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Break with tradition

Scotch Malt Whisky Society launches first blended malt

New blend: Exotic Cargo is a first for the Society


Scotch whisky devotees are having their taste buds tested after the release of Exotic Cargo, the first-ever blended malt from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS).

The society regards its itself as the industry’s single cask, single malt champion and says this will always be its focus.  

However, the launch of an experimental 10-year-old blended malt with a heavy sherry influence is the latest example of its self-imposed “mission” to explore the full spectrum of flavours in whisky and other spirits.

Blended malt whisky refers to a combination of single malts, married together from more than one distillery. Unlike a blended whisky, a blended malt does not contain any grain whisky. Prior to 2009, blended malts were sometimes also referred to as vatted or pure malts, but those terms are no longer permitted by the Scotch Whisky Association. 

Exotic Cargo was revealed first to the Society’s members, with a selection of volunteers being sent preview samples to provide feedback. 

Kai Ivalo, the Society’s spirits director, 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.

Last month the Society released a 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. 

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