SMWS Bottles explained

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, or SMWS, is an independent bottler of single cask whisky and other spirits. For those unfamiliar with the term, an independent bottler is an entity that purchases spirit from third parties and bottles it under their own label.

Unlike most independent bottlers, SMWS’ bottles don’t display the names of distilleries from which the whisky was sourced.

There are two reasons for this, both having to do with the off-profile nature of single cask spirits.

  1. The SMWS doesn’t want members to disregard a whisky based on experiences with official bottlings and preconceived notions of distillery taste profiles.
  2. In order to retain control over their brand, some distilleries won’t sell casks of their spirit to independent bottlers or blenders unless the purchaser agrees not to name the distillery on the packaging.

The SMWS Bottle explained

So SMWS came up with a numbering convention compromised of two sets of digits. 

  1. The first set of digits represents the distillery 
  2. The second digit shows how much number of single casks the SMWS have bottles from that distillery. 

SMWS have a tasting pannel that decides what the name of that particular release must be. this will be decided how the whisky tastes and how the panel experience it. This will give it its unique name. This unique name is also an indication of how the whisky will taste. 

Some other things to on the bottle that are worth mentioning: 

  • Because SMWS only buy a couple of single cask from that distillery there will be a limited amount of bottles released. This will be shown on the bottles. 
  • The whisky will always be natural color and non-chill filtered. This so you will experience the rare and pure from of that distillery. 
  • It will be bottled at cask strength or stated otherwise. 
  • The age statement will also be shown on the bottle itself. 

SMWS Flavor profile


So SMWS came up with different kind of colour to show and state their flavor profile. 

There are 12 different kind of flavors you can experience started with the sweetest ending with the peatiest 

  • Young & Spritely
  • Sweet, Fruity & Mellow
  • Spicy & Sweet 
  • Spicy & Dry 
  • Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits 
  • Old & Dignified 
  • Light & Delicate 
  • Juicy, Oak & Vanilla 
  • Oily & Coastal 
  • Lightly Peated
  • Peated
  • Heavily Peated

SMWS distillery number

Joining SMWS 

If you’re thinking you’re thinking you want to get in on the action of buying from a monthly allocation of single casks at cask strength, joining is super easy. Just click on this link and go through the steps in setting up your profile. Membership is $120 per year.

SMWS doesn’t just do whisky

They bottle single malts, grain whisky, rums, cognac, Armagnac, rye, bourbon, and just recently released their first gin.

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