Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Copenhagen distillery Empirical Spirits is the future of booze

To most people, oysters, chicken stock and katsuobushi are ingredients. To Lars Williams – former head of R&D at Noma, one of the world’s most influential restaurants – they’re botanicals. Forget everything you think you know about booze: at category-defying distillery Empirical Spirits, nothing is off-limits.

If a distillers’ rulebook exists, Lars Williams hasn’t just thrown it in the bin – he’s set the whole thing on fire. The grain-to-bottle distillery he shares with fellow Noma alumni Mark Emil Hermansen wasn’t solely built to bottle. The entire set-up, designed and built by Williams, was imagined in the kitchen.

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Categories : News
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These are the biggest cocktail trends in the UK right now…

Like keeping your finger on the garnish? As Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands’ bartender education roadshow Jigger, Beaker, Glass approaches the final leg of its UK-wide tour, Shervene Shahbazkhani shares four cocktail trends to look out for now…

London has earned its place as one of the cocktail capitals of the world, but if you’re seeking a tastemaker outside of the M25, you need to be a little more discerning. While there are plenty of cracking bars elsewhere in the UK (that aren’t celebrated enough), by and large, the majority are still playing contemporary cocktail catch-up.

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Categories : Cocktails
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The winner of The Open Championship tickets is…

We recently teamed up with Loch Lomond to give a lucky someone a pair of tickets to The Open Championship – and we have our winner!

Television, refrigerators, Dolly the sheep, chicken tikka masala, kaleidoscopes, the Grand Theft Auto video game series – Scotland as a country has given the world so many wonderful things. However, for some, there are two suitably Scottish contributions to the world that stand out more than most: golf and Scotch whisky!

In this spirit, you may recall that we teamed up Loch Lomond to give away two tickets to The Open Championship for Friday 20 July, as well as two nights’ accommodation with dinner in Glasgow, a visit to the Loch Lomond Distillery and a bottle of Loch Lomond Carnoustie 1999 (RRP £150) signed by master blender Michael Henry (with arrangements for UK travel taken care of). Only one lucky winner (and an even luckier plus-one) would get to experience this smashingly Scottish treat first-hand. Well, we have our winner!

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Categories : Competitions, News, Scotch Whisky
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Q&A: Dave Pickerell, Whistlepig master distiller!

We caught up with Dave Pickerell as he zoomed into London on a flying visit to launch WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 whiskey (available exclusively here, FYI!), first at a rammed tasting at the Bloomsbury Hotel and later at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair. He’s a busy man but he managed to give us half an hour of his undivided attention to tell us about his obsession with all thing rye…

WhistlePig is a distillery that’s made the headlines for many reasons over the years, from founder Raj Bhakta’s original dream of making rye whiskey in Vermont and its first releases to the brand’s cameo in Breaking Bad and everything in between. We meet master distiller Dave Pickerell to discuss recent events as WhistlePig FarmStock Rye Crop No.002 hits the shelves here in the UK.

MoM: Hello Dave, welcome to London, could you tell us how you first got into making whiskey?

Dave Pickerell: I enrolled at the University of Louisville and was studying for my Masters degree (in chemical engineering) and discovered that I’m an idiot savant at distilling! Truly, it’s not about smarts; it’s about some innate sense that I can close my eyes and see molecules running around in a still and know where they’re going next and why. My mentor told me that the beverage alcohol industry needed me. And there was a small consulting firm in Louisville that did nothing but beverage alcohol and they’d just landed a contract and it was more than they could handle and they needed another chemical engineer. I got to work in China, Mexico, Canada, Scotland, the Dominican Republic, and all over the US. I learned about fine spirits, and lousy spirits, all over the world.
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Categories : American Whiskey
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The Nightcap: 6 July

Happy Friday, team! Summer is ON (at least here in the UK) and there’s a certain football match on the agenda tomorrow… But before that comes around, it’s time to get an update from the world of booze. Bring on The Nightcap!

This week brought with it a new month as well as a whole new cohort of booze goings on – and of course a new Dram Club box for our subscribers, too! We took a sneak peek inside those packs of tastiness on Sunday.

On Monday we looked back to Fèis Ìle 2018 when Kilchoman founder Anthony Wills shared his plans for the distillery expansion project, and got part three of Annie’s Bourbon Series – this time it was Rob Samuels from Maker’s Mark in the spotlight.

The Glencairn glass has become synonymous with spirits (whisky in particular), and on Tuesday we met the family behind the business. Sales are soaring – it seems we can’t get enough fancy glassware to hold our boozes!
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Categories : American Whiskey, Cocktails, Cognac, Gin, News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, World Whisky
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10 of the best gins with wonderfully unusual botanicals

Unusual Botanicals

Tired of typical tipples? This summer, make sure your new drink is a gin that stands out! We’re shining a light on ten of the most weird and wonderful gins that have the most intriguing ingredients…

The gin bubble simply refuses to burst. As more and more expressions hit shelves, back bars and home drinks cabinets, gin brands are all over the world need a way to stand out. What’s an enterprising, discerning distiller or rectifier to do? Look to the botanicals, of course!

By packing a peculiar botanical, the following gins have carved a singular path. Whether these additions are a reflection of the producer’s local area, or the result of radical experimentation, each and every one has found that distinctive can be delicious.

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Categories : Gin
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Imbibe 2018: What goes on at the UK’s biggest booze trade show

Imbibe Live: You might have heard of it. You may even have been along to it. It’s one of Europe’s top drinks trade shows where trends are spotted and ideas shared. Want to know what you’ll be drinking next? Our Henry headed to Imbibe 2018 to find out…

There’s always a moment when I first arrive at a trade show where I feel like a rabbit in the headlights. I am sure this would happen to me at Photocopier Expo but at Imbibe Live, one of Europe’s largest on trade shows, I was particularly overwhelmed with the bibulous possibilities on offer. Thank heavens then for Pol Roger, which had a quiet tent offering bacon sandwiches and its vintage 1999 Champagne – just the thing at 10 in the morning. While I nibbled, chairman of Pol UK, James Simpson, told me about a stash of ancient bottles that they had just discovered in a cellar that collapsed 118 years ago. Apparently they are in great condition. I am now waiting for an invite out to Epernay to try one. Watch this space.
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Categories : Gin, Irish Whiskey, Vermouth, Whisky, Wine
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Behold the fancy new range from Grant’s!

Scotch whisky fans, listen up: Grant’s has overhauled its core range and it’s VERY different. Say hello to Grant’s Triple Wood, Grant’s Triple Wood Smoky (yes, PEATED!), Grant’s Rum Cask Finish and Grant’s 8 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish!

Remember when we snuck up to Girvan a couple of weeks back? Yes, it was to check out the Girvan distillery (there’s still a blog post to come on that). But there was also a secret reveal (and another non-disclosure agreement. How exciting). The time has come to disclose the details: blended Scotch whisky brand Grant’s has a new look, four new core expressions, and what feels like a brand new cask-focused philosophy to match.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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All hail the apéritif! Author Kate Hawkings on the art of pre-dinner cocktails

We have a very special guest on the blog today: it’s Kate Hawkings, drinks writer, restaurateur and now author of a book on apéritifs called, controversially, Aperitif.

Aperitif contains recipes and tips but also some interesting history behind brands like Campari as well as drink-based anecdotes from Kate, including one about turning down an Italian smoothie (a suave man, I mean, rather than a thick drink made from fruit) in a Jaguar E-type. What I gained most from the book is that a good apéritif is more than just a drink, it’s a way of life. A sip of vermouth with an olive can transport you to a backstreet bar in Barcelona when you’re actually on an industrial estate just outside Tunbridge Wells.
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Categories : Cocktails, Gin, Vermouth
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Steven Soderbergh launches Bolivian spirit in London

On Monday night we were at Flemings Hotel in London’s swanky Mayfair district for a very special launch, Singani 63, a new spirit brought to you by Steven Soderbergh. Yes, that Steven Soderbergh. We managed to get an exclusive interview with the man himself which will run next week but meanwhile here’s a little primer on Singani:

What is Singani?

Singani is the national drink of Bolivia. It’s essentially an unaged brandy but it differs from Pisco – a similar drink from Peru and Chile – in that it can only be made in Bolivia from Muscat of Alexandria grapes which are grown at very high altitude, around 6000 feet, this gives them a fresh floral quality. Furthermore because the spirit has to be distilled at high altitude where liquids have a lower boiling point, that delicate aroma isn’t damaged by heat.

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Categories : News
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