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Master of Malt Blog

Category: Video

Take a VR tour of Wolfburn Distillery!

Thanks to wonders of VR technology, you can now tour the wonderful Wolfburn Distillery from the comfort of your own home! Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean…

Thanks to wonders of VR technology, you can now tour the wonderful Wolfburn Distillery from the comfort of your own home!

Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. This week we see what it’s like inside Scotland’s most northerly mainland distillery. Enjoy!

The current Wolfburn Distillery was founded in 2013 in Thurso, the most northerly town on the British mainland. It’s just 350 metres from the site of the original Wolfburn distillery, which dates back to 1821 and closed its doors back in 1860. The burn from which the distillery took its name remains the water source to this day. Both peated and unpeated whisky is produced at Wolfburn in two Forsyths copper pot stills, a 5,500-litre wash still and 3,600-litre boil ball spirit still. Fermentation times range from 70-92 hours in the four stainless steel washbacks and the distillery has a single 1.1-tonne semi-lauter mash tun, while the whisky is matured in ex-bourbon hogsheads, quarter casks and ex-oloroso sherry butts. Despite being a relative newcomer, the distillery is already building quite a reputation for its light, sweet and complex whiskies.

a VR tour of Wolfburn Distillery

 If Wolfburn seems like your kind of distillery, then I’d recommend you help yourself to a bottle of Wolfburn Northland Single Malt (above), the first single malt released by the distillery back in March 2016. Some of the whisky was matured in quarter casks that previously held peated whisky from Islay, but this is no Islay imitation. It’s very much got its own character. Best of all, we’ll deliver straight to your doorstep, so if you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, then we’ve got your back. No, wait, that’s not the best part of this. If you order now, you can save a whopping £7 on this bottling! There’s also 10% off Langskip, Morven and Aurora. 

Wolfburn Northland Single Malt Tasting Note:

Nose: Orchard fruits, apple pie, a fresh maltiness, almonds, magnolia and a suggestion of smoke.

Palate: Honey Nut Clusters breakfast cereal, sweet spices, chocolate croissant, more honey towards the end, and a subtle earthy peatiness.

Finish: Long and fresh, with even more rich honey notes

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Take a VR tour of Glenglassaugh Distillery!

Take a tour of the delightful Glenglassaugh Distillery, thanks to the wonders of virtual reality! Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good…

Take a tour of the delightful Glenglassaugh Distillery, thanks to the wonders of virtual reality!

Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. We begin at a distillery with a real phoenix-from-the-flames tale. Enjoy!

The history of Glenglassaugh distillery has been tumultuous, to say the least. It was founded by James Moir and Thomas Wilson in 1875, who sold it to Highland Distillers 18 years later. A downturn in the market forced it to close in 1907 for 53 years (aside for a couple of years in the ‘30s). In 1960 it reopened to cater for increased demand for Scotch whisky before another downturn in the market forced it to close again in 1986. At this point, it may have looked condemned to many, but not to former William Grant & Sons distillery manager Stuart Nickerson, who purchased the distillery with Russian-backed firm Scaent Group in 2006. Two years later the takeover was complete and they got the distillery back on its feet. So much so that Billy Walker’s The BenRiach Distillery Co. bought it in 2013, before he sold all three of his distilleries (Glenglassaugh, BenRiach and Glendronach) to Jack Daniel’s producer Brown-Forman in 2016. Its loyal following, pioneering marketing and delicious and intriguing spirit should ensure we get to enjoy Glenglassaugh for some time.

Has all this given you a taste for Glenglassaugh? Then let us deliver a bottle (or indeed a dram) right to your door! How about Glenglassaugh Revival, the first chance to try whisky made at the re-opened distillery?  All three core expressions from the distillery, including Torfa and Evolution, are now available with a 10% discount!

Glenglassaugh Revival

It’s Glenglassaugh Revival!

 

Glenglassaugh Revival Tasting Note:

Nose: Loads of sweet caramel, a sherry nuttiness, honey, chocolate, toffee, red berries, and fresh orange. There’s a charred oak earthiness, too.

Palate: Big and mouth-filling with a creamy texture, the honey becomes more mead-like, along with red cherries, walnut and a soft spice.

Finish: Medium-length with more of that sherry character, plus caramel and some mulled wine-like spice.

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Island spirit: a visit to Mermaid Gin

Last year on a beautiful clear August day, we visited the Isle of Wight to meet the team behind Mermaid Gin, film at the distillery and learn the secrets of…

Last year on a beautiful clear August day, we visited the Isle of Wight to meet the team behind Mermaid Gin, film at the distillery and learn the secrets of its deliciousness. Some, sadly, we’re not allowed to divulge. 

Xavier Baker from the Isle of Wight Distillery asked us not to reveal the location of his best foraging patch for rock samphire, an important botanical in Mermaid Gin. We’d got up early to follow him on an expedition down to the beach. The island sparkled in the August sunlight with the palm trees making this corner of southern England feel like the south of France. While Baker hopped from rock to rock with the agility of a mountain goat, I lumbered after him more like a rhinoceros occasionally grazing my hands and knees in a desperate attempt not to fall. As we foraged, Baker explained a little about what we were looking for: rock samphire grows above the waterline; it’s a completely different species to marsh samphire, which grows in water; rock is related to the carrot whereas marsh is related to asparagus. Top trivia to impress your waiter with next time you see samphire on a menu.

Samphire used to be big business on the Isle of Wight with barrels of the stuff going to London every day. Today, Baker is one of the few harvesting it commercially though that he sometimes runs into local Michelin-starred chef Robert Thompson on his forays. The Isle of Wight distillery needs 75 kilos of the stuff every year, so Baker is keen to keep his best patches a secret. It provides a unique flavour to Mermaid gin, Baker describes it as “ocean breeze in a glass.” Raw it tastes sweet and slightly nutty with a dusting of salt. Other botanicals in Mermaid Gin include locally-grown hops as well as juniper, coriander seeds, fresh lemon zest, grains of paradise, angelica, liquorice, orris and elderflower.

With its unique taste and stylish blue bottle, Mermaid Gin is now one of the most recognised and popular gin brands in the country. The company was founded in 2014 by Xavier Baker, and local wine-maker, the impressively monikered Conrad Gauntlett (which makes him sound like a 1930s media magnate). Baker is a brewer by training, “I’ve been brewing since before I could legally drink”, he told us. He’s done stints at giants like Molson Coors and tiny outfits like Dingle brewery in Ireland. After quite a bit of wangling with HMRC, the pair began distilling in 2015. The distillery is housed in a slightly-rough round the edges converted pub near Ryde. Its functional charms make a nice change from cost-no-object City money set-ups one sometimes finds at new distilleries. Cleverly, they have kept the pub side going. While we were there a constant stream of visitors arriving to have a drink, see round the distillery and almost all of them left clutching a bottle of gin. 

Is it a mermaid washed up on the shore? No, it’s Xavier Baker from the Isle of Wight Distillery

Originally though, gin was not part of the plan. “We wanted to be a whisky distillery but gin sort of  took over”, Baker said. They filled a few barrels with new make before stopping to concentrate on gin. It’s a column malt made with Isle of Wight barley. Baker said, “the wash came from Goddards brewery down the road, we did a long slow fermentation.” It’s currently sitting in custom casks, American oak white wine barrels with heavily-charred English oak heads. That initial whisky is now nearly four years old. According to Baker, “there was so much interest when it came of age”, but there’s no immediate plans to sell it yet. Baker gave me a little to try. It’s a deep colour and intensely-flavoured with a nose like rum: chocolate, creme brulee and toffee. In the mouth, there are quite noticeable oak tannins but overall it’s very smooth with a lovely walnut finish. 

They have just finished a refurbishment of the distillation equipment with a new 1,000 litre copper pot still that can be used for gin and whisky plus a column still and condenser. According to Baker it’s a very adaptable set-up. With this increased capacity, Baker told us that he intends to start distilling more whisky soon. 

On sale alongside the Mermaid Gin and its pink sister, there’s a vodka and HMS Victory Navy Rum. This came about when, following a successful navy-strength gin, the Isle of White Distillery was approached by the National Museum for the Royal Navy with making a navy rum. They looked at distilling molasses in England but ended up sourcing rum from Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, just like the Royal Navy used to do. It is then aged in a cask that contains some wood from Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory (yes, really). It sounds a bit gimmicky but it’s a superb drop, punchy and packed full of flavour, but dangerously smooth and drinkable.

But it’s not just about making high quality spirits. For Baker having the least possible environmental impact is very important. “We’re completely plastic-free right down to the cork, we use the highest quality natural cork,” Baker said. The cap is wrapped in biodegradable cellulose. The distillery is very involved in beach clean projects. “We want to protect the environment in which Mermaids live,” said Baker. The Isle of Wight business model seems very sustainable too. The distillery is a model for how a small outfit can do something a bit different in the crowded gin market and build a national following from a strong regional base. And that’s just Mermaid Gin. The maturing whisky points at the huge potential in the Isle of Wight Distillery. If only we could persuade them to bottle some.

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2019 Diageo Special Releases masterclass videos

Earlier this year when the sun was shining, we spent a very jolly day tasting through the 2019 Diageo Special Releases with brand ambassadors TJ Littlejohn and Colin Dunn, with…

Earlier this year when the sun was shining, we spent a very jolly day tasting through the 2019 Diageo Special Releases with brand ambassadors TJ Littlejohn and Colin Dunn, with the MoM film crew there to record everything for posterity.

The arrival of the Diageo Special Releases is one of the highlights of the whisky lover’s calendar. Every year we are knocked out by this series of rare and unusual single malts (and sometimes grains) from some of Scotland’s greatest distilleries. We think this year’s crop, titled ‘Rare by Nature’ and bottled at cask strength, tasted superb, but we have to admit that they tasted even better in the company of a couple of Diageo’s finest brand ambassadors. Newcomer TJ and veteran Colin Dunn have their own unique way of talking about whisky, and both really brought these expressions to life.

Diageo Special Releases 2019

The full line-up of the Diageo Special Releases 2019

 

Without any further ado, here are our 2019 Diageo Special Releases videos:

Cardhu 14 Years Old:

Cragganmore 12 Years Old:

Dalwhinnie 30 Years Old:

Lagavulin 8 Years Old:

Mortlach 26 Years Old:

Pittyvaich 29 Years Old:

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Years Old:

Talisker 15 Years Old:

 

 

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Discover Glenrinnes Distillery with Team MoM!

You would be forgiven for thinking our recent trip to Speyside was for more whisky-based adventures, but you’d be wrong. Instead, we went to discover the only distillery exclusively producing…

You would be forgiven for thinking our recent trip to Speyside was for more whisky-based adventures, but you’d be wrong. Instead, we went to discover the only distillery exclusively producing white spirits in the region – Glenrinnes!

Talk of a new distillery in Speyside is always going to pique any spirit-lovers interest. But the distillery that sits at the foot of Ben Rinnes on the Glenrinnes family estate has an intriguing point of difference. It isn’t making Gin and Vodka just to fill time before releasing a whisky. High quality, 100% organic white spirits are the focus.

We decided to pay them newcomers a visit to find out more about the family behind the project, why they focused on white spirits and more. Over the course of several exclusive videos, shot on-site at the distillery itself and its surrounding grounds, we breakdown the story of Glenrinnes Distillery and the Eight Lands brand through interviews and a magnificent in-depth tour. Enjoy the footage!

Just to whet your appetite, here’s our preview of the swanky new Glenrinnes Distillery in exciting video form!

To talk us through the history of the distillery, from the Glenrinnes Estate and organic farm to the decision not to create whisky, is founder Alex Christou!

In this video tour with Glenrinnes Distillery, you’ll meet operations manager Meeghan Murdoch and distiller Katrina Stewart and learn all about how the distillery creates its signature white spirits.

Meeghan Murdoch, the aforementioned operations manager, gives us a snapshot in the day of the life of a spirits-maker.

Next, the distillation process is broken down in further detail by Katrina Stewart, who talks us through the family values of the company and more.

Founder Alex Christou returns to talk about the creation of the Eight Lands brand, what gives the spirits a point of difference and what the future holds.

Glenrinnes Distillery

The fabulous Glenrinnes Distillery in Speyside.

Thanks for watching and be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Master of Malt tastes… Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old!

Check out our swanky new video of us tasting a new Ardbeg expression and having a chat with Brendan McCarron… Back in September, we sent a team from MoM Towers…

Check out our swanky new video of us tasting a new Ardbeg expression and having a chat with Brendan McCarron…

Back in September, we sent a team from MoM Towers north to Edinburgh. We had received word that a certain Islay distillery had something special to show us. It wasn’t wrong. We were covering the launch of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old.

New Ardbeg is always exciting. But this expression was a whole other level of awesome. It’s the distillery’s first permanent age-stated whisky in nearly 20 years, joining Ardbeg 10 Year Old, a booze which has become a must-have for fans of all things peated. It’s fair to say we jumped at the chance to give it a try and find out more.

Our host was Brendan McCarron, head of maturing stocks at The Glenmorangie Company. He talked us through the creation of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old, why the Traigh Bhan beach on Islay, also known as the Singing Sands, was an inspiration, how the dram retained that quintessential Ardbeg profile and more.

So, what are you waiting for? Click on the video below and enjoy! Oh, and in case you were struggling, it’s pronounced something like ‘Tri-Van’.

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More adventures at Penderyn Distillery!

We’ve already given you one fabulously filmed tour of Penderyn Distillery, but the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ve got even more exclusive video footage to be enjoyed right here… Remember…

We’ve already given you one fabulously filmed tour of Penderyn Distillery, but the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ve got even more exclusive video footage to be enjoyed right here…

Remember last week, when we got to see how Penderyn makes all of that lovely Welsh whisky? That was wonderful. But there’s still more to see. In this series of exclusive videos filmed at Penderyn, we talk more whisky, as well as learning all about its interesting history and we see what’s next for this pioneering distillery.

Penderyn may be a young brand in distillery terms and the first in Wales for over a century, but the Welsh whisky makers still have a fascinating history.

Distillery manager Laura Davis join us to discuss the Penderyn Gold Range, which includes its flagship Madeira-finished single malt whisky.

How does Penderyn celebrate historic Welsh events and champion significant Welsh citizens? With fabulous whisky, of course! Jon Tregenna, media manager, talks us through the Icons of Wales range here.

What’s next for Penderyn? New whisky distilleries and visitor centres. Peated expressions. World domination. It’s all in this wonderful video!

Penderyn Distillery

Be sure to visit and check out the distillery for yourself!

That’s all from us and Penderyn, folks! Don’t forget, you can visit the Welsh whisky distillery all year round.

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Join us on our Penderyn adventure!

Recently we ventured west, to the land of dragons, daffodils and unpronounceable towns because we wanted to a look inside Penderyn Distillery. Enjoy the footage! Welcome to Penderyn Distillery! Earlier…

Recently we ventured west, to the land of dragons, daffodils and unpronounceable towns because we wanted to a look inside Penderyn Distillery. Enjoy the footage!

Welcome to Penderyn Distillery! Earlier this year we visited the first commercial whisky distillery in Wales for a century to find out how it makes its delightful whisky, what the future holds and more. Located in the rather beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, Penderyn has been distilling since September 2000, helping to put the Welsh whisky category back on the map. Over the course of the next five videos, we break down the story of how Penderyn whisky is made, from milling to maturation, with the help of our wonderful host Mike Wheeler, Penderyn brand ambassador. Enjoy!

Our first stop brings us to milling. Wheeler features to talk us through how the distillery processes the 28 tonnes of malted barley that is brought to the distillery every seven to ten days!

It’s tun time! Penderyn has only mashed its own barley on-site since 2013, so it’s quite proud of its mash tun, as well as its shiny stainless steel washbacks.

Onto the stillhouse! Penderyn’s unique Faraday stills are a notable highlight, as Wheeler breaks down the Welsh brand’s distillation process.

There is a lot of delicious whisky maturing in Penderyn’s warehouse right now in a wide variety of casks. Wheeler and blender Aista Jukneviciute talk us through the impressive stock here.

High-quality water is essential to make high-quality whisky according to Wheeler in this video, who talks about the distillery’s ideal location in waterfall country…

Penderyn

The distillery leads the burgeoning Welsh whisky category

So, there you have it. Be sure to join us again for more Penderyn-based fun next week…

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Discover the role of copper at The Balvenie Distillery!

Copper plays a vital role in whisky-making. As part of the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition, we explore just how influential the element is up at The Balvenie Distillery!…

Copper plays a vital role in whisky-making. As part of the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition, we explore just how influential the element is up at The Balvenie Distillery!

Denis McBain has spent an incredible 60 years working as a coppersmith at The Balvenie. We check out the importance of his craft and get all kinds of geeky with the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition programme. 

Want to know more about the next EBS Scotch Whisky Expedition? Check out the educator’s website for all the deets!

Balvenie Distillery

The Balvenie Distillery

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Discover the bottling process at Glenfiddich!

We join the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition for a behind-the-scenes tour around the bottling plant at Speyside’s Glenfiddich Distillery! It may not be the most glamorous part of…

We join the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition for a behind-the-scenes tour around the bottling plant at Speyside’s Glenfiddich Distillery!

It may not be the most glamorous part of the whisky-producing process, but we’d struggle to get our mitts on the good stuff if there were no bottling lines. As part of the European Bartender School’s Scotch Whisky Expedition, we check out the operations up at Glenfiddich Distillery, with dry good coordinator Steven Leighton.

Want to fully immerse yourself in the wonderful world of whisky with the EBS Scotch Whisky Expedition? Head to the website now!

Glenfiddich Distillery

Glenfiddich Distillery

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