Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Scotch Malt Whisky Society creates memory boxes

Memory boxes. Image courtesy of Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is always finding new ways for people to experience and enjoy whisky. This month, it’s created literal memory boxes. 

Teaming up with professional psychologist Dr Ansgar Endress, Scottish chef Bruce Clyne-Watson and rollercoaster designer and ‘thrill engineer’ (surely one of the coolest jobs out there?) Brendan Walker, the six memory boxes are available exclusively at the 2022 London Whisky Weekender and in SMWS Members’ Rooms around the UK. 

Using tasting notes from the six small batch festival bottlings released by SMWS in May, the expert team created boxes that combine touch, taste, smell, sight and sound to immediately transport people back to a happy moment or place in their lives.

Chef Bruce Clyne-Watson crafted canapes to feature alongside each box. ‘Nan’s House of Tea’ features Haggis spiced lamb breast with caramelised red wine pineapple, malt loaf and toasted oats, while ‘Camping Out’ features rabbit liver rillette dressed in a marmalade chutney, candied walnut and nasturtium leaves. 

‘Watching the Harbour Boats’ is a peaty whisky matched with smoky langoustine sprayed with sea water and a smoke gun, served on pebbles. Plus there’s a deep-fried Mars Bar with Irn Bru and tobacco essence. As you might have guessed, that one conjures up memories of trips to the seaside.

Bruce Clyne-Watson said, “It’s a real joy to be working with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society on such an unconventional and exciting project. The Society itself is an endless discovery of flavour, making it so much fun to create these canapes, which match perfectly with the SMWS bottlings. Memory really does affect the way we experience flavour. Sampling the produce for this campaign genuinely evoked memories of my childhood, like going to my Nan’s house for tea as a wee lad; reminiscing over those warming, joyous memories.”

The memory boxes apparently engage with episodic memory, which is the area in the brain that takes an experience and commits it to long-term memory, creating a pathway to a positive feeling (has anyone seen Inside Out?!). While trying the boxes alongside the whiskies, that becomes an extra part of the positive experience.

Here at Vinspire, we love an innovative and fun way to experience a new drink (responsibly, of course!) and this ticks all the boxes. Our non-whisky drinking friends - believe it or not, there are a few out there - loved this idea, and said it made whisky a lot more approachable. 

Find out more at SWMS.com.