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Yamazaki Sherry Cask

by Michael Orson     16. February 2010 15:35

 Yamazaki Sherry Cask

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.

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Bushmills Millennium Malt – Incredibly Rare!

by Michael Orson     11. February 2010 12:26

 Bushmills Millennium Malt

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.

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Compass Box Lady Luck

by Michael Orson     5. February 2010 16:37

 Compass Box Lady Luck 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…

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Enlightenment, Synaesthesia and The Whisky Taster

by Michael Orson     29. January 2010 15:05

 Whisky pouring

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.

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Glengoyne Glenguin 16 Year Old Shiraz Finish

by Michael Orson     7. January 2010 16:22

 Glengoyne Glenguin 16 Year Old Shiraz Finish

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…

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Kilchoman Second Release

by Michael Orson     7. December 2009 18:49

Kilchoman Second Release

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.


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Amrut Fusion – East Meets West

by Michael Orson     30. November 2009 17:21

At Master of Malt, we’ve loved Amrut’s releases over the years, especially the awesome cask strength bottlings! Now Jim Murray has declared Amrut Fusion to be the Third Finest Whisky in the World with a whopping 97 points, we thought we’d have to offer our thoughts…

A little about the distillery…

The Amrut distillery was founded in Bangalore (or Bengaḷūru as it's known in India), an area known as India’s Silicon Valley. Originally producing dark rums and brandy, it wasn’t until the ‘80s that Amrut began to distil single malt.

Interestingly, Indian whisky is bottled after only a few years of ageing. The reason for this is the intense climate which speeds maturation to the extent that 12% of each barrel is lost every year to the angels’ share (more than 6 times that of Scotland!).

To create something completely original Amrut distilled Fusion from both Indian and Scottish barley and before tasting we’re already expecting Amrut’s trademark fruity, malty house style, so here goes…

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Yummers-zaki

by Michael Orson     16. November 2009 16:56

With so many amazing Japanese whiskies on the market we thought we’d review one of our favourites – the Yamazaki 18 Year Old, a whisky from the more thickly sherried, savoury school of Japanese malts.

A little about the distillery…

Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery and it was built by Suntory’s founder, Shinjiro Torii, in 1923. In Japan there are only two major players in whisky: Suntory and Nikka. Between them they control almost every distillery in the country.

Because of this there is no trading of malt and grain whisky between companies (as is the practice in Scotland’s whisky blending industry). Distilleries must be as self-contained as possible, so Yamazaki houses a whopping 12 stills of different type and configuration, allowing the distillery to produce a range of whiskies.

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