Magic happens on the darkest night according to Bowmore, and to prove it the company recently employed some of the dodgiest Scottish accents in North London to guide a group of slightly bemused drinkers through “a sensory-filled journey of exploration that conjures mystery, myth and legend.”
Some things are better in the dark. Nightclubs, hiding from people, sleeping… being Fred West… It’s an exhaustive list. Bowmore’s exploration of darkness and/or novel marketing strategies didn’t include any of these things, but we did get to try Bowmore 15 Darkest (do you get the theme yet? Do you?).More...
If you haven’t yet discovered Compass Box whisky it’s high time you did because the company produces some of the best Scotch blends on the market today.
And this month, the raptor-retinaed among you will have noticed we are running a really rather brilliant competition, and all you have to do is buy a bottle of Compass Box to enter!
The prize is superb – a bottle of the original, illegal Spice Tree, plus two very different whiskies from the company’s intriguing Canto Cask Range; Canto Cask 48 and Canto Cask 20 to be exact.
And even if you don’t win, every bottle of Compass Box you buy will be accompanied by a free dram of another Compass Box whisky. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m just off to buy a bottle of Flaming Heart and… what’s that? I’m not allowed to enter?
Ok, unfair as that seems (there are only 250 chances after all) instead I’ll tell you a bit about Compass Box.
The company launched in 2000, the vision of American blender John Glaser, ex-marketing director at Johnnie Walker.
John started his career in the wine trade where blended products are celebrated as much as their single varietal cousins. With whisky however it was, and to an extent still is, single malts that get all the glory.More...
Are you a single malt drinker of discerning tastes? Do you have the cocked eyebrow and furrowed brow of a whisky aficionado of esteem and worldliness?
Well, we regularly cock our eyebrows and furrow our brows (as evidenced by the photo of the devilishly charming Sir Roger Moore below).
We also find that most whisky liqueurs are too sweet for our liking. And are often made with cheap grain whisky, instead of top quality single malt. Eurrghh! This will not do!
So we decided to do something wholly unthought-of – we created a whisky liqueur for the single malt connoisseur.
This was much, much easier said than done though, in fact this liqueur has been literally months in the making. More...
We made a pact… To boldly offer samples of what no online retailer has ever offered samples of before. We started with some old favourites, and had some pretty exciting stuff on offer (including some show-stopping Glenfarclas Family Casks), but we never had anything quite like this…
We’re proud to announce a fantastic foray into the world of ultra premium spirits. Now you can try 3cl samples of mindboggling whisky that, until now, very few people have had the great privilege to try.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...
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...
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...
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…
The internet then - blogs and twittering, My-face, spacebook and so on... It seems to be the future doesn’t it? We decided we’d better get on-board, so I thought I’d use this inaugural post to tell you a bit about what makes us tick.
To start, a bit about the team ethos - we’re all passionate about Whisky here, Scotch, Japanese, bourbon, rye, Irish, European, we love it all - you’ll find no xenophobia here, just a healthy dose of whiskyphilia.
We’re on a mission to search out the most interesting, exciting, innovative and surprising drams from around the world, whilst maintaining a healthy respect for the traditional crowd-pleasing whiskies we first enjoyed so many years ago, and that have set us all on the path to spiritous Nirvana.