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Scotch Malt Whisky Society releases The Only Drop

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has released The Only Drop for its first contribution to the Distillers One of One auction at Sotheby’s on 5 October.

The whisky, which is presented in an unusual paper pulp sculpture, has spent 33 years in sherry casks and is infused with wood shavings from the original casks, “reuniting the liquid once again with the vessel it matured in”, the society said.

The proceeds from the purchase of this whisky will principally go to The Youth Action Fund which helps transform the lives of the most disadvantaged young people by helping them develop their confidence, resilience, and skills so they are ready for life and work.

Part of the Artisanal Spirits Company, the society was led by STCKMN in consultation with sustainable British paper innovators, James Cropper, and was handcrafted for the auction by Matter Agency.

The whisky began in 1989 as a spirit from a “revered” Speyside distillery that was renowned for its use of sherry casks began maturing in an Oloroso sherry butt, the society said, before thirty years later, in 2019, its contents were divided equally between a first fill Oloroso hogshead and a first fill Pedro Ximénez hogshead. Three years later they have been reunited to create a single bottle.

Euan Campbell, Head of whisky creation at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society: “The casks that I decided on in the end have an interesting backstory – a tale to tell – and when the samples arrived in the lab we had fun trying to put them together and figure out the right combination and arrive at the best flavour profile possible.

“We have very nutty dry flavours from the oloroso and sweeter dark treacly notes from the Pedro Ximénez, and they complement each other really well. There’s a real elegance to this that only comes with age. Overall, it’s a very decadent, elegant, old dram.”

Rebecca Hamilton, Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society: “It was important to us that we did things a little differently, so instead of an elaborate, expensive bottle, we created a stripped back, sustainable design which puts the whisky at the heart and lets it shine as the hero. This is a very special whisky flavour curation – and a complete one off.”

Chris Wilson from STCKMN added: “The Only Drop is a handcrafted paper moulded sculpture that celebrates the relationship between liquid and cask. The liquid itself is represented by a ripple formation that’s inspired by the unrepeatable pattern of water in nature.

“With a single droplet representing the rarity of the release and to honour the casks’ contribution to the flavour in the whisky, we took wood shavings from the original casks and embedded them into the paper pulp sculpture. The idea being that when you place the sculpture onto the bottle it reunites the whisky with the cask as they once were during maturation.”

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