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This year’s first Tasting Panel Experience release has finally arrived! We are so excited to share this impressive peated Islay cask with you!

In October 2019, legendary whisky expert Charlie MacLean and SMWS America director Tom Smith embarked on a tasting tour across the US. The objective was twofold: 1) offer our members the once-in-a-lifetime experience of participating to the Society’s Tasting Panel under the guidance of the Tasting Panel’s actual chairman, who flew from Scotland to be with us in person; 2) entrust these members with the task of evaluating several casks in a professional tasting format and assessing their readiness for release. Quite simply, our mission was to enable US members to choose their own US exclusive casks for the first time ever! Six casks were evaluated by nearly 150 members in five cities and, over the course of 2020, the three casks chosen by our members were released via lottery with immense success. Last year, we were not able to host in-person events, so we took the virtual route, with Charlie MacLean joining the SMWS America team on our YouTube channel for a live tasting of six new samples. American members were represented on the Tasting Panel with Charlie by SMWS America’s management team Tom Smith, Ben Diedrich and Jenna Elie. And members cast their votes to decide which three exceptional casks would be released in 2021!

Today… after so much anticipation… we are proud to present the first cask from our 2020 Tasting Panel Experience! Cask No. 53.375 Clambake on the Beach was distilled in Port Askaig on the serene Sound of Islay, tucked away in the northeast corner of the island, overlooking the Isle of Jura. The sense of place in this malt pervades the senses with waves of salty sea air, seaweed on dry sand, rock pools and elegant smoke. After ten years of maturation in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead, Charlie was “wonderfully impressed” by the spirit, noting it is “a lovely example of the make”. In tasting this whisky, Charlie, Jenna, Tom and Ben all agreed the inherent distillery character was remarkable and maturation in cask only added further development to the expression. Jenna was enamored by the “sweet drawn butter” aspects of the profile whilst Ben enjoyed “creamy vanilla” and Tom loved the “petrichor” and “black pepper” spice. Charlie emphasized the sense of place identifying plenty of maritime elements – “crystallized salt, rock pools and dry sand” with “top notes of green apples” and “base notes of swimming baths and appetizing scented smoke”. Overall, an absolute winner of a dram.... unquestionably! Society director Tom Smith and Society member Charles Grabitzky sat down last night to taste this USA-exclusive single cask whisky. Follow this link to check out the tasting and their thoughts on Cask 53.375 Clambake on the Beach!

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the expected popularity of this release, Cask No. 53.375 will not be available for ordering today. Instead, we invite interested members to enter the raffle below for a chance to order Cask No. 53.375. Entries must be completed by Monday August 30th at 2pm EDT. Winning member names will be drawn at that time. They will be contacted shortly thereafter and will have 48 hours to order their bottle (until Wednesday 9/1 at 2pm EDT).

We thank those members who participated in last year’s virtual Tasting Panel Experience and helped select Cask No. 53.375, it was a perfect choice indeed! We hope all members across the US can enjoy this very special malt and, while sharing with those near and dear to you, also share in the pride we all feel for our American chapter of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society!

Slàinte mhath!

53.375 Clambake on the beach

Cask No. 53.375

Title: Clambake on the Beach

Tasting Note: Appears Pinot Grigio like, a pale golden hue. But no wine by the sea, instead a dram packed with sweet, smoky and coastal seafaring memories. A mild nose-feel, fresh as a sea breeze, a bounty of maritime aromas, crystal salt, rock pools, iodine, seaweed brine and drawn butter. Mouth watering! A drop of the sea brings forward a sweet smoke, kettle corn by the shores, the waves tossing up salty sparks into the air. The palate sings in harmony with fresh sweet popped corn and gooey fudge, salty butter and earthy roasted coffee. Coal smoke bags linger in the distance, to top off the sweet and salty trail mix of flavours. A dash of water increases the saltiness, reduces the smokiness, yet introduces a warming spiced finish. A holiday by the sea in a glass!

Age: 10 years

Date distilled: September 2010

ABV: 58.7%

Region: Islay

Barrel: Refill hogshead

Outturn: 273 bottles

US Allocation: 273 bottles

Price: $135


The entry period for the 53.375 lottery is now closed. We will be contacting all winners after 3pm on 8/30/21 and will email all members who entered when the drawing is officially completed. Please allow us up to a week to make all the selections. Feel free to email or give us a call at 646-844-1154 if you have any questions!