Charles MacLean picks whiskies for SMWS bar Kaleidoscope

SMWS Charles MacLean Kaleidoscope Bar 1

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has invited whisky icon Charles MacLean to select 30 old and rare bottles to be served in its new Edinburgh whisky bar, Kaleidoscope.

The Edinburgh-based whisky specialist, and star of Ken Loach’s 2012 film The Angel’s Share, is the first person to create a guest whisky for Kaleidoscope, which opened at SMWS’s Queen Street headquarters in August.

The special selection features nine whiskies from MacLean’s personal collection, including the Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask from Taiwan, which was named ‘Best New World Single Malt’ at the 2012 World Whisky Awards.

The other 21 bottles were sourced by MacLean from a whisky auction and include a Dufftown-Glenlivet 12 year old distilled in the 1960s, The Balvenie Founder’s Reserve, distilled in the early 1970s, and a Mortlach ‘Flora & Fauna 16 year old.

Charles MacLean said, “The Scotch Malt Whisky Society looks at whisky through the lens of flavour, and my idea for this guest selection is to encourage everyone to explore how whisky flavours have evolved over the past decades.

“All of these expressions are discontinued so there are very few places in the world you can taste them, making a visit to Kaleidoscope a unique experience for whisky fans. I recommend a visit soon before all of the drams are gone!”

This is the first time that The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which bottles single cask single malt whisky, has offered non-Society whiskies alongside its own bottlings at its bar.

Kaleidoscope offers full spectrum

Kaleidoscope whisky bar was opened by SMWS in August following a £300,000 refurbishment of its 28 Queen Street venue.

Installed on the ground floor, it offers a revolving spectrum of whisky, serving more than 200 single malts and other spirits alongside a range of whisky cocktails and MacLean’s new selection.

SMWS Operations Director, Jan Damen, said, “Kaleidoscope is open to all types of visitors, from local whisky fans to international visitors who are just starting out on their whisky journey.

“The Society is all about exploring the spectrum of flavours within the whisky category and we’ll have one of the biggest selections of rare single malt whisky in the country.”