Clans and Drams


We all live and thrive on what is, essentially, a massive spinning ball of dirt with a core of lava which all happens to be in the big old, grand vacuum of space.

We’re tiny in the grand scheme of things but somehow we manage to make all the little things matter. That’s what makes us human. We elevate things from being simple survival necessities to something that brings out the best in us and the best in those around us.

It’s things like not just eating food because we have to but because we can make something truly amazing from the ingredients that we have specifically chosen. Things like simply taking a little bit of time on a sunny day to find a grassy spot admire the view. It’s things like finding groups of people that make us feel like we belong there, rather than just having a group so that we can carry on surviving- that’s only ever any good when your trying to survive the zombie apocalypse.

This isn’t a recent thing. It doesn’t take a decade of study in one of the nation’s top universities or even binge watching a ‘Time Team’ box set to figure out that people have always gravitated towards being accepted by other people that they see as being kindred spirits.

This is a normal Friday where I’m from.

Tribes, gangs and even cults- they were all drawn together by common interests and ideals. Here in Scotland our factions were divided into Clans.

I’m not going to get into how the Scottish clan system worked exactly- partly because of the bloody history involved which doesn’t really need to be stirred up in this particular article, but mostly because I’m a bit of a dunce on the subject. It’s long and complicated and a pigeon distracted me whilst on my windowsill when I was researching it. I have no regrets over this.

What I do know, however, is that each clan had their own ideals and mottos- a certain way of doing things, as it were.

It is from this that the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (which will be referred to as the SMWS for the remainder of this article for no other reason than to save the maximum number of buttons on my keyboard from being over used) have taken their inspiration for the Clans and Drams- a celebration that they will be holding in their venues over the course of May.

May is of course ‘Whisky Month’ this year in Scotland and it is action packed with events. The SMWS is no different and is leading the way with a number of goings on with their unique single cask bottlings.

For those that didn’t know, the SMWS have done away with regional classification as it doesn’t fit the vast and varying whiskies that they like to release from all over Scotland.

Choose your clan!

In order to counter act any nasty surprises for people that would choose their whisky by region, they have created 12 different flavour groups that their whiskies fall into. It is these groups that have been classified as the Clans for the Clans and Drams extravaganza. They’ve created a crest for each group along with a motto. The SMWS have also challenged drinkers to cement their allegiance and back a Clan of their choice.

Over the course of May the SMWS will be welcoming members and (importantly) non-members through the doors and experience the tastings and delights they have to offer. If you’re a member with a large group of friends and could never get everyone along at once, now’s your chance. If you’re a large group of friends that always wanted to see what exactly happens in The Vaults- now’s your chance (I’d advise wearing a HAZMAT suit and brining a clove of garlic if you’re heading along on a Tuesday night. I’m not allowed to say what happens but… well, just trust me on that).

They’ve also put together a cracking month long line up of events. The first is tonight with an intriguing cocktail tasting from Stuart McCluskey of The Bon Vivant and the The Devil’s Advocate. He’ll be re-inventing old recipes and putting forward new ideas so if you can grab a place make sure you do. You can have a look at their other events here. They even take a look at one of our old favourites, the half and half.

It’s sounding like a great month at the SMWS. They’re so excited they’ve even created a kilt made from an old cask with a multi-coloured sporran to represent their 12 flavour profiles. Here it is below, modeled by a man with a beard-

This man wielded a sword whilst mounting a cannon before it was cool…

Uniquely kilted hipsters aside, it sounds like a cracking month at the SMWS.

Most importantly, anyone (even me!) can head along at any time this month. If you’re not a member I would highly advise heading in and checking out the venues if you haven’t before. They are absolutely cracking and, unsurprisingly, have a back bar full of whisky that you’d happily uppercut an unsuspecting wombat to suckle on. Essentially the SMWS is trying to do is get a load of like-minded whisky people together to enjoy a few drams and have a bit of chat.

It’s a comforting thought as, although we might be tiny in the great scale of things, we’re always going to find people that care about the same things as us and we’re going to make those things matter.

And the big old vacuum of space can’t do a single thing about it.



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