The Scotch Malt Whisky Society to open the Islay Festival

SMWS kicks off celebrations at Islay House with a Garden Party and limited edition single cask festival bottling.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society will be celebrating their debut visit to The Islay Whisky Festival (Fèis íle in Gaelic) with a Garden Party at Islay House on Friday 22nd May 2015.

To mark the Society’s first visit to the Islay Whisky Festival, they are releasing a limited edition, commemorative bottling on the day.


And GreatDrams got to try it first (well, one of the first)

All the official product and event details are below but from the sample I enjoyed, and I truly did enjoy it, I am mightily impressed.

This is up there with the best releases from Distillery 3 (click here to find out which distillery if you wish, but I’m not revealing here), and that’s saying something as there have been a few SMWS releases from this distillery in recent months but there is something special here.

Something bold, characterful and impressive with lovely peat and smoke notes that are wrapped in a veil of spice that you will make you want to go back for more.

SMWS-provided detail

Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy (cask number 3.243) is a complex combination of the spiciness of a refill ex-sherry butt with lingering notes of smoke and peat, typical of the Islay region. This exclusive 17-year-old single cask bottling will be launched at the Garden Party at 1pm, with both members and non-members able to buy.

The Garden Party will see lashings of Society single cask drams served alongside expertly created whisky ice-creams in the stunning surroundings of Islay House. With breath-taking views over Loch Indaal, rolling lawns and beautiful gardens, the Garden Party is the perfect setting to enjoy some of the world’s finest single cask whisky.

Islay House is one of Scotland’s grandest and most historic country house hotels. Set in 28 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland in Bridgend, the house sits majestically on the edge of Loch Indaal.

With eight working distilleries on the island, The Islay Whisky Festival is one of the largest whisky festivals in Scotland. The festival is returning for its 14th year and will see a week of special events, tastings and distillery open days, transforming Islay into a hub of music and malt.

At the Garden Party, special events will run throughout the day where guests can indulge in the Society’s offerings with masterclasses, exclusive tastings and live music:

SMWS Masterclasses: A Taste of Summer

Prepare for a sensory adventure as a SMWS Ambassador guides you through 5 SMWS single cask samples, all specially selected with summer in mind. For those with a penchant for peat, with a couple of summery surprises.

1.30-2.30pm (3.30pm session sold-out)
£30 / ticket includes 5 drams and SMWS tasting glass 

VIC: ‘Peaty Picnic Tour’

VIC = Very interesting casks. Taste some of the Society’s rarest and finest single casks, varying in peat levels, styles and distilleries. A luxury picnic will be served alongside, with baskets brimming with mouth-watering produce from Islay.

£75 / ticket includes 5 VIC drams and luxury picnic basket and SMWS tasting glass

An Evening Of Live Jazz at Islay House:

The finale of the open day celebrations culminates in an evening of live jazz under the stars on the lawn. Sensational Society single cask whisky, great company and wonderful views across Loch Indaal make the perfect setting.

£10 entry includes SMWS dram

Entry to the Garden Party is free and guests can enjoy two complementary SMWS cask samples, with Society members enjoying three. The gardens will be open to all from 12-6pm.

To book all tickets, please visit
Islay House, Bridgend, Islay
Friday, 22nd May 2015

3.243 – Dark, smouldering flamenco gypsy hits you first with the complexities of the nose. Notes of sherry, clean smoke, figs, roasted chestnuts and Christmas spice combine with maple syrup-glazed pork ribs and HP sauce on bacon rolls. The palate is also quite substantial – liquorice, coffee, chocolate, Branston pickle, fig rolls, duck in plum sauce and warm welly boots by a dying bonfire. It’s the reduced palate’s hints of toasted almonds and barbequed meat which gives it the dark, smouldering flamenco.

£80 members, £120 non-members
Peated refill ex-sherry butt
Aged 17 years
Only 594 bottles
ABV 57.1% 

To purchase membership of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society for £122, visit or call the sales team on 0131 555 2929

Tags: Islay FestivalSMWS


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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