Franklin Room: Scotch Malt Whisky Society, December 2023 Outturn

A fun night at the Franklin Room, for the SMWS December 2023 outturn.

An interesting change-up: the first dram we tried was an 18 year. Though it was a smaller crowd tonight, there was still a lot of reactions when the age was revealed.

There’s not really a set “schedule” for how drams are introduced. Usually there are some younger ones at the beginning, and sherry usually comes near the middle, and sometimes the end is a bit more peated.

Starting off with an 18 was a really fun decision, and it had everyone questioning all the following drams for the remainder of the night. Made for some interesting conversations.

Looking down a few tables, on the left it’s Steve (who is a fan of James Joyce), Dave (an ER doc who told me “Memory is state dependent”). And on the far right is Tomek, who recently just got married.

Sitting at our table was Max, who we met a few events back in September. Last October, he brought a 21 year old brandy that he shared with everyone.

Tonight, he brought what I think is a very rare bottle – and was amazed that he cracked it open to share. We learned that he had won an auction (at Christie’s), for a collection of rare whiskies – and this bottle was part of that collection. He had several he’s looking to sell, but brought this one along as a sample to share with others.

The way he was describing the auction – the description of the bottles only listed the codes. And he’s convinced had they actually researched and listed out the distilleries, the price for the collection would have surely gone higher (and lucky for him they did not).

I cannot get over the older logo and design. This is a 13 year, and was distilled in May of 93.

Society bottle 125.7.

For those not familiar with the coding system, the first number represents the distillery the whisky is from, and the second number represents that number of single casks that they’ve bottled from that distillery.

Why the numbers? Well, while these casks were purchased from the distilleries… there’s no actual agreement or licensing around using the distilleries’ names. To avoid that legal quagmire, the Society uses numbers instead (it’s not really a secret, and several lists exist online).

So 125 means this whisky is from Glenmorangie, and was the 7th cask that they bottled from the distillery. For some context, I think they’re up to 79 at this point. So 7 means this was a bottle from the very early days of Glenmorangie’s involvement.

Fun evening – lots of interesting conversations. And I actually fared pretty well, when trying to guess which drams went through a double maturation process. Add to that a taste of an early Society Glenmorangie bottle… not too bad, for a Monday night.

Franklin Room: Scotch Malt Whisky Society, October 2023 Outturn

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