The Scotch malt whisky society

Unconventional Tradition

A backstory about smws


Since we were formed in 1983, we’ve believed in doing things
differently. As unconventional whisky experts we seek out whisky in its purest form, prize flavour above everything else and give each bottling a curious name. We’re united and constant in our passion – to share the world’s best whiskies, to bring them to life, and to make you proud to belong to the world’s most colourful whisky club.

The people who said it couldn't be done were so dull

Society Founder.
Pip Hills


The exploration of flavour and sharing our discoveries is what we’re all about. Our members enjoy exclusive access to whiskies hand-picked by our expert Tasting Panel, from over 145 distilleries in Scotland and beyond. We bottle them at cask strength and offer a constant variety. How you drink them is entirely up to you.


We don’t just bring you amazing whisky – we bring our members together to share their passion, at our Members’ Rooms, tasting events, festivals, and our network of partner bars around the world. That makes the SMWS the perfect place to start out on your whisky journey, or take it to the next level.


An unconventional club has unconventional beginnings. The Society started when our founder Pip Hills stumbled upon the delights of whisky drawn straight from the cask – undiluted and unadulterated. That was in the 1970s, when the whisky industry establishment considered such a spirit too quirky and challenging for delicate palates. Overlooked and unappreciated, it had been left to languish in warehouses across the country, unknown to the wider public.

Retaining the legacy

Pip shared his discovery when those experts said there was no demand for it and watched as word of mouth spread. In 1983 he and his pals formed The Scotch Malt Whisky Society to share whisky in is purest form, and unite those of you with a passion for flavour, for variety, for fun…. and for not always doing as you’re told.