The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) have designed the world’s first literal memory boxes to celebrate the SMWS Flavour Hunters festival throughout the whisky month of May, based on the science of memory recall and creation to give a sensory experience not seen before.
They have partnered with professional psychologist Dr Ansgar Endress, Scottish chef Bruce Clyne-Watson and rollercoaster designer and ‘thrill engineer’ Brendan Walker.
The boxes were available exclusively at The National Whisky Festival Glasgow 2022 earlier this month and are also available at this weekend’s 2022 London Whisky Weekender, as well as in SMWS Members’ Rooms across the UK.
There are six distinct boxes, all of which use touch, taste, smell, sight and sound to transport you back to happy moments or places in your life, utilising tasting notes from the six small batch festival bottlings specially released by the SMWS throughout May. For example, ‘Nan’s House of Tea’ includes Haggis spiced lamb breast with caramelised red wine pineapple, malt loaf and toasted oats.
Renowned Scottish chef Bruce Clyne-Watson has crafted the memory-evoking canapes to feature alongside each box: ‘Camping Out’, embracing those warm Autumn nights huddled around the fire with a delicious rabbit liver rillette dressed in a marmalade chutney, candied walnut and nasturtium leaves.
Conjuring up fond memories of the seashore, ‘Watching the Harbour Boats’ is paired with a peaty whisky and matched with smoky langoustine sprayed with sea water and a smoke gun, served on pebbles alongside a deep-fried Mars Bar with Irn bru and tobacco essence.
The episodic memory is the part of our memory that takes in a whole experience and commits it to long-term memory, creating a pathway to a positive time. Therefore, experiencing these alongside the whiskies gives our brains the power and tools to create new, happy memories over a dram.
Commenting on the partnership, Bruce Clyne-Watson said:
“It’s a real joy to be working with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society on such an unconventional and exciting project. The Society itself is an endless discovery of flavour, making it so much fun to create these canapes, which match perfectly with the SMWS bottlings.
“Memory really does affect the way we experience flavour. Sampling the produce for this campaign genuinely evoked memories of my childhood, like going to my Nan’s house for tea as a wee lad; reminiscing over those warming, joyous memories. I can’t wait to see this campaign come to life in May and witness each guest’s whisky eureka moment.”
Helen Stewart, SMWS Head of Membership, added:
“At the Society we believe flavour is more than what’s in your glass. May is whisky month and is the perfect time to show the world what the Society is all about.
“This May we want people to join the Society in our hunt for flavour. Whisky lovers can become part of the world’s most entertaining whisky club and get involved in the Flavour Hunters festival wherever they are, through our website, Members’ Rooms and at the fabulous whisky festivals taking place across the UK.”
To find out more about membership to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, you can go along to one of the UK Members’ Rooms. You will also find more information on their website: https://smws.com.
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs by David Parry/PA Wire courtesy of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society