Flavour Fanatics Sensory Symposium Relive the launch of our flavour fanatics campaign

Cheese, coffee…seaweed? It’s amazing what you can end up pairing your Society whisky with. That’s why we’ve searched out a group of like-minded ‘Flavour Fanatics’ to explore the role of flavour and the never-ending journey into the complexities of our single cask, single malt whiskies and how our unique flavour profiles can be paired with a diverse range of products.

With that in mind, the Society hosted a Sensory Symposium in London on the evening of 10 May, hosted by SMWS ambassador John McCheyne with 70 flavour fiends in attendance.

The Protein Galleries, Shoreditch

Some of the Society whiskies on offer

Exploring the flavour profiles

Exclusive pairings from our Flavour Fanatics

Campaign to Think Flavour

For one night only, the Society descended on the Protein Galleries in Shoreditch, London. Some 70 guests – all keen to join us on a journey of flavour – were welcomed with a Society dram and delightful canapés to kick off the evening...

Then it was time to get underway, as our ever-entertaining host and SMWS ambassador, John McCheyne, took our guests through an introduction to the Society's unique 12 flavour profiles and a dram from our Juicy, Oak and Vanilla selection.


The first of our Flavour Fanatics to take the floor was food futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye, who explained how our palates are constantly changing.

Currently, she explained, there is a trend for "leather, smoky, earthy flavours, notes that are very prevalent and identified with whisky." That’s one reason, according to Morgaine, that whisky is an ideal place to explore a kaleidoscope of flavours, whatever age, associations or experiences you bring to the drink.

“Whisky’s complexity means it’s a journey and you’re deepening your understanding as you go,” she said. “It has the same basic ingredients but always tastes different, with these complicated flavour profiles that have something to offer for every palate.”


Next, expert cheesemonger Ned Palmer gave guests a taste of Kirkham's Lancashire cheese, paired with a Society whisky from the Spicy & Sweet flavour profile.

He expressed a fascination for the diversity of both cheese and whisky, despite the limited raw ingredients that go into both products. “From a very few simple ingredients you get this incredibly complex set of flavours and variations and different styles. That's a lot to do with what the French call terroir, the area you make it in, and also with the tiny variations in processes."


Coffee expert Dumo Mathema explained the parallels he found between the wider world of flavours in both his sphere as well as the whisky world.

“Because of the huge variety there’s a suitable coffee to go with every whisky, even the softer, more floral ones. This evening we had a whisky from the Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits profile paired with a natural Ethiopian coffee. But for peaty whiskies you could try a Sumatran coffee that’s also quite smoky with hints of sweet tobacco.”


Last but not least, forager Richard Osmond explained how foraging is helping people to rediscover flavours from the local natural environment. Part of the hunting and gathering team The Foragers with colleague George Fredenham, Richard led the audience in a pairing of foraged seaweed with an Oily & Coastal whisky.

“Whisky distillation is about capturing the purest essences of flavour, the unique characteristics of each area and its unique processes,” he said. “Foraging is equally local-focused, and to eat wild food is to taste a particular wild landscape."


At the end of the evening, guests were invited to spend some time with our fabulous Flavour Fanatics to find out more about their passion for flavour and the endless opportunities to pair their products with whisky.

There was also a dram or two shared from the Society bar of course, where our ambassadors where on hand to guide everyone through the array of flavour profiles on offer.

Missed the event? Don't worry - we will be running Flavour Fanatics events throughout May, June, July and August. Come and join us on our campaign for flavour.

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