Master of Malt Whisky Blog

From vine to bottle: single estate distilling with Cognac Paul Giraud

The Giraud family has been tending vines in Grande Champagne since the 1600s; generation after generation has distilled wine, aged eaux-de-vie and supplied fine spirits to merchants across the region. Today, led by renowned farmer, distiller and blender, Paul-Jean Giraud, the domaine exclusively produces Cognac Paul Giraud.

“We’ve been vinegrowers since 1635, but we know that we sold Cognac in the 1800s,” Paul-Jean Giraud tells me. “In the past there was space for corn, vegetables, horses, cows; [the family] made many things to survive. But today, we just exclusively make just Cognac. The entire farm is for the vineyards – we have two hectares for my horse, and that’s all.”

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Categories : Features
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The Nightcap: 5 October

The first week of October is almost Oct-OVER. Sorry. That was terrible. Sorry. Anyway, here’s The Nightcap, lots of booze news to be had.

As it turns out, October is cold. It’s almost like there’s some type of scientific reason to do with how planets move and where stars are, all of which contribute to making the start of October startlingly chilly… Either way, the work week for a lot of folks is drawing to a close, so it’s time to grab a warming tipple and dig into our weekly round-up of news from the drinks world – The Nightcap!

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Categories : News
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Ardbeg launch limited edition 22 Year Old whisky

Brendan McCarron, head of maturing stock at the Glenmorangie Company, explains why you have to be a bit mad to enjoy Ardbeg new make, and gives us a preview of the new 22 Year Old limited edition, distilled when “the bulldozers were at the gates.”

It might surprise you to learn that Brendan McCarron is not a fan of Ardbeg new make – “Scandinavian whisky fans say they love it but I’m not sure I believe them.” He came up with some unflattering comparisons such as “warm beer drunk out of a can”. But what the new make has is “potential”.

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Rum, Cocktails and Rugby with Santa Teresa 1796

Santa Teresa 1796 isn’t just one of the world’s classiest rums but the distillery in Venezuela also runs an inspiring program to help gang members give up a life of crime. CEO Alberto Vollmer was in London last week talking rum, rehabilitation and rugby.

“Yes, things are as bad as you hear, in some ways they are worse”, Vollmer was candid about the current crisis in Venezuela. The country’s deterioration means that Santa Teresa has had to find new markets for their rum. Their premium label, 1796, is now distributed globally by Bacardi, hence why I was talking to Vollmer in the splendour of the Rosewood Hotel in London. “As a Venezuelan brand to be in this room, in a city like London, is extraordinary”, he said.

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Categories : Features
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8 things every self-confessed spirits geek should know about Cognac

It’s all well and good drinking it, but how much do you really know about France’s beloved grape-based spirit? Here, David Boileau, Cognac ambassador for the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), details eight Cognac facts that every spirits geek should know…

You know that all Cognac is brandy, but not all brandy is Cognac. You’re aware it’s aged in oak barrels. You’ve heard that terroir is a thing that producers care about. But is there a gap in your otherwise flawless eaux-de-vie expertise, perhaps one you’re unaware of?

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Categories : Features
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The Hendrick’s Gin Palace: a new home for Hendrick’s Gin

Hendrick’s Gin producer William Grant & Sons has unveiled The Hendrick’s Gin Palace – a £13 million expansion to its site in Girvan said to be a “…playground for experimentation, invention and curiosity”.

The new base for Hendrick’s Gin not only doubles its capacity to meet demand, but houses an array of habitats for flora, machines and humans alike. This includes a wall garden, a Victorian-inspired palm house, two botanical hot houses, two still houses, a laboratory for master distiller Lesley Grace and a lecture theatre. Oh, and a bar. Obviously.

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Categories : News
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Finally, the Game of Thrones and Johnnie Walker whisky is on its way

Whisky is coming! After much teasing by Diageo, it has finally been revealed what the new White Walker whisky will be and when it will appear.

As you can imagine, those in the intersection where Game of Thrones and whisky fans meet are quite excited. Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO, said, “We knew there was fan appetite for a Game of Thrones whisky and once we saw the vision from Johnnie Walker for a way to collaborate we knew the idea was perfect and the time was now. From the beginning, they understood that we wanted to create something special, and they’ve accomplished that with White Walker by Johnnie Walker. We’re confident fans will enjoy sipping this delicious whisky as they wait for season eight and beyond.”

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Categories : News
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Master of Malt Dram Club – October 2018

We’ve made it to October! That means it’s time for yet another month of Master of Malt Dram Club Tasting Sets to appear out of thin air, just like haunting apparitions (except tasty)…

MoM Towers is usually a cheerful, vibrant place to occupy. However, once the calendar flips over to the October page, things become… A little spooky. The essence of Halloween takes over MoM Towers, imbuing its contents and inhabitants with eerie qualities. Haunting energy takes hold, fear begins to build, until, when we least expect it… Boo! Brand new Master of Malt Dram Club Tasting Sets sneak up behind you like a ghost of a werewolf! Let’s investigate what treats are in store – fingers crossed for no tricks!

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Categories : We're drinking...
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Six Futurist cocktail recipes for the experimental home bartender

The Italian Futurist movement laid the foundations of what became the pioneering cocktail industry we know and love today – and yet very little is known about its provocative, theatrical and intentionally bizarre polibibite, or ‘multi drinks’. Here, aperitif and sparkling wine producer Cocchi reveals six Futurist cocktail recipes for the avant-garde home bartender…

From 1909 to 1944, Futurists used art, performance, architecture, fashion, film, literature and gastronomy to declare their manifesto. The movement sought to reject traditional Italian culture and embrace the dynamic, modern world through all social, political and artistic means possible. Pasta was out; Diabolical Roses (deep-fried red rose heads in full bloom) were in.

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Categories : Features
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The Nightcap: 28 September

The working week is coming to a close, as is September as a whole, which means it’s right about time for another edition of The Nightcap!

Friday has rolled around once again, bringing the weekend into view! If you’ve finished up your work week and are preparing for a Saturday filled with plans and the like, do so with a brain full of knowledge about the world of drinks, harvested from a brand-spanking-new volume of The Nightcap.

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