The Secret Garden at SMWS

SMWS Secret Garden

July. The time of fun and frolics in the evening sun, the time when it’s completely acceptable to have at least four barbeques a week, and the time when guys try (and fail) to sneak a quick glance at girls wearing eyewateringly short skirts. Not this year. It seems as though I don’t go anywhere without my brolly, my wellingtons, thick woolly socks and a coat so large you could probably camp in it at T in the Park. Perhaps not the ideal time to launch an outdoor bar, but there’s nothing more British than having a barbeque and a beer in the rain. Despite Edinburgh currently being drowned by the biblical deluge, myself, Hoban and our chaperone Fiona were all in good spirits on Friday evening as we waded along to The Vaults at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Leith for the opening of the Secret Garden.

We were treated to a delicious BBQ with sausages from Crombies of Edinburgh, cocktails, an informal tasting with society ambassador Olaf and several delightful tunes from the whisky bard, Robin Laing. We were also treated to a sneak preview of the new, interactive app version of Unfiltered, the society’s magazine, available now on the Apple’s Newsstand platform. Cue much pinching and swiping as we tried to find all the exclusive content (videos, photos, interviews and features) from the most recent edition of the mag. The Secret Garden itself is stationed in the courtyard outside the front of the SMWS (not so secret after all…) and will host several events over the coming months from BBQs and cigar evenings to whisky tastings and festival events. The high-walled courtyard, the sizzle and smoke from the barbeque, the great company and even better banter made for a fantastic night. No doubt if/when the sun decides to return this will be a great place to attend one of the aforementioned events, or even just to kick back in the evening with a tipple from one of the society’s vast single cask range and enjoy what summer is meant to be about. Thankfully on evenings such as last Friday, gazebos are in place to ensure you don’t get a soaking and not too much water is added to your dram. Check out the SMWS website to keep up to date with what’s happening. Just remember to bring a stiff upper lip in case this weather continues for the next forty days and forty nights…



  1. That blog is great.I like that.I like the whiskey but a little strong.

  2. “there’s nothing more British than having a barbeque and a beer in the rain.” amen to that. what did you actually have to drink while you were there?

  3. @Whisky Critic, Olaf treated us to 121.53 ‘Saddled-up cuddy in woolly socks’ from Arran’s only distillery, 2.81 ‘Black tea in a greenhouse’ from a Speyside distillery close to the famous pack horse bridge and 29.120 ‘Satisfyingly smoky and sweet’ from a distillery that received a Royal Warrant in 1994. I’ll let you guess the distilleries…

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