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Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Henry Jeffreys

Irish Distillers ramps up Jameson production with €150 million investment

As Irish whisky and Jameson in particular continues to boom globally, Irish Distillers will be spending €150 million to increase production, warehousing and bottling capacity in Cork and Dublin.

Irish Distillers, the company behind such legendary whiskeys as Jameson, Powers and Redbreast, has announced massive investment in sites in Cork and Dublin.

€130 million of the money will be spent in Cork on expanding and upgrading the already massive New Midleton Distillery to increase capacity. Exciting new equipment will include a mechanical vapour recompression evaporator, a third mash filter, and new fermenters. And that’s not all; they’re getting a new office building too.

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Categories : News
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Tasting Pol Roger’s Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2008

It’s been a great year for Churchill fans: Gary Oldman won an Oscar for Darkest Hour, Andrew Roberts released a Churchill biography, and best of all, Pol Roger have just launched a new vintage of their Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

Winston Churchill and Pol Roger go way back. I have seen an invoice from 1908 showing Churchill’s first purchase of Pol Roger Champagne, the 1895 vintage. The special relationship was cemented in 1944 (just after the liberation of Paris) at a lunch put on by the British ambassador to France where Churchill met with Odette Pol-Roger. They got on like a house on fire, no doubt helped by lots of the legendary 1928 vintage. Churchill became a great friend of the family and even named a racehorse after the house. In his last decade alone, he ordered 500 cases!

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Categories : We're drinking...
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William Larue Weller takes top spot in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2019

America wins World Whisky of the Year again in the new edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible but the big story is the rise of English and Welsh whiskies with a special section devoted to them.

The new edition of the world’s bestselling whisky book is out, and I’m afraid it’s bad news for the Scots with the title of World Whisky of the Year going to William Larue Weller (2017 Release) – the third consecutive American champion. Jim Murray commented on “its unique brilliance” and said it was the “the most delicious lesson in whiskey structure imaginable”.

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Categories : News
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Ardbeg launch limited edition 22 Year Old whisky

Brendan McCarron, head of maturing stock at the Glenmorangie Company, explains why you have to be a bit mad to enjoy Ardbeg new make, and gives us a preview of the new 22 Year Old limited edition, distilled when “the bulldozers were at the gates.”

It might surprise you to learn that Brendan McCarron is not a fan of Ardbeg new make – “Scandinavian whisky fans say they love it but I’m not sure I believe them.” He came up with some unflattering comparisons such as “warm beer drunk out of a can”. But what the new make has is “potential”.

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Categories : News
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Rum, Cocktails and Rugby with Santa Teresa 1796

Santa Teresa 1796 isn’t just one of the world’s classiest rums but the distillery in Venezuela also runs an inspiring program to help gang members give up a life of crime. CEO Alberto Vollmer was in London last week talking rum, rehabilitation and rugby.

“Yes, things are as bad as you hear, in some ways they are worse”, Vollmer was candid about the current crisis in Venezuela. The country’s deterioration means that Santa Teresa has had to find new markets for their rum. Their premium label, 1796, is now distributed globally by Bacardi, hence why I was talking to Vollmer in the splendour of the Rosewood Hotel in London. “As a Venezuelan brand to be in this room, in a city like London, is extraordinary”, he said.

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Categories : Features
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Finally, the Game of Thrones and Johnnie Walker whisky is on its way

Whisky is coming! After much teasing by Diageo, it has finally been revealed what the new White Walker whisky will be and when it will appear.

As you can imagine, those in the intersection where Game of Thrones and whisky fans meet are quite excited. Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO, said, “We knew there was fan appetite for a Game of Thrones whisky and once we saw the vision from Johnnie Walker for a way to collaborate we knew the idea was perfect and the time was now. From the beginning, they understood that we wanted to create something special, and they’ve accomplished that with White Walker by Johnnie Walker. We’re confident fans will enjoy sipping this delicious whisky as they wait for season eight and beyond.”

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Categories : News
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Our survival guide to whisky shows

The Whisky Show is back for a third year at London’s Old Billingsgate Market from the 29th to the 30th September. To get you in the mood, here is our survivor’s guide to whisky shows, including what to wear, what to drink and how to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

With dozens of exhibitors, hundreds of whiskies and thousands of people, whisky shows can be overwhelming experiences. It’s very easy to wander around in a daze going: “arrggghhhhhhhh! Too. Much. Choice.” Before you know it you might need a lie down without having scratched the surface of what’s on offer. To avoid whisky overload, simply follow our handy survival guide and literally nothing can go wrong. Literally. Nothing.

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Categories : Features
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The debatable details and directions of gin

With news just in from the WSTA that the gin boom is showing no sign of abating, we have a look at some potential problems in the category and find out what the industry is planning to do about it.

A forthcoming report from the WSTA (Wine and Spirit Trade Association) outlines how the gin craze is crazier than ever. British gin sales (domestic and export) broke £2 billion this year, doubling in value in five years, and sales are up 38% on last year. Time to crack open the gin and celebrate responsibly? Not so fast! There are clouds on the horizon. Firstly, in his next budget, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is planning a rise in duty on spirits of 3.4% in line with inflation. Booo! The second problem is more existential – it’s a debate as to the very nature of gin itself. So it’s time to put on our thinking berets and ask, what is gin?

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Categories : Features
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Craft Distilling Expo 2018: The epicentre of the craft distilling world

If you want to know what you’ll be drinking in the future, head over to the Old Truman Brewery for the sixth annual Craft Distilling Expo on 26th and 27th September. We give you the run-down on this essential event for distillers, buyers or just mad keen spirits lovers.

Fancy taking your spirits geekiness to the next level? Then Craft Distilling Expo is for you. It’s where the world of small and small-ish scale distilling meets to learn, shop and (most importantly) to sample some delicious drinks.

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Categories : Features
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Awesome antique Macallans alert!

Antique Macallan

With the arrival of 28 rare Macallan expressions, we take a moment to delve into the rich history of probably the most famous distillery in Scotland, if not the world.

The buyers at Master of Malt have been wearing their Indiana Jones outfits recently (they do actually have special outfits for whisky sleuthing) and have discovered a stash of rare Macallans that will have enthusiasts salivating. There are further details below, but we thought this was as good an excuse as any to look at a distillery that really does sanction the use of that overused word, iconic.

Macallan dates back to 1824 when a distillery was founded by Alexander Reid at Craigellachie. Many distilleries were built (and many illegal ones went legitimate) around this time due to the 1823 Excise Act which liberalised licensing laws. The distillery passed through various owners until 1892 when it was bought by Roderick Kemp, a giant of whisky who at one point owned Talisker, though not at the same time as The Macallan. He completely rebuilt the distillery and renamed it Macallan-Glenlivet. It was common practice to add ‘Glenlivet’, the area’s best-known whisky, as a suffix to your distillery. Nowadays many distilleries would love to put Macallan after their names, though I think Macallan’s lawyers would have something to say about that.

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Categories : News
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