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.
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!
Doesn’t really take a huge deal of explanation, this one, does it?
What we’ve gone and done is take a range of delicious single malts, and finished them for a touch over 3 months in specially commissioned, 50 litre, First-Fill Sherry casks.
Traditionally known as ‘Octave Casks’, these smaller-than-average maturation vessels give a significantly greater surface area to volume ratio, meaning more cask-influence, and more of that superb rich, Christmas-cakey deliciousness that we all know and love from heavily-sherried whiskies.
Ah, Maltstock! 2013 marked Master of Malt’s 4th visit to the “relaxed whisky weekend”, although of the four people who went, three of us were, in fact, Maltstock virgins! That Boutique-y Whisky Company have also now released their second batch of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky, complete with Maltstock label – more on that towards the end!
As mentioned above, Cat (now Maverick Drinks’ Brand Communications Manager), was the only one of us who had travelled to Maltstock before (making the local newspapers in the process), the rest of the team was made up by her Maverick minion Teesh,
Sam Alexandra (who is MoM’s marketing maestro), and yours truly!
After poring over the entries from our recent caption competition, wherein the winner was promised a full bottle of Clynelish whisky from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, we were a bit stumped (or chimped).
We struggled to choose just one entry; there were so many outrageous images to choose from (some more so than others)! We finally caved and decided that though there can only be one champion, there were a few entries that deserved honourable mentions (and drams). Still, there can only be one, and there was one that was truly more evolved (wink!) than the rest.
So, without further ado...
Another month (well, nearly – it’s been over 3 weeks), another clutch of supremely awesome whiskies bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company. This time we’re bringing you whiskies from Brora, Arran, Tobermory, Tormore and Aberfeldy.
Sadly, one of these beauties has already sold out (no prizes for guessing which I’m afraid), but the rest are still available for your delectation:
Like a striding colossus of the whisky industry powered by pure inspiration, awesomeness and zeitgeist*, That Boutique-y Whisky Company have brought you not one, but seven brand new releases, as well as a second batch of Aberlour.
Without any further ado:
It’s official – Maltstock is Awesome.
I mean, last year’s event was really, really good, but this year it kicked up a gear in every conceivable way. Having sung the praises of the event to Neil from Caskstrength, we decided to go to the event together, and resolved to deliver a masterclass on some of our favourite whiskies from closed distilleries.
Having set off for the drive from Tunbridge Wells to Dover in ‘plenty of time’, we managed to miss the ferry like a complete pair of rejects (well, one reject, and an immaculately dressed man in Crepe Soled Shoes at any rate). Having secured passage on the next available ferry, we settled in at Dover for the wait. After what seemed like an eternity, our Ferry arrived, and we boarded. After ascertaining that there was nothing of interest in the Duty Free Shop, we repaired to shoot Zombies (we couldn’t find a ‘boy in care’ to help us out, and were consequently killed reasonably soon). More...