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Master of Malt Blog

Category: Tasting Notes

Whisky Santa’s Whisky Advent Day 3: Evan Williams Single Barrel

Time to open the third window of our Whisky Advent Calendars and see what surprise lies behind it… why I think this is a bourbon… Yes, it’s Evan Williams Single…

Evan Williams Single Barrel

Time to open the third window of our Whisky Advent Calendars and see what surprise lies behind it… why I think this is a bourbon… Yes, it’s Evan Williams Single Barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey!

They’ve been producing Evan Williams at family-owned Heaven Hill since 1959 you know, and it’s named after the chap who was purportedly Kentucky’s first ever commercial distiller. I remember young Evan very well, of course, but as an omniscient supernatural being I’m not allowed to clear up these little historical facts for you I’m afraid. Rules is rules. Besides, there’s some delicious bourbon to taste…

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Whisky Santa’s Whisky Advent Day 2: Teeling Small Batch

The second day of Whisky Advent is upon us already and what’s behind the second window of the Whisky Advent Calendar?… Why it’s Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey! The Teeling…

Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey

The second day of Whisky Advent is upon us already and what’s behind the second window of the Whisky Advent Calendar?… Why it’s Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey!

The Teeling family were of course the good folk behind the independent Cooley distillery (creating the excellent Connemara Peated single malt and Greenore single grain, for example) before it was eventually bought by Beam. Fortunately, they weren’t away for long and soon released Teeling Small Batch, a blend of selected casks of Irish malt and grain, finished for six months in ex-Flor de Caña Rum casks! In early 2015 they’ll have a shiny new distillery opening in the heart of Dublin too, one of many new projects on the island.

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Whisky Santa’s Whisky Advent Day 1: Haig Club

Well would you look at that – it’s the first day of Whisky Advent everybody! This is my very favourite time of the year as we all get to count…

David Beckham Haig Club Grain Whisky

Well would you look at that – it’s the first day of Whisky Advent everybody! This is my very favourite time of the year as we all get to count down to Christmas Day with Drinks by the Dram’s wonderful Whisky Advent Calendars!

In fact, I’m so delighted I’m going to bring you some Whisky Advent treats each and every day (see below).

Don’t have a Whisky Advent Calendar yet? Well it’s certainly not too late, you’re only one day behind so get your order in right away! For the rest of us it’s time to open the first window… behind which you’ll find… Haig Club single grain whisky! Yes indeed, the David Beckham one. Ho ho!

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William Grant Launches Glenfiddich Gallery

Well this one’s been teed up perfectly really following last week’s post on The Glenlivet, and specifically how they’re catching the Glenfiddich in terms of sales whilst placing emphasise on…

Glenfiddich Gallery

Well this one’s been teed up perfectly really following last week’s post on The Glenlivet, and specifically how they’re catching the Glenfiddich in terms of sales whilst placing emphasise on their recent and historical innovation. So Glenfiddich, your move it seems. And here it is: Glenfiddich Gallery, a bespoke online whisky service where you can discover cask strength malts that match your personal tastes and also design the bespoke packaging your whisky will come in!

Whilst there is a certain award-winning online retailer that’s provided the opportunity to personalise both the labels and the liquid of your whisky for some time now *ahem*, this is an incredibly exciting step for a leading single malt brand to take.

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The Glenlivet Passes 1m Case Milestone & Launches Founder’s Reserve

The Glenlivet has reached a considerable milestone in its quest to become the best selling single malt Scotch in the world (a position currently held by Glenfiddich), by selling one…

The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

The Glenlivet has reached a considerable milestone in its quest to become the best selling single malt Scotch in the world (a position currently held by Glenfiddich), by selling one million 9-litre cases of whisky within a year for the first time in its history. Looking back to the end of the calendar year 2013, the global Scotch malt whisky market shares held by these brands were within a single percent of one another at 12% and 12.7% respectively. Competition for the top spot has rarely been fiercer.

Reporting double digit growth in more than 40 markets as well as 8% global value growth (net sales) and 2% increase in volume during the 2014 financial year, The Glenlivet reached the milestone of one million cases sold worldwide during the twelve month period up to and including September 2014. Given that back in 2006 (when Glenmorangie was Glenfiddich’s biggest competition in terms of global sales) Glenfiddich enjoyed an 18% market share compared to The Glenlivet’s 7%, their progress is all the more impressive.*

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Diageo Special Releases 2014

On Tuesday evening I found myself the nearest thing to a corner possible at a curvy and buzzing Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens on a cold, rainy November night. Here…

Diageo Special Releases 2014 Caol Ila 30yo

On Tuesday evening I found myself the nearest thing to a corner possible at a curvy and buzzing Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens on a cold, rainy November night. Here I would attempt to write some meaningful tasting notes for 11 limited edition cask strength single malts in a couple of hectic hours, including the time it would take to fight through the crowd each time I needed to move on to new whiskies, and the time it would take for the smell of prawn hors d’oeuvres to dissipate each time the diligent waitresses came over to offer them.

Meanwhile, our Spirits Buyer Toby Cutler (he’s nice, you’d like him – he really enjoys a good picture of Kevin Costner, or Chris Tucker for that matter) was having no such problem as he enjoyed a range of whiskies, some quite valuable, in a leisurely fashion alongside some pleasant conversation. Add all of this up, and it can only mean one thing: it was the launch of Diageo’s much-anticipated 2014 Special Releases!

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David Beckham Haig Club Single Grain Whisky

This is really a follow up to my previous post ‘Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?‘, where I talk more…

David Beckham Haig Club Grain Whisky

This is really a follow up to my previous post ‘Will Grain Whisky be promoted to the Big League as David Beckham signs for Haig Club?‘, where I talk more generally about single grain, Haig Club, and David Beckham as well as taste the Girvan 25yo. Since then a couple of things have happened. Firstly, the brand and the whisky are out there now – from teaser shots where you don’t even get to see Becks’ face back in July, to us having the whisky for sale on the site, to the Global Launch at the start of October through to the release of the UK television advert at the end of last week. The other thing that’s happened is that I’ve actually got around to tasting it now, finally!

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Auchentoshan 25 Year Old 1988 Wine Cask Finish – “YEEAAAHHHH!!!”

A 25 year old 1988 vintage. That’s quite enough about me though. Feeling a little guilty that I haven’t got to this whisky already (we received the package with the…

Auchentoshan 1988 Wine Cask Finish

A 25 year old 1988 vintage. That’s quite enough about me though. Feeling a little guilty that I haven’t got to this whisky already (we received the package with the sample about a month ago), I’m now making a concious effort in these busy ‘already-sort-of-started-but-also-still-building-up-to-Christmas-retailing’ times to get to it before my birthday, after which I’ll suddenly have a little less in common with it.

Everybody enjoys getting their hands on a whisky distilled in the year of their birth, it’s fun. It’s one of those things that shouldn’t really matter perhaps, but many people are willing to fork out that little bit (or lot-a-bit) extra to get their paws on something from ‘their vintage’. Something that’s spent the same amount of time on this oblate spheroid as they have. Indeed, some whisky lovers go out of their way to secure these as often as possible. But if it’s the same age as you as well? Better still, surely?

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Tasmanian Whisky – Everything You Need to Know! (Part 3: Lark)

In many ways, Lark was the flagship behind the burgeoning whisky scene in Tasmania. Established in 1992, it was the first fully licensed commercial distillery on the island since the…

Lark distillery

In many ways, Lark was the flagship behind the burgeoning whisky scene in Tasmania. Established in 1992, it was the first fully licensed commercial distillery on the island since the ban of 1839, and it all began when distillery founder, Bill Lark, started speaking to a political friend of his, asking why small-scale distillation was still illegal. This set in motion a series of calls, letters and discussions, and the end result was legal distillation on Tasmania. For technical accuracy, it’s worth mentioning that Tasmanian Prohibition was partially lifted in 1901, but only for stills of 40,000 litres and over, making any kind of startup nigh on impossible.

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The Glenlivet – The Winchester Collection, Vintage 1964

Last week I was fortunate enough to taste an upcoming release from The Glenlivet, the second best selling single malt Scotch whisky in the world. It’s a limited edition 50…

The Glenlivet The Winchester Collection Vintage 1964

Last week I was fortunate enough to taste an upcoming release from The Glenlivet, the second best selling single malt Scotch whisky in the world. It’s a limited edition 50 year old vintage whisky release – the first in a series of 50 year olds (!) that are to be called The Winchester Collection.

Matured in a single American oak hogshead (as far as I understand from my chat with Brand Ambassador Phil Huckle) this speyside whisky was laid down back in 1964 by none other than Captain Bill Smith-Grant, the final distilling descendant of the distillery’s founder, George Smith. The Winchester Collection therefore represents a special piece of history for The Glenlivet, a final liquid link with the family that started it all back in 1824.

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