The Next Batch of Whisky Samples
The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the birds are just about to start getting on our nerves. But times are good, and after launching Drinks by the Dram – our whisky sample service – the Master of Malt offices have become organized chaos.
The samples are flying off the shelves and we’ve been flooded with emails and phone calls from you all, telling us how much you like them.
We’ve made a solemn pledge to keep adding loads and loads of new samples to the site every day, so this morning we gathered around the board table (sat in a huddle on the lawn) and came up with the day’s batch of whiskies to “dram” (turn into samples). More...
Bruichladdich’s New Releases for 2010
The Bruichladdich distillery is one of Scotland’s most innovative. Their back catalogue is massive, and they are constantly finding new ways of breathing new life into a centuries old industry.
Peating levels, barley strains and distillation methods are all fair game for their whisky alchemy and Jim McEwan, the Master Distiller at ‘Laddie, is an ardent fanatic when it comes to sourcing casks – they’ve used casks from first growth Bordeaux wineries – a 16 year old Château Lafite Finish for example - we’ve sampled a wonderful Guyanan rum finish and have even witnessed them delve into the occult with the 1989 vintage Black Art, finished in bourbon barrels and a medley of wine casks in the “stygian darkness of Warehouse No.12” (the tin and bottle are even emblazoned with a rather sinister looking pentagram!). More...
The third batch of Diageo’s Managers’ Choice whiskies is looming (which you can preorder from us now), following the first two batches in September 2009 and January 2010 (with the fourth and final batch set for May of this year). Ultimately the complete selection will feature a single cask bottling from every one of the 27 working distilleries owned by Diageo, which is a noteworthy feat, and quite a talking point amongst whisky drinkers. 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:
Yet more amazing samples of Japanese Whisky have turned up with us from the lovely folks at No 1 Drinks Company, so to whet your appetite – we’ve done a few tasting notes…
Both Whiskies are from the closed Distillery, Hanyu, Located in southern Japan. Both will be available in late spring… Subscribe to our twitter feed, and we’ll let you know exactly when they come in…
Hanyu Cask# 9305 Number One Drinks Company 53.4%
Bottled by Number One Drinks Company
Nose: Very full and fruity, peaches, calvados, hint of bourbon too, that tangy fruity top note you get in bourbon.
Palate: Fruity, Sweet and sour, quite meaty, some mushrooms, tangy,
Finish: Becomes Drying, refreshers sweets.
Overall: Very good – meaty, but not over the top.
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...
We know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the results of the £1,500 Glenfarclas prize draw, and we’re pleased to say that this morning, one lucky customer has been drawn from the 250 entrants, and will shortly receive the prize of a bottle of single-cask 40 year old Glenfarclas.
So, without further ado, the lucky winner is order number 1266770 - Mr Eamon Roque.
Congratulations to Eamon, who will be receiving his bottle within a few days, and to those who sadly didn’t win this time, keep your eyes on the site, as we’ll be holding another prize draw in not too long.
For now though – why not have a look at our new headline offer – the spectacular Bowmore 26yo.
The Chaps at Master of Malt
After many weeks of unsubstantiated rumblings about a new bottling from Ardbeg, the rumours can finally be dispelled.
Upon visiting Ardbeg’s website, one discovers an absolutely intriguing page, reminding us more than a little bit of Scooby-doo cartoons of yesteryear.
The Bruichladdich distillery is Islay’s most radical and its innovative practices have brought to bear over 130 different whiskies since the new ownership took the helm at the turn of the millennium; by no means is this your traditional, old fashioned Islay Scotch distiller.
With this in mind, it seems almost odd that Scotland’s oldest pot still is to be reinstated at the distillery and returned to its former grandeur once more. “Wash Still Number One” was originally commissioned in 1880 by the Harvey brothers – the founders of Bruichladdich.
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.