Merry Christmas! KWM 2020 Whisky Calendar Day 25: SMWS

by Evan

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

We made it, guys! It was hard work, but somehow we have gone through 24 drams in 24 days, and now we get to celebrate by tasting a 25th! Crack open the longer and larger door on top of your 2020 KWM Whisky Calendar and pull out that special, extra-large 100ml bottle: Today we have a gift from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Canada: this is SMWS

My reasons for writing these posts for each day are numerous, and they are all selfish. Here are the main ones:

  • I enjoy writing, and I especially enjoy foisting my own silly ideas and opinions on others. It makes me feel important.
  • I especially enjoy the feedback I get from those that read what I say. I am a fragile snowflake and thrive on the accolades and opinions shared with me. It makes me feel loved.
  • If Andrew was doing these posts, I would end up editing them and likely having to write quite a few of them anyhow given the constraints on his time. Why not cut out the middle man?

Sure, those reasons are part tongue in cheek, but there is a ring of truth to all three. Here is the main reason. It is still selfish though, so don’t go thinking that part wasn’t one hundred percent truth:

  • I get to discover and learn about these whiskies along with everybody else.

Yeah, I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to the subject of whisky. I should be – it is a big part of my job. But I definitely don’t know everything. I am a whisky enthusiast first and foremost, and I am always looking to learn more.

These blog posts allow me to do a bit of research and learning myself. Like you, I might retain a fact or two after I write these posts, and hopefully, that will give me more anecdotes and ideas to use when helping you or somebody else select their next bottle. Hell, it even helps me pick my next bottle, all while getting to taste another whisky and read a little bit more about the distillery behind it.

I am thankful for all of this, and I am especially thankful that anybody would put up with my words as we tasted our way through the 2020 KWM Whisky Calendar. Thank you very much for joining me in this 25-dram undertaking!

Before I get even sappier, let’s launch into talking about today’s special whisky. Open the door at the top of your 2020 KWM Whisky Calendar and reveal The Scotch Malt Whisky Society 72.92 – A WONDERFUL WELCOME!

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is the world’s largest whisky club, and also an independent bottler. As a club, it has close to 30,000 members all over the world, and branches in close to 20 different countries. It bottles as broad a range of single cask, single malt Scotch whiskies as any other firm – if not more – and it doesn’t stop there. It has also bottled Japanese whiskies, Bourbon, Grain whisky, Cognac, Armagnac, Rum, and Gin. Whether it is a whisky or another spirit, the Society always bottles the spirit from a single cask, straight from the cask, Unfiltered. Undiluted. Unrivalled.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society was officially founded back in 1983. Membership to the SMWS is easy and gives you exclusive access to the widest selection of single cask single malt whiskies anywhere in the world. We also hold monthly Outturn tastings at the shop. Only Scotch Malt Whisky Society members can buy our exclusive single cask single malt whiskies, but anyone can try them. We’re confident once you’ve had a taste you will want to join the club. For more information on the SMWS, you can visit our web page or

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society does not put the name of the distillery directly on the bottle or in the tasting notes. Instead, everything is codified. This SMWS bottle in front of us says “SOCIETY CASK NO. 72.92 – A WONDERFUL WELCOME”. The “72″ means that this cask was originally distilled at the 66th distillery to ever be bottled by the SMWS. The “.92″ means that this bottling was the 92nd cask selected and bottled by the SMWS from distillery number 72.

You can find numerous distillery code cheat sheets online by doing a quick search for ‘SMWS Codes’. For this one I will just tell you to save you time – you should spend some of that with family today after all: Distillery number 72 is Miltonduff.

Miltonduff Distillery was founded in 1824 and can be found about a 10 minute drive Southwest of Elgin. This puts it near the heart of the Speyside region, which means its nearest neighbours are numerous. They include the distilleries’ Glen Moray, Linkwood, BenRiach, Longmorn, Mannochmore, Glenlossie, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on. Also nearby are the headquarters of independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail.

The Miltonduff Distillery is owned by Chivas Brother’s/Pernod Ricard, and much of the single malt produced by it is earmarked for blending. Miltonduff is one of the three single malts that make up the heart of Ballantine’s. The other two are Glenburgie and Glentauchers.

Miltonduff is one of those core whiskies for Ballantine’s because the spirit it produces tends to be oily and rich with plenty of orchard fruit notes. Will we see any of that style in this Scotch Malt Whisky Society selected single cask? It is time to find out!

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 72.92 – A WONDERFUL WELCOME – 62.2%


SMWS Bottle Note

Fizzy champagne and puff pastry caviar before spicy king prawns in a chilli salsa. Diluted; vanilla cupcakes and strawberries with cream.

SMWS Tasting Note

We were greeted with a glass of fizzy champagne, a variety of hors d-oeuvres, smoked salmon and herb blini, puff pastry caviar canapes as well as mini apple pies. The first bite had plenty of heat as we decided to have a rye cracker with spicy king prawns, mango and chilli salsa. After a drop of water, we got slices of ripe honeydew melon and pear followed by vanilla cupcakes and butterscotch candy, while on the palate, the lovely sweetness of a fresh strawberry fruit salad with cream. In the finish we enjoyed caramelised quince jam with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Fresh, floral and lively upfront with notes of mowed lawn, tulips, roses, sunflowers, ripe peaches, mangos, fresh ginger, some waxiness and a touch of creamy peanut butter.

Palate: Lush, juicy and spicy with the high ABV. Wine gums, assorted Lifesavers, lychee, pears, peaches and the heat of cracked peppercorns and light chillies.

Finish: Warm with fruit and spice and a touch of Wrigley’s Spearmint Chewing Gum on the fade.

Comment: The name the SMWS gave this bottle is bang on in my opinion. After the topsy-turvy year we have all had, this dram is a wonderful welcome.

What a great dram to cap of the 2020 KWM Whisky Calendar! I hope that you have enjoyed running through the twenty-five bottles with me. It made for a hectic, but incredibly fun part of the past month for me. Writing up these blog posts and joining with Andrew and some of you every five days online to taste through the whiskies was quite a highlight. I hope and believe that we will do something similar to the online tastings for future KWM Whisky Calendars as well. It is a year away, but I am excited at the idea of what we will be talking about this time next year!

Cheers, and Merry Christmas Everybody!
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