After one of the greatest montages in motion picture history (the training sequence in Rocky IV), came the epic fight between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago (a fight that ended with a victorious Stallone and also what looked like the beginning of the end of the Cold War).
A similar title fight took place in the whisky world last year, when Bruichladdich flexed its peaty muscles with Octomore, and Ardbeg came back with a well-placed right hook in the form of Supernova – the peatiest Ardbeg yet - weighing in with peating levels of over 100ppm!
The interesting thing was Bruichladdich’s riposte – Octomore 02.1, a monstrously phenolic whisky at 140ppm. The odd thing is, it just doesn’t knock your socks off like Supernova does. The ‘Laddie just doesn’t seem as punchy, and perhaps this is because Bruichladdich’s style is much lighter and fruitier than Ardbeg.
When we first tasted Supernova we were beguiled by the medium weight nose of toffee and tequila. It leads you into a false sense of security. What comes next is a palate entry of mescal, smoked paprika and iodine, and then it develops into the biggest chili hit you’ll ever experience in the world of spirits. It’s just mind-blowing! More...
Alchemy is one of Science’s earliest precursors; it is the tool the ancients used in the search of the three most desirable treasures known to mankind: gold, eternal life, and infinite knowledge.
The early Arab chemists - more conjurers and cooks than scientists - were obsessed with Alchemy’s elusive rewards, but they remained unattainable. They did, however, make one great discovery: alcohol – without which there’d be no whisky!More...
Signatory came up with an excellent game plan: find the best
single cask whiskies in Scotland,
and package them beautifully. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been very successful.
The range is staggeringly large, with an enormous breadth of
whiskies from all sorts of Scotch distilleries; some silent, many still up and
running, some grain whiskies and some from the most legendary distilleries in
There are several different Signatory lines, but the jewel
in the crown is the Cask Strength Collection. The range consists of natural
cask strength whiskies, almost all of which are from single casks. Every time
we’ve tried anything from the range we’ve been consistently delighted, so
imagine our joy when a set of 5 samples arrived through the letter box!More...
We’re proud to announce that we now stock whiskies from Adelphi. Over the years we’ve had the good fortune to sample quite a few Adelphi bottlings, and we’ve been very impressed, so we were thrilled when the new bottles arrived.
The Adelphi Distillery is actually one of the lost distilleries of Scotland, which operated from 1826 to around 1907. In 1880, the distillery was acquired by Messrs A. Walker and Co and it was Walker’s great-grandson, Jamie Walker, who restored the Adelphi name in 1993, but this time not as a distillery, as an independent bottler.More...
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...
Further to our prophetic post last week about Old Whisky, the release has been announced earlier today of the new Mortlach 70 Year Old - the oldest bottled Single Malt Whisky in the world. At a full 70 years old, this is one in the eye for Dalmore, whose recent super-high-end releases have never quite hit this magical age marker.
Bottled by Gordon and Macphail, an award-winning malt whisky specialist from Elgin – this super-luxury whisky has been produced and bottled in exceptionally small quantity from a Spanish Ex-Bodega Sherry Hogshead which was laid down in 1938. Click here to read more...
The presentation of whiskies of this age and calibre is paramount, and this release certainly does not disappoint. Presented in a crystal and Sterling Silver decanter, all housed in a hand-made box made from Brazilian Rosewood.
Whilst we’ve not (yet) tasted this world first of a dram, we can include below tasting notes from Charles Maclean..
Available now, and an absolute snip at only £9999!
Mortlach 70 Year Old
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:
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…
So then – Jim Murray’s 2010 World Whisky of the Year – the Sazerac Rye (fall 2008 edition) has been replaced by the all-new new fall 2009 edition, and it’s an absolute belter.
As far as we know, at the time of writing this post, we’re the only retailer in the UK to be offering this for sale – and there are only limited quantities available.
The delivery arrived at 09:30, and before the pallet was even off the lorry, a bottle had been snaffled, opened, and was in the process of being tasted. Here are the results:
Sazerac Rye 18 Year Old Fall 2009 Edition 45%
Nose: Huge and powerful sweet rye on the initial nosing gives way to cinnamon toasted brioche, leather, and more than a hint of maraschino cherry. A really huge hit of oak follows, somewhat vinous with it - we were reminded of a barrique aged chardonnay. There’s something slightly medicinal lurking somewhere - a hint of iodine perhaps? It’s definitely not out of place amongst the other huge aromas given off by this whiskey though. A slight suggestion of coconut right at the tail end.