressions, the SMWS organises a virtual whisky tasting event. They offer a festival pack containing five samples, which participants can enjoy alongside SMWS ambassadors during an online session. Now, let’s explore the selection of five drams that the SMWS has chosen for their May 2023 Virtual Festival.

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Port Charlotte 2001 SMWS 127.45 Leviathan

Port Charlotte 2001 SMWS 127.45

We’re back to a Scotch Malt Whisky Society review, with this Port Charlotte 2001 from their Vault collection. We had a younger PC last year with a 2003 Hidden Spirits that was beautiful, so expectations were high with this one. I use the past as I’ve already tasted it a few weeks ago, after purchasing the bottle for a friend, who almost immediately opened it and shared it. Let’s jump to the review of this Port Charlotte 2001 SMWS 127.45 Leviathan, I can’t wait to taste it again.

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SMWS Global Gathering 2022 sample package

SMWS Global Gathering 2022

Yesterday 30th of September was the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Global Gathering 2022 event. It’s virtual tasting with John McCheyne, SMWS’s global brand ambassador, and he was joined by five people who were part of the selection of the five drams of the night. Each dram was selected by a tasting panel from a specific country, and chose a name for it in their own language. Then, each dram’s tasting was led by the local brand ambassador, starting… in his or her native language. As it started with the whisky selected by the French panel, some people who joined a bit late were quite surprised to hear the tasting in French, before realising it would switch back in English a few minutes later. Obviously, I had ordered a tasting pack in order to join, so let’s go review those five whiskies chosen for the SMWS Global Gathering 2022.

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SMWS 2022 Festivals

SMWS Whisky Festival 2022

A few weeks months ago (I’m late again to publish an article, what a surprise!), the Scotch Malt Whisky Society released a few single malts not as single casks, for once, but as small batches, small vattings of a few casks, for the different whisky festivals of the first half of 2022. For each region of Scotland, in a whisky sense, they released one or several bottlings, all of course with a higher outturn than usual. I ordered a tasting pack containing five out of the six releases, and I also bought a bottle of the sixth one, a Bowmore, so now, let’s review them all. And whilst previously it was Ainulindale reviewing SMWS bottlings, this time it’s my turn!

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SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

SMWS – A small cigar can change the world

Lineup of the tasting
What a mighty lineup

Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery.
This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.

Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.

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SMWS – Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar

SMWS – Come in here, dear boy, have a cigar

When I joined the SMWS, I first did it as I wanted to partake of some cask strength unfiltered goodness. Obviously, for a whisky aficionado, this is one of the good places to be a member of.

Then, at one random point in time I realised there was an “event” category on the website where things were actually organised. I remember thinking – surely there’s nothing in Paris. Boy, was that a stupid thought. You can find the full account of my first SMWS tasting session here.

This time around, yet another discovery: I realised there were events in a small committee at a Speakeasy where whiskies were paired with cigars. My blood just went boiling at the sheer idea of the combination of both, being a fan of cigars (H. Upmann & Romeo y Julieta in particular if you wish to know).

The lineup for the tasting: 6 SMWS bottlings.
Our whisky line-up for the evening

So I purchased my ticket and eagerly went to Gentleman 1919, in Paris, a quite excellent venue. It was 21h. I got back home at 1h45. Here’s why.

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SMWS – August outturn tasting event at Mersea, Paris

SMWS – August outturn tasting event at Mersea, Paris

When I really got into Whisky, I had the opportunity to go on a trip to Scotland for the Spirit of Speyside festival.

We were celebrating Coldorak’s birthday and at the same time planning to enjoy Scotland and its distilleries. And boy we did.

One of the event we attended was Glen Moray’s May 4th 2019. May the fourth anyone? It was cohosted by Glen Moray and the SMWS that I didn’t know before then.

Have a look at the happy attendance

The SMWS is an independent bottler somehow atypical: it’s a club and you need to be a member if you want to partake in the goodies. It releases almost only single casks, cask strength, non chill-filtered whiskies at a very affordable price.

I was intrigued with the SMWS and it didn’t take long for me to commit myself to become a member. Fast forward to August 2019 and I finally did my first tasting session with the Parisian members at Mersea.

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