Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Author: Kristiane Sherry

See inside the new Macallan distillery!

Last month we were spirited away to Speyside for something very special indeed: a sneak-peek, behind-the-scenes tour of The Macallan’s remarkable new single malt whisky distillery and the opportunity to quiz the people behind it. Of course, we jumped at the chance…

When a press trip starts with a non-disclosure agreement, you know you’re on to something good. That’s exactly how we kicked off proceedings in the sumptuous surroundings of Easter Elchies House, The Macallan’s spiritual and very traditional home, in mid-April. The sizeable Speyside estate was bathed in sunshine, from the incredible warehouse farm at the top of the hill (The Macallan matures every single one of its 300,000-odd whisky casks on-site), down to the broad and babbling River Spey, swollen by late snowmelt in the spring warmth.

In between lies the focal point of the visit. A 120-metre-long, spaceship-like, undulating swathe cut into the rolling hills of the estate, small triangular vents popping up from the complex, grass-covered roof formed from 2,500 tessellating elements. A giant, continuous glass fluctuation fronts the whole thing, sleek and rippling like the River Spey itself. This is no ordinary distillery.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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The Nightcap: 18 May

It’s Friday, which means the weekend is here – and with it we’ve got another edition of The Nightcap! Read on for your handy digest of the week’s biggest booze news, all in one useful place!

It’s Friday, folks! Congratulations on making it through another week. It’s been a busy one in the world of all things sippable, so we suggest you get comfy, pour yourself a dram/G&T/anything else that takes your fancy, and join us as we recall another busy seven days in drinks.
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Categories : Cocktails, Gin, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Wine
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The Nightcap: 11 May

Folks, it’s Friday! And it’s been another busy one in the world of drinks. Thank goodness then for The Nightcap, a handy round-up of boozy goings on in one easily sippable digestif!

This week we have news of a rather exciting Game of Thrones/whisky tie-up, awards galore from Spirit of Speyside, a bold new bottle design and a Tabasco sauce update. Oh yes!

But first, we must recap the week that was, and for us on the UK it was a short one after the Early May Bank Holiday! So after a Monday snooze, on Tuesday we caught up with Cara Laing, director of whisky at independent bottler Douglas Laing, as the family-owned company marks its 70th anniversary. Then it was all about The Glenlivet on Wednesday, as the Speyside distillery revealed the results of a dabbling in Cognac cask finishing. We also checked in with the team at Scarfes Bar, London – the new recent history-inspired menu is sure to be a hit.
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Categories : American Whiskey, Beer, Cocktails, Irish Whiskey, News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, Wine
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Get in on the hybrid spirits trend with these delicious drops!

Any 2018 drinks trend round-up worth its salt will mention ‘hybrid spirits’. But what the hell are they, are they any good, and why should we bother anyway when the composite parts are already tasty on their own? We scoured the MoM warehouse shelves and found five delectable examples of the deliciousness that can occur when spirits worlds collide…

Gin that thinks it’s a wine? Whiskies made in one place and matured in another? Vodka with a hint of Cognac? For spirits purists (and many of the rest of us) the booze world has gone a bit bonkers of late. So-called hybrid spirits – where one or more drinks categories blur boundaries for a new expression, basically the Transformers of tipples – are billed as the innovative brave new world of liquor, developed to court picky consumers with a thirst for the original. But are they actually any good?
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Categories : Cognac, Gin, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Vodka, Whisky, Wine
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Glenlivet launches Cognac cask-finished single malt: Captain’s Reserve!

In a product launch said to ‘push the boundaries of modern Scotch’, Speyside distillery The Glenlivet has tiptoed on terrain where few have gone before and released a Cognac cask-finished whisky: meet Captain’s Reserve!

The Glenlivet is unarguably a single malt stalwart. Founded right back in 1824, the distillery has been front and centre of single malt whisky for generations and has rightly built a reputation as a time-honoured classic. So when news reached MoM Towers that a Cognac cask expression was forthcoming, it’s an understatement to say we were very interested.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Douglas Laing: 70 years in whisky!

Douglas Laing Cara Laing

It’s a mega year for Douglas Laing. Not only is it the independent whisky bottler’s 70th anniversary, the family-owned business is also in the process of constructing its very own distillery. We caught up with director of whisky (and third-generation family member) Cara Laing for the very latest developments in a milestone 12 months.

Cara Laing embodies the very definition of whisky enthusiast. We’re tucked away up in the cosy Sample Room at Douglas Laing HQ – all squishy Chesterfield sofas, plush cushions and walls stacked near-floor to ceiling with countless samples, all gleaming like stained glass in the sunshine – when she comes bounding in. Some industry folks (inadvertently, I’d hope) give the impression that they’re simply done with the never-ending roster of inquisitive drinks journalists, nosy, interfering and thirsty with questions. But not Cara. She’s positively beaming.

“I love what I do and I’m very lucky,” she says as we settle down on one such sofa to chat all things Douglas Laing. “I relish coming to the office.”
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The Nightcap: 4 May

It’s Friday, it’s cocktail o’clock (here in the UK anyway), so there’s only one thing for it. Bring on this week’s round up of all things booze news: it’s The Nightcap!

Happy Star Wars Day, folks! Yep, somehow it’s May already. But no need to fear, The Nightcap is here, bringing you the biggest and booziest news stories from the last seven days!

But before we get into agave-fuelled business deals, new bottlings and all things baijiu, let’s recap the week that was. We kicked off proceedings on Monday with our latest charity auction: snap up the super-rare The Macallan 40 Year Old Sherry Oak and raise a marvellous chunk of moolah for our nominated charity, Malaria No More UK! On Tuesday, Adam reported back from the launch of The Singleton’s Malt Master’s Selection – a single malt looking to ‘do a Haig Club’ and make whisky accessible to new audiences. Will it be a success? Time will tell.

Then it was time to reveal not just May’s Dram Club contents, but also the results of the epic Battle of the Blends: Challenge No. 3. Who was victorious? Did your favoured blend win? Find out in the post. And finally, we checked in with The Lakes Distillery’s whiskymaker-in-chief, Dhavall Gandhi, who lifted the lid on his liquid experiments. Intriguing…
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Categories : American Whiskey, News, Scotch Whisky, Tequila, Whisky
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Q&A: The Lakes Distillery’s Dhavall Gandhi!

Earlier this year we headed up to Cumbria to check out The Lakes Distillery, the National Park’s first legal spirits producer. It would have been rude not to catch up with Dhavall Gandhi, whisky-maker-in-chief, to find out more about his plans for the (shortly to come of age!) whisky, the distillery’s wood programme, and how the former-Macallan man got into whisky full stop…

Dhavall Gandhi is a busy chap. We were planning to chat in person when Team MoM travelled to The Lakes Distillery earlier this year. We were on a mission to check out the production area, the award-winning Bistro (it’s gooooood) and even meet the on-site alpacas (top tip: they’re fluffsome but not the friendliest. But head up on certain days and you’ll be able to encounter them up close). Gandhi was called away to the US just before the visit – there were casks to check out. His trip sums up the intense focus on wood – more on that later – and meant that when we caught up on the phone shortly afterwards, there was a lot of ground to cover.
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Categories : World Whisky
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Very Exciting Whisky Auction Alert: Macallan 40yo AND 50yo are here!

Fans of The Macallan listen up: we’ve only gone and got one bottle of The Macallan 40 Year Old Sherry Oak and one bottle of The Macallan 50 Year Old! Clearly these are two very exciting single malt Scotch releases, and we’ll be auctioning both here on the site, with everything over RRP being donated to our nominated charity, Malaria No More UK.

So. The Macallan’s super-old expressions are highly sought-after (and are, frankly, exceedingly delicious). 40-year-old and 50-year-old releases just don’t come along every day. These are proper once-in-a-lifetime bottlings from a classic Speyside distillery, and interest is high. So, following on from our The Macallan in Lalique 65 Year Old – Peerless Spirit auction last year (when we raised over £6k for Malaria No More UK!) it’s time for its 40- and 50-year old siblings to take the spotlight!

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The Nightcap: 27 April

A record-breaking Macallan sale, a new Islay distillery, the star bartenders of the future and… the world’s finest cucumber specimens?! It can only be The Nightcap!

We often get excited about the goings on in The Nightcap. Booze is a bustling sector and there’s always a plethora of news and views to round up the week that was. But today… well! It’s the chunkiest Nightcap yet. Best pour yourself a dram, cosy up, and we’ll get stuck in.

So what’s been going down over on the blog? We wished Benromach a happy 20th anniversary and checked out its commemorative bottling, and then hightailed it up to London to mark St George’s Day with English whisky pioneer, Bimber. On Wednesday we took an in-depth look at GlenAllachie’s first releases under Billy Walker’s stewardship, and even got the man himself on the phone to chat distillery developments. Speaking of distilleries, we also checked in with Ian Stirling, co-founder of Port of Leith Distillery, one of the three in the race to become Edinburgh’s first single malt maker in over a century. Then there was the small matter of Jameson’s first cask-strength whiskey

And as The Nightcap shows, that’s a mere drop on the ocean when it comes to booze news this week! Here we go…
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Categories : American Whiskey, Cocktails, Gin, Irish Whiskey, News, Scotch Whisky
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