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Master of Malt Blog

A look at Port of Leith Distillery’s fabulous first booze bottlings

Mere months from breaking ground on what is set to be Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery for more than 100 years, Port of Leith Distillery co-founders Paddy Fletcher and…

Mere months from breaking ground on what is set to be Edinburgh’s first single malt whisky distillery for more than 100 years, Port of Leith Distillery co-founders Paddy Fletcher and Ian Stirling have introduced their very first boozes. We took a peek inside the bottles…

When we heard that childhood friends Paddy Fletcher and Ian Stirling had designed Scotland’s first vertical distillery, our ears pricked up Alsatian-style. Set in (where else?) Edinburgh’s historic Port of Leith district, the project is a real labour of love, as Stirling told Kristiane on the blog back in April.

Now, eight months on, finance and planning permission has been secured, and an 18-month construction programme is scheduled to begin in March 2019, with an opening date of Autumn 2020. So far, so exciting.

As you can imagine, the Port of Leith Distillery’s inaugural single malt won’t emerge for a good few years, so to whet our collective appetites in the meantime, the duo has kicked off the range with Port of Leith Distillery Sherry and Lind & Lime Gin.

The curious among you may wonder how a distiller goes about distilling… without actually having built a distillery yet. Well, the gin is produced at The Tower Street Stillhouse near the site of the future distillery; a co-operative set-up shared by fellow local producer Electric Spirit Company (creator of Achroous Gin!).

Port of Leith’s sherry, meanwhile, is sourced from Bodegas Baron in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The future distillery site is also home to the experimental whisky development programme, where the team will test yeast strains and fermentation styles over the coming months before settling on the final recipe.

Thirsty for more information, we asked Fletcher to talk us through the releases. Here’s what we learned…

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #12: Kilchoman Machir Bay Single Malt

Time to take a peek behind the 12th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar where you will find a dram from Islay’s youngest distillery. . ….

Time to take a peek behind the 12th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar where you will find a dram from Islay’s youngest distillery. . .

If you like a bit of elegant smokiness (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then you’ll love this next dram. It comes from Kilchoman, the first new distillery built on Islay in more than 120 years (another new distillery Ardnahoe, is just about to start production). It was founded in 2005 by Anthony Wills and family, and is based at Rockside Farm not far from Bruichladdich. The team produces a “barley to bottle” single malt whisky called 100% Islay where the entire process from the growing of the barley to malting, maturing and bottling, is carried out on the farm. Kilchoman also distills whiskies from bought-in malted barley like its bestseller, Machir Bay, our dram of the day.

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2018’s best booze books

From exploring beer that smells of bins to evaluating the finest wines known to humanity, this year’s booze books have something for everyone. Here’s what to read this Christmas if…

From exploring beer that smells of bins to evaluating the finest wines known to humanity, this year’s booze books have something for everyone. Here’s what to read this Christmas if you like to drink.

There has been a bumper crop of booze books this year. Ideally, we would have at least three posts to get all of them in. But we just don’t have the time! So as we’ve already covered the excellent Aperitif by Kate Hawkings and Japanese Whisky by Brian Ashcraft, I won’t talk about them again. Then there’s the game-changing Home Bar by, errm, me. Anyway, after that shameless plug, here are my top ten drink books of the year.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #11: Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Open Door No. 11 and you’ll find that Drinks by the Dram has treated us to the first dram of English whisky in 2018’s Whisky Advent Calendar… Christmas in an…

Open Door No. 11 and you’ll find that Drinks by the Dram has treated us to the first dram of English whisky in 2018’s Whisky Advent Calendar

Christmas in an exciting time, isn’t it? There’s all kinds of amazing food to look forward to, you’ve got some days off work and who knows, you may even get a present you absolutely adore on the day itself. But even more exciting than waiting for Santa is the burgeoning English whisky scene. First expressions from interesting and innovative new distilleries are hitting the shelves (virtual or otherwise) seemingly all the time, joining an ever-growing list of impressive bottlings to sample. It’s fair to say things are looking very bright for the category, as a superb distillery in the Cotswolds countryside demonstrates. It released its first whisky this year to much acclaim and today you can find out what all the fuss is about yourself.

Behind window 11 is…

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #10: Kirkwall Bay

Behind the 10th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a mysterious single malt from the island of Orkney… Some of the most interesting whiskies in…

Behind the 10th door of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a mysterious single malt from the island of Orkney…

Some of the most interesting whiskies in Scotland aren’t famous brands, nor do they have the names of distilleries on them. Instead, they come from small bottlers and blenders who sniff out interesting whiskies and sell them under their own labels. One such company is Morrison and MacKay. It is based in Perth, a place with a rich whisky heritage. This [incredibly beautiful, you should visit] city on the banks of the river Tay was ideally located between the Highlands, home of strong-tasting malt whiskies, and the Lowlands, home of more delicate spirits, to produce, market and sell blended whisky around the world. Such great firms as Matthew Gloag & Son (of Famous Grouse fame), Arthur Bell & Sons, and John Dewar & Sons were all founded in Perth.

By the 1990s, most had left the city as the whisky industry consolidated. But Perth’s whisky tradition has been kept alive by Morrison and MacKay. The company was created by Brian Morrison from Morrison Bowmore, and Kenny Mackay, who worked with Morrison and previously for another old Perth firm, Peter Thomson. The Morrison and MacKay range includes Bruadar and Columba Cream whisky liqueurs (Scotland’s answer to Bailey’s), Old Perth blended malt (a revival of a Peter Thomson brand), rare cask bottlings and its own-brand single malts.

Which brings us on to the dram behind the 10th door of the Whisky Advent Calendar…

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#WhiskySanta’s The Macallan M Super Wish!

#WhiskySanta is back with a Super Wish so special that it will, quite literally, knock your socks off. This week he’s giving away a Lalique decanter of The Macallan M…

#WhiskySanta is back with a Super Wish so special that it will, quite literally, knock your socks off. This week he’s giving away a Lalique decanter of The Macallan M worth £3,300!

Mariah Carey once sang “All I want for Christmas is you”. In my view, it’s the last great Christmas song and one I never get tired of shaking my booty to at the #WhiskySanta Christmas party, but can you imagine if people acted on this song’s sentiments? Just picture the scene. It’s Christmas Day but I haven’t ventured down the chimney laden with boozy goodness because someone said that all they wanted for Christmas was to see a special friend. There would be tears before bedtime.

So to prevent grown-ups crying, I have been busier than ever giving away fine whiskies and other boozes from around the world in thousands of Master of Malt orders and also across social. By harnessing the awesome power of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (oh, and Google+. Go on then), I have been making your wishes come true. Including, for some very lucky people, Super Wishes!

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #9: Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

The ninth day of Advent is here – and Drinks by the Dram is looking to Japan for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram! It just wouldn’t be the same if…

The ninth day of Advent is here – and Drinks by the Dram is looking to Japan for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram!

It just wouldn’t be the same if the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar didn’t feature a Japanese whisky, would it? Thankfully there’s one waiting behind window #9. And what a Christmas cracker it is. Not literally, obviously. Please don’t try and pull this dram apart after Christmas dinner. You’ll want to savour this one. It’s a whisky with history, personality and the kind of rich, full-bodied flavour that we’ve come to love from Nikka. Today’s dram is…

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #8: The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection

A sherry-forward stunner is your reward for opening window #8 of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar! Phew. It’s the weekend people. We made it. If you don’t…

A sherry-forward stunner is your reward for opening window #8 of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar!

Phew. It’s the weekend people. We made it. If you don’t have too much Christmas shopping left to do, you may get a chance to put your feet up. You know what would go nicely with that? A dram. A delicious dram of Scotch whisky. Good thing you’ve got your Whisky Advent Calendar, because behind window #8 you’ll find…

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The Nightcap: 7 December

Another week, another round-up of all the news that’s fit to drink. Yes, it’s the Nightcap! Or c’est le Nightcap as our cousins across la Manche might say. So pour…

Another week, another round-up of all the news that’s fit to drink. Yes, it’s the Nightcap! Or c’est le Nightcap as our cousins across la Manche might say. So pour yourself a snifter and have a nose around.

This week on the blog there can be little doubt that Christmas is coming. To get any more Christmassy, you’d need Noddy Holder to pop up and shout “it’s Christmaaasssss!” We’ve been counting down the days in some style with our office Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar. And what treats there have been: Day One was the Lost Distilleries Blend from the Blended Whisky Company, followed by Starward from Australia, something special from Dufftown, a French single malt, a BenRiach, and finally, the mighty Hudson Baby Bourbon. To get you in the mood, we brought you exclusive interviews with the people behind these very special drams!

If that’s not Christmassy enough, Adam came up with some boozy gifts for guaranteed Yuletide satisfaction. Oh, and #WhiskySanta’s Super Wish was something quite spectacular: a bottle of Talisker Bodega Series 40 Year Old, worth £2,750! Blimey.

But it wasn’t all festive fun on the blog. On Monday, we had a closer look at the last Dram Club Tasting Sets of 2018. Annie delved into the mad world of spirits maverick Rebel Rabbet, maker of drinks that defy easy categorisation (and nothing to do with fluffy bunnies.) And Henry met with Cognac sniffer-outer extraordinaire David Baker and tried some brandies distilled during the Second World War.

Some quality booze writing there, and talking of booze and writing, here are the top drinks stories of the week. Bon weekend!

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Master of Malt Auctions: Get set for Round 2!

Last month we kicked off Master of Malt Auctions, a brand-new way to snap up incredible bottlings at delicious prices. Now we’re back with another haul of extraordinary booze! Cast…

Last month we kicked off Master of Malt Auctions, a brand-new way to snap up incredible bottlings at delicious prices. Now we’re back with another haul of extraordinary booze!

Cast your mind back a mere two weeks. We kicked off Master of Malt Auctions with a bang, with you setting the prices on a bunch of glorious whiskies, including Littlemill 27 Year Old – Private Cellar Edition 2017, Glen Grant 1970 and Bladnoch 29 Year Old – Bicentennial Release! The time has come for round 2 and a fresh batch of incredibly exciting spirits!

From 3pm today, we will go live with these particularly appealing bottlings, spanning sensational Scotch whiskies, hard-to-find Irish whiskey expressions, a highly sought-after English whisky release, and even a delectable rhum Agricole. Hurrah!

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