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16th Oct 2023


The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has marked its 40th anniversary by setting a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the most participants in an online whisky tasting event.

On Saturday, 30 September, 447 of our members in more than 15 countries gathered online for the world record tasting attempt at our newly refurbished spiritual home, The Vaults in Leith. Overseen by an adjudicator from Guinness World Records, the whisky tasting started at 2pm BST with members around the world tasting the same three drams of whisky simultaneously.

The event brought together members in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, South Africa, Hong Kong, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, and Korea. The timing of the event meant that the Society’s members in New York tasted their three drams at 9am while those in Australia were tasting at midnight.

The 45-minute event was live streamed from The Vaults, with the first dram introduced from Edinburgh by the Society’s master ambassador, John McCheyne; the second from New York by Tom Smith, senior director of SMWS USA, and the third from Melbourne by Matt Bailey, director of SMWS Australia.

Each of the 447 participants had to attend the tasting on an individual device with the camera on and no other person visible on screen with them, and attend the full duration of the tasting in order for the Society to set the record.

Madeleine Schmoll, event host and social media and community manager at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society UK, said: “We are delighted to announce that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has set the world record for the most participants in an online whisky tasting event.

“It’s amazing to see how far the Society has come since the club was founded in Edinburgh by Pip Hills and a group of friends in 1983. With the Society turning 40 years old, we felt this would be the perfect way to share in a very special simultaneous tasting. We are the pioneers of cask strength, full flavour whisky that creates conversation – that’s why people become members – and the world record tasting worked across time zones and countries to bring our members together. It’s a great example of what we are all about.”

The three Society drams tasted were Cask No. 55.78: What a Spread!, a 13-year-old Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits bottling from Speyside, with tasting notes of “spiced toffee, creme brulee and a touch of fresh oak”; Cask No. 39.244: Tutti Frutti in a Wooden Bowl, an 11-year-old whisky from our Juicy Oak & Vanilla flavour profile; and Batch 15 Smokus Fruticosus, a blended malt comprised of malt whiskies from Islay and Orkney. 

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