SMWS Colour Codes – What do the colour profiles mean?

Scotch Malt Whisky Society Colour-Coded Flavour Profiles

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) uses a unique colour-coded system on their whisky bottles to indicate certain flavour profiles or characteristics of the whisky inside. Read on to discover all twelve SMWS Colour Codes.

More SMWS CODES you may say, as you may already be familiar with the SMWS Codes for the distillery name and cask number.

Well, there is another code system, but this one is not a secret.

smws colour code

Each colour represents a different flavour profile or style of whisky, giving SMWS members a general idea of what to expect from the contents.

However, it’s important to note that the exact meanings of the colours and their corresponding flavour profiles might evolve over time, so it’s always a good idea to refer to the latest information from SMWS for accuracy.

The flavour profile colour-coding system for SMWS whisky bottles is roughly as follows;

SMWS Colour Codes

  1. Young & Spritely: Vibrant and youthful whiskies with lively flavours and energy.
  2. Sweet, Fruity & Mellow: Whiskies that are characterized by their fruity and sweet notes, often with a smooth and mellow profile.
  3. Spicy & Sweet: Whiskies that strike a balance between spiciness and sweetness, creating a dynamic flavour profile.
  4. Spicy & Dry: Whiskies that emphasize spicier and peppery notes.
  5. Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits: Whiskies with deep, rich flavours, often reminiscent of dried fruits and robust sweetness.
  6. Old & Dignified: Typically older whiskies that exhibit mature and complex flavours.
  7. Light & Delicate: Whiskies with gentle flavours and a delicate palate.
  8. Juicy, Oak & Vanilla: Whiskies that showcase notes of fruitiness, oak, and vanilla.
  9. Oily & Coastal: Whiskies with maritime influences, often featuring an oily texture.
  10. Lightly Peated: Whiskies with a subtle hint of peat smoke that doesn’t overpower the other flavours.
  11. Peated: Whiskies with a noticeable peat smoke influence, are more intense than lightly peated ones.
  12. Heavily Peated: Whiskies with a strong and prominent peat smoke character.

See below the corresponding colour code for each profile.

SMWS Colour Codes

Not a member?

Become a member and explore the world of whisky with SMWS’s unique colour-coded system. Discover the diverse flavours and characteristics of Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings, each represented by distinct colours. Uncover the essence of peat, sweetness, spice, and more through these colour profiles, guiding you on a flavorful journey through their exceptional whisky offerings.