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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 10 - Santamanía

by Sam Smith     30. October 2015 16:24


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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Categories : Gin | Tasting Notes

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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 9 - Xoriguer

by Sam Smith     23. October 2015 11:53


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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Categories : Gin | Tasting Notes

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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.


500,000 Scovilles Naga Chilli Vodka - The World's New Hottest Vodka

by Jake Mountain     19. October 2015 10:05

Naga Chilli Vodka

How did it come to this? When 250,000 Scovilles Naga Chilli Vodka was released we thought we could finally put this madness behind us. It was the hottest vodka in the world and it tasted like lava and the face-melting scene from the end of Indiana Jones.

But here we are again. Those awful, awful people at The 'Hot Enough' Vodka Co. have conjured up another monster. A monster twice as terrifying and evil as before, from the fiery pits of Hades - those lamentable fiends!


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Categories : Vodka

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#BagThisBottle is Back!

by Master of Malt     19. October 2015 09:00

#BagThisBottle Twitter Competition

Earlier this year we launched our #BagThisBottle Twitter competition, with 10 lucky winners bagging themselves a free bottle of tip-top-tipples. Well guess what? We’re bringing #BagThisBottle back! In just a few quick clicks you could get your hands on a free bottle of some of the tastiest spirits around.

Each day of the #BagThisBottle competition, we’re going to give away a different bottle to a different lucky winner on Twitter. To be in with a chance to be one of those aforementioned lucky winners, here’s what you’ll have to do…


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Categories : Blended | Competitions | Gin | News | Rum | Whisky

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Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 8 - Janneau

by Sam Smith     16. October 2015 12:28


It's week 8 in our Around The World In 80 Drams tour - we're one tenth of the way through! We're making our third and final stop in France this week, sampling yet another distinctly French spirit. As I mentioned last week, we were heading to a commune which my class in school couldn't help but giggle at the name of when we were learning French geography. Yes, we're heading to Condom to taste some Armagnac! But from which distillery? One that would take me over four hours to travel to from Courvoisier - it's Janneau, of course!


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Categories : Armagnac | Tasting Notes

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Whisky in Space (2015: A Space Oddity)

by Jake Mountain     13. October 2015 09:30

2001 A Space Odyssey

Space. The final front ear. Home of paranoid robots named HAL, space stations that ain't no moons, cats and David Bowie. Recently whisky has also been crowbarred into this list with alarming regularity. So much so, that I thought it was time to take another look at it all.

You see, having inexplicably found myself in Disneyland Paris for a few days back in August, during which time I naturally took up residence on Space Mountain, I now quite reasonably consider myself to be the office expert when it comes to all things space.


Battle of the Blends - The Results!

by Jake Mountain     12. October 2015 13:50

Battle of the Blends Whisky Magazine

It was truly a battle for the ages, and now - sooner than you may have expected - we can reveal the results!

If you're wondering what this Whisky Magazine #BattleOfTheBlends in association with Master of Malt business is all about then you can catch up by reading our previous blog post about the contest. Right now though, it's time to crown a champion...

The heavyweight contest between Dave Broom and Neil Ridley was decided by the noses and palates of over 250 judges including Master Blenders and well-known brand ambassadors as well as whisky and spirits writers, bloggers and enthusiasts - perhaps even your good self (if so, thank you!). Below you'll find my own Battle of the Blends tasting notes, as well as some comments from the judging panel, before the 2015 winner is revealed...


Around The World In 80 Drams - Week 7 - Courvoisier

by Sam Smith     9. October 2015 15:14


Hello again and welcome to another edition of Around the World in 80 Drams, the blog series where I travel the world heading east tasting 80 different tasty treats. Well, sort of. This week we’re actually just a touch more west than when we started! It’s a windy route we’re taking for sure, but we’re tasting excellent spirits all around the world, which more than makes up for it.

I left you with a hint last week, mentioning Emperors of the French with distinctive headgear, so of course I’m talking about Napoleon Bonaparte and Courvoisier Cognac! I also said it would take about 5 hours to travel the 240 miles south from Domaine Dupont to Château Courvoisier via a flock of seagulls (not the band - though their haircuts did look quite aerodynamic back in the day).


Glenlivet Launch Peated Cask Nàdurra After Claiming Top Spot

by Jake Mountain     2. October 2015 10:30

Glenlivet Nadurra Peated

This summer saw The Glenlivet overtake Glenfiddich to become the best selling single malt Scotch whisky in the world, having enjoyed +11% net sales growth in the last financial year. The gap had been steadily closing for a long time and this follows The Glenlivet's milestone of selling over a million nine litre cases in a year by last September.

In September of this year they also began work on another *huge* expansion project at the distillery, doubling the capacity to 21 million litres(!), which will make it the largest malt whisky distillery in Scotland. It was only back in 2010 that the capacity was increased from 6 million to 10.5 million litres, an increase that was larger than the capacity of most distilleries. When Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers stated that their mission was to make The Glenlivet the number one single malt back in 2004, it seemed extremely ambitious (at the time Glenfiddich outsold them around 2:1). Their growth, especially in the last five years, has been nothing short of astonishing.



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