Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Annie Hayes

Fèis Ìle 2018 Day One: Lagavulin

Brilliant sunshine, cooper tutorials and Lagavulin and coke: welcome, one and all, to the very first day of Fèis Ìle 2018! Today’s blog spotlight dazzles upon the fabulous folks at Lagavulin Distillery on Islay’s south coast.

The sun is setting on the first day of Fèis Ìle, and what a day it’s been. After decamping from various Port Ellen hotels with armfuls of exclusive MoM t-shirts and drams of our own 23-year-old single cask Bruichladdich – Fèis Ìle-ers, there are more coming… – we whizzed across Islay to our new home on the Rhinns. I’m legally obliged to inform you that we have an unreal hot tub with a sea view, and you will find me in it in due course (special thanks to our marvellous hosts, The Whisky Lounge).
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Raise a glass to the Chelsea Flower Show with these floral whiskies!

This week, tens of thousands will descend upon the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to marvel at some of Britain’s most brilliant blooms. Indulge your inner Alan Titchmarsh with these fragrant drams – no green fingers necessary.

Chelsea Flower Show has graced the grounds of London’s Royal Hospital Chelsea every year since 1913 (except for during the two World Wars, naturally), in a room large enough to comfortably fit 500 London buses. This five-day floral spectacle is a British institution. It’s Crufts for flower fanatics.

If you’ve got hayfever just thinking about it, why not pay homage to horticulture from the comfort of your very own garden with a dram in-hand? After all, floral doesn’t necessarily have to mean ‘perfumed’.
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Categories : American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, World Whisky
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Toast the royal wedding! We reimagine the Royal Family as cocktails

Charge your glasses and ready your bunting, folks – the royal wedding is officially upon us! To mark the occasion in the only way we know how, we’ve reimagined 10 of the royal family as cocktail serves. Enjoy!

For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention (and apologies if you’ve been hiding from it all), tomorrow Prince Harry, sixth in line to the British throne, and Meghan Markle, actor and activist, will wed at Windsor Castle in what promises to be one of the most quintessentially British shindigs of the entire year.

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Categories : Cocktails, Gin, Rum, Scotch Whisky, Vermouth, Vodka, Whisky
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London Rye and beyond: East London Liquor Company on English whisky

Last week, East London Liquor Company steamrollered its original crowdfunding target of £750,000 in a mere 24 hours. Here, founder Alex Wolpert reflects on four transformative years, details the distillery’s next steps, and anticipates the future of English whisky with his hyper-local London Rye.

“It’s been quite a week,” a humble Wolpert tells me over the phone, and I don’t doubt him for a second. The gin, vodka and whisky distillery – east London’s first for more than a century – exceeded the £1 million marker of its Crowdcube campaign within four days, with investments ranging from £10 to £175,000. At the time of writing, ELLC is making clear headway on its amended target of £1.5m.

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Categories : Gin, News, Rum, Vodka, Whisky, World Whisky
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Science your way to a heavenly whisky Highball

Whisky Highball

No matter how devoted to the dram, pragmatic drinkers will admit there’s little joy in warm whisky on a baking hot day. Let London’s top bartenders equip you with expert tips and tricks to finesse your summer BBQ staple: the whisky Highball.

As the mercury rises in the UK, our thoughts turn to park picnics, beach BBQs and other sun-kissed gatherings. Straight whisky and searing heat do not happy bedfellows make, so honing your Highball technique is imperative.

The good news? You don’t need loads of fancy kit to craft this super-simple apéritif. “You can make a Highball anywhere, from your own kitchen to the fanciest bar you can imagine,” says Sean Fennelly, head of Fitz’s bar at The Principal hotel. “It should be as satisfying in your local pub as it would be from the American Bar at The Savoy.”
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Categories : American Whiskey, Cocktails, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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Brenne: The bold and beautiful French whisky

The concept of terroir in whisky has become a real talking point over the last few years – and no brand demonstrates sense of place more eloquently than Brenne. Professional ballerina-turned-whisky entrepreneur Allison Parc delves into the intricacies of her seed-to-spirit whisky, which is harvested, distilled and bottled in Cognac by a third-generation Cognac distiller…

As modern brand backstories go, French single malt whisky Brenne is particularly enthralling. If the prospect of organic estate-grown heirloom barley, fermented with a Cognac yeast strain, distilled in traditional Cognac stills, aged in new French Limousin oak and finished in ex-Cognac barrels isn’t compelling enough, the career path of founder Allison Parc certainly is. The New York native retired as a professional ballerina in the early 2000s, the beginning of a long journey that led her to swap Grande Jetés for Grande Champagne (well, almost).
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Categories : World Whisky
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Q&A: Balvenie’s malt master, David Stewart MBE!

When we heard that The Balvenie’s David Stewart was in town to launch a prestigious single malt collection at one of London’s most luxurious hotels, we jumped at the chance to meet him. He’s the world’s longest-serving malt master, and his services were recognised when he was awarded an MBE on the 2016 New Year’s Honours list. We get a snapshot of his life in Scotch whisky…

Last month, The Lanesborough introduced 2018: The Year of the Single Malt – an artfully-curated single malt collection that boasts some of the most coveted whiskies around, from classic Speyside drams to super-rare bottles. In doing so, it became the only place in Europe to serve The Balvenie 50-year-old Cask #4567 and DCS 1961 55-year-old whiskies, which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is a pretty sweet boast.

Stewart flew in from Glasgow to officially launch this most excellent collection, and made time in the midst of his hectic schedule to meet with MoM. As he celebrates 56 remarkable years in the Scotch whisky industry, Balvenie’s legend talks humble beginnings, favourite Balvenie bottlings and meeting royalty…

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Ten years of Balcones with head distiller Jared Himstedt!

It’s been 10 whole years since pioneering Texas distillery Balcones burst onto the American craft distilling scene! Here, head distiller Jared Himstedt reflects on a decade of experimental whisky-making (without the ‘e’), details his anniversary creation Texas Rye, and reveals why future projects mean the best of Balcones is yet to come…

From humble beginnings in an old welding shop under a bridge in Waco (operated by a team with no distilling experience to speak of, using equipment they built by hand), to a 65,000 square foot site almost 25 times the size, in 10 short years Balcones has quickly become a force to be reckoned with.

When the team set up shop, the US craft whisk(e)y scene was still very much in its infancy. Meticulous about each step of the distilling process, from grain varieties to fermentation processes to maturation choices, Balcones dared to be different from the very beginning; crafting the first ever Texan whisky, Texas Single Malt, and the world’s first blue corn whisky, True Blue.

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Categories : American Whiskey
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The stars align: 10 years of Starward whisky

Gone are the days where the word whisk(e)y solely referred to liquid produced in Scotland, Ireland, or America. Today, a fresh wave of whisky-makers across the globe, with their unique climates and natural resources, are offering malt fans a taste of regionality. David Vitale, founder of Australian whisky brand Starward, delves into the inner-workings of his distillery down-under…

When he founded Starward back in 2007, David Vitale penned the concept “a distinctly Australian whisky” in his notebook, and set out to define what that meant. Ultimately, he wanted a whisky that was “as distinctive as peat is to Islay whisky, in an approachable fashion”.

“We could have gone down the wattle or eucalypt path, but it wouldn’t have tasted all that great,” muses Vitale, who earned his whisky stripes working for Bill Lark at Tasmania’s Lark Distillery. “It had to be something that you could share with friends that wasn’t going to be an acquired taste or something you cross off your bucket list and then move on.

“With hindsight it’s bloody obvious that we should be using wine barrels to do that, but at the time it was a big leap of faith. If we could crack that nut, we’d have a whisky that’s more Australian than Scotch is Scottish.”
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Categories : World Whisky
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The Nightcap: 16 March

Nightcap

In this week’s edition of The Nightcap, Jim Beam fills its fifteen millionth bourbon barrel, a nineties boy band muses its first foray into Tequila, and a bar in the US crafts a cocktail stirred by sound…

But first things first, we couldn’t help but notice that there’s a little celebration happening this weekend called St Patrick’s Day. Perhaps you’re usually a green pint kinda person – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we are also green pint kinda people – and you’re looking to bolster your drinks repertoire. Perhaps you’re throwing a big bash and you want to impress people with Ireland-related knowledge. Perhaps you love Irish people more than anything in the world. Perhaps you are Irish. Maybe you just like reading things.

Whichever category you fit into, there’s a blog for that. This week we looked at the past, present and future of poitín, along with some cracking cocktail suggestions and top bottlings. We delved into the world of Irish gin and celebrated the best that the category has to offer. Then we admired the deliciousness that is Irish cream liqueurs, and showed you why you should be drinking them Right Now.

We also caught up with Alex Chasko, master distiller at Teeling Whiskey Company, to talk Irish whiskey innovations, on-site developments, and what the influx of new distilleries means for the sector, and chatted with Waterford Distillery’s CEO and founder Mark Reynier as he distills the ‘world’s first’ biodynamic Irish whiskey.

So loads, then. But wait! There were even more developments from the world of drinks this week. We’ve got the highlights right here…

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Categories : News
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