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Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Henry Jeffreys

Salcombe Distillery: a Devon gin producer with big ideas

Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Distillery, tells us about collaborations with top chefs and prestigious wineries, why he doesn’t want to just make a regional gin, and explains how to differentiate yourself in a crowded marketplace.

Lugsdin’s background was in oil and gas exploration, but inspired by childhood holidays in Salcombe on the south Devon coast, he set up Salcombe Distillery in 2014 with friend Howard Davies. It began distilling in 2016.

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Categories : Features
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Inside Crucible – the laboratory where London’s wildest cocktails are born

In this short video we take a look inside Crucible in East London, part laboratory, part work space, and part social club. It’s somewhere where bartenders can meet, exchange ideas and play around with high-tech equipment like centrifuges and rotary evaporation.

The man behind the operation is Stuart Bale. Originally from Glasgow, Stuart was training as a dentist but the lure of booze was too strong. He worked with Tony Conigliaro at 69 Colebrooke Row, where many of Britain’s most innovative bartenders cut their teeth. In the past, bars would closely guard their recipes and techniques but, according to Bale, “ideas are now swapped between bartenders around the world”. Crucible is a place where people can meet and magic can happen. One important thing before watching the video, don’t call it ‘The Crucible’; that’s a place in Sheffield where the snooker takes place! It’s ‘Crucible’, no definite article. Got that? Right, let’s cocktail!

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Categories : Features
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10 of the scariest cocktails to drink in bars on Halloween

Get in the spirit (geddit??) of Halloween with some special spooky cocktails. We round up the scariest, the most outlandish, and the downright weirdest drinks available this week.

Before fancy American pumpkins arrived on these shores, children carved turnips to create jack o’ lanterns. Yes really. It was back in the days when there only three channels on television and bobbies on bicycles would give children a friendly box round the ear for being cheeky. In remembrance of those more innocent times, Be At One Bar in Manchester is offering a free ghoulish cocktail to anyone who brings in a carved turnip in the run up to Halloween. They’re not the only ones doing exciting alcoholic stuff for the scariest night of the year; nowadays there’s more to Halloween drinking than overboiled mulled wine. And too bloody right! Why should the children get all the delicious stuff? So here’s a round-up of the best ghoulish cocktails around. All of them taste better while dressed as Frankenstein’s monster. That’s science.

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Categories : We're drinking...
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The Old Fashioned: The original cocktail

With Old Fashioned Week (1 – 10 November) on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to take a closer look at a cocktail so good that they named a glass after it.

After years when it was thought, well, a bit old fashioned, the Old Fashioned is now decidedly hip. A week devoted to its pleasures was started in 2015 by two Frenchmen, Michael Landart from Maria Loca bar in Paris, and Cyrille Hugon, founder of Paris Rumfest. The first year there were 50 participating bars, all in France; this November they are expecting over 1000 participants on every continent. So to get you in the mood, find a comfy chair, pour yourself a drink (recipe at the end), and we will take a journey back in time…

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Categories : Features
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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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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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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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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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