The SMWS whiskies are unique, bottled at cask strength and without chill filtration, to give you the purest of tasting experiences. At Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar they have the world’s widest selection of exclusive single-cask whiskies available, and their drinks menu changes regularly to keep you coming back for more! The Society releases around 30 new whiskies monthly, and although some are available exclusively for members, you still get to explore a wide range of their bottlings as a non-member when visiting the Kaleidoscope Bar.
The Society has a very helpful categorisation system to make it easier for you to find the most suitable drams for your palate. Their whiskies are split into 12 tasting groups, anything from Sweet, Fruity & Mellow to Heavily Peated. I tend to explore beyond my comfort zone each time I have the opportunity to sample SMWS whiskies as there have been some lovely surprises, such as bottle no. 29.260 A Visceral, Elemental Experience. As someone put it, it tastes like kippers soaked in PX (Pedro Ximenez sherry). Never thought I’d like it, yet ended up loving it.
Even though the emphasis of the bar is on whisky, you can also find a selection of gins, rum, bourbon, cognac and Armagnac, not forgetting the cocktails! I recommend the “original” Old Fashioned, made with peaty whisky and orange bitters. During prohibition times Old Fashioned was used to disguise the strong aroma of heavily peated whiskies. Another tasty one I’ve tried at the bar was an Armagnac Sidecar.
Tastings at the venue
If you are organising a special birthday for a whisky lover or just fancy educating yourself, the SMWS has got you covered! They offer private tastings for members and non-members, anything from intimate gatherings to corporate events. The best thing is you can customise the event to your preferences based on your group size. You can add food pairings, cheese selections or include a full meal. Choose from three to four drams based on a specific flavour profile, region or age. Bar flight is the ideal option for 1-2-1 tasting sessions, but if you are a more seasoned whisky enthusiast, The Old & Rare might be for you.
At the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Edinburgh venue, they have three tasting rooms available: the Library (6 to 8 people), the Oval Room (6 to 12 people) and the Hunter Room (10 to 18 people). Bar flights and drop-in sessions for individuals or groups can be booked at the main Kaleidoscope Bar space downstairs. The venue can get quite busy on the weekends so I would recommend booking ahead when possible.
The SMWS has given me a special discount code, INKA10, to share with you to be used for any purchases over £29.99. Whether you want to become a member or book a tasting session, or if you are a member and wish to order a bottle, you can use the code until 30th June 2019. The code can be used more than once, so go crazy!
UPDATE: SMWS has given me a new code INKA10, which can be used for a 10% discount on all membership packages until 31st December 2020!
Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar & Shop
28 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JX
Disclaimer: This post has been created in collaboration with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and includes affiliate links.