News & Blog

Read the latest business news, blogs and thought leadership articles from our members, as well as updates on the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce's work in the city.

News & Blog

Share the love with the Scottish Malt Whiskey Society

Posted: 14th February 2018

Love is in the air in February, the month of St Valentine’s Day, and while we know how easy it is to fall for the delights of the Society’s single cask, single malt, we also celebrate the role that 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 October 2013. Simona was a founding member and then 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 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 both 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…



We have a selection of whiskies as varied as every Valentine, but here’s our pick to set the stage for romance.

For ‘love at first sniff’, look no further than Cask No. 96.14 Engaging encounter from our Juicy, Oak & Vanilla flavour profile. After 11 years in a refill ex-bourbon barrel, it is immediately sweet, smooth and indulgent, while with water it provides what every Valentine is looking for – the sensation of a warm embrace, in this case with strawberry, white chocolate mille-feuille and custard vanilla slice.

If love is in the air, the occasion calls for something fragrant and aromatic, such as Cask No. 112.20 Sweet, sassy and playful from our Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits flavour profile. The nose on this bottling is bursting with plum jam, Black Forest gateau, toasted coconut and clover honey, while the palate becomes sweet and earthy, with raspberry brownie, cinnamon buns, fig rolls and toasted marshmallows. All in all, a dram to kindle reflection – and hopefully some romance.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
Read more here