Master of Malt Whisky Blog

How Glencairn Crystal created whisky’s signature tasting glass

It’s the company that employs the brains behind your go-to tasting glass – as well as some of the world’s most expensive whisky bottles – but how much do you know about Glencairn Crystal? As demand for luxury spirits elevates the company to dizzying new heights, director Scott Davidson reveals how it all began…

What do you decant your dram into? Chances are, it’s a Glencairn Glass. The vessel has become synonymous with whisky world since it found its way onto our shelves in the early 2000s. Of course, if you’re really lucky/fancy, you might just be pouring liquid from a Glencairn Crystal decanter.

Glencairn broke the £10 million revenue barrier for the first time this year, with sales up by an astronomical 20% – the largest percentage jump since the business was founded by Scott’s father, Raymond Davidson, back in 1981.

If the world was thirsty for premium-and-above spirits bottlings five year ago, it’s positively parched now. Last year the decanter and glassware side of the business grew by 40%, driven by demand for the super-old and rare. On its CV? Glenmorangie Pride 1974 and Gordon & MacPhail’s Mortlach 75 Year Old.
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Categories : Whisky
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The Bourbon Series: Part Three… with Rob Samuels of Maker’s Mark

Our Bourbon Series concludes with Maker’s Mark, one of the world’s most beloved wheated bourbons. Rob Samuels, chief operating officer – and grandson of the brand’s founder, Bill Samuels – shares Scottish roots, ‘ageing to taste’, and the story behind the bottle’s iconic red wax seal.

Founded in the 1950s, Maker’s Mark may be among the youngest of the traditional bourbon brands, but there are old hands behind the stills. In fact, the Samuels family has been distilling whiskey for more than 500 years.

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Categories : American Whiskey, Whisky
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WATCH: Anthony Wills on Kilchoman distillery expansion!

During Fèis Ìle 2018, we caught up with Anthony Wills, founder of Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, who shared with us plans to double the capacity of the farm distillery.

It’s almost the perfect problem. You work hard to produce something incredible, people love it, and then you can’t physically make enough to meet the demand. It’s a paradox not unfamiliar to the whisky industry, but for Islay’s Kilchoman distillery, which has always been a small-volume farm producer, it represents something of a dilemma.

When Anthony Wills first filled a cask back in 2005, it seemed almost impossible that he’d need to double his stillhouse in a such a short period of time. Yet the signature Kilchoman smoke paired with its strong island provenance has proved an alluring combination and whisky fans can’t get enough of the island drams.

Here Kilchoman distillery founder Wills chats us through the dilemma and shares details of the project to double capacity at the site…
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Master of Malt Dram Club – July 2018

Welcome to the second-half of 2018! Let’s start strong with a bundle of brand new tasting sets for Master of Malt Dram Club members…

The pessimists among us might look at the calendar and sneer, saying something along the lines of “Well, the days are getting shorter already…” That might be correct, but aren’t there more pertinent things to consider when glaring at the calendar – like how the new month means a whole new batch of Master of Malt Dram Club tasting sets! We reckon it’s time to let members know what they’ll be receiving in their sets in July…

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Categories : Gin, News, Rum, Whisky
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The Nightcap: 29 June

Down those tools and pick up a dram: it’s Friday, folks! And with the last day of the working week comes your regular round-up of delicious developments from the wonderful world of booze. It can only be The Nightcap!

Happy Friday, team! We made it. Perhaps you’ve been following all the highs and lows of the World Cup (soz, Germany) and are relishing today as a football-free period of recovery. Or maybe you’ve eschewed all things FIFA and have been basking in the summer sunshine instead (it’s been SIZZLING here in the UK). Either way, there’s a high chance some of this week’s biggest stories might have passed you by. Which is why we’re here to help!

So before we dig into the main Nightcap round-up, let’s look back over the last seven days of all things booze…
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Categories : Beer, Cocktails, Gin, News, Rum, Scotch Whisky
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Top tipples for Wimbledon 2018!

Forget new balls – this summer Wimbledon, the pinnacle of grass court tennis, is all about trying new drinks! So if you’re hosting a soiree or just fancy a refreshing sipper while watching the pros, we’ve got just the thing for you. Ace!

Strawberries and cream, summer cups, white outfits and rain delays – it can only be Wimbledon.

The most quintessentially British of all sporting events, Wimbledon fortnight turns us all into tennis umpires – albeit with greater interest in the sort of serves you can drink rather than the type that results in contentious Hawkeye calls (the VAR of SW19).

So in the spirit of all things Wimbledon, we picked out ten of the best tipples to enjoy during the Championships, from the fruity and refreshing to the more unusual and unexpected. Enjoy!
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Categories : Gin, Liqueurs, Whisky
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Q&A: Andrew Auwerda, president of Philadelphia Distilling!

Bluecoat

He’s helped build the company from the ground up, overseen the construction of a new distillery and managed the rise of the superb Bluecoat gin. Meet Philadelphia Distilling’s Andrew Auwerda!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a city all too familiar with revolution. But, after so many years spent outside of the national distilling conversation post-Prohibition, the town where independence was born probably didn’t expect to find itself at the forefront of the US craft revolution. Thanks to producers like Philadelphia Distilling, that’s all changing.

When its micro-distillery opened in 2005, it was one of only around 50 operating distilleries in the United States and the first craft distillery in Pennsylvania since Prohibition. But president Andrew Auwerda is used to beating the odds. In 1997, Auwerda established contemporary beauty brand Tony & Tina Cosmetics, which he sold eight years later for $5 billion. Philadelphia Distilling is enjoying a similarly impressive rise. In 2017, the brand moved operations to a beautiful $4.5 million distillery, a move that cements its stellar growth.

Auwerda’s commitment to a high-quality spirit with eye-catching packaging has struck a chord with gin lovers, who are turning to Bluecoat, the company’s core expression which was launched in 2006, in greater numbers than ever before. We spoke to the man himself to find out what life is like in the new digs, how to stand out in the crowded American craft distilling landscape, and why history is on his side…
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Categories : Gin, News
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Liverpool Gin to open £1 million distillery!

The great distillery rush continues – Halewood Wines & Spirits-owned Liverpool Gin is the latest brand to announce plans for its own production site, and this one will include not one but two bars, a lab, and even a bartender school!

The distillery, set to open by the end of 2018, will cost £1 million to build, and the kit includes a 600-litre copper still.

Other production details are scarce at this stage, but it is clear this will be a super visitor-friendly site. In the lab, intrigued gin fans will be able to select their own botanicals and distil their own bespoke gin. In addition to the two bars (gin on the ground floor, dark spirits at the basement), there’s also food on offer, with guests able to choose from small tapas-style dishes and pizza. Delicious.
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Categories : Gin, News
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Diageo eyes Baijiu boom with potential Shui Jing Fang investment

Diageo has proposed upping its stake in the company that makes premium baijiu brand Shui Jing Fang. Could there be a baijiu boom on the way? Do you fancy getting ahead of the curve like the hip specimen you are? We take a gander…

Earlier this week, drinks giant Diageo shared the news that it has proposed a plan to increase its stake in Sichuan Shuijingfang, a baijiu producer based in Chengdu, China. While the drinks giant currently holds a 39.71% equity stake in the producer, it could top it up to 60% if the move comes off.
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Categories : News
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Kombucha: What is it and why is everyone drinking it?

Kombucha is touted as something of a health elixir, but the effervescent fermented tea has plenty in common with the drinks industry. Brewed like beer, as complex as wine and the ultimate cocktail mixer – here’s why the world is jumping on the ‘booch bandwagon…

Thirsty for the next big booze obsession? Your best bet is to slide onto a bar stool and flick through the drinks list, because few people know the industry better than the folks behind the stick. If you’re a seasoned menu-scanner, by now you’ll have clocked the influx of kombucha food pairings, tasting flights and cocktails gracing global bar and restaurant menus – as well as a whole host of ‘booch brands.
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Categories : Cocktails
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