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Master of Malt Blog

Category: News

The Nightcap: 26 February

The Nightcap makes its final February appearance for 2021 with news on record-breaking whisky, a host of new releases and the life-affirming effects of gin-soaked raisins. Happy Friday, folks. If…

The Nightcap makes its final February appearance for 2021 with news on record-breaking whisky, a host of new releases and the life-affirming effects of gin-soaked raisins.

Happy Friday, folks. If you’re in England, you’re no doubt excited or anxious about the roadmap to end the country’s lockdown measures. It makes you think that at some point all this will just be a bizarre collective memory we share. But while we wait for normality to return, we still need to find ways to pass the time. And thankfully there’s always enough going on in the drinks industry to keep us entertained. Just look at this week’s Nightcap, for example. It’s bursting at the seams with boozy happenings.

As was the MoM blog this week, as Kristy revelled in her good fortune at tasting the remarkable Bowmore 27 Year Old – Timeless Series, Ian Buxton returned to unmask a mysterious billionaire Scooby-Doo-style while Lucy sat down with Adnams head distiller John McCarthy to hear his thoughts on all kinds of boozy business. Mille then made a cocktail that made us all realise how much we love Maryland turtles before Henry showcased ten of our favourite vermouths and put forward a contender for best image to ever feature on our blog after speaking to Kathy Caton, the founder of Brighton Gin. Elsewhere, Adam had a wonderfully whisky-soaked week, going around the globe in a tasting glass to find out why Peerless whiskey is making waves, how the Dartmoor whisky distillery has unlocked Devon’s potential as a home for great drams and what the confusing but charming new Starward bottling is all about.

Now, onto the Nightcap!

The Nightcap: 26 February

This one bottle alone fetched £1m

Whisky collection sells for almost £6.7m at auction

The record books are going to need some significant revising following a recent auction. You might recall the ‘The Perfect Collection’ was tipped to make headlines and now the nearly 3,900 bottle-strong hoard of whisky has lived up to the hype. The group took a hammer price of £6,675,000, attracting 1,557 distinct bidders from 54 countries. While a bottle of Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-year-old, sold for £1 million, making it the first single bottle of whisky to be sold at an online-only auction for one million pounds (looks at the camera with Dr Evil face). The collection, which was built up by the late American private collector Richard Gooding, has become the highest-value hoard ever to sell on the secondary market at an auction dedicated to one single collector’s whisky. “This auction was solely dedicated to one collector’s magnificent library of whisky – a man who was dedicated to building the perfect collection. As enthusiasts of whisky ourselves, we knew that this collection deserved its own spotlight to allow us to truly convey the rarity and sheer scale of something so historic,” Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer, said​. “With so many incredible bottles attracting the attention of high-value investors and passionate collectors across the world, the sale is one for the record books.” The whole affair is an absolute gem for those who love eye-watering sums being traded for incredible booze that will almost certainly never be drunk. Which is a shame.

The Nightcap: 26 February

Campbeltown Harbour, back in the good ol’ days

Old Campbeltown photos sought by Glen Scotia distillery

Campbeltown was once the whisky capital of the world, containing over 30 distilleries in the 19th century. There are only three left today. Now that rich history is being celebrated by one of the three, Glen Scotia, in a new initiative to find old photos of the town’s whisky heyday. So if you have any tucked away in your loft, you can email them in to [email protected] or do it the old fashioned way and send them by post to the distillery. More information on the website. The deadline is 31 March this year. Chosen images will be used as part of Glen Scotia Whisky Festival. Iain McAlister, master distiller at Glen Scotia, said: “Whisky was a way of life in our coastal town for over 100 years and over time, all that experience, craft and passion has been poured into Glen Scotia. Now we are looking for photography that will help us uncover what makes Campbeltown the ‘whiskiest place in the world’.” To whet your appetite, Glen Scotia has published some evocative old photographs like the one above. Ah, it really takes you back.

The Nightcap: 26 February

The smoky-sweet high strength dream of a dram will be here soon

Benriach releases Smoke Season

There’s a new small-batch smoky Benriach on the horizon and we’ve just had a little taste. It’s the aptly-named Smoke Season and pays tribute to the old days of Speyside when the region’s whiskies would have been peated. The peat used is from the mainland which comes from trees and heather and has a quite different character to the seaweed-scented Islay variety. According to the press bumf it’s “the most intensely smoked whisky to be released by the distillery” and yet because of its cask maturation, the smoke is beautifully balanced by layers of chocolatey sweet spicy oak. Master blender Dr Rachel Barrie explained: “With intensely peated spirit batch distilled every year, at Benriach we never stop exploring how the fruit and smoke aromatics intertwine and mature in a range of eclectic oak casks, either amplifying or transforming the perception of peat.” The barrels include “a high proportion of charred and toasted American Virgin oak casks.” Despite being bottled at a punchy 52.8% ABV, we reckon it’s best without any dilution, all the better to enjoy the rich sweet salted caramel, tobacco and cinnamon notes. RRP is a very reasonable £53, roughly a £1 per percentage of alcohol, and we should be getting some in soon. 

The Nightcap: 26 February

If you’re a fan of white rum this is definitely one to check out

Equiano Rum reveals new white rum 

In a category as diverse and brilliant as rum, it can be difficult to stand out. However, when Equiano, the world’s first African & Caribbean rum, was launched by global rum ambassador Ian Burrell and Foursquare master distiller Richard Seale back in October 2019, it received plenty of headlines. Probably because of the world first thing. And the fact that Burrell and Seale were involved. Also, it’s a blend of molasses rums from Foursquare and Mauritius-based Gray’s Distillery. It really had a lot going for it. As does Equiano Light, the brand’s first line extension. Made from a blend of liquids from the same distilleries, namely lightly aged molasses Foursquare rum and fresh sugar cane juice rum from Gray’s, the spirit is said to have “subtle notes of ripe sugarcane and hints of natural vanilla and citrus” meaning it should be perfect for classic rum cocktails such as The Daiquiri. The brand has also said that Equiano Light was created to offer a “contemporary alternative to traditional pouring rums” and to “enrich the taste profile of an often-underrated spirit” while “silencing any notion that white rums lack the sophistication of their darker counterparts”. Equiano Rum, named after African-born writer, entrepreneur, abolitionist and freedom fighter Olaudah Equiano, will also continue to grant 5% of global company profits and £/$2 from every bottle sold through equianorum.com to ground level freedom and equality projects annually. The brand has also recently teamed up with Anti-Slavery International, the oldest international human rights organisation in the world, to fund their vital work to eliminate all forms of modern slavery across the globe.

The Nightcap: 26 February

Missing the hubbub of nightlife, this Mexican bar has the solution

‘I miss my bar’ recreates those nightlife noises we miss so much

Do you miss your bar? We certainly miss ours which is why we loved an initiative from Monterrey bar, Maverick (sent to me by wife’s father who lives in LA. Shout out to you Mr Lemkin! We have a very informal relationship). That’s Monterrey Mexico, not Monterrey California. It’s a website called ‘I miss my bar’ that lets you recreate the noises of your favourite bar with sliders controlling elements such as rain noise, music, background chatter, traffic and drinks being made. Every week there’s a new playlist put together by staff. All you need to provide are the drinks. Wouldn’t it be great if you could really just turn down that loud group in the corner, though? What are we saying? We are that loud group in the corner. As well as being great fun, it serves a serious purpose, to encourage people to buy vouchers to be redeemed when the bar opens. If you don’t live near Monterrey, then think about helping out your local bar, pub or restaurant, or it might not be there when the lockdown lifts.

The Nightcap: 26 February

This would make one hell of a birthday present, as Jay-Z knows all too well

Sotheby’s to sell Jay-Z’s 1969 D’Ussé Cognac 

We don’t know if any of our dear readers got something special for their 50th birthday, but we would wager that few got a one-of-a-kind bottle of Cognac. But that’s exactly what Shawn Carter, or Jay-Z as you probably know him best, got when he celebrated the big 5-0 in December 2019. D’USSÉ surprised him with the first-ever bottle of its 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition Grande Champagne Cognac. The bottling was taken from a single barrel-aged in a two-hundred-year-old cellar at Château de Cognac. It’s also housed in a diamond-shaped cut crystal bottle and is adorned with 24 karat gold leaf wrapping on the neck, so it’s suitably swanky. A limited run of the Cognac will be made available for consumer purchase in the spring. Before that, however, a bottle carrying Mr Carter’s engraved signature will be presented for sale at Sotheby’s and is estimated to fetch between $25,000-75,000. That money won’t be lining the legendary hip-hop star’s pocket, however, as the proceeds will go to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which aims to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning. There is no reserve for bids in this auction lot, so Bottle No. 1 will open at just $1 at 2pm GMT on 1 March and the winning bid will be announced at 2pm GMT on 13 March 2021. Fancy your chances?

Jung & Wulff Barbados rum No.3

It’s just like being in Barbados

Sazerac releases Jung & Wulff Caribbean rum range

More exciting rum news! Sazerac, the New Orleans-based drinks company, has just launched a new range of rums and we have to say they look brilliant. Consisting of spirits from Trinidad, Barbados and Guyana, we are particularly taken with the snazzy retro travel posters on the labels. At a time when we can’t travel, they are just the tonic we need. The Trinidad Rum No.1 features steel drum players in front of an ocean liner, Guyana Rum No.2 a tropical jungle scene and the Barbados Rum No. 3 label, a cricket match set against palm trees. The contents are pretty tasty too. All are limited edition blends of pot and column still rums from undisclosed distilleries – though you’ll probably be able to guess the origins of the Trinidad and Guyana bottlings. As with all Sazerac brands, there’s a good bit of history here too as Liam Sparks from importer Hi-Spirits explained: “Jung & Wulff were early importers of rum, distributing to cafés and bars across New Orleans and beyond. Strictly limited, our Jung & Wulff rums celebrate three influential places: Trinidad, Guyana and Barbados. I believe these rums are a true interpretation of each island’s style and brilliantly showcases the different terroirs that are available throughout the Caribbean.” And they’ve just arrived at Master of Malt.

The Nightcap: 26 February

Nine gin-soaked-raisins a day keeps the doctor away… supposedly. (It won’t. But they sure are tasty)

And finally…  105-year-old woman claims gin-soaked raisins helped her overcome Covid

Forget cross country running, meditation and salad, if you want to lead a long life one American lady has the answer, gin-soaked raisins. 105-year-old Lucia DeClerk from New Jersey contracted Covid in her nursing home despite being vaccinated but managed to fight off the virus. The New York Times reported that she had very few symptoms and was back to her best after two weeks. She attributed her robust old age to eating nine gin-soaked raisins a day: “Fill a jar, nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days,” she said. She didn’t specify which brand of gin but it seems that this special diet gave her a raisin to live. 

Sorry.

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The Nightcap: 19 February

This week we tried to keep up with fancy new booze from Midleton, Macallan, and Kendall Jenner. It’s The Nightcap! Man, where is the time going? Before you know it…

This week we tried to keep up with fancy new booze from Midleton, Macallan, and Kendall Jenner. It’s The Nightcap!

Man, where is the time going? Before you know it we’ll be in March and the clocks will be going forward and we might even start to live a life that resembles the Before Times. The only thing that’s really helping us keep track of things at the moment is the weekly familiarity of The Nightcap. Especially because our calendar has pictures of kittens on it. How are you supposed to know what day it is when there’s something distracting right next to the key information? It’s a design flaw. Fortunately, there’s no such issue with The Nightcap. All you’ll find here is the biggest boozy news from this week. Speaking of which, let’s get on with the Nightcap: 19 February edition. 

It was full-on blog-maggedon this week as the news flooded in and the features rolled out. First, we learned that the standards you need to meet to call your product Japanese whisky was becoming tighter than simply bottling booze from elsewhere and singing The Vapors classic tune at your product. Then a peer-reviewed paper (no need to ask who funded it) claimed there’s definitely terroir in whisky. So much was happening you could be forgiven for not realising tomorrow is World Pangolin Day, but luckily we have a new competition to jog your memory. We also launched a bottle lottery for Torabhaig Distillery’s first whisky and told you what to expect, made ourselves a royally good drink, wished That Boutique-y Gin Company a happy fourth birthday, marked the return of one of the grand old names of Scotch whisky, looked into the history of a gin giant and got the lowdown on why absinthe is a category is on the rise. And we did all that while doing the public service of reminding you that Mother’s Day is in a few weeks and suggesting some ideal pressies. Phew! Now, onto The Nightcap!

On The Nightcap this week we've got fancy Macallan!

An Estate, A Community and A Distillery will arrive at MoM Towers soon…

Macallan launches The Anecdotes of Ages collection

If there’s one thing The Macallan does exceptionally well, it’s put together fancy collections featuring incredible sounding whiskies we know deep down we’ll never taste. Still, it’s nice to look at them and dream, and in this case, they make for particularly good viewing. The latest series, The Anecdotes of Ages, is the Macallan’s third collaboration with iconic pop artist Sir Peter Blake and each individual bottle features an original Blake collage art on the label. Blake, as we are sure you know, created the artwork for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and that should be enough for anyone, frankly. Back to the whisky, there are 13 one-of-a-kind bottles in total, each from 1967, and every label tells a different story. It could be about The Macallan’s history, community, estate or that advert. Ok, so we made the last one up. Jokes aside, collectors will be pleased to know the bottles have been signed by Blake and come in a European oak case with photography that shows Blake’s journey with The Macallan, along with a leather-bound book and a certificate of authenticity. Price is likely to be in the region of £50,000. For those who don’t think they’ll get their hands on a bottle, you can always check out this  360-degree virtual art exhibit. The brand has also revealed that one of the bottles will be auctioned next month by Sotheby’s to raise funds to benefit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Additionally, The Macallan will soon be releasing a new more affordable whisky, a snip at £750, called An Estate, A Community and A Distillery, to commemorate Blake’s visit to the distillery. This reminds us of our favourite palindrome: a man, a plan, a canal, Panama. Anyway, this more affordable expression, will be displayed in a custom box inspired by Blake’s art and available from Master of Malt soon. Yep, you read that right. So keep those eyes peeled…

On The Nightcap this week we've got Kendall Jenner!

Jenner’s brand has attracted a lot of attention already, but not all of it is positive

Kendall Jenner creates Tequila brand 818

Keeping up with the Kardashians star and model Kendall Jenner has revealed on Instagram that her latest project is a Tequila brand called ‘818’, and quickly found out this particular boozy bandwagon isn’t always pleasant. “For almost four years I’ve been on a journey to create the best tasting Tequila. After dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING (🥳). 3.5 years later I think we’ve done it”, the post’s caption read. “This is all we’ve been drinking for the last year and I can’t wait for everyone else to get their hands on this to enjoy it as much as we do! @drinks818 coming soon 🥃🤤.” But the reality star has faced backlash after being accused of cultural appropriation and “exploiting Mexican culture”, the former of which is not a new concern for her family. Although, oddly the same charges were not levelled at other celebrity Tequila hawkers like George Clooney or The Rock. Nothing to read into there. It’s fair to say we’re not exactly cheerily raising a glass to another famous person helping themselves to a bundle of precious agave and as we were writing this story we learned that American comedian Kevin Hart is doing the same thing (other spirits do exist, people). But it’s also worth noting that it’s fairly common for a Tequila distillery to sell its booze to various brands and few can honestly claim to truly represent Mexico in any deep or meaningful way. In fact, you can look up the product’s NOM number (Norma Oficial Mexicana) and it will tell you where the Tequila is made and assure you that production meets the required certification standards of the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT). You’ll find that the distillery (which 818 hasn’t disclosed, so we won’t either) makes booze for a number of brands is made so 818 really isn’t doing anything new. For anyone who actually cares about the Tequila, the range features a blanco, a reposado and an añejo made from 100% Agave Azul in Jalisco, Mexico and bottled at 40% ABV.

On The Nightcap this week we've got fancy Midleton!

Keep your eyes peeled for more reaction to this beauty on this MoM blog

Kevin O’ Gorman blends his first Midleton Very Rare

In the past, only two master distillers have blended Midleton Very Rare, Barry Crockett and Brian Nation. Now, there’s a new signature on the bottle: Kevin O’Gorman stepped into Nation’s enormous shoes last year and has now released the 38th edition of possibly Ireland’s greatest whisky. We have to be honest, it’s a belter. As usual, it’s a blend of long-aged pot still and grain whiskies aged entirely in ex-bourbon casks. We spoke with O’ Gorman at a press conference last night and he told us that he narrowed the blend down to two samples and then spent a night agonising over them. The one he chose is heavier on the grain than last year’s pot still-dominated blend. It’s more like the Very Rare from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, he said. It majors on the sweet chocolate, caramel and vanilla notes but still with plenty of pot still spice. O’ Gorman revealed that the Very Rare 2021 contains a cask of pot still laid down by Barry Crockett in 1984. He was on ebullient form describing it as “the pinnacle of my career presenting the pinnacle of Irish whiskey.” We’ll have the full story including a closer look at the component parts when we get stock in a couple of weeks.

Tim Ashley VCL

VCL director Tim Ashley says invest in cask whisky… or else

Whisky investors getting younger says cask broker

Business is booming for whisky cask broker VCL Vintners. Apparently, sales are up 300% in January 2021 compared to the previous year. Not only that, but its customers are getting younger. No, this isn’t because of the magical age-defying properties of whisky, what the company means is that the average age of whisky investors is decreasing. The PR team sent us some figures that showed that the largest category, 26% of business, is people between the ages of 25 and 34. While well over half their investors are under 44. Casks start from around £5,000 but most of the trade is in the £10-30,000 range so some young people are clearly doing well despite the panny (as we’re calling the pandemic). Stuart Thom, director at VCL Vintners, commented: “It’s encouraging that the demographic is becoming a smarter, younger City audience with longer investment horizons.” He went on to explain exactly why there is so much interest, something we have reported on before: “With the markets going sideways for now and a tech bubble being rumoured in the States, whisky is being seen more and more as a stable long-term investment.” The great thing about investing in whisky is even if you don’t make any money, and there’s no guarantee the market will keep going up, at the end of the day, you have a barrel of single malt.

On The Nightcap this week we've got a big clock!

This story has everything: history, romance, and an enormous clock.

Johnnie Walker restores romantic Edinburgh landmark clock

Since 1960, Edinburgh’s lovers, young and old, have been meeting under a colourful clock on the corner of Hope Street and Princes Street. Known as the Binns Clock after the now disappeared department store that installed it. In its prime, the clock would play ‘Caller Herrin’ and ‘Scotland the Brave’ at seven and 37 minutes past the hour as kilted Highland figures would jig about. Sadly, in recent years the clock had fallen into disrepair and the Highlanders danced no more. Now, as part of Diageo’s plans for a swanky Johnnie Walker HQ which is due to open this year in Scotland’s capital, it was restored by the Cumbria Clock Company which has also worked on some pretty impressive clocks such as the Royal Liver Building and the big one, Big Ben. Bong! Restorer Mark Crangle described the laborious process: “We had to delicately strip back worn paintwork to source and match the clock’s original colours and gold trimmings, and we spent a great amount of time on the speed and timings of the bells, tunes and pipers to ensure it all matched perfectly.” Happily, Crangle and the team managed to get it all done for Valentine’s Day last Sunday, just in time for Edinburgh’s lovers to meet. 

On The Nightcap this week we've even more cask investment news!

Casks are all the rage this week it seems

Caskshare unveils new cask-buying platform

It must be the week of casks, as we have even more oak-scented news for you. Last Friday, we joined David Nicol, co-founder of the new venture, Alasdair Day from Isle of Raasay Distillery, plus Thom Solberg of Little Bat for a bit of a Zoom-based whisky extravaganza. The celebrations were to mark the launch of Caskshare, an initiative to make single cask whisky, and by extension buying shares in casks, more accessible. For mature whisky, customers can simply snap up a share (which equates to a bottle), and once all those shares have been snapped up, everyone gets their booze! For spirit yet to come of age, whisky fans can buy a share and the bottles will be sent when its ready. To demonstrate some of the whiskies available, Day shared samples from Raasay, and talked us through Tullibardine single malt and Cambus expressions. And, as it was Valentine’s Day Eve-Eve, Solberg treated us to a demo of a 14 February-appropriate serve. We all made Glen Moray-based (from Caskshare, natch) Roffignacs: the whisky, plus pomegranate syrup, cider vinegar, and ginger ale all built in a glass with ice. Delish! For more Caskshare deets, check out Caskshare.com – and what an evening of whisky love!

And finally… we need a G&T emoji now

Whether you’re fluent in emoji language like Kendall Jenner or the sort of person who gets in trouble for misjudged aubergines in the company Slack channels, here’s an emoji that we can all use without embarrassment, especially on a Friday at 6pm: a G&T emoji. Sadly, amazingly, it doesn’t exist yet! And so tonic water and mixer business Lixir Drinks has launched a petition to persuade Unicode to create an emoji for one of Britain’s favourite drinks. Yes, it’s a PR stunt, but a useful one. The company is hoping to get 10,000 signatures, so what are you waiting for, sign here and you’ll never have to write out the words Gin & Tonic again. Which reminds us, it’s getting on for 6pm now, G&T anyone? See wouldn’t that have been so much easier with an emoji?

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Terroir in whisky exists, say scientists

The results of a peer-reviewed paper into terroir in whisky funded by Waterford in Ireland have just been announced. It seems that where barley is grown does indeed have a…

The results of a peer-reviewed paper into terroir in whisky funded by Waterford in Ireland have just been announced. It seems that where barley is grown does indeed have a noticeable effect on the chemical composition and taste of the resulting spirit. Here’s the full story:

It’s one of the most contested questions in whisky, does where the barley is grown have a noticeable effect on the finished product? Many in the Scotch whisky business have said no but Mark Reynier formerly at Bruichladdich on Islay and now Waterford in Ireland has always insisted it does. The first bottlings from Waterford we tried last year seemed to bear (or should that be bere this out?) this out, now a study published in Foods journal carried out by Oregon State University adds scientific weight to Reynier’s argument. 

Research funded by the Waterford Distillery

The research, which was funded by the Waterford Distillery, compared two barley varieties, Olympus and Laureate, grown on two farms in 2017 and 2018: Athy, Co. Kildare and Bunclody, Co. Wexford. 

Waterford Terroir in whisky infographic

There’s no need to read the whole article with this handy infographic

Each sample of barley was malted and distilled in a laboratory to produce 32 different whisky distillate samples. These were then analysed using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry–olfactometry (GC-MS-O) as well as tasted by a team of sensory experts.

Dr Dustin Herb, lead researcher and post-doctoral research at Oregon State University, explained: “This interdisciplinary study investigated the basis of terroir by examining the genetic, physiological, and metabolic mechanisms of barley contributing to whisky flavour. Using standardised malting and distillation protocols, we preserved distinct flavours associated with the testing environments and observed year-to-year variations, indicating that terroir is a significant contributor to whisky flavour.”

Another one of the international team involved, Professor Kieran Kilcawley, principal research officer at Teagasc (part of the Irish department of agriculture) added: “We utilised gas chromatography olfactometry which enabled us to discern the most important volatile aroma compounds that impacted sensory perception of the new make spirit. This research not only highlights the importance of terroir, but also enhances our knowledge of key aroma compounds in whisky.”

Noticeable differences in the new make spirit

The Athy farm’s terroir consists of limestone soil with high levels of calcium, magnesium and molybdenum, and a warmer and drier microclimate. According to the press release the new make “was characterised by toasted almond notes, and a malty, biscuity, oily finish.”

Bunclody farm, in contrast, has shale and slate bedrock containing high levels of iron, copper, and manganese with more volatile weather from its coastal position. The new make was reported to be “lighter and floral, with a flavour of fresh fruitiness.”

The tests discovered over 42 different flavour compounds, half of which were directly influenced by where the barley was grown.

When we asked about how much flavour variation may have come from different barley strains, we received the following reply from Waterford: “There was some flavour variance due to variety but the effect of environment was greater. We surmised that the low variance in variety maybe due to the fact that the varieties chosen share a similar genetic heritage. Many modern barley varieties are grown for yield and disease resistance rather than flavour. This is why Waterford’s starting to look at older barley varieties as potentially they may be more flavoursome.”

Waterford-Mark-Reynier

The night is dark and full of terroirs

Mark Reynier (above), founder and CEO of Waterford, was bullish about the results: “Barley is what makes single malt whisky the most flavoursome spirit in the world. This study proves that barley’s flavours are influenced by where it is grown, meaning – like wine and Cognac – whisky’s taste is terroir-driven. Critics claimed any terroir effect would be destroyed by the whisky-making process, saying there is no scientific evidence to prove that terroir even exists. Well, there is now.”

It certainly looks promising for Reynier but it’s early days for the project. The first stage of the research only looked at new make spirit. The second stage will look at what differences survive the maturation process and is due to be published in 2022. The debate isn’t over yet.

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Nikka from the Barrel not a ‘Japanese whisky’ say new regulations

Big news just in! The Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association has announced new tighter Japanese whisky regulations. That means some of our favourite Japanese whiskies will no longer be…

Big news just in! The Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association has announced new tighter Japanese whisky regulations. That means some of our favourite Japanese whiskies will no longer be classed as ‘Japanese whisky.’ Confused? Read on.

It’s something of an open secret in the drinks business that much whisky that is labelled Japanese contains spirits from other countries, mainly Scotland and Canada. At Scotch whisky distilleries, it’s common to see huge plastic containers full of whisky to be exported to Japan where it’s blended and then exported back as Japanese whisky. As Japanese whisky as a category has boomed, bulk imports from Scotland have increased four-fold between 2013 and 2018 according to the SWA.

Japanese whisky must be distilled in Japan

There’s been a lot of rumours attached to which blends contained non-Japanese whisky. Now and not before time, the Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association has announced what can and can’t be defined as Japanese whisky. The rules don’t have legal powers but will apply to all the association’s members which include the country’s main producers such as Nikka and Suntory (full list here). 

You can read the full standards here but the crucial part is: “saccharification, fermentation, and distillation must be carried out at a distillery in Japan” in order to be labelled as ‘Japanese whisky.’ Furthermore, the resulting spirit should be no higher than 95% ABV and must be aged for a minimum of three years in wooden casks no bigger than 700 litres and bottled with a minimum ABV of 40%.

Brian Ashcraft, author of Japanese Whisky: The Ultimate Guide to the World’s Most Desirable Spirit, commented: “They’re a good step in the right direction. It’s important to have some rules of the road. The concern for me, though, is there is still some wiggle room and that unscrupulous people are going to continue to be unscrupulous. It would be good if this was covered by laws to be honest.” He went on to say: “For instance, the wiggle room I’m talking about is that they cannot prevent people from slapping a kanji character on a bottle or, if it’s sold in Japan, labeling the whole thing in Japanese”.

Master of Malt bucket list

Yoichi distillery, real Japanese whisky made here

Statement from Nikka

The deadline to follow the rules is 31 March 2024 so at the moment labels don’t reflect the new ruling. Nikka, however, has updated its site to make it clear which whiskies are now technically ‘Japanese whisky.’ In a statement, the company announced: 

“We have decided to provide further information for individual products on our website to clearly distinguish between products in Nikka Whisky’s line-up, which contains both whiskies that are defined as ‘Japanese whisky’ according to the labeling standards, and those that do not meet all the criteria. We feel this is an important step towards ensuring customers’ clarity so as that they can reasonably decide which products to buy and information will be updated if the status changes.”

Looking at the Nikka website, you can see that Yoichi and Miyagikyo single malts, Coffey Grain and Taketsuru Pure Malt pass the new rules, whereas popular blends like Nikka Days, the Nikka and our favourite, Nikka from the Barrel have the following disclaimer: “This product does not meet all the criteria of ‘Japanese whisky ‘ defined by the Japan Spirits & Liqueur Makers Association.” It doesn’t state where they stray from the rules but we are sure that Master of Malt customers will be able to work it out.

6 Comments on Nikka from the Barrel not a ‘Japanese whisky’ say new regulations

The Nightcap: 12 February

It’s a celeb-packed Nightcap: 12 February edition featuring Ryan Reynolds (twice), David Beckham, Diddy and even the European Brand Director of Casamigos. No, really. The European Brand Director. Talk about…

It’s a celeb-packed Nightcap: 12 February edition featuring Ryan Reynolds (twice), David Beckham, Diddy and even the European Brand Director of Casamigos. No, really. The European Brand Director. Talk about A-list.

It’s always a pleasure to welcome the weekend. And what a weekend this is. There’s so much on! Valentine’s Day, which is apparently still a thing, is on Sunday. While today is Chinese New Year (shout out to all you rad Metal Oxes). If you’re in the UK, however, this week has been all about Storm Darcy (cold, beautiful, makes things difficult for people around them. The name actually makes a lot of sense). The freezing temperatures have brought heavy snowfall and the usual British response: State disbelief there’s snow. Say how beautiful it looks. Moan that it didn’t happen in December. Enjoy Christmas card scenes. Moan about the disruption. Get a second wind and take photos. Moan it’s not going away. Finally, moan again when it is gone. It’s comforting how familiar this pattern is. As assured as every new edition of The Nightcap landing at 4pm on Friday. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

This week on the MoM blog we launched a new competition with 1826 cocktails, so if getting bar-quality serves sent straight to your door for free sounds like something you’re interested in, be sure to enter before the deadline on Sunday night. We kept the batched cocktail vibe going by welcoming the Myatt’s Fields range to our site before enjoying a Rusty Nail and then some of the best value new world drams you can get your hands on for bargain prices. There was time to also show off our swanky masterclass videos of the 2020 Diageo Special Releases, hear from Millie about the brands putting real flavour into vodka and do some learnin’ with Lucy on how to pair whisky with cheese.

On this week's Nightcap we remember Brett Ferencz

We’re raising a dram to a galaxy far, far away for this man tonight.

Brett Ferencz, aka Scotch Trooper, dies

We start this week’s Nightcap with some really sad news: Brett Ferencz, known by many whisky lovers as Scotch Trooper, passed away on 11 February following a battle with cancer. He brought joy to so many by bringing together two of his passions: whisky and Star Wars. The worlds collided in the most enchanting of ways, and his posts depicting bottles, cocktail kit, casks and more were always accompanied by a Star Wars character and a warm, often witty note. One of the most remarkable things about Brett – although none of MoM HQ’s editorial team met him offline – was how his love for whisky shone in a way that always welcomed new drinkers into the fold. Of course, you can’t measure a person by their follower count, but the community he built is significant in size and passion, both for Scotch and each other. It’s a sad day for many. His family posted on Instagram: “I didn’t lose my battle with cancer. At best it was a tie. I took the Death Star down with me.” We’ll be raising a dram to Brett and his family this weekend. 

This week's Nightcap stars Ryan Reynolds, twice!

Bet you never thought you’d see Wrexham AFC’s logo on a bottle of internationally renowned gin…

Ryan Reynolds launches Wrexham AFC Aviation Gin 

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have celebrated their takeover of Wrexham AFC by launching a limited-edition Aviation Gin. In a move that has slightly baffled but mostly delighted football fans, the Deadpool actor and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia co-creator have taken 100% control of Wrexham AFC Limited from the Wrexham Supporters Trust. To mark the occasion, one of Reynolds’ other businesses, Aviation Gin, has launched 6,000 bottles with a new design for fans to order from the official Wrexham AFC webshop. “Rob and I are ecstatic to have won the approval of the Wrexham fans and the League and this bottle is for them,” Reynolds said. “It’s a small first step on what will hopefully be a legendary underdog story.” It raises the question: which A-lister will invest in the local football club of a post-industrial North Wales town next? Maybe Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will buy Gresford Athletic and establish a new major football rivalry…

… and donates $1m with Diddy, Becks and Diageo 

Not content with making just one headline this week, Reynolds also appeared in a video with Sean “Diddy” Combs, and David Beckham, the co-owners of DeLeón Tequila, and Haig Club respectively, to show their support to the bartending community, which has been majorly affected by COVID-19. The comedic clip shows the trio making drinks featuring their products and ingredients from Tampa Bay, Florida, and Kansas City, Missouri (in honour of the Super Bowl) which inevitably turns out to be undrinkable and disgusting. So they instead announce that Diageo, the company which produces all three of these brands, will donate $1 million between Drinks Trust UK, the Bartender’s Benevolent Fund and Another Round, Another Rally

On this week's Nightcap we learn that the UK's distillery numbers continue to rise

Even a pandemic and lockdown couldn’t stop the likes of Maidstone Distillery from opening

Covid-19 fails to halt UK’s distillery boom

Remarkable and uplifting news came from HMRC figures, of all places, this week. The data showed that a record number of distilleries were registered in the UK in 2020. The stats, as reported by The Wine and Spirit Trade Association, are really something. The number of distilleries grew by over 100 in 12 months for the first time. There’s more than 300 in England (311) for the first time. And the total number registered in 2020 grew to over 560, up from over 440 in 2019. All this occurred despite the many restrictions and implications of the pandemic, including the shutdown of the hospitality sector. However, it should be noted that 2020 was still a phenomenally hard year for many of the UK’s distillers, the majority of whom are small, independently-owned businesses. That’s why the WSTA is urging the government to back distillers. “With such a difficult 2020 behind us and a daunting challenge to recover in 2021, our distillers need the support of the chancellor at the upcoming budget. A freeze at the last budget certainly helped distillers to invest and grow, but we need the chancellor to go further this time, with both a duty cut and an extension of the VAT reduction in hospitality venues, until at least March 2022 – and including alcoholic drinks,” says chief executive of the WSTA and Nightcap legend Miles Beale. “Distillers across the UK will play a vital role in 2021 and beyond as hospitality begins to open up again, and by showing his support for distillers at the Budget the Chancellor can also promote the hospitality industry as it rebounds from Covid-19 restrictions.”

This week in The Nightcap we welcome another new Islay distillery

An artist’s impression of how the distillery will look.

Elixir Distillers’ Islay distillery gets green light

We’re one step closer to seeing another new distillery on Islay. Elixir Distillers has revealed this week that the Argyll & Bute council planning committee has granted planning permission to them to go ahead with its project. The brand, which first announced its intentions in 2018, should break ground in 2021 and will reveal the name of the distillery soon. What we know for now is that it will be located in the southeast of Islay next to the town of Port Ellen, not far from Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg. The distillery will produce 1 million litres of alcohol a year and will use floor maltings to process just over half of the barley needed. Which is neat. You don’t see much of that anymore. There will also be on-site housing for distillery workers, a visitor’s centre and a multipurpose educational facility, with further initiatives to support the local community and an apprentice programme for aspiring distillers to be pursued further down the line. “We’ve worked closely with the Argyll & Bute planning committee to create plans for a distillery that fits into the landscape and supports the community,” said Sukhinder Singh, who co-founded Elixir Distillers with his brother Rajbir (where else do we know these guys from?). “We want to create whiskies that inspire both the people of Islay and Islay whisky fans world-wide, enhancing the already glowing reputation of Islay whiskies, while also becoming an integral part of the community.” Once it and the previously closed Port Ellen (which is undergoing reconstruction) open, Islay will have 11 working distilleries. Sounds like things are getting pretty cramped. There’s plenty of room in Tonbridge if anyone wants to build a distillery next to us…

On this week's Nightcap we gaze lovingly at a 50-year-old Glenrothes

Somebody very lucky will be adding this to their collection soon.

Glenrothes auctions last of 50-Year-Old with Royal Warrant jeweller

It’s not quite as fancy as the Irish whiskey Faberge craziness we reported on last week. Nevertheless, a Glenrothes that’s going under the hammer at Bonhams on 19 February sounds pretty tasty. It’s the 50th and last bottle of the distillery 50-year-old single malt. Naturally, it’s not going to be housed in any old bottle. Oh no. Royal Warrant jeweller Hamilton & Inches has created a one-off decanter with a 22-carat gold label.  And it’s not just any gold as Victoria Houghton from Hamilton & Inches explained: “The decanter will feature the first gold from the Cononish gold mine with Hamilton & Inches being the only fine jeweller to have access to this Scottish treasure.” Exclusive. Kerr Arthur, director of The Glenrothes brand, added: “This collaboration with Hamilton & Inches unites the exceptional craft and commitment of a Master Whisky Maker and Goldsmith to ensure that our last decanter to be released, ‘The 50th of 50’ will be very special and offer whisky lovers from around the world the opportunity to acquire a unique combination: single malt Scotch whisky and single mine Scottish gold.” Best of all, proceeds generated from the sale will go to a charity chosen by the winning bidder. The auction begins at 13:00 GMT on 19 February. Last year a bottle of Glenrothes 50 Year Old sold for £30,000 through Bonhams in Hong Kong. Time to get saving. 

On this week's Nightcap we learn Chapel Down is focusing on wine and spirits from now on.

Chapel Down is focusing on wine and spirits from now on.

Chapel Down quits beer and cider 

Our Kent neighbours Chapel Down has become the country’s biggest and best-known wine producer while also making delicious gin, vodka, beer and cider too. Sadly, the brand has been forced into parting ways with its beer and cider arm Curious Drinks after a strategic review found it had suffered greatly during the pandemic and lockdown. Chapel Down made the difficult decision of putting Curious Drinks into administration, which has allowed the private equity firm Risk Capital Partners RCP to acquire it. RCP will establish a new company to run the business and take on its assets, including the new 2,900hl brewery in Ashford and its on-site restaurant. Chapel Down will receive no payment for the business but will be cleared of its net debt in Curious Drinks. The good news is that there will be no job losses as a result of the deal and that Chapel Down’s wine and spirits division achieved 38% volume growth last year despite the hospitality sector shutdowns. “We see a significant opportunity and a very bright future for Chapel Down,” Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down Group commented. “We certainly won’t be abandoning the hospitality business – we love it – and will support its return vigorously with our wines and spirits”.

On this week's Nightcap we report on a good vintage for Port

Port continues to thrive despite the difficulties the drinks trade faces at the moment

Port market looking strong as Taylor’s releases its third vintage in a row

We were fortunate to be given a little taste of the 2018 vintage of vintage Ports from the Fladgate stable. This is the unprecedented third year in a row that the company behind Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft, has declared a vintage. CEO Adrian Bridge described it as somewhere in style between the fragrant 2016s and the sturdier 2017s. He added that the decision to declare was “all about the quality of the vintage” rather than about commercial considerations. Because of Covid, however, they delayed the release to this year, despite clamouring from the American market. The wines were on top form: Croft Quitna da Roeda was exotic and fragrant; Fonseca Guimaraens was spicy and packed with dark fruit; while the Taylor’s was weighty and structured, and promises great things for the future. Meanwhile, the Symington Group, Taylor’s great rivals, announced a strong performance in 2020 with sales up 37.3% in the last quarter compared with 2019. Johnny Symington commented: “With pubs, bars and restaurants closed for much of the year and people confined to their homes, 2020 was devastating for our on-trade customers. We were fortunate, however, that demand for port soared in the rest of the UK wine trade. We were extremely proud of our importers, Fells, who decided in September 2020 to return all of the furlough money provided to them by the UK government in response to better than expected trading.” Taylor’s too reported a strong performance. It seems when times are tough, people turn to Port.

On this week's Nightcap we learn about the difficult year Pernod Ricard has had

The results look pretty grim, but Coutures is proud of how the company handled the crisis

Challenging times as Pernod Ricard posts 2020 results

Well, we knew it was going to be tough, and Pernod Ricard’s second half of 2020 results that were announced this morning in a press conference showed how difficult it’s been. The shocker is Beefeater down 20% on the previous year. This is due to the disappearance of the on-trade in the all-important Spanish market. Other big brands struggling are Ballantine’s, down 12%, Chivas Regal, down 12% and Royal Salute, down 28%. Overall sales decreased by 3.9% with profits down by 2.4%. Much of this decline is because of the lack of travel retail sales. Despite the malt tariffs on US imports, Glenlivet was in growth by 2%. There are more grounds for optimism as the UK off-trade is up by 31% with online sales increasing by 138%. Overall UK sales up by 13% with Jameson, Malfy Gin, and Absolut looking particularly strong. Furthermore, CEO of Chivas Brothers Jean-Christophe Coutures said that there had been no incidence of Covid in distilleries. He commented: “I am proud of what we achieved. 100% of staff and salaries have been kept,” and the company has even been recruiting. It also seems that the earlier rift with the Scottish government has been healed. He said that the industry had suffered doubly from loss of export business and closure of visitor centres. The priority was now ending the tariffs to the US on Scotch whisky and he looked forward to potential trade deals with New Zealand, Australia and, most exciting of all, India. David Haworth, CEO of Pernod Ricard UK spoke for everyone when he hoped for a massive boom to the on-trade when lockdowns are lifted and said: “we’ve all been missing the pub.”

On this week's Nightcap we have European Brand Director of Casamigos Tequila Jack Brooksbank.

Congratulations on the baby Jack (right), whoops! We mean European Brand Director…

And finally… Casamigos insists media use correct title for Princess Eugenie’s husband

It can be hard work meeting royalty knowing when to bow or courtesy, whether to call them ‘your highness’, or ‘your majesty, or ‘big Phil.’ Now there’s an added complication as Casamigos, George Clooney’s Tequila brand, is insisting that Jack Brooksbank, husband of HRH (we got that bit right) Princess Eugenie, be referred to by his proper title. The PR missive reported in the Daily Mail stated: Due to the recent news surrounding the arrival of the Royal Baby from HRH Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, we wanted to drop you a note to ask if you are to mention any further details about Jack Brooksbank that you use his official title: European Brand Director of Casamigos Tequila.” Now the happy news about the birth of the royal baby has been overshadowed in the media by this bit of clumsy corporate overreach. Not for us though, we want to offer our congratulations to HRH Princess Eugenie and EBDCT Jack Brooksbank!

1 Comment on The Nightcap: 12 February

We want to warn the industry about Winebuyers

Online order aggregator Winebuyers stopped paying suppliers in full in 2019, and has since racked up substantial debts as it failed to pay its suppliers for goods and services provided…

Online order aggregator Winebuyers stopped paying suppliers in full in 2019, and has since racked up substantial debts as it failed to pay its suppliers for goods and services provided in good faith.

The drinks business is an amazing industry to work in, filled with brilliant people and exciting, innovative businesses.  It’s an incredibly small, tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone, and as a result, the standard of conduct and honesty is very high.

Very occasionally someone comes into the industry who doesn’t appreciate and respect these bonds of trust, and when that happens we feel a responsibility to let others know how badly they’ve behaved so they don’t get burned as we have been.

We, therefore, feel an obligation to warn others in the industry about Ben Revell, Founder and CEO of Winebuyers.com.

Winebuyers are essentially an affiliate business which lists other people’s inventory on its website and then passes on the orders and the money taken for them, less a commission.  We first engaged with Winebuyers in July 2019, but before the end of that year, they were already behind on their payments to us, having kept much of the money.

Despite the incredible boom in online sales in 2020 driven by widespread lockdowns and other restrictions, Winebuyers failed to rectify the situation in the first half of last year, and we suspended trading with them halfway through 2020.

Over the following months, despite many written assurances from Mr Revell that we would be paid in full, and, on one occasion, a claim in writing that he had paid us, backed up by a remittance advice and bank statement (which must have either been forged or the payment reversed after they were provided), the debt was not cleared.

This was a critical time for many businesses – particularly the smaller producers which Winebuyers worked with, who would have been heavily dependent on the online sales, including those they thought Winebuyers was generating for them.

In the middle of all this, when we and many other suppliers weren’t being paid, Mr Revell gave an interview with the Financial Times in which he spoke about making over £1m of profit and raising an additional £1.2m in outside investment to support further business expansion.

We find Mr. Revell’s conduct to be utterly shameful, reprehensible and quite possibly criminal, and believe his future victims have a right to know how he conducts himself before entering into a business relationship with him.

Having pursued our debt for over a year, and given Mr Revell every opportunity to come to a reasonable resolution using the millions of pounds he claims to have made in profit and raised from investors, we will be taking formal legal action against the business and him personally, beginning this week.

We have not written this message with any expectation that we will benefit from it, but purely to ensure that others have the facts we wish we had before deciding whether to do business with Winebuyers or Mr Revell.

We welcome contact from other suppliers to Winebuyers who have been similarly treated (please email [email protected]), and would like to reassure any customer of theirs that, while we have not been paid for them, all orders we received from Winebuyers were dispatched and delivered, and no customers who ordered from us through Winebuyers have been left out of pocket.

A wine rack filled with wine - Winebuyers

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The Nightcap: 5 February

Another week has passed and that means it’s time for another hearty spoonful of brilliant and bonkers boozy stories that caught our eye. It’s The Nightcap! Are you Beast from…

Another week has passed and that means it’s time for another hearty spoonful of brilliant and bonkers boozy stories that caught our eye. It’s The Nightcap!

Are you Beast from the East ready? For readers outside the UK, this is a fearsome weather front that is coming in from the Eurasian landmass/ totally normally cold winter weather hyped up by the media, delete as applicable. However you look at it, it’s going to be freezing, so at MoM Towers, we’re stocking up on firewood, tasty snacks, those funny tennis racket type things that people wear on their feet in Scandinavia and huskies. We’ve already got plenty to drink but we’ve ordered a bit more just in case. You never know, we might get snowed in. Happily, we’ve also got extra amusing, interesting and downright bizarre stories from the world of booze this week, so if you can’t get out, there’s something to read. Yes, it’s a bumper Beast from the East Nightcap!

This week on the MoM blog we had the pleasure of welcoming Millie Milliken, who cast her eye on new make spirit and will be contributing more fabulous words in the future. As will the wonderful Lucy Britner, who returned this week to analyse some of film & TV’s most celebrated drinks and drinkers. Henry then showed you how to make five easy and classic serves and welcomed a grape-based aperitif that should be the drink of the summer. Elsewhere, Adam enjoyed one of the great modern cocktails, asked if augmented reality bottle labels have a future, showed you ten Tequilas and mezcals were big fans of and put together a handy little round-up of brilliantly boozy gifts for Valentine’s Day.

In this week's Nightcap more tariffs, again!

If you’re tired of all the tariff stories, join the club. Let’s hope the madness ends soon

US tariffs cost Scotch whisky £500m in lost exports

We don’t like to kick things off with a negative story but we’re afraid this one is too big to ignore. New figures suggest exports of single malt Scotch whisky have fallen by more than a third – amounting to more than £500m – since a 25% tariff was imposed in October 2019.  The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) was once again damning of the tariffs in response to the news, which were initially introduced by the Donald Trump administration in retaliation for EU state support given to Airbus. The industry body says distillers are continuing to pay the price for an aerospace dispute that has nothing to do with them and that the loss in sales and market share suffered by “large and small producers alike”, are so severe that some “may never now recover”. The SWA’s chief executive, Karen Betts is also calling for more support for the industry given the losses during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the end of these punitive tariffs. “The government must also offer some support to distillers, who are shouldering tariff losses alongside dealing with unprecedentedly difficult trading conditions as a result of Brexit and global restrictions to curb Covid-19 transmission”. Hear, hear. Let’s hope sense prevails.

In this week's Nightcap... Icons of Whisky award winners!

Congratulations to Andy Watts and to everyone who picked up an award

Icons of Whisky regional winners announced

Whisky Magazine’s celebration of all things delicious and distilled has concluded today and there have been some notable winners in the Icons of Whisky awards. The year the winners were broadcast in a virtual awards ceremony online in order to adapt to a Covid-19 world. “After an incredibly challenging year it has been wonderful to witness the perseverance of the whisky industry,” Anita Ujszaszi, world whiskies awards director, said. “We have seen new and creative developments and innovation in the face of unexpected restrictions, and the resilience of those celebrated here is second to none.” The regional winners for America, Australia, Ireland, the Rest of World and Scotland were revealed this week, with Brown-Forman, Lark Distillery, Waterford DistilleryMackmyra and Whyte and Mackay winning distiller of the year in their respective categories. Winners of the master distiller/blender of the year included Victoria Eady Butler, Patrick Maguire, Noel Sweeney, Dhavall Gandhi and Bob Dalgarno. Meanwhile, in a popular move, Distell master distiller Andy Watts, the man responsible for the company’s South African whisky portfolio of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and Three Ships Whisky, was inducted into Whisky Magazine’s Whisky Hall of Fame. Congratulations to all who picked up prestigious awards, we look forward to 25 March when the Global Winners of the Icons of Whisky Awards together with the World Whiskies Awards winners will be announced. 

In this week's Nightcap the industry is embracing environmentally friendly initiatives

It’s amazing to see Diageo leading by example like this

Diageo makes leap forward in sustainability measures

We’ll take any good news we can get at the moment so it was wonderful to see that Diageo made the headlines for a very positive reason this week. Not only did four of its Scotch whisky distilleries receive the award the UK’s highest eco-tourism award in the same week it unveiled the installation of a new weir and fish pass. Lagavulin, Blair Athol, Oban and Clynelish all received a gold certification from Green Tourism for sustainable practices, joining sister distilleries Glenkinchie and Royal Lochnagar on the list of Scotch whisky distilleries to receive the accreditation. Achievements praised by the assessors across the whisky attractions include biodiversity enhancement, local sourcing, community engagement and plastic reduction. As for the weir and fish pass, the £550,000 structure was built in collaboration with the Spey Fishery Board to help boost the sustainability of salmon and trout stocks in the river Dullan, part of the River Spey catchment that is crucial to the Scotch whisky industry. A similar, smaller-scale project has also recently been completed on the Burn of Linkwood at Linkwood Distillery in Elgin, while Diageo is also developing its programme of fish pass improvements near Glen Ord later this year. The environmental projects are part of Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress sustainability plan, which promises a decade of action to tackle climate change. We salute them and all other brands who are committed to such ambitious environmental goals. Speaking of which…

In this week's Nightcap the industry is embracing environmentally friendly initiatives

The two expressions are believed to be the first carbon-negative English gins

Cooper King unveils first carbon-negative English gins

Cooper King Distillery has kept the green vibes going by revealing that its Dry Gin and Herb Gin have been certified carbon negative. This means the production process actually removes more carbon from the atmosphere than what is released. Cooper King met those standards by reducing the carbon footprint as much as possible, then offsetting the rest with verified carbon credits from Verra’s Verified Carbon Standard programme. The brand has claimed the move makes its products the first English gins to hold that certification. “Producing flavour-driven, sustainable drinks has always been at the core of what we do because we believe drinking good spirits needn’t cost the earth,” said Chris Jaume, co-founder of Cooper King Distillery, said: “Reaching this milestone is a significant step in our plan to become a carbon-negative distillery. We value people, planet and prosperity, and through sharing our findings in our publicly available carbon report we hope to inspire others to make a positive difference.” In addition, Cooper King has partnered with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to plant one square metre of native UK woodland for every bottle of gin produced and has planted 30 juniper bushes at the distillery, which could produce enough juniper for around 15,000 bottles of gin annually once mature. If you thought that’s where the brand’s environmental credentials end, you’d be wrong. Cooper King is also the first distillery in Europe to join the environmental initiative 1% for the Planet. We stan a responsible spirits producer!

In this week's Nightcap... sea shanties!

Fancy duetting a sea shanty with Justin Young? Now’s your chance!

Vaccines frontman performs Kraken rum’s sea shanty

Taking full advantage of the fact that sea shanties have made a remarkable comeback, Kraken rum has launched a new campaign with Justin Young, the frontman of topically-named band The Vaccines.  Hopping aboard the viral trend, Young has recorded a rendition of My Jolly Sailor, which tells the tale of a love doomed at the hands (or should that be tentacles?) of the kraken, which you can watch here. “Doomed love is the muse behind almost every song I’ve ever written,” explains Young. “Forget the bouquets or borrowed clichés, listeners of ‘My Jolly Sailor’ can expect to hear the harrowing, tragic demise of traditional Valentine’s Day romance.” But, most excitingly of all, fans can become part of the collaboration by contributing their own verse as part of a competition. The prize is a Serenading Sirens Valentine’s Day kit, which includes a limited edition vinyl edition of My Jolly Sailor, a black tentacle candle, and an exclusive Serenading Sirens cocktail which will be created from rum serenaded by Young while performing at The Troxy, London. Because rum tastes better when sung to by English indie frontmen. Everyone knows that. The competition, which you can enter here, is running until Monday 8 February, with 100 winners being announced on Tuesday February 9. 

In this week's Nightcap Glendronach launches new whisky

Be sure to keep an eye out for this beauty, it will be arriving here soon…

Coming soon: Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 9!

If there’s one thing Master of Malt customers love, it’s Glendronach. The Highland distillery is something of a cult favourite offering meaty sherried bottlings at prices that are far from unreasonable. Every so often, however, the distillery releases something that’s exceptional and just such a whisky is on its way in the form of Cask Strength Batch 9. It’s matured in a mixture of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at 59.4% ABV. Master blender Dr. Rachel Barrie commented: “The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 9 is incredibly rich and full-bodied; the result of years of slow maturation in Pedro Ximénez puncheons and Oloroso sherry butts. Add a drop or two of water to reveal a cornucopia of flavour; from treacle toffee and raisin-filled toasted brioche, to baked apple and bramble pie and star anise. This crescendos into a lingering dark chocolate, espresso coffee finish. The depth of this Highland Single Malt’s character is boundless.” Blimey! Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? All this could be yours for a very reasonable RRP of £72, and it’s coming soon to Master of Malt. Credit cards at the ready…

In this week's Nightcap... Valentine's Day!

Nothing says I love you like quality booze. Right?

Say it with a Select Aperitivo hamper this Valentine’s Day

What would you like from your wife, husband, lover, special friend or secret admirer this Valentine’s Day? Flowers? Chocolates? An enormous inflatable pink elephant with the words ‘Please say yes, Janet!’ written on the side? Or how about a hamper from top Italian deli Prezzemolo & Vitale containing everything you need to have a perfect Venetian aperitif. We know what we’d prefer. The hamper not only includes a bottle of Select Aperitivo, soda water, Prosecco and glasses to make a spritz with but for the full Italian experience some delicious snacks including green and black olives, taralli with extra virgin olive oil, artichokes in olive oil and to finish, some chilli chocolate. All this for only £59 (plus postage). Go to the website for more information or visit its London delicatessens in Borough Market, Notting Hill and the Kings Road. Throw in an inflatable gondolier, stick on a bit of opera and it’ll be just like being in Venice. Who could resist that?

In this week's Nightcap the industry is embracing environmentally friendly initiatives

This must be one of the greenest Nightcap’s we’ve ever had.

Tidal power comes to Scotch whisky 

Marketing from brands like Old Pulteney and Talisker makes much of the influence of the sea on the whiskies but how great would it be if they were made by the sea rather than just ‘made by the sea.’ Confused? We’ll explain. A company called Nova Innovation will be installing turbines in the narrow straight between Islay and Jura called the Sound of Islay. Which is also a great name for a music festival. Simon Forrest, CEO of Nova Innovation, commented: “The Oran na Mara tidal array has the potential to pair one of Scotland’s largest and world-leading exports – whisky – with world-leading and internationally exportable tidal power technology.” These turbines will generate energy to power the local distilleries replacing fossil fuels. AJ Cunningham, operations manager at Bruichladdich Distillery, commented: “This tidal energy project is really encouraging news for Islay and the potential of energy sourced locally and renewably. In order to decarbonise our activities, access to a clean and continuous supply of energy such as tidal power could help support our carbon zero ambitions.” Last year, the SWA set ambitious plans to make the industry more environmentally friendly. Whisky distillation currently uses around seven times more energy than gin. It would be wonderful if the industry was able to harness something Scotland has in abundance, the sea, to whisky a bit greener.

In this week's Nightcap we learn about Aldi's wine school!

I’d never heard of an Aldiploma until today and I’ve never wanted anything more

Aldi puts the wine into homeschooling 

After a long day juggling homeschooling and zoom meetings, Aldi has the answer to help you relax: more school. Doesn’t sound that great, but this is a school with added wine, so Aldi is calling it… the Aldi Wine School! It’s the follow-up to 2019’s Aldiploma wine course and it’s being launched in conjunction with top Instagrammer Sarah Turner aka The Unmumsy Mum, with 412k followers (!), and Aldi’s very own master of wine, Sam Caporn aka the Mistress of Wine. The course consists of eight modules with classes on food and wine matching, and new world wines, to help you get the most out of your glass. The Unmumsy Mum comments:  “I usually feel bamboozled by the labels in the wine aisle and pick up a Shiraz out of habit, simply because I know I like it. The Aldiploma course bought me sheer joy in swapping phonics and fronted adverbials for a bit of grown-up home learning. Since completing these bitesize modules, I’ve discovered I also like Malbec and I’ve now got the confidence in trying to pick out what I can smell and taste in the glass. I can’t recommend it enough – it’s easy to follow and fascinating!” Sam Caporn added: “The Aldi Wine School, with its jargon free courses, hints and tips, is perfect for giving customers the confidence to try new things – we hope that it helps to spark a sense of fun and excitement when it comes to learning about wine!” Go to the supermarket’s dedicated wine school page and change those whines into wine.

In this week's Nightcap... this, for some reason

So… yeah. This happened.

And finally… Irish whiskey and Fabergé come together at last

Following the launch of The Devil’s Keep in November 2020, The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. is set to outdo itself for its second release: The Emerald Isle Collection. And we say outdo itself, we mean in sheer mind-boggling madness. The press release about the collection starts off pretty reasonably, informing us there are seven custom-made whiskey sets in total that feature two bottles of 30-year-old, triple distilled Irish whiskey, which is said to be the oldest triple-distilled Irish whiskey in existence. A big claim that we’re sure has been rigorously fact-checked. Then we’re informed The Craft Irish Whiskey Co has teamed up with Fabergé, which has created its first-ever Celtic Egg to “honour” Irish heritage. Because, umm… we don’t know. We have no idea what this egg has to do with anything Irish. Answers on a postcard. Oh, and the set also includes a Fabergé Altruist 18k rose gold timepiece and other “priceless” whiskey accessories. You can get more detailed descriptions of them upon request, which sounds like a laugh. The limited-edition boxes will be sold via a private auction in Houston, Texas on 2nd February 2021 at a world record starting price of 1.7m euros, which is the most startling fact of all, but sweet redemption comes with the note that 100% of all proceeds, beyond cost price, is going to charity. The news has still baffled much of the whiskey world, however, including the folks at Whiskysponge, who announced their retirement from public piss-taking upon seeing the press release. A spokesponge said: “I’ve been trying to think of something to say about this Irish egg box for 48 hours but nothing is actually funnier than what it already is.” We feel your pain, sweet, satirical sponge. The Sponge added “My work here is done.” 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 5 February

The Nightcap: 29 January

It’s Friday and that can only mean one thing: it’s the weekend! Oh, and The Nightcap is here! Which is actually two things. Two wonderful things. Let’s proceed. If you…

It’s Friday and that can only mean one thing: it’s the weekend! Oh, and The Nightcap is here! Which is actually two things. Two wonderful things. Let’s proceed.

If you dared to check out the news this week you’ll have seen all sorts of stories about vaccine politics and US stock trading or how it’s been a year since the confirmed case of Covid-19 in the UK. It’s all pretty heavy stuff and, we don’t know about you, but here at MoM Towers we are pretty fatigued by it. We long for the days when a dog chasing deer made the news. More stories like the Robin Hood society going to bed on Wednesday evening with under 400 Twitter followers and waking up to more than 33,000 on Friday are required. Bring on the wholesome content. Speaking of which, here’s The Nightcap. It’s got news on exciting whisky launches, new distilleries on the horizon and virtual whisky festivals to look forward to. Oh, and Bacardí doing the Conga! Can you feel the warm glow of lovely, silly escapism yet?

This week on the MoM blog we had the pleasure of unveiling The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection Archive and announcing the results of our third Burns Night poetry competition. My word, you are a creative lot. It was a joy to read the majority of your entries. Apart from the poetry composed by those who insisted on rhyming ‘whisky’ with ‘frisky’. You know who you are. Elsewhere, Ian Buxton revelled in the increasing popularity of rye whisky, Henry delved into the links between history, perfume and booze with BeauFort Spirit, Adam learned about the amazing story behind Masons Gin and Annie got the low-down on Kiwi whisky and more with Cardrona Distillery’s Sarah Elsom. We also enjoyed a five-year-old blended malt from Campbeltown, a once-forgotten classic cocktail and looking at some iconic booze bottle designs.

In The Nightcap this week we've got news on Ardbeg 25 Year Old the oldest permanent expression in the brand's core range

It’s the oldest and arguably most prestigious permanent expression yet!

Ardbeg reveals new whisky. Again.

Not content with just appearing in last week’s Nightcap, Ardbeg has only gone and released yet another intriguing new whisky. In fact, the Islay distillery has released the oldest expression yet to join its permanent range of whiskies: Ardbeg 25 Years Old. One of the most exciting releases to emerge from the distillery, the spirit was distilled during the 1990s, at a time when the brand was only producing a trickle of new make spirit every year. You know what that means. This is rare spirit, folks, and at that age expect a price tag to match. Of course, while this is incredibly exciting, there are some who will fear that so much maturation will tame Ardbeg’s smoky power. Dr Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation, says this is not the case. “After a quarter of a century in the cask, you’d be forgiven for imagining that Ardbeg 25 Years Old would have lost some of the hallmark Ardbeg smoky punch. I can assure you it hasn’t,” he commented, adding: “There’s also a remarkable complexity and elegance to this whisky that I find utterly captivating. It’s unmistakably Ardbeg, but unlike any Ardbeg you’ve tasted before.” The official tasting note reveals aromas and flavours of smoked cream, earthy bonfires, peppermint, sherbet lemon sweetness, creamy toffee and Ardbeg’s classic fennel and pine resin note. Sounds delightful. As is the fact that Ardbeg 25 Years Old will be available from this very site soon…

In The Nightcap this week we're delighted to learn that we might get not one, but two Spirit of Speyside festivals!

We might get not one, but two Spirit of Speyside festivals this year!

Spirit of Speyside goes virtual. Again.

As you might expect given Fèis Ìle and the Campbeltown Malts Festival were cancelled, the Spirit of Speyside Festival has announced it will be taking its celebrations online this April. An array of delightful virtual events have been put together, including a tour of one of Dalmunach Distillery from master distiller Alan Winchester. There will also be an exploration of Benriach’s new portfolio with brand ambassador Stewart Buchanan and a whistle-stop virtual tasting tour of malt whisky country with The Malt Whisky Trail. The full programme will be revealed in the coming weeks and tickets will go on sale online on 16th March 2021. “Given whisky lovers won’t be able to come to Speyside for our annual festival this April, we have decided to take the festival to them,” James Campbell, chairman at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, said. “In the meantime, we hope that our online programme of events in April will lift everyone’s spirits and give people a taste of what to expect from the festival in November. We will then revert back to our traditional date in 2022.” Yes, you read that correctly. The organisers have also said that, as long as it’s safe, there will also be a festival in person from 3-8 November 2021. As in a festival with proper humans walking around near each other without hazmat suits on. Hurrah!

In The Nightcap this week we welcome a new Speyside distillery

The imaginatively named Speyside Distillery will soon welcome a sister site!

New distillery from Speyside Distillers announced

Sticking with Scotland’s largest whisky-producing region, Speyside Distillers has revealed this week that it will build a new whisky distillery as part of exciting new expansion plans. While full details of the development are secret, including exactly where it will be located, we have got confirmation that the brand’s second distillery will be in Speyside. Which you probably guessed, to be fair. Best known for operating the Speyside Distillery near Kingussie in the foothills of the Cairngorms National Park, Speyside Distillers produce both Spey and Beinn Dubh whisky as well as Byron’s Gin. Managing director Patricia Dillon had this to say on the news. “Last year was challenging for us, as it was for most businesses dealing with Covid-19. Our plans for a new distillery will ensure that we can continue to distil the quantities of whisky required, while also allowing us room for further expansion. Although our full plans – including location and design – are currently under wraps, we’re looking forward to sharing more as they unfold over the coming months and years.” Speyside Distillers has been investing in its future for some time now, having spent £200,000 in creating a visitor centre in the Scottish Highlands of Aviemore in 2018 as well as signing a distribution deal with Luzhou Laojiao International Development in China in 2019. Most recently, the brand has taken on two new members of distilling staff, Martin MacLeod and Raymond MacKay, to assist long-serving employee Andrew Scorgie and distillery manager Allan Findlay. I think we can all agree it’s great to see positive news like this!

In The Nightcap this week we're sending a call out to UK bartenders!

Calling all UK bartenders! A fantastic opportunity, and plenty of vermouth, awaits…

Regal Rogue unveils bartender training program

To bring a bit of good old Australian positivity to the beleaguered British bar scene, Regal Rogue vermouth has just announced a bartender training program. These online sessions will be hosted by founder Mark Ward and the team from the brand’s new distributor, The Liana Collection. The challenge is to create a new cocktail featuring Regal Rogue vermouth with the hashtag: #RogueTipplecocktail. The winning bartender will win a load of Regal Rogue to put to use when the bars reopen. Please let that be soon. Mark Ward commented: “We are all too aware of the challenges facing the industry right now and we are looking to play our part in bringing the industry back to life in a post-Covid world. To that end, we are excited to announce our new partnership with The Liana Collection as our exclusive UK importer. We are looking forward to taking the brand to the next level with the team at Liana and with that, double down on our partnership with the UK bartender community.” David Wood from the Liana Collection added: “We believe training and development is something that can really add value while not breaking the rules of furlough while bar teams are stuck at home. Mark’s category knowledge is a sought-after resource and if I ran a bar team, I would be quick to jump at the opportunity. The sessions are open to all pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK and will operate on a first-come, first-serve basis.” For those not in the trade, we can all indulge in a little amateur mixology at home with Regal Rogue.

In The Nightcap this week we've got a delightfully mysterious Crabbie whisky

While the distillery wasn’t revealed, we can confirm this expression is mighty tasty

Crabbie releases 28-year-old whisky from mystery Speyside distillery

Hot on the heels of the delicious 1994 bottling which we covered last year, John Crabbie & Sons has just released a 28-year-old whisky from 1992. It’s all part of the countdown to the day when the revived Crabbie & Co. distillery in Edinburgh can bottle its first single malt. It won’t be for some time though as the first single malt distillery in the city for over 100 years only opened in 2018. With the 1994, Crabbie was open about the source of the whisky, Tobermory, but for this new release, the team is being all mysterious. All we have been told is that “it comes from a very famous distillery in the GLENLIVET [capitals theirs] valley.” There’s a clue in there somewhere. What we can say about it is that it’s delicious. The nose is like walking into a patisserie with almonds, vanilla, baking spices and orchard fruits, and it doesn’t disappoint in the mouth with a finish you can measure in minutes. We also know that it’s bottled at 45% ABV, costs around £350 and will be with Master of Malt soon.

In The Nightcap this week we cast a sceptical eye on hard seltzers

Hard seltzer is happening… apparently

Here at the Master of Malt blog, we’ve been a bit sceptical about hard seltzers. Whenever we hear those two words we channel Regina George in Mean Girls: “Stop trying to make hard seltzer happen, it’s not going to happen.” Granted they have taken America by storm, and what are essentially low sugar alcopops are clearly a good idea. Our problem is that the category is based on two words that mean nothing to British drinkers, hard meaning alcoholic and seltzer meaning sparkling water. Hoping to prove us wrong comes hard seltzer brand DRTY which has commissioned a report into the category with comments from various drinks industry veterans. According to its figures, from January 2020 the UK market has grown 947% by value. Sounds impressive, though the category did only appear in 2019 so it’s from a very low base. At the moment only 3.3% of households have bought a hard seltzer in the past year. The market is currently worth £10.4 million and if it keeps growing at the same rate it will be worth £75 million by 2023. There are certainly a lot of brands on the market both from multinationals to independent brands; like our own Nate Brown with his Easy Social Cocktail Co. Given a hot summer we think that certain brands will cut through, rather like Hooch and Two Dogs did back in the day. But whether the words ‘hard seltzer’ will be met with anything except bafflement on the streets of London, Leeds or Leighton Buzzard is another matter. 

And finally… Do-do-do. Bacardí does the conga!

It’s a song that has plagued weddings for years but that hasn’t stopped Bacardí by putting together a shiny new cover version of the Conga. The rum brand has put a contemporary spin on the 1980s hit by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine as part of a campaign launched in November which challenged rum fans around the world to “find their rhythm and do what moves them through song and dance”. If you did submit a video of you doing your thing to Instagram then you can check out the Conga Feat. You music video above to see if you made the cut. Among the fan submissions from around the world, the song also features Alesha DixonDiversity, Leslie GraceMeek Mill and was produced by the Grammy-winning Boi-1da (it’s a play on ‘boy wonder’. This man has a Grammy). Ned Duggan, global senior vice president for Bacardí, explained the inspiration behind the campaign. “We’ve always seen music as such a powerful force in bringing people together, and as the world trended toward division and isolation this past year, we wanted to use music as a catalyst to bring people back together in a way that has never been done before. We can’t wait for you to see it.” To accompany the release, Bacardí created a cocktail called the Coco Conga, a spin on the classic Mojito. You make it by adding 50ml Bacardí Carta Blanca Rum, 25ml lime juice, 2 tsp sugar and 12 fresh mint leaves to a highball glass. Press that mint with a bar spoon to release the oils, add crushed ice, almost to the top, and churn. Top with some Club Soda and crown with a playful splash (I like to say the word ‘splash’ out-loud when I do it) of Bacardí Coconut Flavored Rum. Finally, garnish that with beauty with a mint sprig and a lime wedge and find a nice seat to relax in and enjoy it with a good book. Nah, we’re just kidding. Go and do the Conga!

No Comments on The Nightcap: 29 January

The Nightcap: 22 January

In the Nightcap this week we cover the cancellation of some of our favourite whisky festivals (boo!), plenty of great work from The Drinks Trust (yay!) and the US Supreme…

In the Nightcap this week we cover the cancellation of some of our favourite whisky festivals (boo!), plenty of great work from The Drinks Trust (yay!) and the US Supreme Court’s verdict on a parody dog toy that upset Jack Daniel’s (???).

Hello again everyone. We hope you’re all staying safe and managing the seemingly endless lockdown ok. We found a useful way of doing that is to appreciate those small moments of joy we can overlook. Like hearing a new song you love or making yourself a plate of delicious carbohydrates to inhale. Plus, there’s vaccines and dogs and all kinds of exciting and wondrous things happening in the world of booze to enjoy. Which is why we do The Nightcap. This industry never fails to amaze. Did you ever think you’d see Fatboy Slim, pre-French Revolution Cognac, pirate-themed whisky, CBD gin and the US Supreme Court in one article?

On the blog this week, we introduced our solution to the blandness of the season with Try January! Then, we looked forward to a different but still delightful Burns Night by checking out the most exciting virtual events taking place and recommending some cracking whiskies to enjoy on the night. We also had our fill of tasty cocktails, from a classic gin-based pre-Prohibition serve to serves that can transport you across the world. Expressions that caught our eye included a terrific dram from Aberlour was our New Arrival of the Week, a non-alcoholic spirit inspired by the historical distinction of London Dry gin and a selection of bargain white wines.

Now, on to The Nightcap!

On The Nightcap this week: Fèis Ìle,

It’s heartbreaking to know we won’t be going back again, but safety is the priority.

Fèis Ìle and Campbeltown Malts Festival cancelled

In unsurprising, but still terribly sad news, there will be no Fèis Ìle or Campbeltown Malts Festival this year. Much like in 2020, the organisers of the two internationally-renowned events were moved to axe them in the face of huge uncertainty over the impact of coronavirus restrictions. Planning a programme, buying/selling tickets and booking accommodation in advance as normal hasn’t been possible due to the ongoing curbs on travel, social gatherings and events. Virtual versions of  both festivals will take place instead. Springbank Distillery announced last night on Instagram that the Campbeltown distilleries felt it was the only option, “as the UK is currently in the midst of lockdown restrictions and it is unlikely that mass gatherings will be allowed by May”. Islay’s hugely popular music and malt festival released a similar statement. “With deep regret, we announce that this year’s festival is cancelled. We have discussed this with our distillery partners, and we have come to this decision together,”. The organisers went on to say, “We know you won’t like hearing this news. We don’t like saying it. But please just keep Islay in your hearts for a little longer: hold on to the love of the island, the music, the whisky and the company, and the embraces when we see you again will be all the sweeter.”

On The Nightcap this week: Arrrrrrrdbeg

It’s a most fitting tribute. Arrr!

Ardbeg reveals new whisky: Arrrrrrrdbeg

There can’t be many jobs that reward you with leaving presents as cool as the drinks industry provides. Just ask Mickey Heads. As regular Nightcap readers will know, the well-regarded distillery manager announced his retirement last year from his role at Ardbeg (although he will be continuing in his role as chairman of the Ardbeg Committee). So the Islay-based distillery has created a new whisky to celebrate his time there. How cool is that? The new whisky is a pirate-themed expression called Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg (hell yeah) and is the distillery’s first-ever whisky matured in ex-rye casks. The brand’s tasting notes describe flavours such as gunpowder, smoked banana, rye bread, sweet vanilla toffee, an aniseed breeze, Brazil nuts and gentle smoke. Sounds delicious. But, sadly, this is an Ardbeg Committee exclusive bottling. That means if you want to get your hands on a bottle you’ll have to head on over to the Ardbeg website and join the committee before it is released in the UK on the 2 February 2021. Members are due to receive an email that morning with a link giving them the chance to buy a bottle. Dr Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation at Ardbeg, described the dram as a “perfectly peaty parting gift” and thanked Heads for his time there, commenting: “Working with Mickey has been an absolute joy. He’s somebody with a genuine passion for Ardbeg and we hope that this bottling will take pride of place in his collection. He’s presided over many momentous Ardbegs over the years, but this ‘end of an era’ edition is a special one”. You can still pick up all kinds of tasty Ardbeg whisky from us, however, and raise a glass of that to the man who led Ardbeg to three IWC ‘Distillery of the Year’ titles in a row and was named Distillery Manager of the Year 2014 instead. Slange var! 

On The Nightcap this week: Fèis Ìle,

The Drinks Trust welcomes Troy Christensen, Jaega Wise, Ian Burrell and Becky Paskin.

The Drinks Trust welcomes new chair and patrons

We got some good news courtesy of The Drinks Trust this week as it appointed a new chair of its board of trustees, Troy Christensen and welcomed three new patrons, Ian Burrell, Becky Paskin and Jaega Wise. Christensen, who first joined the charity in 2018,  brings 15 years’ experience in the drinks trade with Constellation Brands and as CEO of Accolade Wines from 2011 until 2013. He was appointed CEO of Enotria Wine Cellars in June 2014 and oversaw the acquisition of Coe Vintners in 2015. “This remarkable charity has represented and defended employees of the wine and spirits industry for over a hundred years. After the unbelievable challenges 2020 presented to our industry through the impact of Covid and government policy, this is a very relevant time for The Drinks Trust,” he commented. Helping Christensen and co. to raise awareness and increase the charity’s reach and impact are new patrons Ian Burrell, rum ambassador; Becky Paskin, spirits journalist and co-founder of Our Whisky; and Jaega Wise, TV and radio presenter and head brewer at the Wild Card Brewery. They will join existing patrons Matthew Rhys, Jancis Robinson MW OBE and Olly Smith as well as Founder Patron, Tom Yusef who said, “The help and time from our new patrons to further our causes whilst helping The Drinks Trust to reach new audiences is greatly appreciated. We are excited to be working with such dynamic and inspirational people in the drinks industry”.

On The Nightcap this week: rare Macallan

This beauty is sure to fetch an eye-popping price

World’s most expensive whisky tipped to set new records

The second half of an incredible collection of whisky will go under the hammer next month in a sale that is set to enter the record books. From 12-22 February 2021, over 1,900 bottles of the rarest single malts in existence, will feature in the sale hosted by Whisky Auctioneer. Leading the auction is The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60 Year Old, which is expected to beat the current world record hammer price of £1.2m, which is held by a Macallan from the same original bottling batch. Other standout whiskies include The Balvenie 1937 50 Year Old, Bowmore’s legendary 1964 vintage and a 1921 private cask bottling of Dallas Dhu which has not been seen on the secondary market for over 25 years. The Perfect Collection Part Two, which initially launched last April, was postponed following a major cyber attack. Part one took place in February 2020, fetching a total hammer price of £3.2million as Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-dollar bottle. The collection was amassed by late American businessman and philanthropist, Richard Gooding and is one of the largest and most significant ever to go to public auction. “Mr Gooding’s Collection is nothing short of extraordinary and we are honoured and delighted to bring it to auction,” says Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer. “Collectors, investors and whisky lovers alike will have their interest sparked by the truly astonishing array of whiskies on offer”. 

On The Nightcap this week: rare Cognac

Want to own Cognac distilled when Napoleon was eight years old? Now you can.

Pre-French Revolution Cognac goes under the hammer

We got quite excited last year at getting hold of some 1895 Cognac from Hermitage but new lots going up on Whisky.Auction on Sunday 31 January make that venerable liquid look positively sprightly. The collection belonging to Jacques Hardy, from a well-known Cognac family, contains bottles from 1802 and 1777. The last one a pre-Revolutionary vintage distilled when Napoleon was just an eight-year-old boy with big dreams. It boggles the mind that you might be able to taste such a piece of history. The grapes came from Domaine de la Vie in Grand Champagne and after distillation, the liquid spent around 100 years in oak before being transferred to a demijohn and finally bottled in 1936. It was given to Jacques’ uncle, James Hardy, on his wedding day by his new family-in-law. Much better than new linens. It’s one of only five such bottles in existence. Sukhinder Singh from Whisky. Auction commented: “I am pleased to have tried this around 10 years ago when it was available at The Lanesborough Hotel in London. What a privilege it was to taste such old liquid that was still fresh and full of life with the lingering rancio flavour that you find in pre-phylloxera Cognac.” The rest of the collection is equally mind-blowing as alongside the 1777 and 1802, there’s an 1812, a 1906 and a mere baby, the 1914. The bottles are being sold as individual lots, and the auction will go live on Sunday 31 January 2021, running for ten days until Tuesday 9 February. Happy bidding!

On The Nightcap this week: The Drinks Trust,

The money goes to a great cause, so do check it out

Fatboy Slim signed prints up for auction for The Drinks Trust

How’s your living room looking? A bit bare, perhaps? What you need are some gorgeous limited edition prints which have just gone on sale called A Shot in Time. These five pictures celebrate five emotions associated with hospitality: togetherness, happiness, resilience, family and, not forgetting, shenanigans. Remember shenanigans? The creator of these prints is drinks photographer Addie Chinn. Each one costs £50, is A3 size and part of a limited run of only 50. Best of all, all the profits go to The Drinks Trust, to raise essential funding to those needing critical social, medical and financial help for them and their families in the hospitality sector.  Go to Our Future Proof Website to buy yours. But that’s not all! Mr Fatboy Slim himself, Norman Cook, has signed and captioned a set of prints which will be auctioned at Whisky.Auction of 31 January 4pm. It’s all happening there this week. Follow @OurFutureProof for more information. 

On The Nightcap this week: spaniels

It’s not a story of Jack Daniel’s getting into a fight with actual dogs, but it’s no less ridiculous.

And finally… Bad Spaniels beat Jack Daniels

In a long-running legal battle between a small dog, VIP Products, and a big animal, Brown Forman, it looks like the little dog will, at last, have its day. It all started with the launch of a dog chew toy called Bad Spaniels that looked a lot like a bottle of Jack Daniels, with the words ‘Old No. 7 Tennessee sour mash whiskey’ replaced with ‘The Old No.2 on your Tennessee carpet’. Clever! Following cease and desist letters from the whiskey firm, VIP products sued Jack Daniel’s in 2014. Initially, a court found that the toy did infringe on Jack Daniel’s trademarks but then in 2020 the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favour of Bad Spaniels. The big boys at JD weren’t done yet, so they petitioned the Supreme Court but this month the highest court in the US declined to hear the case. So it looks like, finally, the spaniel has won. Moral of the story: don’t get in a fight with a dog over a chew toy. Not only will you lose, but you’ll be left looking foolish.  

No Comments on The Nightcap: 22 January

Latest delivery information

TL/DR: We’re open for business and running as usual! Every day we work super hard to so all we can to reduce disruption to shipments due to both the pandemic…

TL/DR: We’re open for business and running as usual!

Every day we work super hard to so all we can to reduce disruption to shipments due to both the pandemic and Brexit. Here’s a place for all the latest updates.

We’ve introduced a whole load of measures to keep our people safe while we keep the drinks flowing for you. If you’d like to know more, our CEO Justin shared details here!

There may be a slight delay to your order if you’re shipping outside of the UK due to Brexit. We’ll update this page as soon as we have news!

If you’re shipping to Northern Ireland, we’ve got the latest developments here.

3 Comments on Latest delivery information

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