THE SPECIAL RELEASES ARE NOW LIVE AND CAN BE FOUND HERE!
Got a letter from Diageo the other day. Opened and read it. It was about their Special Releases. They wanted us for their tasting, or whatever. Picture me turning down drams, I said “Hell yeah!”.
We will indeed be stocking all of the 2013 Diageo Special Releases shortly - and yes - they will all be available as 3cl Sample Drams too. You’re welcome. They should be with us any day now, but for more details as they land be sure to keep your eyes glued to the @MasterOfMalt twitter account.
Last night saw the launch of a brand new Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey expression to join a range that already contains the excellent Redbreast 12 Year Old, Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength and Redbreast 15 Year Old.
I know what you’re thinking: “What is the collective noun for robins?”. It’s a worm. A worm of robins. Yep.
The new expression? A 21 Year Old! We were more than a little excited. The Dave Broom quote on the Redbreast website sums it up nicely:
“If the ship was going down within sight of a desert island, my flailing left hand would make a grab for a bottle of Redbreast.”
The Hudson Whiskey range boasts the first legally distilled and aged grain spirits produced in New York since Prohibition! Fantastic in itself, Tuthilltown Spirits' craft distillery (yep, another one – we love 'em!) charm certainly runs deeper than this single fact, with its very existence oweing much to fate and circumstance. Its success however is owed only to hard work and the high quality of what they have managed to create in the past few years.
When Ralph Erenzo bought Tuthilltown Gristmill and the 35 acres that surrounded it, distilling was far from the professional climber’s thoughts. Originally, he had dreamt of creating the perfect climber’s paradise: a ranch that would act as a base camp for those wishing to scale the cliffs at nearby Shawangunk Ridge.
It’s not often I manage to crowbar distillery visits into trips back to my hometown, near Washington, DC. Last December though, I was invited to go and check out Smooth Ambler Distillery in Maxwelton, WV, only about 4 hours’ drive away.
I put the offer out to a group of friends I’ve known for the better part of 15+ years: Would you like to go down to one of the finest distilleries in the country and try all of their delicious whiskey and gin?
When I first heard about a distillery from San Francisco run by a man who spends his days also running a barber shop, I have to say, I was intrigued. What followed was a story you couldn’t even make up.
Cutting hair and distilling are both skills that run deep in Salvatore Cimino’s family; he learned to make wine and distill grappa from when he was just a young boy. As a child, he would even climb inside the stills to give them a good clean! Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, 'Sal' grew up to be a Master Barber as well as now becoming a legitimate Master Distiller!
Ah, the infamous old-time favourite Chicken Cock Whiskey!
Nope, me neither. It’s a thing though.
Established in 1856, this Kentucky whiskey had to move its production to Canada during the dark days of Prohibition – smuggled into the country in tins, Chicken Cock was still being served in speakeasies such as the legendary Cotton Club thanks to the well-developed bootlegging network.
For the past 5 years, drinks writers (and now whisky bottlers!) Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley have hosted an awards ceremony intended to turn the whisky judging world on its head—or at least put it poolside with a drink in its hand. Jeil (or Noel, as they are affectionately referred to at MoM HQ) designed their Best in Glass Awards to celebrate whiskies that are accessible, delicious, and newly released. The annual Best in Glass Awards were held on 12th December 2012 at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in London. After a gruelling afternoon of a two-course luncheon (wink!) and blind tasting of ten whiskies, one whisky emerged victorious from the collection to be dubbed the champion of the Best in Glass Awards 2012!
We at MoM Towers love whisky. Can’t get enough it. We also love the USA (yes, it’s true!), and we have a special place in our collective, malty heart for Craft Distillers. So, when we first heard about an American, whisky-producing craft distillery, our minds were blown. Blown, I tells ya! This was well before we even had a chance to behold the amazing beards of Chip Tate, Head Distiller at Balcones, and Jared Himstedt, the Production Manager at the Distillery. Once we saw what these chaps were sporting and making, we knew we would be hooked.
Chip Tate started up Balcones in 2008 and snatched the glory of producing the very first Texas whisky. Balcones is named for the fault line that runs through the south-western part of the state through Waco, Texas where the distillery is located. A dramatic illustrated interpretation of the Balcones Fault can be found in the logo and is truly representative of some of the flavour profiles found in their whiskies: ground-breaking and earth-quaking.
If there was ever a word so god damn awful it’s guaranteed to send a shudder down your spine it is the dreaded p-word – prohibition *a wolf howls in the background and you get the feeling you are being followed by a man with an axe*.
This was the boozeless condition that afflicted the United States of America for thirteen parched years thanks to the tireless campaigning of the American Temperance Movement.
The Movement advocated the ‘Noble Experiment’ to save society from the horrors of alcohol abuse throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and they succeeded in 1920 with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act which completely banned the sale of alcohol in the U.S.A.
This led to a decade and three years of corruption and violence across America as mobsters and moonshiners sought to bring alcohol illicitly to the understandably thirsty public before the Amendment was finally repealed in 1933.
It’s that time of year again - the weather has given up the pretence of caring, the trees are shedding their leaves like a sinking ship sheds ballast, and the sun can’t summon the energy to stay in the sky for longer than is absolutely necessary. Thankfully all is not lost as Diageo are about to release their much anticipated Special Releases Range.
Diageo is a multi-national drinks company that owns twenty-eight working distilleries and the remaining stock of a number of closed ones, and every year they release a selection of limited releases from some of these distilleries.
With such a large portfolio to draw from these whiskies tend to be the cream of the crop and get us whisky geeks slathering at their merest mention [go on, find a whisky geek and mention it, watch it slather…].
So this evening we all trooped to London to taste these high-demand whiskies in the warm and, more importantly, dry confines of The Deck at the National Theatre. Last time I was in this theatre I watched Benedict Cumberbatch (that guy off of Sherlock) prance around the stage as Frankenstein’s monster with nothing but his self-esteem to cover his modesty. This time I came armed with a notebook and pen - ready to record my experience of facing this enormous tackle of whisky.