Come with me on a journey through time and space to the world of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), as after a long two years, the Whisky Weekender returned to the nation’s capital, with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society taking centre stage.
Fans of the grain will know that good things come to those that wait and boy was the patience well earned. The legendary Kia Oval Cricket Ground played host and served up a beautiful day. Not the sort of establishment I would normally associate with whisky, but as The Society would go on to show, this spirit can take you to unexpected places and if you’re paying attention you’re in for a treat. How’s that!?
Not just for the weekend. SMWS are here to celebrate the whisky month of May and have decided to draw on the talents of professional psychologist Dr Ansgar Endress, Scottish chef Bruce Clyne-Watson and rollercoaster designer and ‘thrill engineer’ Brendan Walker to create the world’s first literal memory box, and let me tell you, it was one hell of an experience on the senses.
Six unique tasting boxes have been created to take you on such a journey. Recreating moments from your life we have all experienced – and where you haven’t, the whisky helps you get there – camping under the stars, picnics in the park, Nan’s house for tea, watching boats go by in the harbour. The taste palates of each of the small batch bottlings draws on the flavours and notes of the moments. The method behind this madness comes from engaging with the episodic memory, the part of the memory that takes in a whole experience and commits it to long-term memory, creating a pathway to a positive time.
Now I have to admit whisky and childhood memories would not be my immediate pairing, but the tradition of whisky is born from innovation and experimentation. The SMWS know this better than anyone and prove they won’t shy away when it comes to sharing beautiful flavours and moments. Something that drew renowned Scottish chef Bruce Clyne-Watson into the journey, commenting:
“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.”
Some of the canapés in question included Haggis spiced lamb breast with caramelised red wine pineapple, malt loaf and toasted oats. Then there was the rabbit liver rillette dressed in a marmalade chutney, candied walnut, and nasturtium leaves. Or how about smoky langoustine sprayed with sea water and a smoke gun, served on pebbles alongside a deep-fried Mars Bar with Irn bru & tobacco essence. See what I mean by a sensory experience?!
Established in 1983, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has grown to over 30,000 members around the world and there is always room for more. Single malts, unique single casks, exclusive blends. 150 distilleries from Scotland and beyond. Up to 20 new batch single malt whiskies every month. You can even tailor membership packages. Don’t miss another moment and sign up now!
Sam Brady is a London based freelance writer and photographer covering travel and lifestyle.
Photographs by David Parry courtesy of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society