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Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Henry Jeffreys

New release from Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare range on the way

Johnnie Walker ain’t afraid of no ghost – the second bottling in the Blue Label Ghost & Rare series has been announced, featuring whisky from Islay’s legendary Port Ellen distillery at the heart of the blend.

This week Diageo announced the launch of the (deep breath) Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Port Ellen, or JWBLG&RPE for short. It may sound like two whiskies, but is actually a new blend created by Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge and his team. It gets its spooky name because it’s based around whisky from legendary ghost (ie. closed) Islay distillery Port Ellen, as well as two lost grain distilleries – Carsebridge (which closed in 1983) and Caledonian (which closed in 1988). These priceless whiskies are then blended with some very rare malts from non-ghostly distilleries – Mortlach, Dailuaine, Cragganmore, Blair Athol and Oban.

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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How to order wine at a restaurant

Feel lost ordering a bottle in a restaurant? Want to impress a friend/partner/hot date and paralysed with The Fear? We can help! Read on for an actual sommelier’s top tips for tasty wine every time.

Picture the scene: you’re at a swanky restaurant. You’ve just been handed the wine list and everyone is looking you expectantly. The waiter glides over to take your order but just at that moment your mind goes blank, so you point to a name that looks vaguely familiar and when the wine comes, it’s a bit disappointing. We’ve all been there. But now help is at hand from Donald Edwards, the sommelier at hot new restaurant St Leonards in Shoreditch*, the brainchild of chefs Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke. It’s been described by Marina O’ Loughlin in the Sunday Times as “a classic in the making” – so you’ll want to pay attention. Here, Edwards gives us his top tips on how to get the most from a wine list.

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Categories : Wine
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Mortlach reveals three new whiskies

The Beast of Dufftown is back at it again. Mortlach has unveiled a trio of single malt whiskies for its core range, including 12 year old, 16 year old and 20 year old expressions.

Today mighty Speyside distillery, Mortlach, aka the Beast of Dufftown, announced the launch of three new expressions: the 12- year-old “Wee Witchie” bottled at 43% (RRP £50), the 43.4% 16-year-old Distiller’s Dram (RRP £80) and also at 43.4% the 20- year-old Cowie’s Blue Seal (RRP £200). Mark Brunton, Distillery Manager, said: “The 16-year-old is a classic Mortlach expression, while the 12-year-old offers a strong distillery character through its use of refill casks. The 20-year-old offers a balance of character and distillery character with active wood.”

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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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Whisky is Coming!

Diageo and HBO have announced The Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection, with more details to come over the coming months.

It’s all a bit mysterious at the moment – like that bit in seasons five and six where Arya Stark spent what seemed like centuries in the Hall of Faces – but Diageo has released a short film on social media announcing a Game of Thrones single malt collection. It will feature eight whiskies: Lagavulin, Oban, Singleton, Talisker, Cardhu, Royal Lochnagar, Dalwhinnie and Clynelish.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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All aboard! We join Starward to taste its ocean-aged whisky

What happens to whisky when it’s aged not in a warehouse but on the front of an enormous cruise liner as it sails around the world? We join Starward founder David Vitale for the first taste of an expression that has undergone just that…

It’s not every day that you’re invited on board the MS Queen Elizabeth, a 294-metre long ocean liner in the Cunard fleet. Sadly we were at Southampton Docks with a lovely view of Ikea instead of heading off on a cruise around the Caribbean. And it was drizzling. But we weren’t there for the views or the weather; we were there to try some whisky – and Starward whisky at that!
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Categories : World Whisky
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Q&A: Brian Ashcraft, author of Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Desirable Spirit

Fancy finding out about Japanese whisky but don’t know where to start? ‘Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Desirable Spirit’ certainly sounds like a good place to start. We chat to the author, Brian Ashcraft…

On the blog today we are delighted to have Brian Ashcraft, author of a beautiful book called Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Desirable Spirit. It’s a brilliant introduction to a complicated subject and, just to make your life even easier, at the end Brian has picked his favourite Japanese whiskies from the Master of Malt range.

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Categories : Japanese Whisky, Whisky
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Q&A: Dave Pickerell, Whistlepig master distiller!

We caught up with Dave Pickerell as he zoomed into London on a flying visit to launch WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 whiskey (available exclusively here, FYI!), first at a rammed tasting at the Bloomsbury Hotel and later at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair. He’s a busy man but he managed to give us half an hour of his undivided attention to tell us about his obsession with all thing rye…

WhistlePig is a distillery that’s made the headlines for many reasons over the years, from founder Raj Bhakta’s original dream of making rye whiskey in Vermont and its first releases to the brand’s cameo in Breaking Bad and everything in between. We meet master distiller Dave Pickerell to discuss recent events as WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 hits the shelves here in the UK.

MoM: Hello Dave, welcome to London, could you tell us how you first got into making whiskey?

Dave Pickerell: I enrolled at the University of Louisville and was studying for my Masters degree (in chemical engineering) and discovered that I’m an idiot savant at distilling! Truly, it’s not about smarts; it’s about some innate sense that I can close my eyes and see molecules running around in a still and know where they’re going next and why. My mentor told me that the beverage alcohol industry needed me. And there was a small consulting firm in Louisville that did nothing but beverage alcohol and they’d just landed a contract and it was more than they could handle and they needed another chemical engineer. I got to work in China, Mexico, Canada, Scotland, the Dominican Republic, and all over the US. I learned about fine spirits, and lousy spirits, all over the world.
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Categories : American Whiskey
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Imbibe 2018: What goes on at the UK’s biggest booze trade show

Imbibe Live: You might have heard of it. You may even have been along to it. It’s one of Europe’s top drinks trade shows where trends are spotted and ideas shared. Want to know what you’ll be drinking next? Our Henry headed to Imbibe 2018 to find out…

There’s always a moment when I first arrive at a trade show where I feel like a rabbit in the headlights. I am sure this would happen to me at Photocopier Expo but at Imbibe Live, one of Europe’s largest on trade shows, I was particularly overwhelmed with the bibulous possibilities on offer. Thank heavens then for Pol Roger, which had a quiet tent offering bacon sandwiches and its vintage 1999 Champagne – just the thing at 10 in the morning. While I nibbled, chairman of Pol UK, James Simpson, told me about a stash of ancient bottles that they had just discovered in a cellar that collapsed 118 years ago. Apparently they are in great condition. I am now waiting for an invite out to Epernay to try one. Watch this space.
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Categories : Gin, Irish Whiskey, Vermouth, Whisky, Wine
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All hail the apéritif! Author Kate Hawkings on the art of pre-dinner cocktails

We have a very special guest on the blog today: it’s Kate Hawkings, drinks writer, restaurateur and now author of a book on apéritifs called, controversially, Aperitif.

Aperitif contains recipes and tips but also some interesting history behind brands like Campari as well as drink-based anecdotes from Kate, including one about turning down an Italian smoothie (a suave man, I mean, rather than a thick drink made from fruit) in a Jaguar E-type. What I gained most from the book is that a good apéritif is more than just a drink, it’s a way of life. A sip of vermouth with an olive can transport you to a backstreet bar in Barcelona when you’re actually on an industrial estate just outside Tunbridge Wells.
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Categories : Cocktails, Gin, Vermouth
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Steven Soderbergh launches Bolivian spirit in London

On Monday night we were at Flemings Hotel in London’s swanky Mayfair district for a very special launch, Singani 63, a new spirit brought to you by Steven Soderbergh. Yes, that Steven Soderbergh. We managed to get an exclusive interview with the man himself which will run next week but meanwhile here’s a little primer on Singani:

What is Singani?

Singani is the national drink of Bolivia. It’s essentially an unaged brandy but it differs from Pisco – a similar drink from Peru and Chile – in that it can only be made in Bolivia from Muscat of Alexandria grapes which are grown at very high altitude, around 6000 feet, this gives them a fresh floral quality. Furthermore because the spirit has to be distilled at high altitude where liquids have a lower boiling point, that delicate aroma isn’t damaged by heat.

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Categories : News
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