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FrontRunners: A Cask Among Friends

Brett Anderson

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (800.990.1991, www.smwsa.com) came into being when a group of friends came together to purchase—at considerable expense—a cask of single-malt whisky to share amongst themselves. After many years, this elite (and often inebriated) guild attracted like minds, some of whom were permitted to join. Today, the Society, headquartered in one of Scotland’s oldest commercial buildings, the Vaults in Leith, boasts an international membership whose common bond is a love of camaraderie, conversation, and single-malt, cask-strength Scotch whisky.

Some of the Robb Report family and many of our readers have, over the years, come to join this group of dedicated enthusiasts. The Society’s bottlings comprise some of the most elusive and rare whiskies in the world, most of them commercially unavailable. Each holiday season, the Society offers our readers the exclusive opportunity to sample some of these precious elixirs. This year, the Society has made available to us 50 bottles of 36-year-old Longmorn—a Speyside distillery established in 1895 whose name means “place of the holy man,” and whose whisky has always been prized by blenders.

“Thirty-six years in wood have given this whisky a deep red color, with green highlights,” notes Alan Shayne, the Society’s North American president. “The first nosing is medicinal. Give it a moment, and it will develop in the glass, becoming bigger and more sherried. Water (just a little) produces black currant lozenges and softens the whisky.”
The $399 cost per bottle includes membership in the Society.

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