Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Bars and pubs, Bars Farringdon
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Don’t rock up here expecting to get stuck straight into the city’s best collection of unusual cask-strength malts. It’s members only (£122 joining fee, plus annual subscription from £59), though joining is worthwhile for serious whisky devotees (and those who want to become one): benefits include tasting events, a quarterly magazine and, of course, a private members’ bar to brag about. Your fellow dram drinkers will be an adventurous set who want to celebrate the marriage of peat, water, malt and magic. And people who just love whisky. The whiskies are single-cask, unfiltered malts, all created especially for the society. That means it’s about as far from a bottle of cheap cornershop Invershoogle as you’ll get. Example: ‘Cask No 2.84, “Katharine Hepburn in a Vintage Jaguar”.’ Put that image in your mind and you might be able to imagine how rich and sultry it tastes. To give you an idea of the sort of conversations you might end up embroiled in, Joe McGirr, the venue manager, recommends this one: ‘For a real medicinal treat it’s got to be 53.200, a smoky 18-year-old named “Hand-Rolled Cuban Cigars”. Settle into a peaty dream with a relaxing salty sea breeze washing over you. Switch off and let the world go by with this one.' 


Venue name: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Address: 19 Grenville Street
Opening hours: Open noon-11pm Mon-Fri; noon-9pm Sat
Transport: Tube: Farringdon
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I'm lucky enough to have a friend who is a member, so he took myself and another mate out to this place to take a peek. I am definitely more of a gin person than a whisky connoisseur, but I'm starting to learn bits here and there (mostly amor the two people who went to this place with me), so I was game.

WOW. What a selection! The space is very small but they certainly pack the whiskies in there (see photo)! We were able to read up on a few of the bottles available through browsing a catalogue - and also from the cheeky bottle labels themselves (Sidenote: how do I get that job?); the staff are really knowledgeable as well and very pleasant to deal with.

The room is cosy - a few small tables and chairs set up with a lovely fireplace. Very intimate. Perfect for a chat, reading a book or even a game of chess - which a few patrons were partaking in a table over. Over the course of the evening, the atmosphere got to me, so much so that I ended up agreeing to go to the Whisky Festival coming up in May in London! Can't wait to go back and try out a few more wee drams ;)