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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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