A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SOCIETY

"The Single Malt Society was founded in 2009 with seventeen members and one simple mission: to learn about single malt scotch whisky in a fun and informal setting."

~Kirk Figus, Club Founder

HOW IT ALL BEGAN...

 

IN EARLY 2009, I was looking for a new hobby, and decided to join a scotch tasting club, having developed a casual interest in single malt scotch. There was just one problem—I couldn't find a scotch club to join.

 

Asking myself, "How hard could it be to start my own?" I decided to form a group of like-minded folk to join me in exploring the wonders of scotch whisky.

 

Nine months, one website, and lots of research (translation: tasting a lot of scotch!) later, the Single Malt Society was launched, with seventeen members brave enough to send payment for their club dues over the internet, to a stranger, for a club that didn't yet exist. The club started to catch on, as some of those original charter members recruited a friend or two to join them, and one thing led to another. By the end of our first year our roster had tripled, and we've continued to add new scotch lovers along the way as we've grown to become one of the largest scotch clubs in the country.

As we enter our twelfth year, our mission remains unchanged—to create a fun and informal setting in which scotch fans can sample a wide variety of single malts, without the snootiness often associated with a wine or spirits tasting group. Members of any experience level are welcome to join the club, whether newbies or long-time malt maniacs, and we all learn a little something new along the way.

 

I certainly have, as my casual interest evolved into a passion, and—admittedly—a bit of an obsession. I've learned more than I could have imagined, the result of researching and creating dozens of multimedia presentations touching on the science of scotch, and the history of the famous distilleries we visit in each bottle.

 

After sampling over 400 kinds of whisky from more than 100 different brands or distilleries, (and making many new friends along the way), I'm looking forward to uncorking all the bottles we haven't yet discovered.     

~Kirk Figus, Club Founder

Notable Society Milestones

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ORIGINAL WEBSITE

The Society started in November, 2009, with little more than a new website and the hope we could round up a few scotch lovers.

ORIGINAL LOGO

The original club logo featured our club "founder" Drummond MacDougall, and an old-timey looking typeface.

MAKING "HISTORY"

In 2010, we offered an alternate universe history of the Society's eponymous founder. Click on the TV set to be enlightened.

GIVE PEATS A CHANCE!

2010 saw our first annual Bonus Session devoted to the wonders of heavily-peated scotch, which has been a sell-out every year.

A TRADITION BEGINS!

In 2010 we began what has become a Society tradition—our bi-annual exploration of fine blended scotch whiskies.

LET'S LEARN SOMETHING!

In 2011, sessions started including brief segments of "Scotch 101," focusing on the science, legends, and lore of scotch whisky.

NO SCOTCH AT ALL!

It was unprecedented, and—some said—SCANDALOUS! In 2012, we sampled a lineup of bottles that were NOT crafted in Scotland.

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NO PEEKING ALLOWED!

2012 brought the first of our Blind Tastings. At these humbling events, we're given tasting notes and have to guess what we're tasting.

TOP HATS AND TIARAS!

In 2013 we launched the first of our annual "Putting on the Ritz" Bonus Sessions, featuring a lineup of VERY expensive malts.

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GLENCAIRN ERA BEGINS!

In 2013, the Society quit using oversized wine glasses, and bought 200 Glencairn glasses to allow us to sample our drams properly.

A NEW HOME!

In 2014, the Society moved our sessions to the spacious meeting room in Clayton's legendary Cheshire Inn.

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OUR FIRST PILGRIMAGE!

2017 saw our first club trip to Scotland! We visited distilleries, castles, cathedrals, museums, and Scotland's natural beauty.

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A LITTLE MORE RECOGNITION!

In 2021, we were featured in the international spirits blog Inside the Cask, as part of an ongoing series focused on scotch clubs.

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LUCK OF THE IRISH!

2014 saw the first of our Bonus Sessions devoted to fine whiskey from Scotland's next-door neighbors in Ireland.

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BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION!

It's hard to believe, but a full decade has passed since the club first launched in 2009 with our 17 charter members.

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FIRST VIRTUAL SESSION!

Covid forced a halt in operations for many months, leading to our first Virtual Session Kits, adding a little fun to a rather bleak period.

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SCOTCH 101 CLASSES!

In 2015, we started offering our Scotch 101 and Blended Scotch 101 presentations to the public at special class venues.

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DRUMMOND REBORN!

In 2019, to mark our 10th Anniversary, we decided to give Drummond a makeover with an updated look for the Society logo.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY!

We normally offer official distillery releases, but at this 2015 session we featured independent bottlings.

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GOING BACK IN TIME!

Newer members hadn't sampled some classic bottles from past years
—but 2019's new Scotch Archaeology sessions solved that.

WE LOOK TO THE EAST!

We'd dabbled in Japanese whiskies on occasion, but 2016 saw our first Bonus Session devoted to these fine drams.

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A LITTLE RECOGNITION!

In 2020, we were featured in a nationally-distributed special edition of Whisky Advocate Magazine featuring scotch clubs.

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DESSERT WITH SCOTCH?

We'd heard of whisky and cheese pairings — so why not chocolate? 2021's Chocolate Fest featured delicious handcrafted bon-bons.