Whisky Clubs

To learn as much as I could about whisky, I visited as many of the distillery sites I knew and signed up for their newsletters.

Some of the distilleries run membership clubs which offer additional benefits, such as access to limited or special bottlings, distillery tours, competitions. I have joined the ones listed below:

In addition to the Distillery sites I have joined Whisky Connosr - which calls itself The Whisky Social Network

Whisky Connosr
Whisky Connosr is an independently owned social networking community for whisky lovers to discuss, rate and review their beloved malts. It's free to join and everyone is welcome, from novices to whisky connoisseurs.

There is lots to educate and amuse you on this website:

  • You can create your own on-line whisky cabinet and show off your collection, rating each bottle as you go. Build up a wishlist of whiskies you'd like to try and record your whisky cabinet history as the bottles are emptied. 
  • You can catalogue, rate and review your favourite (or least favourite) whiskies and discuss your experiences with other members. You can compare tasting notes and scores with hundreds active reviewers. Writing reviews is simple and your reviews are shown on your own profile page. 
  • You can discover whiskies from all over the world, and the new 'Whisky Market Place' feature that has been added recently shows the current prices from various suppliers. 
  • In addition there is an on-line magazine called World Whisky Review. 
This really is one of my favourite whisky websites and I'm sure it can only get better as time goes on.

The Distillery Membership Clubs

Friends of Laphroaig

My first bottle of whisky, a Laphroaig 10 Year Old contained a leaflet within the tube that enticed me to join 'Friends of Laphroaig'. The unique number printed on the leaflet entitled me to become a landowner on the isle of Islay, and so I am the proud owner of a square foot of Laphroaig Distilleries field.

I can claim an annual rent of one dram per year, unfortunately which must be made in person at the distillery. I will one day visit I saly and claim my ground rent. Will they back date it to when I joined ? That remains to be seen!

Their website has recently been updated and looks really good. You can only become a 'FoL' by purchasing a bottle of their whisky as the unique number from it is required to start the process. Being a 'FoL' keeps me updated of what the team at Laphroaig are doing, and I get a 10% discount from their shop, which I understand is increased to 20% for my birthday.

They have an on-line whisky shelf, but you can only enter the Laphroaig bottles you own or have tasted, so not the right place to track your whisky journey.

The Balvenie
Warehouse 24

I joined the Balvenie members club 'Warehouse 24' before I'd even tasted their wonderful whisky. The Balvenie was a recommended dram, and so found their website and joined to find out more. Their website and members area is very good, although doesn't fully work with my iPad, have been assured they are working on this.

Named after the oldest surviving part of their distillery, 'Warehouse 24' is the members area. Once inside you can:

  • Start your own Whisky Shelf - a unique record of your whisky journey. The Balvenie let you add all of your whisky and you are not restricted to Balvenie only branded whisky. 
  • Share your notes with fellow malt enthusiasts around the world. 
  • Enjoy access to the people who craft our single malt whisky. 
  • Be amongst the first to receive Balvenie Distillery news and early notice of our new releases. 
When you join you are sent a welcome letter and included is a small booklet for manually recording your tasting notes. The last major update was in March 2011 where The Balvenie Whisky Academy was launched. This section can only be accessed through the Warehouse 24 section has a series of videos which cover the history of whisky, how it's made, answers many of the questions I was asking and how to taste and nose whisky.

I love this site, but haven't seen any recent updates to it, although I have been told that they are working on this too.

Classic Malts
Friends of Classic Malts 

The classic malts range of whiskies encompass a number of distilleries; Caol Ila, Cardhu, Clynelish, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glen Elgin, Glenkinchie, Knockando, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnager, Talisker and Singleton of Dufftown.

Joining The Friends of Classic Malts keeps me updated of what's going on at all of these distilleries, although I'm not bombarded with emails. Other benefits include:

  • Free entry to 12 Classic Malt distilleries. 
  • Friends-only limited edition whiskies and special offers. 
  • Regular competitions for prizes money can’t buy. 
  • Invitation to malt whisky events. 
  • Frequent news from the world of the Classic Malts. 
The free entry and free guided tours to 12 of The Classic Malt distilleries is a great incentive to join. In addition there is lots of other useful information on the site.

Isle of Jura
The Diurachs

The Diurachs Logo
Diurachs is the Gaelic word for the people of Jura. Upon signing up you can download your very own personalised Diurach Certificate, and your all important unique Diurach number. This entitles you to a free dram of our beloved malt for life, every month at the Jura Pub - I don't think they'll backdate the monthly drams if you turn up once a year - we'll see !

Becoming an honorary Diurach has other benefits too;
Free distillery tour 

  • Discounted ferry travel from Islay 
  • Hand signed products when bought direct from the Distillery. 
I love this website too!

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