Franklin Room: Scotch Malt Whisky Society, October 2023 Outturn

Tonight we attended another Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SWMS) outturn at the Franklin Room – a fun event that takes place on one of the days the restaurant is closed, and we get the run of the place.

We sat next to a couple that joined us: Ruth and Sean. We had fun chatting with them during the tasting, and we learned that Ruth was on her way to Scotland the following week (we were jealous).

A lineup of of the bottles we tasted tonight. Liz and I were particularly taken with two: More Pirate Than Puffer and Deeeep (the bottles tend to have fairly playful/descriptive names).

I can’t recall if I’ve talked about the “codes” on each bottle. Each Society bottle has a set of numbers: the first indicates the distillery, and the second represents the number of releases by the Society.

Keep in mind that the Society is an independent bottler – so they purchase casks from other distilleries, and then do their own magic to them: they move the spirits into other types of casks, they sit on them a bit longer, all manner of things.

As a result, each cask/release ends up being pretty unique. And it’s a finite product: a single cask only yields so many bottles, and once they’re gone they’re gone. While distilleries strive to reproduce their offerings… independent bottlers are all about producing singular, unique releases.

These distilleries are fine to sell their casks to independent bottlers, but have rules against the display of their names/brands. Hence: codes, instead of the distillery names.

Of note: More Pirate Than Puffer is from Glen Scotia and Deeeep is from Glenfarclas.

We met Max at the last outturn, and he attended this month’s event as well. He also brought along this 50 year old brandy to share with folks, which was incredibly generous.

While folks were packing up and leaving, I looked around and spotted Liz sitting at the bar… where some of the regulards tend to gather, as an afterparty kind of mode. I think she was there to ask Peter Kim (the beverage director at the Franklin Room) some questions… but ended up joining folks who had brought along even more bottles to taste/share.

I have to say – I was awed at what they had brought to share, and couldn’t believe they were just offering up pours to anyone. There was a 17 year old cask strength Macallen, and two Gordon and Macphail bottles: a 1996 Highland Park and a 1997 Caol Ila.

Of the group, it was Steve and Lauren who had brought many of the bottles folks were sampling. And were incredibly generous to both me and Liz. I’m used to good bottles of whisky, but these bottles were on a whole other tier.

Steve had just gotten a new job, but had done a lot of studying for his previous position. I have a note to myself to ask more about his job, the next time we meet.

We also hung out a bit with Micheal (standing, far right) who I think was a whisky rep, but the brand escapes me. He mentioned his girlfriend works for FEW… and joked about the number of bottles they have at their place.

After this experience, I’m looking forward to the next outturn – and perhaps for another chance to sample some singular bottles. Even tonight, I felt very wary of taking too much… and still cannot believe how generous folks were with these incredibly rare (read: expensive) bottles. Liz and I talked about how we needed to look over our library, and see about bringing something to share at a future event.

Franklin Room: Scotch Malt Whisky Society, September 2023 Outturn
Franklin Room: Scotch Malt Whisky Society, June 2023 Outturn

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