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Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Henry Jeffreys

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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Q&A: Moses Odong, Cabby’s Rum founder

The winner of The Rum & Cola Trophy at this year’s IWSC wasn’t from Jamaica or Cuba; it was Cabby’s Rum from London. We met with its founder Moses Odong, who you won’t be surprised to hear is also a cab driver. On the agenda? Rum, Bradley Wiggins and whether the Knowledge makes you a better distiller…

A railway arch in Bow, East London, is probably the last place on earth you’d expect to find a rum distillery, but step inside the home of the Taxi Spirit Company and there’s a gleaming copper and stainless steel still. Its proud owner, Moses Odong, took the time out of his busy schedule of distilling, cabbing and being father to four children (how does he have the time?) to answer some searching questions.

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Categories : Features
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GlenDronach Revival 15 Year Old is back!

Rejoice, whisky fans! Much-loved expression GlenDronach Revival 15 Year Old is making a much-anticipated return. We travelled up to Scotland to taste the new liquid – and it was well worth the trip.

July 2015 was a black month for Scotch whisky lovers. Just over three years ago, it was announced that GlenDronach’s 15 year old Revival single malt was being discontinued. Aged in oloroso and Pedro Ximénez casks and first launched in 2009, The Revival had become a cult whisky among the cognoscenti. There were whisky-scented tears all over the internet when the distillery’s owners, the BenRiach Distillery Company, announced its demise citing lack of maturing stocks. But you can now dry those eyes as we can exclusively reveal that GlenDronach Revival 15 Year Old is back!
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Categories : News, Video
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Checking out Kentish rum at Greensand Ridge

A rum distillery in the garden of England? Yes indeed! We take a trip to Greensand Ridge Distillery.

Distilleries don’t come much smaller than Greensand Distillery. Located in leafiest Kent just up the road from Master of Malt HQ in Tonbridge, it’s housed in converted stables and employs just two people: founder Will Edge and Chris Poole, a former bartender who looks after sales. “Having only two people keeps the risk low but makes the work harder,” Edge told me when I visited recently. “It means a lot of late nights.” He uses a combined pot and column still which means he can make a wide variety of spirits in a small space. The rest of the stables is crammed with barrels and fermentation equipment.

When I visited the air was alive with the heady smell of rum low wines coming off the pot still. “Rum is tricky to make, there is so much sugar that it’s a toxic environment for yeast; it needs a long fermentation,” he explained. After the low wines have been collected, he puts them through a column still on a “stripping run to remove sulphur”. The idea, according to Edge, is to make a “soft, subtle rum, a floral spirit that doesn’t need lots of ageing”. It’s spends a year in ex-bourbon casks, and emerges sweet, spicy and as smooth as David Niven in a velvet DJ.
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Categories : Features
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Why sherry and Scotch are a match made in heaven

Sherry cask-finished whisky is nothing new, but just why does the combination work so well, and why have the butts become so important? We investigate the magic of sherry and Scotch

All whisky lovers know that sherry casks and Scotch go together like Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, but the term ‘sherry cask’ isn’t as simple as it may at first appear. To get to the bottom of this much misunderstood part of the whisky process, I spoke to Donald Colville, Diageo global malts ambassador, about sherry, whisky, history, and Talisker’s super fancy recently launched Bodega Series 40 Year Old single malt.
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We paid a visit to Copper Rivet in Kent

What’s more exciting than a local whisky distillery? One that makes gin, vodka and an intriguing Port-like wine, too! We have a nose around Kent’s Copper Rivet distillery and get to sample some very intriguing spirits indeed…

The building that houses the Copper Rivet Distillery looks like it should be in a piazza in Siena rather than amongst the retail parks of what used to be the Royal Naval Dockyards in Chatham, Kent. A former pump house, it lay derelict for years until it was spotted by Matthew Russell who was having a picnic over the River Medway at Upnor Castle. His family had been looking all over the country for a place to start making gin, but when he saw those Italianate arches, he thought “bingo” (or perhaps “gingo”).

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