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Valentines Day at Scotch Malt Whisky Society

This blog contribution comes from Edinburgh’s Scotch Malt Whisky Society, celebrating the month of St Valentines Day. While we know how easy it is to fall for the delights of the Society’s single cask, the SMWS also knows the role whisky can play in sparking romance.

Take the story of Paul Kosmetatos and Simona Foscarin for example, who first met as researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Whisky Appreciation Society in 2013. Simona was a founding member and became the Society’s social secretary. Paul was a long-time whisky enthusiast keen to expand his knowledge beyond the widely available blends and bourbons he was familiar with.

“While the Society was serious about learning about whisky, it was also a vibrant social club that brought together a regular crowd who were friends as well as whisky enthusiasts. It was usual practice that after the formal nosing and tasting was over that the remaining whisky supplied a de facto ‘bar’ for the ticket holders,” says Paul.

Whisky brought Paul and Simona together, and in 2016 they moved to Edinburgh, where the SMWS quickly became the focus for their shared passion.

“One of the first things we wanted to do was to find a whisky tasting society to continue our exploration,” says Simona. “We discovered the SMWS and now regularly visit the Members’ Rooms at The Vaults and especially 28 Queen Street. We love the Society’s unique expressions of whisky but we also enjoy the setting, which for us is both a location for a bar, a club and an excellent restaurant.”

When Paul and Simona decided to get married in August last year, they held their ceremony and wedding lunch in the Dining Room at 28 Queen Street – surrounded by friends, family – and the Society’s green bottles.

“Whisky played an integral role in the celebration,” says Simona. “The cake had whisky in it, and together with the usual champagne toast that newlyweds have, we also drank from miniatures with Society whisky.”

For those of you looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, the last word has to go to Paul.

“Whisky is a romantic drink, and not just because of our experience and our mutual love of it,” he says. “Whisky tasting is by definition sensuous – it engages smell, taste and vision. It’s also social – people experience these senses differently and share them with each other.”

And who knows where that might lead…

It’s not only whisky that the Society provides as the basis for romance…our Members’ Rooms are also the perfect setting for a declaration of love. At The Vaults on Hogmanay, SMWS member Steve Dick took the plunge and proposed to fiancée Jo just after midnight. She celebrated with prosecco – while he picked out a Society dram from distillery 39.