Scotch Malt Whisky Society breaks with its tradition to release first ever blended malt

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), which is well known for its expertise in single cask, single malt expressions has broke with its own tradition, to release a new blended malt.

Published 21st Aug 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

The experimental 10 year old expression, dubbed Exotic Cargo, will be available in the UK and EU from 1st September at, before being released to international markets including the US, Canada and Australia.

The Society, which has previously released a range of single grain whiskies and other spirits including rum, explained that though their focus is on single cask, single malt whisky, this finely balanced blended malt with a heavy sherry influence is the latest "example of its mission to explore the full spectrum of flavours in whisky and other spirits".

In July earlier this year, The SMWS released a new Single Cask Spirits brand for its rum, gin, cognac, bourbon and non-malt whisky releases. Later in the year, rye and grain whiskies will also be added to the range.

To create 'Exotic Cargo’, The Society’s spirits manager Euan Campbell sourced a number of pre-blended malt whiskies, all distilled on the same day on 2006, and all matured in firstfill ex-sherry casks.


Picture: SMWS

A number of blends at various strengths were then tried before the Society’s expert Tasting Panel selected a blend with a reduced strength of 50% abv which they describe as a “sherry-soaked cruise into paradise”.

In typically evocative Society style, the Exotic Cargo tasting notes read: “A wooden ship is sailing through the tropics with an exotic cargo of spices, scented flowers, medjool dates and mangoes… close your eyes and drift away on this sherry-soaked cruise into paradise.”

The Society revealed the blended malt to its members first, with a selection of volunteers being sent preview samples to feedback on.

Commenting on the whisky’s release, Kai Ivalo, spirits director at SMWS said: “The Society has always had an unconventional streak and we’re really breaking the mould of what can be done with a blended malt.

"We’re looking to our members for feedback on the bottle before releasing further intriguing creations, however, we’re sure they will be as eager as ever to get their hands and palates on what truly is a piece of exotic cargo.”

In its 34-year history, the Society has established a reputation for its unconventional approach to whisky; from focusing on single casks and not revealing the names of distilleries to bottling other spirits such as liqueurs, cider brandy and pioneering the bottling of Japanese whisky.

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‘Exotic Cargo’ (£45) will be available in an Outturn of 1,937 bottles, and as with all Society single malts, is neither chill-filtered nor coloured.

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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