Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Category: Scotch Whisky

Scotch Whisky news, right here – find out all about the latest releases, reviews and industry news from top Scotch Whisky distilleries such as Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Macallan, Ardbeg, Glenfarclas and Glenfiddich.

Ardbeg plans to double distilling capacity by 2019!

Ardbeg

Welcome news for peat lovers: Islay-based single malt whisky producer Ardbeg is to double its production capacity with a brand spanking new still house and two additional stills.

It’s all go at The Glenmorangie Company! Mere weeks after announcing expansion plans at its Highland distillery Glenmorangie, the firm has submitted a planning application for a multi-million-pound still house at Ardbeg Distillery.

The “traditional-style” development will be constructed on a site formerly occupied by warehouses (they were demolished in 1980!), and will see a new wash still and spirit still bring the distillery’s total still count up to four. The existing still house will be repurposed to accommodate extra washbacks. Meanwhile the construction of a new boiler house, set a little further away from the main distillery building, is already underway.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Welcome to The Macallan Whisky Lounge: the UK’s first!

The Macallan Whisky Lounge

The rumours are true – The Macallan Whisky Lounge has hit the UK! We fill you in on all the details, talk to the bar manager about what to expect, and walk you through an exclusive World Whisky Tour…

It’s not often a celebrated whisky distillery opens a dedicated whisky lounge, but Speyside masters The Macallan have only gone and done just that. Located within Vauxhall-based European-Japanese fusion restaurant Four Degree, this is the brand’s first UK lounge, with the other situated on the second floor of the Galaxy Hotel in Macau, China (the Vauxhall location is thankfully a far simpler commute).

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Categories : American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, News, Scotch Whisky
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International Scotch Day 2018 highlights!

Happy International Scotch Day 2018! On 8 February people around the world will be raising a dram to all things Scotch. We’ll be updating this post all day with the highlights from around the world – get involved on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #InternationalScotchDay and #LoveScotch (or leave a comment below) to share your celebrations with us!

International Scotch Day is back! Billed as a global fiesta for Scotch whisky fans, 8 February marks a collective dram-raising through events, bar activities, and good old-fashioned catching up with friends over a drop of the good stuff.

With events going on all around the world, we thought we’d bring you a round-up of our highlights. And keep your eyes peeled – our very own Annie is taking in not one but two Scotch whisky distillery visits to mark the occasion!

Follow all Annie’s action on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds – or just chill out here. And just in case you’ve been stuck under a rock, you can get the whole International Scotch Day lowdown in yesterday’s blog.

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky
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Get set for International Scotch Day 2018!

Back in January we brought you news that International Scotch Day was making a riotous return for 2018. Well, tomorrow’s the day! From at-home cocktails to heading to your favourite bar, there are a whole host of ways you can get involved and raise a dram to all things Scotch

A celebration of everything that makes Scotch, Scotch – International Scotch Day is back for a second outing, and the celebrations are set to be bigger than ever. On 8 February, Scotch fans in more than 70 countries will be able to join the collective party, with activities spanning at-home dram pouring and cocktail making to distillery open days, fancy red-carpet galas, and more. And we’ll be following the action right here on the MoM Blog! [UPDATE: Today’s the day! Keep up to date with all the International Scotch Day goings on in today’s blog post.]

“We want people to be thinking, drinking and talking about Scotch,” Donald Colville, Diageo’s global malts ambassador, told us in the run-up to the event. “It is very much about recruiting new people to the category but also giving those who absolutely love Scotch whisky, the connoisseurs, and the real lovers of Scotch, the opportunity to enjoy International Scotch Day as well.”

We know exactly where we can find lovers of all things whisky: right here on the MoM blog! So here’s the International Scotch Day low-down, the whos, wheres and hows of the day, and most importantly, the details of where you can follow all the action.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Q&A: BenRiach Distillery Company master blender Rachel Barrie

Rachel Barrie

As she approaches her first year as master blender at The BenRiach Distillery Company, Rachel Barrie discusses wood policy, product development, and why there’s “no such thing as a bad whisky, just some that are better than others”.

Very few master blenders could list the likes of Glenmorangie, Bowmore, Laphroaig and Glen Moray on their CV, but Rachel Barrie is one of them. Having clocked up an impressive 26 years in the Scotch whisky industry, during which she’s been “extremely lucky to work with so many great malts”, her knowledge of Scotch whisky styles and flavours knows no limits. Put it this way, we want her on our team at the next whisky-themed pub quiz.

In February last year Barrie made the move to Brown-Forman-owned BenRiach Distillery Company, succeeding the company’s founder, Billy Walker, as master blender and assuming responsibility for the BenRiach, GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries. Here, she reflects on her first 12 months in the role…

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Glenmorangie Spìos: Single malt matured entirely in ex-rye whiskey casks!

Glenmorangie Spìos

Yesterday Highland distillery Glenmorangie released its ninth Private Edition innovation, Glenmorangie Spìos, and outlined plans to boost production capacity with a multi-million-pound still house. Interest firmly piqued, we headed to a M Den in London’s Victoria for a tasting led by Dr Bill Lumsden and Brendan McCarron.

“The more difficult it is, the more people [that] say no, the more I want to do it,” attests Dr Bill Lumsden, director of distilling, whisky creation and whisky stocks, as he peers down the camera lens. He’s addressing journalists in London, Paris and Zurich via a live stream from the brand’s sensory lab in Scotland, accompanied by head of maturing whisky stocks Brendan McCarron. “The story of Glenmorangie Spìos is along those lines.”

Indeed, creating Spìos (Scots Gaelic for ‘spice’; pronounced ‘spee-oss’) was no easy ride. The idea stemmed from conversation with late beer and whisky writer Michael Jackson back in the late 1990s during Dr Lumsden’s tenure as distillery manager – a period when the American rye whiskey category was “almost on life support”.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Q&A: The what, why, and how of being a Scotch whisky blender

While maturing Scotch whisky seems straightforward – new make goes in, cask stays put, deliciousness comes out – the process of monitoring, sampling, and subsequently bottling our favourite drams requires incredible expertise. We delve into the intricate cask-to-bottle process with Chivas Brothers blenders Kevin Balmforth and Calum Fraser.

Developing and trialling new expressions, maintaining consistency across existing bottlings identifying cask irregularities, honing tasting notes: it’s all in a day’s work for a Scotch whisky blender. Times that by more than 50 brands produced across 14 whisky distilleries, and you’ll appreciate why it takes a certain kind of nose to become a blender at Chivas Brothers. Here, Kevin Balmforth and Calum Fraser discuss professional whisky sampling, developing a sensory memory, and what they personally look for in a dram…

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The Nightcap: 26 January

Nightcap

This week in The Nightcap: Diageo’s boundary-pushing plans for Scotch whisky innovation come to light, Cognac house Louis XIII creates the world’s largest crystal decanter, and a Brazilian spirit distillery stakes its claim in Kentucky.

Haggis? Toasted. Bagpipes? Piped. Drams? Relished. Last night, revellers across the globe got busy celebrating the life and work of 18th-century Scottish poet Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns. There was whisky, poetry, ceilidhs, the occasional deep-fried Mars bar – and a distillery milestone to boot. But we’ll tell you more about that later, because it’s time to reflect back on blog-shaped goings-on…

This week we brought you the recipe for the World’s Best Martini following a gruelling competition in London, delved into the past, present and future of ‘drinking vinegars’ with Nonsuch Shrubs, and reflected on how the world’s first ‘female’ bar list highlighted gender imbalance in booze. Oh, and the world’s biggest privately-owned spirits firm (Bacardi) bought the parent company of best-selling ultra-premium Tequila brand Patrón for a whopping US$5 BILLION. Can’t forget that.

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Categories : American Whiskey, Cognac, News, Scotch Whisky
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Jane Walker: Is Johnnie Walker about to introduce a female counterpart?

Jane Walker

As the conversation around tackling gender inequality and championing female empowerment develops, could Diageo be planning to launch a female equivalent of the Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky brand in the form of Jane Walker?

Apparently so, if a report from highly reputable (ahem) celebrity gossip site TMZ is correct. Diageo “filed paperwork in early January to trademark the name Jane Walker for all alcoholic beverages except beer”, the article states, citing “new docs” as a source.

Entertainment news source aside, it seems that it’s not the first time the company has toyed with the concept. Around the time of the 2016 presidential election, advertising trade publication Adweek wrote that plans for a Jane Walker ad campaign were underway – but the campaign was scrapped after the result was announced.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Benromach Distillery reveals warehouse expansion plans!

Benromach

It might be Speyside’s smallest working distillery, but Big Things lie ahead for Benromach. The Gordon & MacPhail-owned single malt Scotch whisky producer has detailed plans to boost its warehousing capacity after experiencing a tremendous 27% surge in sales last year.

Ever since the Forres-based site was brought back to life by the Urquhart family some 20-odd years ago, its whisky range – led by benchmark single malt, Benromach 10 Year Old – has experienced double-digit sales growth every year without fail.

The distillery was subject to a reinvigorating five-year refurbishment period before it re-opened in 1998, but with demand skyrocketing (bolstered by “particularly strong” overseas growth), the time has come to ramp things up a notch.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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