SWMS: All women tasting panel select five special edition whiskies

SWMS: All women tasting panel select five special edition whiskies

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has released five special-edition single cask whiskies selected by an all women tasting panel.

SMWS, which has more than 41,000 members around the world, said 5% of the profits from the total sale of the five bottles will be donated to the OurWhisky Foundation, which supports and empower women in the global whisky industry.

The all-women tasting panel was hosted at the SMWS headquarters at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh, to mark International Women’s Day last year.

The SMWS has a unique whisky selection process. Members of the tasting panel are kept anonymous, and the origin of the whiskies – which are bottled at cask-strength and hand-picked from over 140 distilleries in Scotland and beyond – are not disclosed.

Each of the five whiskies has a quirky name chosen by the expert tasting panel. The sweet, fruity and mellow A Toffee-Coated Hay Bale and the peated Hebridean Hamper are for international release.

The old and dignified Liquid Riches and the rich A Humble Mountain Feast will be for UK & EU only.

The spicy and sweet Christmas on The Beach is limited to Members’ Rooms release. The UK & EU release bottles will be available to buy online and in UK Members’ Rooms from March 8.

With tasting notes ranging from orange peel and freshly sprung wildflowers to new trainers and chicken chow mein, the whiskies fall into a wide variety of flavour profiles, each offering a unique sensory experience.

Founded in 2018 as a movement to champion inclusion and diversity in the whisky industry, the OurWhisky Foundation was reestablished as a non-profit organisation in March 2022.

It offers qualifications and internship schemes as well as a mentorship programme and various workshops, all of which are free resources designed to help women progress within the male-dominated whisky industry.

‘As a non-profit, we rely on support from the whisky industry to help us achieve our objectives of recognising, supporting and empowering women in whisky,’ said founder and CEO Becky Paskin.

‘It’s so important that whisky organisations invest in women working in whisky, and this project is a perfect example of that.

‘Hosting an all-women tasting panel is a great way to facilitate conversation and challenge the outdated and gendered image of the whisky industry that remains prevalent today.

‘Anyone who tries these exceptional whiskies will be left in no doubt about the importance of highlighting women in whisky.’

, was one of 50 women to take place in the OurWhisky Foundation Mentorship and Coaching Programme of 2023, and describes the mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities as a “pivotal chapter” in her career.

‘Our all-women Tasting Panel last year was a huge success, and this special collection of whiskies is a real testament to that,’ said Julie Roberts, from SMWS.

‘The five exemplary whiskies selected during the tasting are a celebration of women in whisky, and we are proud to contribute a percentage of the sales of the bottles to the OurWhisky Foundation, a brilliant organisation that is helping to pave the way in encouraging women into the whisky industry.

‘Women have always played a key role in the evolution of the Society; from our first managing director Anne Dana driving early membership uptake in the 1980s and establishing the first tasting room when the Society was in its infancy, to our growing number of women members, and the many women across our venues, international branches and teams.

‘With that in mind, we encourage everyone to join us in raising a dram to women in whisky this International Women’s Day.’

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