About Whisky Talk
Welcome to Whisky Talk! Hosted by Richard Goslan, editor of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s members magazine Unfiltered, we'll be introducing you to some of the people who make whisky, the places it comes from and the characters who bring it to life.
Our guest on this edition needs little in the way of introduction to any whisky fan. Richard Paterson has been working in the whisky industry for the past 57 years, with more than half a century of his career spent with Whyte & Mackay Distillers. We were delighted to welcome Richard to the Society’s spiritual home at The Vaults in Leith recently, where one of the whisky industry’s biggest entertainers put on a special show for a room full of lucky members – taking us on a tour that included his stories and memories about Tamnavulin, Fettercairn, Jura and Dalmore. Whatever’s in your glass…settle back for a 90-minute epic in the company of the one and only Richard Paterson.
Women have been instrumental in making the Society what it is today. The three As of Anne Dana, Anne Griffiths and Annabel Meikle came from different backgrounds and hadn’t planned to have a career in whisky. But driven by a thirst for knowledge, an encouraging environment and an openness to new ventures, these women ended up shaping some of the most recognisable parts of the Society. Who better to speak to them than three women shaping the future of the Society today? Tune in to Whisky Talk to hear their stories. Anne Dana meets Mads Schmoll, Social Media & Community Manager for the Society Anne Griffiths meets Monique Ten Kortenaar, Society Ambassador for Benelux Annabel Meikle meets Rebecca Hamilton, Group Marketing Director
Port of Leith is Scotland's first vertical distillery, founded by Ian Stirling and Paddy Fletcher. Standing nine storeys tall, it’s just next door to the Royal Yacht Britannia and a stone's throw away from our spiritual home, The Vaults. As the distillery nears completion, the spirit of innovation continues in the development of their new Scotch, a process that Ian and Paddy began long before the distillery broke ground in Leith with research and experimentation on the role of yeast and fermentation. Mads Schmoll sat down with Ian and Paddy to find out more about what's ahead.
Outlander star and whisky fanatic Sam Heughan joins Vic Galloway in our latest episode of Whisky Talk Malts & Music. Sam discusses his passion for whisky, his appreciation of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and his own plans for whisky and the wider spirits world. Tune in as Sam shares his thoughts along with both Society and his own Sassenach whisky, all paired with a suitable choice of music. Whiskies tasted and Sam Heughan’s tunes were: SMWS Cask No. 112.39: Tractors and old medicine / Toby Keith – I Love This Bar SMWS Cask 35.251: Elgin Marvels / Paolo Nutini – Through the Echoes Sassenach / Martyn Bennett – Blackbird SMWS Cask 53.318: Entropy meridian / Tears for Fears – Pale Shelter You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://youtu.be/6sKkTXFWAM8) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz) Find out more about The Scotch Malt Whisky Society here (https://smws.com/)
The origin of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society can be traced back to the founder, Pip Hills, visiting his friends at a farmhouse in deepest rural Aberdeenshire, where he first experienced single cask, cask strength whisky, served up from a lemonade bottle by a neighbouring farmer. Richard Goslan returned with Pip to his friends' farmhouse to hear them tell the story in their own words.
Glen Scotia distillery is a favourite of Society members, and we were delighted in early December to welcome distillery manager and master distiller Iain McAlister to The Vaults in December to present a fantastic selection of cask samples, along with an SMWS bottling from distillery 93. Tune in to Whisky Talk to sip along with Iain and Olaf.
At The Vaults recently, we welcomed Brendan McCarron, master distiller at Distell’s Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory distilleries. We recorded Brendan’s tasting, presented in full, with some strong language for good measure alongside strong whisky. Settle down for an illuminating insight into Brendan’s experience, knowledge, and some cracking drams from Deanston, Tobermory and Ledaig.
Karine Polwart is one of Scotland’s most respected singer-songwriters. She sat down at The Vaults with Vic Galloway for our latest episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, to find out about her passion for whisky and what songs our selection of Society drams conjured up in her mind. SMWS whiskies tasted and Karine Polwart’s tunes were: G10.25: Whisky in a rum glass / Everything is Floating by Laurie Anderson 77.68: Curtain-twitchers teatime / Sarah by Declan O’Rourke 6.56: Tea tree tobacco leaves / Salt by Mugison 135.37: Pickle me timbers! / Apogeuma Sto Dendro by Alkinoos Ioannidis You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://youtu.be/kasN5M5sFbk) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
The name Dr Bill Lumsden doesn’t need much of an introduction in the whisky world – the head of distilling and whisky creation at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg has been a constant force of innovation and flavour development over the past 30 years or so. Members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society were fortunate to attend a tasting conducted by Dr Bill at The Vaults in October, to taste some fantastic whiskies from Glenmorangie, Ardbeg and of course the Society….and also to hear his thoughts on everything in the whisky world from additional maturation, to non-aged statements, the use of sherry casks and a whole lot more in between. Here's part 2 of Dr Bill's presentation to SMWS members.
The name Dr Bill Lumsden doesn’t need much of an introduction in the whisky world – the head of distilling and whisky creation at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg has been a constant force of innovation and flavour development over the past 30 years or so. Members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society were fortunate to attend a tasting conducted by Dr Bill at The Vaults in October, to taste some fantastic whiskies from Glenmorangie, Ardbeg and of course the Society….and also to hear his thoughts on everything in the whisky world from additional maturation, to non-aged statements, the use of sherry casks and a whole lot more in between. The Society’s spirits educator Dr Andy Forrester caught up with Bill for a quick chat before the pair of them hosted the tasting together in our Members’ Room.
Vic Galloway catches up with the Whisky Sisters – Inka Larissa and Jennifer Rose – in the latest episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, to find out where their passion for whisky came from and what tunes their selection of Scotch Malt Whisky Society drams helped to inspire. SMWS whiskies tasted and the Whisky Sisters’ tunes were: Cask No. 41.46: Deep and dynamic / Jen: Mötley Crüe – Doctor Feelgood / Inka: George Michael –Freedom Cask No. 150.3: Conversation lubrication / Inka; Leonard Cohen – Dance Me to the End of Love / Jen: Led Zeppelin – Immigrant Song Cask No. 108.49: A particular kind of beauty / Inka: Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine / Jen: The Highwaymen – Highwayman Cask No. 113.60: Sweet Petrichor / Inka: Greta Van Fleet – Heat Above / Jen: Kate Bush – Hounds of Love You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://youtu.be/UA_v8zCc578) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
Writer Doug Johnstone shares four SMWS drams with DJ Vic Galloway in the latest episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, with reflections on how his love of whisky inspired his novel Smokeheads and how these Society drams pair perfectly with music from Little Simz to Biffy Clyro. Whiskies tasted and Doug’s tunes were: Cask No. 12.48: Hoppy madness / The Avalanches, Since I Left You Cask No. 38.31: The magic is so strong / Little Simz, Point And Kill featuring Obongjayar Cask No. 44.154: Terra Firma / Spoon, Held Cask No. 138.12: Spice wreck / Biffy Clyro, Living Is A Problem Because Everything Dies You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9nyjpoWtRg) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
Whisky writer Dave Broom has an endless curiosity and fascination for whisky, and in his latest book he has set out to explore the story of Scotland’s whisky history, the spirit’s importance within the country’s culture and the diverse landscapes that it comes from. In "A Sense of Place" he takes the reader on a journey across the country, with pictures by photographer Christina Kernohan. Mads Schmoll sat down with Dave to find out more about the book.
Depending on who you speak to, the cask that you put your whisky into to mature can contribute anything from 50 to more than 70 per cent of its final flavour. Whatever figure you land on, it plays a crucial role. One person who knows more about the impact of various forms of oak on whisky – and especially from sherry influenced casks – is Stuart MacPherson, until very recently Macallan’s Master of Wood. Stuart has now retired from the role, but Whisky Talk caught up with him to find out all about his life’s work in the world of wood – which goes all the way back to his schooldays in the late 1970s.
Musician, writer and whisky fan James Yorkston shares four SMWS drams with DJ Vic Galloway in the latest episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, with an eclectic mix of music inspired by a wide range of Society whiskies. James and Vic reflect on their musical journeys, their passion for whisky and why you can’t beat exploring music with an SMWS single cask dram in your glass. Whiskies tasted and James's tunes were: 74.73.128: Flowers crushed by a falling oak tree + Ted Lucas / It’s so easy (when you know what you’re doing) 68.49: A day at the funfair + Elizabeth Cronin / The little pack of tailors 39.242: A curious concatenation + Philip Tabane / Dithabeng 16.50: Tar in the night + Susan Bear / M6 You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFP0X04jIMs) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
Ever wondered about the origin of a whisky's place-name? Jake King, a Gaelic researcher from the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig campus of the University of the Islands and Highlands on the Isle of Skye, certainly has. He is the author of a new book, The A to Z of Whisky Place-Names: Landscape, Language & Invention, which explores the place-names found on whisky bottles, provides both their identity and their origin and explodes a few myths along the way. Mads Schmoll caught up with Jake at The Vaults to find out more.
Broadcaster Gemma Cairney sits down at The Vaults with DJ and writer Vic Galloway in the new episode of Whisky Talk: Malts & Music, to chat about her creative world, her move to Edinburgh, and memories of childhood holidays in Scotland. Gemma also finds the Society’s selection of single cask whiskies bringing up associations with the music of Erykah Badu, George Benson and more. Whiskies tasted and Gemma's tunes were: Cask No. 2.132: Taking the pith / Erykah Badu, On & On Cask No. 72.108: Gobstopper / The Langan Band, Winter Song Cask No. 73.130: Sticks and stones / George Benson, Give Me The Night Cask No. 108.50: Mountain bothy morning / PJ Morton & Yebba, How Deep is your Love You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtmkJZP38o) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
The SMWS returned to Islay for the first in-person festival since 2019, with an Open Day at Islay House to share drams, the Society's festival Rare Release bottlings, tastings and good times. We caught up with members from near and far to find out about their combined passions for Islay and whisky.
DJ and writer Vic Galloway is back with a new series of Malts & Music, where he invites guests from across Scotland’s creative landscape to share Scotch Malt Whisky Society drams and find out what musical choices they inspire. In the new episode, Vic sits down to share four SMWS whiskies with Olaf Furniss, long-term Society member, journalist and founder of Born To Be Wide organisation that hosts music business seminars such as Wide Days in Edinburgh, to explore his twin passions for music and whisky. TUNES and DRAMS 5.81: A Fruity Prescription with Soup Dragons, Whole Wide World G10.33: Co-Co Nut with The Upsetters, Return of Django 112.90: A Fruit Alloy with Annie, Chewing Gum 24.153: Midsummer Night’s Dream with Plastilina Mosh, Paso Fino You can watch a video of the conversation on the SMWS YouTube channel here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0RX4S3qthU&t=3607s) Spotify link can be found here (https://open.spotify.com/playlist/75sE4HLHMMwlcECyNB8ryz)
In this episode we dig into the rich tradition of whisky storytelling, with contributions from two Scottish musicians, storytellers and whisky lovers. First up is Hamish Napier, a musician from Strathspey in the heart of Scotland’s whisky country. From Speyside, we travel to Islay to hear from Whisky Bard, musician and SMWS Tasting Panel chair, Robin Laing – with music supplied by Robin himself.
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