The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society (SMWS) launched a new London venue in the basement of Mac & Wild in Devonshire Square called Kaleidoscope Whiskey Bar. This is the second London venue with the original being in Farringdon.However, the new Kaleidoscope Whiskey Bar is the first to open its doors to non-members allowing everyone to taste this exclusive range of single cask single malt whiskies.
In the 1970s, Phillip ‘Pip’ Hills toured the Scottish Highlands in a beautiful Lagonda car sampling whiskies along the way. Phillip was treated to a sample of a single malt whiskey from a single cask, which was rare site back in this era. Mr Hills was fascinated with the flavours and smells of the whiskey and after discussing the experience with friends back in Edinburgh they convinced him to go back to the distillery and bring home a cask of this completely natural single malt whiskey for all to share. Each time they did this more and more people gathered to try this whiskey in bottles and due to the overall popularity of the whiskey, Pip and his friends decided to develop the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society in 1983 bottling single cask single malt whiskey for their members to enjoy. To this day 129 distilleries contribute to the SMWS providing 20 new single cask whiskies for members to try each month.
Kaleidoscope Whiskey Bar is a discrete yet very classy place giving off the secret society vibe. Mac & Wild provide the space for SMWS to use and it fits the bill perfectly. Bottles line the back off the bar and throughout various regions of the venue displaying new and old bottles from the SMWS. Clear boxes are displayed along one wall showing the range of flavours experienced from the whiskey, from your dark and strong to your more sweeter options. A virtual pigeon shooting (a bit like buck hunter) was a unique twist on the night and very enjoyable.
The Scotch Malt Whiskey Society’s range is like no other, with a rare range of numerous strength and flavours of whiskey. The bar staff at Kaleidoscope know their stuff and are happy to help find the ideal whiskey for you. I was recommended the TuttiFrutti as I was after a lighter flavour and it had to be my favourite of the night (even over the cocktails).
Memberships for SMWS start at £61.50 a year for exclusive discounts and access to new single cask bottlings every month. The Pioneer membership is £122.00 and starts you off by exploring 3 exclusive 10cl single malt cask whiskies and you can proudly wear the SMWS lapel badge.
I highly recommend the Kaleidoscope Whiskey Bar in Devonshire Square to people who want to experience this unique whiskey society without having to be a member. Whiskey enthusiasts will love the taste and smell of these rare and exceptional single cask single malt whiskies.
Written by Dan Brodie