SMWS 30th Anniversary – Whisky, Oysters & Pearls

You may be aware that 2013 marks the Scotch Malt Whisky Societies 30th Anniversary, and as a result there has been many organised events up and down the country through out the year.  The Whiskyboys chose this one to help mark this amazing year.

On arrival we were escorted into the members room which had been transformed into a wonderful elegant dining room full of distinguished guests and members all dressed in their finery for the black tie dinner. Unfortunately Nicola missed, due to another SMWS commitment, the wonderful champagne and oyster reception.  Pink champagne and Society drams were passed around the guests followed by a selection of three types of oysters from Scotland, Ireland and England. The oysters were very significant as the evening was to celebrate the 30th anniversary (Pearl Anniversary) of the society and one of the highlights of the evening was a talk from Betina Boerner re the Tahitian Baroque Pearl. Bettina is a Pearl expert from London and had created a pendent using a Tahitian Baroque Pearl set in a white gold chain and as part of this exclusive evening one lucky guest would be leaving with this wonderful gem. There was a real palpable sense of anticipation in the room.



Once seated Jan Damen gave a brief introduction to the evening and introduced Annabel Meikle who was going to guide us through the various drams throughout the night. Annabel advised that the first dram of 9.70 a 17 year old Speyside would accompany the starter of braised pheasant leg with apple and redcurrant bread sauce and cabbage – sensational.  Annabel was a very engaging and enthusiastic speaker.  Annabel talked with humorous stories about her experiences when she worked with the Society when it was in its infancy.


The main course was Daube of Beef, autumn mushrooms with smoked bacon and parsnips which was accompanied 76.107 a 24 year old Speyside.

Dessert was Dark Chocolate tart, cherries with salted caramel ice cream, the accompanying dram was 30.79 a 23 year old Speyside;

The fine meal finished with Coffee and petit fours accompanied with 129.3 a very young (4 year old) Islay.

Everyone we spoke to thought that the pairing of these wonderful drams with each course was exceptional. From Speyside to Islay from 4 year old to 24 year old each dram was outstanding. This, again proves that age is not everything, it is all down to the tasting panel who select the casks that the SMWS will bottle for it’s members. Based on each sample and finding the dram to be of such quality and a little bit different. This is what the Society is all about, the Single Cask Whisky and it’s members.

The winner of the pearl was selected by a few society barman going round the tables issuing boxes from trays – all boxes had half an oyster shell with the exception of one box, the winning box, which had both half shells. One delighted lady guest won the fabulous pendant and duly put it on for all to see.


The evening was a fabulous elegant experience with great food, wonderful drams and excellent company. I would highly recommend that if any members see a similar type of event on offer through the SMWS that they immediately put their names forward and get a place to share in an evening of quality.

The Whisky Boys can only encourage our readers to seriously consider becoming a member (if not one already) so that you would be able to experience fabulous events and members tastings throughout the year, but to also have access to the largest range of Single Cask, Cask Strength Malt Whisky bottling’s in the world. You can have a tasting experience not unlike the above by booking a tasting dinner at the Queen Street, Edinburgh venue. This dinner includes five courses paired with five specially selected drams and for anyone who would prefer wine, then five wines would be selected.

We finish by giving a big thanks to the chefs and the front of house staff for their first class service and an outstanding meal with outstanding drams, champagne and wine to accompany, a very triumphant night.

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