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Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Jake Mountain

Fèis Ìle 2018 Day Three: Caol Ila

As Monday at Fèis Ìle draws to a close, we look back at the Caol Ila distillery open day.

Greetings traveller,

With Annie sadly heading back to the mainland, and Kristy having only just joined us on Islay this evening, it falls to yours truly to fill you in on all the action from Caol Ila day! Following, as it does each year, the lively festivities of Bruichladdich’s open day, Mondays at Caol Ila have always been a somewhat calmer affair by comparison in our experience. For many, however, who may have thrown themselves into all the delicious whisky proceedings with gusto, shall we say, this is often welcome! The difference between 2014 and 2018 seemed nevertheless clear to me: the distillery has succeeded in creating far greater buzz with more going on (live bands, food vans, whiskies, cocktails, stands) within a more focused area (the main courtyard).


Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Midleton Very Rare 2017 and Cask Circle – own a bottle or a cask!

  • Midleton Very Rare 2017 launches in Ireland
  • The distillery also launches The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, its new cask ownership club
  • Jake tastes Midleton Very Rare from every decade, including some of these newly available whiskeys
  • Lots of Irish whiskey to talk about here, as well as a bit of a sign off from yours truly, but feel free to skip ahead to the 2017 release, or to find out about more the Cask Circle

    First off, a bit of housekeeping. Yes, I’m still alive! You’ll no doubt have noticed a plethora of posts from our awesome new content team hitting the blog lately. It’s a team made up of our new editor Kristiane Sherry, fellow new faces at MoM Towers Annie Hayes and Adam O’Connell, and the one and only Sam Smith (he of Tom Hanks’ Big fandom and aversion to flying).

    You’ll notice that my name didn’t feature on that there list. Ooh, mysterious. Suffice to say that I’m still busy doing all sorts at MoM Towers. Emphasis on the busy – that’s how I’m keeping (especially with national present day fast approaching!*). I may chip in with very occasional blog posts going forward (so what’s new, exactly?), but it does rather feel like a passing of the torch moment as I’m typing this. Fitting, then, that this is a post about Irish whiskey, which you may have noticed over the years is one of my favourite topics (see older posts such as Irish Whiskey – Everything You Need To Know! as well as the more recent Spotlight on… Redbreast and interview with Master Blender Billy Leighton).

    Categories : Irish Whiskey, Whisky
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    The Macallan Whisky Trolley & Cheese Pairing in Oblix at The Shard

    With World Whisky Day around the corner, The Macallan have announced their latest collaboration with Oblix bar and restaurant on the 32nd floor of The Shard in London.
    Walking through the dark corridors of Oblix, having just been through The Shard’s airport-style security and then thrown up 32 floors in 15 seconds, is like being inside a Goa’uld mothership from Stargate. Once you turn the corner to enter the bar, however, everything opens up and panoramic views of London are revealed. On a bright day the effect as you emerge must be fantastic, but even on a particularly grey Thursday afternoon there’s reassurance that you’re still on earth and haven’t actually been kidnapped by symbiotic ancient aliens. Enough nonsense from me though – on to the whisky!

    Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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    Highland Park Valkyrie & New Viking Soul Packaging

  • Highland Park launches new Viking Soul packaging for their 10 Year Old, 12 Year Old and 18 Year Old core range
  • New Highland Park Valkyrie, made with around 50% fully peated stock, to replace Highland Park Dark Origins
  • 100% bourbon cask matured Highland Park FULL VOLUME to replace Highland Park 15 Year Old
  • At a global launch that took place in Denmark, Highland Park recently introduced new packaging that will be rolled out across their core range, their new brand positioning as “The Orkney single malt with Viking Soul” and further special editions. Nods to Norse mythology have, of course, been commonplace from the distillery for many years, but now that they’ve gone ‘full Viking’ let’s delve a little deeper into what it’s all about and what (if anything) this all means for the celebrated distillery’s beloved whisky.

    Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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    Introducing the Spirit of Yorkshire Whisky Distillery!

    Exciting new English whisky distillery Spirit of Yorkshire opens to the public this Easter, but they’ve been quietly working under the radar and laying down casks for the last few months. We headed to the Yorkshire Wolds earlier this week to find out the full details.
    Yorkshire. God’s own county. Also, now the location of a new independent single malt whisky distillery! Since we visited St George’s Distillery back in 2009 a number of projects have popped up all over England, which I’ll run through at the end of this post, but today we’re getting all excited about Spirit of Yorkshire!

    Categories : News, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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    Visiting the Reopened Jameson Distillery Bow St. in Dublin

    Pernod Ricard Jameson

    Jameson has reopened its Bow St. brand home in Dublin – formerly known as The Old Jameson Distillery – following an €11m redevelopment. We sent Jake over to Ireland for the lowdown on the new multi-sensory experience and masterclasses.
    First covered here on the blog during our interview with Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton a month ago, Jameson’s Bow St. brand home in Smithfield, Dublin has recently reopened following an ambitious €11m redevelopment. Now fully up and running, I paid them a visit last week.
    Located on the site of John Jameson’s original 1780 Irish whisky distillery, a Jameson visitor centre in Dublin was first opened back in 1997. By the summer of 2016 a significant refurb was required to bring the experience up to date and handle greater numbers of visitors (over-subscription and delays had become a real problem, by their own admission), but what they’ve achieved since September is pretty damn impressive.

    Categories : Irish Whiskey, News, Whisky
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    The Result of Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2!

    Whisky Mag Battle of the Blends

    Discover who has come out on top in Whisky Mag’s second Battle of the Blends in association with Master of Malt: is it Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley or George ‘Aegir’ Keeble…?

    Back in January we told you all about Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2, another battle for the ages that you could help settle in the most delicious way possible!

    The fates of reigning champion Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley and Soho Whisky Club’s George ‘Aegir’ Keeble were in your hands and now it’s time to find out who has claimed all glory…


    Categories : News, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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    Roe & Co Irish Whiskey and an interview with Brand Ambassador Peter O’Connor

    The launch of new Irish whiskey Roe & Co also sees Diageo return to Irish whiskey and the George Roe name return to bottles, plus there’s a new distillery in the works! We spoke to Roe & Co brand ambassador Peter O’Connor to get the full lowdown.
    There are at least four stories in one here so let’s take a quick look at each before we get a bit more detail in our interview with brand ambassador Peter O’Connor. The new release Roe & Co Irish whiskey – available now – is a blend of single malt and grain Irish whiskeys matured in ex-bourbon American oak casks, with a high proportion of those being first-fill. Priced at around the £30 mark it’s bottled at 45% abv, non-chill filtered and aimed at the ‘premium’ market with cocktails very much in mind (as we’ll hear from Peter shortly). Diageo, of course, owned Bushmills for years from 2005 onwards but agreed to sell it to Casa Cuevo towards the end of 2014, which has meant they haven’t had a stake in Irish whiskey – the fastest growing spirits category in the world – for the last couple of years.


    Categories : Cocktails, Irish Whiskey, News, Whisky
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    An interview with Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton

    We speak to Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton about Redbreast, the latest Irish Distillers news including Jameson’s renovated Dublin home and the growing Irish whiskey scene.
    Continuing from yesterday’s Spotlight on… Redbreast + WIN an incredible one-off Redbreast drawn straight from a single Sherry cask!, we had the chance to catch up Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton this week about all things Redbreast, recent developments at Midleton and in Dublin, their new brand Method And Madness and also the many burgeoning Irish whiskey distilleries. The interview was originally going to make up part of yesterday’s post but once we got Billy speaking passionately about single pot still Irish whiskey we knew this was going to be a post of its own. Are you sitting comfortably dear reader? Then let’s begin…

    Categories : Irish Whiskey, News, Whisky
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    Spotlight on… Redbreast + WIN an incredible one-off Redbreast drawn straight from a single Sherry cask!

    Redbreast whiskey

    ‐ Single pot still Irish whiskey is made using malted as well as unmalted barley (and up to 5% other unmalted cereals)
    ‐ The world’s best-selling single pot still Irish whiskey, the award-winning, rich and creamy Redbreast 12 Year Old is available for reduced price of £35.99 until St. Patrick’s Day!
    ‐ WIN two 70cl sample bottles of 16yo Redbreast drawn from a single Sherry cask selected by Master Blender Billy Leighton!

    With St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) just around the corner, we’re looking at Redbreast Irish whiskey from the truly excellent Midleton distillery in Cork. To mark the occasion we’re also reducing the price of delicious Redbreast 12 Year Old to £35.99 (down from £40) until the big day, which means there’s literally no reason not to buy a bottle immediately! It’s the best-selling single pot still Irish whiskey in the world and an absolute award magnet that’s adored by critics, but there’s more… Everyone who buys a bottle of Redbreast 12 Year Old from now until the end of St. Patrick’s Day will be automagically entered into our draw to win 2x totally exclusive bottles (as in ‘2 of 2′) of 16 year old Redbreast drawn from a single Sherry cask selected by Irish Distillers’ affable Master Blender Billy Leighton! More…

    Categories : Competitions, Irish Whiskey, Whisky
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