SMWS to Release 10 Whisky Festival Bottles for Feis Ile & Spirit of Speyside
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) release new single cask, cask strength bottings every month (sometimes twice a month) from 134 whisky distilleries worldwide. However, it looks like they are upping the ante on the ever popular “Festival Bottling” as this year they are releasing TEN.
The festival limited releases are a recent annual tradition to the whisky world which already has dedicated buyers waiting in long lines. Festival bottles are usually selected to showcase come of the best whisky that distillery has available right now which could entice a few visitors to their distillery on their open day. However, it’s beyond that now as a handful of distilleries are no stranger to long lines during festival time, with some whisky enthusiasts camping out over night to secure a front position in the queue when the clock strikes 10am.
The ten festival bottles the Society are releasing to mark both The Spirit of Speyside Festival and also Islays Feis Ile are duos of Bunnahabhain, Bowmore, Laphroaig and Caol Ila with one Glen Grant and one Glenallachie. All are very limited but will be available to purchase online and via phone order, so you can avoid those long queues, but you better be fast on the 4th May (members only, remember).
For those who can’t resist waiting in line, one of the new bottlings will only be available on Islay and will go on sale during the Feis Ile (date and times to follow).
So here’s to a successful “Whisky May”
Official press release below:
THE SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY UNVEILS FIESTA OF FLAVOUR FOR ISLAY AND SPEYSIDE FESTIVALS
SMWS takes members on flavour journey with a total of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside and Feis Ile festivals.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is making May a month to savour for its members with the release of 10 exclusive bottles to celebrate both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival (3–7 May) and Feis Ile, The Islay Festival of Music and Malt (25 May–2 June).
The Society will also be holding a series of events at both festivals, as well as Speyside and Islay-themed tastings at its Members’ Rooms and partner bars throughout the UK and Europe.
Both regions have their superfans and this year the Society is urging members to make their voices heard, by joining the online debate between Speyside supporter the Craigellachie Crusader and peat freak the Islay Avenger at https://www.smws.com/festival-fever
The celebratory festival bottlings include:
- 9.143: Graceful gravitas (21-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 107.13: Andalusian gazpacho (9-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 3.307: A journey into joy (20-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 3.308: A maritime meander (13-years-old)
- 10.141: Indulgence by the sea (12-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 10.146: Sweet smoky succulent sensation (9-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 29.241: A perfect moment (20-years-old) – UK and EU bottling
- 29.244: Weaving wondrous dreams (8-years-old) – available on Islay only
- 53.248: Slapped by Poseidon’s glove (11-years-old)
- 53.252: Smoky incarnations (11-years-old)
Helen Stewart, senior brand manager for the Society, said:
“The Speyside and Islay Whisky Festivals are key dates in the whisky calendar, with May seeing the annual pilgrimage to the renowned whisky festivals. This year we have bottled more casks than ever before to give members all over the world even more opportunity to purchase one.”
For those fortunate enough to be travelling to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt, the SMWS will be releasing 29.244: Weaving wondrous dreams. To reward members who have made the journey to attend the Islay festival, this limited edition will only be available for existing and new members to purchase on the island.
The bottling is an 8-year-old peated whisky from a refill ex-bourbon barrel. The palate is described as intense – with an earthy sweetness (chocolate brownies, flying saucers, aniseed, liquorice root) and smoke-derived flavours of tar, iodine and coal. The SMWS Tasting Panel said,
“the long-lasting medicinal smoke will waft and weave into wondrous dreams”.
With only 222 bottles available to members, this will be a very limited edition and sought-after bottle.
Like all Society bottlings, the distillery name is kept a secret on all the bottles.
The six casks destined for the UK and EU will be available (while stocks last) and at the Society’s venues and partner bars (by the dram only) from Friday 4 May 2018.
SMWS will be hosting tailored tasting events featuring special celebratory bottlings at the Speyside Festival with Society ambassador Hans Offringa. These will be held in SMWS official partner bar, The Quaich at The Craigellachie Hotel on Friday, 4 May. (http://www.spiritofspeyside.com/events)
Islay Whisky Festival
On Islay, the SMWS will be running a series of tastings and masterclasses throughout the festival, starting with an Open Day on Friday, 25 May on the lawns at Islay House, home to Society partner bar, The Peat Cutter Inn. Tastings and events will be hosted by master brand ambassador John McCheyne.
SMWS Venues: Members’ Rooms & Partner Bars
If you can’t make it to the festivals, then throughout May, the SMWS will be running Speyside & Islay-inspired offers and menus with matched whiskies in its Members’ Rooms and partner bars. There will also be special Islay and Speyside festival flights to sample and enjoy. Tastings will focus on an Islay versus Speyside theme, where the two regions will be presented against each other. In the Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar in Edinburgh, Festival themed cocktails will be created from Friday 4 May.