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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 12 - Van Ryn's Distillery

by Sam Smith     4. December 2015 15:22

Van Ryn Distillery

Our worldwide magical mystery tour continues! OK, it’s neither magical (I am no wizard) nor is it a mystery (I’ve got it all planned out. Sorta.), but we will be exploring the world of spirits and it does indeed continue this week with our second dram of South African deliciousness! I mentioned at the end of the last blog that we wouldn’t be going far from the James Sedgwick Distillery, and we’re certainly not. We’d only have to travel about 25 miles vaguely in the direction of Cape Town to Van Ryn’s Distillery near Stellenbosch!

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Whisky Advent Day 4: Elijah Craig Small Batch 12 Year Old

by Master of Malt     4. December 2015 10:00

Whisky Advent Calendar

After Scotch and Japanese single malts and a blended whisky, the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar is now taking us to Old Bourbon County for some classic American whiskey! Well, actually, without moving, Elijah Craig was from Fayette, Woodford or Scott Counties, Virginia or Kentucky (keeping up with this season's map in the late 18th century was an expensive business), but that's because Bourbon County was named after the French house rather than the whiskey. It's with ol' Elijah that the story of Kentucky bourbon whiskey may begin, however...

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Whisky Advent Day 3: Compass Box Great King St Artist's Blend

by Master of Malt     3. December 2015 10:00

Compass Box Great King Street Whisky Advent

Day 3 already? Time flies when you're having #WhiskyAdvent fun! (Although it's definitely not too late to catch up if you don't yet have a Drinks by the Dram calendar...)

In The Whisky Advent Calendar today is a treat from one of our favourite independent bottlers and blenders, whisky zealot John Glaser's truly excellent Compass Box.

The Great King Street Artist's Blend takes its name from the address of Compass Box’s Edinburgh offices and, like all their whiskies, is bottled with neither chill-filtration nor artificial colouring. Priding themselves on transparency, we can tell you that this small batch blend always contains around 50% malt whisky (a very high percentage for a blend) In fact, we can tell you that it's made up of 46% first fill American oak matured Lowland grain whisky, 28% 'fruity and malty' Northern Highland single malt, 17% 'grassy' Northern Highland single malt, and 9% 'meaty' Speyside single malt! (66% of the blend is matured in first fill American oak overall and 8% in first fill Sherry butts with 28% finished in new French oak casks).

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Whisky Advent Day 2: Yoichi/Miyagikyo Single Malts

by Master of Malt     2. December 2015 10:00

Yoichi Miyagikyo Whisky Advent

It’s Day 2 of Drinks by the Dram’s #WhiskyAdvent and once again we get to open a window of the excellent Whisky Advent Calendar to see what delights lay within…

Starting with Speyside single malt Scotch yesterday, the second dram takes us all the way to Japan with Nikka’s Yoichi Non Age! If you’re now staring at your dram and thinking to yourself “Hey, hold on, mine says Miyagikyo Non Age”, then I believe we can explain... You see, these advent calendars have been so unbelievably popular this year, with sales surpassing all forecasts, that there are a very small number of days where not everybody could have the exact same dram. Indeed, we’ve been careful to ensure that the contents/spoilers of all the respective calendars were always up to date on the product pages of our site to reflect where this may happen. What we have today then are two single malts from Nikka’s two malt whisky distilleries, set up by the great Masataka Taketsuru (whose own story has recently reached a new generation in his native Japan thanks to the popular television serial Massan).

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Whisky Advent Day 1: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old

by Master of Malt     1. December 2015 10:00

Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Whisky Advent

Once upon a beginning, the folk of the world drew chalk lines on their doors to physically count down the first 24 days of December. Today that sounds more reminiscent of a prisoner counting the days of their incarceration than a celebration of the festive season, but it would be many years before some bright spark decided that using candles would be rather less bleak. I mean, candles, they're okay aren't they?

It wasn't until the early 20th century that calendars with windows first emerged. Ah, the possibilities! You could put literally anything behind them! What did the combined intellect of man decide upon? Well... pretty drawings. Again, quite nice, but there was more potential here. Enter the chocolate advent calendar. In a post-rationing world, this was a pretty big deal. They still delight children the world over, but cheap choccies are just one thing you can hide behind a window. Better than a drawing? Yes. Better than a slap in the face? Certainly. The best thing? Not even close...

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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 11 - James Sedgwick Distillery

by Sam Smith     20. November 2015 17:11

James Sedgwick Distillery

Gosh, it certainly takes a lot of effort to run over 5,000 miles. The Proclaimers only walked over 1,000 (or at least they said they would), I wonder it took them about a fifth of the time it took me! Yes, it’s been a couple of weeks, but my Around the World in 80 Drams journey has resumed as I arrive in South Africa after rather long trip from Madrid, Spain. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the first single grain whisky from South Africa - Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, which is produced at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, situated at the foot of the Bainskloof Pass.

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More Yula 20 Year Old from Douglas Laing Now Available!

by Master of Malt     6. November 2015 15:19

Yula 20 Year Old

As this blog goes live, something exciting is happening - we’ve been able to get hold of some more bottles of Yula, and they’re now available to buy! It sold out very quickly last time, so you may not want to waste any more time here on the blog...

Still with us? Right, well we better tell you some more about this exciting release then! Yula is a new blended malt from Douglas Laing. We love a blended malt from these folk, of course, whether it’s Big Peat, Scallwag or Timorous Beastie (the ‘Douglas Laing Force’, as Sam calls them/likes to draw them in paint) or indeed Rock Oyster, made with island malts.

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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 10 - Santamanía

by Sam Smith     30. October 2015 16:24

Santamania

We’re on week 10 of the Around the World in 80 Drams adventure, and we’ve made it to mainland Spain to enjoy some very exciting gin! Last week I left you a clue that grapes play a pivotal part in this gin’s production - we’re going to be tasting Santamanía London Dry Gin, which is produced in Madrid!

I also said the it would take 7.2 hours to travel from Menorca to Madrid if I was riding a Pronghorn Antelope. I have since discovered that Pronghorn Antelopes are not even Antelopes at all! They’re artiodactyls - but honestly, you could probably just get away with calling them pointy-quick-deers if you wanted to. However, they are one of the fastest land animals, second only to the Cheetah, so don’t say that too loud unless you want a pair of pretty dangerous horns charging at you at 34 miles per hour.

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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 9 - Xoriguer

by Sam Smith     23. October 2015 11:53

Xoriguer

Welcome to week 9 of our Around The World in 80 Drams tour, the blog series where we find out all about spirits from far off lands and learn just how much I love lighthouses. Today we head south out of France and head to a wonderful Spanish island to get a taste of a particular gin with a very particular Geographical Indication. Yes, we're setting sail for Menorca to enjoy some Xoriguer Mahon Gin.

Last week I mentioned I'd be travelling via a team of toads, and that it would take me just under 3 days to travel from Maison Janneau to Xoriguer (only if they travelled at their top speed the whole way, which is 5 miles per hour). I have to apologise, I was in fact wrong. The collective noun for toads is "a knot". It would take me just about 3 days to travel from Maison Janneau to Xoriguer via a knot of toads.

All square? Good. We may continue.

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Diageo Special Releases 2015

by Jake Mountain     20. October 2015 14:00

Diageo Special Releases 2015

It's that time of year once again and last night Diageo invited us to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery to taste the 2015 Special Releases! There are nine this year. That's two less than last year, which as I'm always up against a bit of a time limit (two hours) to scrawl down some meaningful tasting notes for you all (as well as fight through the crowds and also try to avoid notes from elsewhere - ham, butter, bread, candles, aftershave...) was fine by me! There was, of course, still plenty of stunning whisky on show.

Before we go on, however, I should probably point out that the Special Releases are available for Pre-Order now! You may want to head straight over there. If you do miss out on any of them then keep your eyes on the @MasterOfMalt twitter feed over the next couple of weeks as there may be more available once the bottles land.

Ranging in price from £80 to £2,400, Nick Morgan has gone on record to say that even amongst Special Releases "This year is a special one". Exciting.

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