The Scotch Malt Whisky Swindle

Last week a lot of discussion has centred on the latest developments by the Scotch Malt Whisky Swindle (or SMWS as it is commonly known), particularly with an introduction of a super-premium range of bottles.

Under new ownership a secretive Society have rigorously checked their online shopping archives for premium suckers, anyone with more money than sense will do. Special invites were sent out to members that had previously been benefactors and inheritors of $1,000,000 from Bank of Nigeria my deceased uncle friend left to you specifically in his will please be send bank details by unsecured email or wire transfer much dollars to us to facilitate payment of this claim. Whilst the remainder of the fee paying membership of the Society who spend most of their money via unregistered over the counter bottle sales were left particularly miffed because they didn’t receive the premium joining invitation.

To facilitate this clearly elitist sucker-specific swindle, The Society had long been planning what to do with their last cask of whisky from a very special closed distillery. Having been poured into The Society swill-trough on several occasions for the purposes of pleasing the special selection truffle-pigs, it had summarily failed (or not!) to be considered as palatable to suckers. An intense period of re-racking or ‘bastardisation’ of this whisky has taken place to destroy any and all distillery or spirit character by masking it with refill ex-wine and ex-bourbon casks in a process known within the whisky industry as “finishing it off”. The final whisky in the bottle may be coloured bright pink to appeal to the younger and female drinkers and has been described by any whisky blogger that can bear to look at it for long enough as ‘probably only suitable for mixing in cocktails’. It has been marketed as “a true example of whisky history”. Lets hope that this history is never to be forgotten or repeated!

This is an exceptional example of this closed distillery’s remaining stock, which is rare and diminishing with every passing day. Its freshness and vibrant character shine through in a classic example of what was considered the Lowland region’s leading distillery. You’ll never see its like again. – Charles Maclean


I sincerely hope not! – me

To aid their swindle and add to the elitism, this whisky has had a very expensive copper label attached. It has lovingly packaged into a recyclable wooden hamster coffin in order to prevent sunlight from damaging the artificial pink colouring – should it be added. Unfortunately the process of applying copper labels to bottles seems to have added a large three figure sum to the price, increasing from ~ £150 of the previous bottling to ~ £875 for this one, with a 20p refund if your bottle is returned (e.g. by your butler or other member of your domestic staff). Having only sampled whisky from labels made out of more obtainable medium such as paper, I am bereft of any comment that may indicate how a copper label on the bottle may in any way have an effect on the flavour of the whisky within it…

Thankfully, the truly desired effect of all this stinking elitism has caused mass unrest amongst lifetime Society members. Mostly comprised of ‘old’ and ‘possibly men’ category whisky drinkers, their leaving is completely to the satisfaction of the new owners as they wanted rid of them anyway – after all who needs them spending all their money there and sitting around drinking whisky for the rest of their lifetimes. What they are really looking for is a much younger, millennial crowd who are particularly fickle enough to actually hate whisky by tomorrow, when absinthe & iron brew served in a sombrero will be the hot new hipster drink that you need to be seen with in your instagram selfies.

The perpetrators of this calamity have also stated that, despite releasing blended whisky and cognac, they are also sticking to what they know and aiming to release 300 or 500 casks of standard (i.e. non-premium) whisky this year so what are we all complaining about anyway and they are very sorry you may have received their email in error. Some of those may also have been professionally ‘finished-off’ in a process so against the original premise of the Society that they have been carefully denying and hiding it for several years now. Unfortunately whisky porifera is unavailable to comment as it appears to have been tucked far too firmly into someone’s pocket and forgotten about.

Confusion abounds however as most of the PR shpiel suggests that any member with more money than sense can attempt to purchase this abomination – why they would want to is another question? and different levels of membership are offered from ‘Free’* to ‘you’re not important (i.e. rich) enough so we’re not even going to tell you’ with some hinterland of standard membership somewhere in the middle.

*since drafting this article the Free membership has been forcibly removed in a blatant triumph of elitist sentiment – I’m starting to wonder if the King of Spain is one of the new owners…?

Attempts at contacting this secretive society with loaded passive aggressive rants have been met only with party-line responses and bemoaning that they are the whisky geeks whipping boy and are only representing general changes in the industry anyway: see Malt-Review’s SMWS versus the critics

Categories: Opinion

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1 reply »

  1. I think that SMWS has been overtaken by modernism, I’ve usually found that new and improved means a reformulation that saves a company money reduces the product quality and charges the consumer more for less. I for one liked the “old fashioned” customer proposition the seamingly unhurrried approach to delivering something special. I will not be renewing my membership prefering to spend my money at places and companies that deliver what I want from whisky. I’m even looking at auction sites where once I would have steered well clear!
    I personally think that I can get better value for my money in the open market place and whilst I loved the idea of an exclusive club delivering something not available elsewhere, that notion appears to have disappeared over the hrizon!.
    Finally, thanks for your insightful reviews really enjoy reading them

    Liked by 1 person

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