Kilchoman has firmly cemented itself as a member of that most exclusive club of distilleries… a club whose members release whisky which sells out instantaneously.
Now we’re up to the third release of single malt from Kilchoman having had the Inaugural and Autumn 2009 releases (both aged for roughly 3 years and finished for a few months in Oloroso sherry butts).
The distillery (to the very west of Islay) is one of Scotland’s very smallest, producing some 90,000 to 100,000 litres of alcohol per year – the whisky is rare and, by proxy, sure to sell out quickly.
The Spring 2010 release was matured in fresh Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels for 3 years before a finish in what the distillers describe as “very active” Oloroso sherry butts. This was then vatted with another four casks of refill bourbon matured spirit before being brought down to bottling strength with water from the Octofad Farm on the Rhinns of Islay. More...
When we flung open the MoM shutters this morning we were greeted with the sound of birds chirping and children playing as blissful sunshine poured into the room.
We’ve earned this summer, having had the coldest winter for 31 years! Just imagine our chagrin last year, when the Met Office promised us a “barbecue summer” and instead we were given drizzle, and lots of it.
Positive Weather Solutions (who have been a tad more reliable than the Met Office and have a pleasingly optimistic name) have predicted Summer 2010 to be a record breaker, with a good chance of temperatures exceeding 2003’s high of 38.5C. This is good news indeed. More...
Old whiskies have always commanded respect from the drinking public. It is widely thought that the older the whisky, the better. Distilleries have always pushed for this, because they can demand higher prices, and the increased rarity of old whisky has helped cement their éclat. At Master of Malt, we think whiskies have a life span; some require a lot of ageing to reach their peak, and others need only a few years. There are some very young whiskies which have reached their full potential very early in life; Ardbeg 10 is an awe-inspiring single malt and we’ve only got good things to say about the 3 year old English Whisky Chapter 6!
It is undeniable, however, that there is something very special about extensively aged malt. We’ve been lucky enough to taste some great 40 year old whisky recently.
A single cask 40 year old Glenfarclas had this impression on us:
Judging the Book by Its Cover
You might remember, a couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Highland Park Earl Magnus. As we watched it fly off our shelves we got talking about packaging, and how important it is for luxury commodities – especially whisky. (NB we’re by no means saying we think it was all style and no substance - the whisky was great, scrumptious even!)
Anyhoo, there’s been a recent spate of success stories, from imperialistic decanters to cartoons and artistic fonts. Now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, but there were those who did it first, and did it well.
One of the innovators was Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company. The trio were friends and whisky connoisseurs - brothers Jon and Mark Geary, and David Robertson of Macallan fame – and their whisky was a far cry from some of the passé and overly conservative malts around at the time. To make doubly sure everyone knew this, the whiskies were given downright modish names; The Smooth Sweeter One and The Rich Spicy One, bedecked with caricatures of swarming beehives and Middle Eastern marketplaces of Hessian sacks filled with loose spices.More...
It’s a very dreary Friday afternoon here at MoM towers. We’ve gone from a horrid frost at the beginning of the week to a grim, drizzly day today, and we’re in desperate need of a little cheering up! Luckily we have just the thing! A consignment of the new – well ok, not that new – Yamazaki Sherry Cask - a beautifully dark whisky limited to 16,000 bottles worldwide.
Sherry Cask was launched in late 2009, and although there have been sherry matured whiskies from Yamazaki before, this has a higher outturn and is slightly more youthful – it being made of whiskies of around 12 to 15 years of age.
Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery, and the first cask ever to be filled was a sherry cask. To this day, Spanish oak is specially selected from northern Spain, before the local coopers turn them into giant, 500 litre butts. They are then taken to Jerez in southern Spain for a three year seasoning with rich Oloroso sherry.
In 1975, the Old Bushmills distillery laid down some very special “private casks” of whiskey to be bottled for the new millennium. Straight from the cask, with just a little water added, these would be unfiltered, single cask whiskey. This is Bushmills Millennium Malt
With Bushmills you’ll typically find flavours like sweet barley and fruit and the whiskey is silky and creamy in true Irish style. The 10 and 16 year olds have both seen sherry casks lending a nutty, raisin-like character, this character is very different in the Millennium Malt due to the exclusive American white oak maturation.
We recently got hold of a consignment of this rare old whiskey, and wanted to find out more about it. As you’d expect, single cask Bushmills like this is rare stuff indeed, with very little to be found. We think some of you will want to consider this as an investment malt and, based on market performance, it certainly makes sense. Limited edition Irish whiskey can appreciate remarkably well and old editions of Jameson and Midleton have massively increased in value over the last few years.
Many of you will be familiar with Ardbeg Serendipity; a 12 year old blended malt that sprung, rather fortuitously, from a little carelessness at the bottling plant. A few casks of very old Ardbeg were accidentally vatted with a small portion of young Glen Moray (a distillery which was also under Glenmorangie PLC’s umbrella at the time).
It’s the sort of story that sparks controversy. Perhaps it was indeed a little too serendipitous and might sound more like the work of a well paid marketing department than that of a hapless blender. At least a great whisky came out of it – which is the bottom line after all.
When John Glaser of Compass Box created Lady Luck, the inspiration was “a lucky blend." Sound familiar?
John vatted 25 and 29 year old casks of Caol Ila - a malt known for its oily, smoky character - and some 14 year old Imperial – a sweet, smoky Speyside. It sounds like the perfect marriage, let’s find out…
It’s interesting, and wonderful, to be in the company of whisky lovers. The air full of the bonhomie and personality that make a whisky show such great fun. There’s also a common trait amongst the enthusiasts; an ingrained appreciation for life’s small luxuries and, ultimately, the understanding that life’s luxuries all take time to reach fruition, and take time still to enjoy fully.
Without getting too “zen” about it all, it can be very satisfying to allow yourself to slow down and relax once in a while, and it is this strange “enlightenment” (too far?) that poses as a very fitting metaphor in James Graham’s latest play, The Whisky Taster.
With a demanding London as a bustling backcloth, Graham’s narrative follows Nicola and Barney, both marketing professionals, attempting to boost sales of a vodka brand.
Nicola, played by Kate O’Flynn, embodies the extroverted, fearless saleswoman persona. Samuel Barnett’s Barney is her polar opposite, whose shy reticence is compensated by the double-edge blade of his synaesthesia: a condition whereby sensory observations manifest themselves as colours.
Welcome back everyone! We hope you’ve had a great Christmas, and wish you all a very enjoyable 2010!
Over the festive season we’ve sampled a number of delicious whiskies - Christmas really is a great time for a good dram with some good company - and we wanted to mention one of favourite winter warmers.
At the time of writing, we’re surrounded by several inches of snow, and the thought of a little winter sun is rather appealing… Well, we present to you Glengoyne Glenguin 16 Year Old Shiraz Finish. A Highland single malt finished in Australian Shiraz casks for a touch of Antipodean joie de vivre!
The Shiraz casks come from the Glenguin wine estate in Australia’s Hunter Valley and it’s no accident that Glenguin and Glengoyne sound alike. It all began with Arthur William Tedder, born in Glenguin, Scotland to a Customs and Excise man at the Glengoyne distillery. Arthur was a pilot in the RAF during the First Wold War, as well as holding high command during the Second. After an eminent war career, Tedder was offered a peerage and became the 1st Baron Tedder of Glenguin. Arthur’s grandson, Robin Tedder, is one of Australia’s fifteen Masters of Wine and he also founded the Glenguin Wine Estate in 1988, which brings us back to the whisky…
Islay isn’t a very large island, in fact it only takes up a couple of hundred square miles. But somehow this mysterious, peat-laden isle is home to some of the most popular, colossal distilleries in Scotland.
Now the whisky world is buzzing with excitement, as a new, artisan distillery has begun producing single malt. Peaty, pungent and characterful single malt no less.
The distillery is Kilchoman, sited on a small farmstead to the West of Islay. It’s a small and traditional distillery, sourcing its ingredients from the surrounding countryside. It even boasts its own malting floors.
After being entirely stunned by the exceptional inaugural release, we couldn’t wait for what lay in store.