Kids in a classroom raising hands to ask whiskey questions.

 

 The Society

How can I join?  

See our membership page.  

 

Can I hire you for a private tasting, or can you recommend someone who will do that?

We are a private club, and we only hold tastings for our members. However, contact Chris Uhde with JVS Imports -- he will walk you through a tasting of the unique whiskies his company represents, or design a custom tasting to your specifications (contact chrisu _ignoreThisPart_ @jvsimports.com). Also, The Wine House (on Cotner) has staff members that will come and put on a private tasting for a fee, and of course you'll need to pay for the whiskey as well. If you go one of these routes, please let us know how it works out for you.

 

Where are whiskey tastings in Los Angeles?

  • Whisky Live has been held in LA each October since 2009.
  • The Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America holds their "Extravaganza" in November.
  • K&L Wines has occasional tastings in the Hollywood area, keep an eye on their website for details. 
  • The Wine House also has occasional public tastings as well.
  • Check with bars Seven Grand and The Thirsty Crow, they very often have tastings.
  • Have you given Andy a visit over at LA Scotch Club?
  • Please email us if you have other information on whisky tastings in Los Angeles.

What are your meetings like?

Sometimes they are quite formal, with educational material, visual presentations, and guest speakers. Other times they are very informal. Typically, we begin by "officially" sampling 5 to 8 new (for us) whiskies in varying formats -- these can be blind tastings, "competitions" where members try to guess details about each whisky, general discussions, or sometimes a complete lack of discussion so that nobody else's opinion is influenced by what they hear. Basically, we try to keep things mixed up so each meeting is different from the last.

 

How can I start a club like yours? 

Easy. Get together some friends that all enjoy whiskey, or want to learn about it. Have everyone chip in some money, and that's your budget for the meeting. Use that to buy the whiskies you'll taste. Or, what we did when we started was this: each person brought a single malt of their choosing to the first meeting. We then had someone not involved in the meeting blind all the whiskies by decanting them into identical bottles. That way, nobody even knew which whisky was the one they brought. We tried them all blind, drank and discussed, and went from there. 

 

You'll find that once you begin, your own enthusiasm will dictate where you go. It's really pretty simple. You don't need a fancy venue, or "proper" glassware -- luckily, whiskey tends to taste pretty good everywhere and can be drank out of almost anything.

 

Okay, I read your stupid Membership Page. I still want in! 

The main thing that keeps us from accepting new members is that our club is kept very small. To be considered when a rare space opens up, you should live in/near LA, have a passion for whiskey, be enthusiastic about tracking down great bottles, and/or have a collection with rarities of your own. We do accept novices occasionally.

 

And honestly, if you really want in, then please compose a decent email. You don't need to be eloquent or lengthy -- just show that you understand what we're about, that you're familiar with the Society, and explain why you want to join us. Mention the word "olfactory" so we know you've dug deep into the website and read this paragraph.

 

I want to give my husband/boyfriend a gift membership to your club. He's awesome and you'll love him! You should let him in!  Please??

Surprisingly, this is a frequent request. We don't know jack about your guy, but you are obviously an incredibly smart and sophisticated woman with immeasurably good taste.

 

Can I purchase a membership? 

What are you, one of those people who's so rich that they think they're entitled to just buy their way into everything?  Oh -- you are??  Sweet!  We're tired of paying for all this booze ourselves.

 

Who are you guys individually? Why don’t you all post your names?
Our members are professionals working in and around the L.A. area, many in the entertainment industry. A couple work in the spirits business, and they are strictly not permitted to post ratings/notes on this website.  Some members remain anonymous for personal reasons -- temperance-minded employers, dislike of being in the public eye, and a couple of the guys are just kinda weird.

 

I like your website, what sort of CMS/Platform/Software/Etc. do you use? 

Our website is hand-coded and custom-designed by us, with the help of a professional coder. It was honestly quite difficult to build and is an ongoing chore to maintain, so we love any positive comments you have about it. Send the negative ones too; we're always looking to improve.

 

How do you make money off this website? 

We don't.

 

How come some of you have a lot more notes/ratings than the other guys?  
Entering notes can be a hassle, so many members don't do it at all, or do so very infrequently.  But since Adam and Chris administer the website, they don't mind it and TOTALLY RULE.

 

How come so many of your whiskies are rated highly, or at least above-average?  Can I trust you considering that you don't seem to rate that many whiskies as crap?
Any distiller that takes the time and effort to make whisky probably isn't making crap.  If it's on the market, it's usually at least okay.  And while we say that "average" whiskey is in the "C" range, when we say "average" we really mean your average, so-so, ehhh, plain-ish whiskey.  In most of our meetings and tastings, we're more interested in drinking stuff that has a promise of being pretty decent -- we seek out the good stuff.  Haven't we all drank enough crap already?

 

What’s with the (e)? 

See Whisk(e)y Basics.  

 

Whisk(e)y

 

What is the best scotch?  Best bourbon?
There really is no “best.”  It depends on what you like, how much you want to spend, and where and how you’re drinking it. Only you have your mouth! Browse our tasting notes – particularly the B ratings and above – and see if you can find something that fits your price range and preferences.

 

Okay I get it, but can you please just tell me a good single malt scotch to buy to get started?
Pushy, aren't you? Fine, try Glenfiddich 12Balvenie Doublewood 12Highland Park 18; and for the very adventurous palate try the much-revered Lagavulin 16.  If money doesn’t matter as much, try Macallan 18.  (And again, browse our tasting notes – find something that’s inexpensive but well-rated and sounds like it fits your taste preferences).

 

Why do so many people consider single malt scotch to be the top/premiere/most elite type of whiskey?
In a general sense, single malt scotch is the type of whisky that has a) the widest range and depth of flavors; b) the widest range of individual distillers and thus choices, c) arguably the richest traditions, although it is predated by Irish whiskey and earlier forms.  And of course, d) single malt scotch is the most expensive type of whisky.

 

Also very importantly, blended scotch is much more widespread and generally perceived to be an inferior product, though this reputation is not always deserved.  Blends are a combination of whisky from various single malt distillers, plus a varying amount of grain whisky.  Grain whisky is cheaper and easier to make, so it is thus perceived as a "filler."  So when drinking a single malt, you're tasting one distillery's product -- when drinking a blend, you are tasting a combination of single malts and grain whiskies from many distilleries.

 

Can you help me with information on visiting Scotland and touring distilleries?
Nope.  Sorry.

 

I found/have some old whiskey bottles.  What's the value of this whisky?  Where can I sell whisky? 
We can help you, see what's the value of this whisky?

 

 

For Alternates

 

This is my first meeting, can I get more info?
Congratulations on being chosen as an alternate.  Here’s what you need to know:

 

Seating for our Tasting Meetings is very limited.  Although seats are initially reserved for full Members, space sometimes opens up.  Those open seats are given to Alternates on a first-come, first-served basis. 

 

So, when you receive the email announcing the next meeting, reply promptly in order to be at the top of the Alternates list.  Make sure the first word of your email is "in" or "out" so the LAWS Attendance Robot can read your response.

 

Remember that the Society is a group effort – if you reserve a seat for a meeting but then bail, you are still financially responsible for that seat (unless your seat can be filled in time). The meeting fee reimburses the Primary Gentleman for the money he's fronted for that meeting's whiskies -- so he's counting on receiving everyone's cash.

 

Please have safe transportation for each meeting. Arrange a ride home, Uber/taxi, or other safe option.

 

Am I supposed to do anything to prepare for a meeting?

- Adhere to the dress code (see rules)

- Arrive on time.

- Come fed, so you're not drinking on an empty stomach. But make sure you don't destroy your palate with whatever you eat! Additionally, don't bring food into the bar.

- Please don't wear any cologne, aftershave, or wear/bring anything overly scented (no matter how good it may smell). It's hard to nose a whisky when the guy next to you reeks of Old Spice.

 

I got more questions.
Check the Society Rules.

Whiskey Master List
The Stores List
The Bars List
The Online List