Master of Malt Whisky Blog

CO2 shortage: What’s going on with my fizzy drinks?!

All week there have been doom and gloom reports of CO2 (carbon dioxide) shortages affecting everything from our beloved summer pints and G&Ts to soft drinks and beyond. But what’s actually going on, and should we be stockpiling all things fizzy? We investigate…

The CO2 shortage just got real yesterday as in a statement Coca-Cola announced it will be “temporarily pausing” some of its fizzy drinks production. This is a problem that has been bubbling up (sorry!) all week, with all kinds of stories and rumours that without carbon dioxide there might be no beer, which combined with the hot weather and some sort of football tournament going on in Russia, could lead to anarchy on Britain’s streets and, possibly, the end of civilisation as we know it.


Categories : Beer, News
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The Bourbon Series: Part Two… with Freddie Noe of Jim Beam

If there’s a gene responsible for skilful whiskey distilling, clearly Jim Beam and his descendants have it in abundance. Here, eighth generation Beam family distiller, Freddie Noe, talks whiskey forecasts, the bourbon boom, and why single barrel Booker’s will never, ever happen…

Last week we brought you the first instalment in The Bourbon Series, with whiskey chat from none other than Jim Beam Bourbon’s legendary master distiller Fred Noe. He’s not quite ready to hang up his hat just yet, but with son Freddie Noe next in line for the throne, the business will clearly be in excellent hands when he does.

Growing up in the knowledge that you’re Jim Beam’s actual great-great grandson would give anyone an inflated sense of self-importance. But not Freddie. Rumour has it the American dictionary definition of the word ‘humble’ is just a picture of his face. It might be hearsay, but after the tasting, we’d believe it.

As we collectively tasted our way through Jim Beam White Label, Jim Beam Double Oak, Jim Beam Black, Basil Hayden’s, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, and Knob Creek, Freddie regaled us with tales of his youth. Here’s what we discovered…

Categories : American Whiskey
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In pictures: Behind the scenes at The Art of Campari exhibition

Partial to a Negroni? Then feast your eyes on The Art of Campari exhibition, coming to North London’s Estorick Collection next month. Not in the capital? No worries! Enjoy a sneak peek right here…

This summer art meets alcohol at the Estorick Collection in London. From 4 July to 16 September the Italian art-focused haunt will be showing a selection of classic Campari posters from 1901 up until the 1960s in its The Art of Campari exhibition.

This was a golden age for Italian commercial art. Davide Campari, the son of the company’s founder, commissioned a series of cutting-edge artists to help sell the Milanese company’s products. At the exhibition we can see how the posters progressed from Art Nouveau before World War I, to Futurism, Surrealism, Cubism and, after World War II, Pop Art.

Looking at these beautiful pictures, it’s hard to disagree with one of the artists, Fortunato Depero, that “the art of the future will largely be advertising”. And they look even better with a Negroni in your hand.

Categories : Cocktails, News
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WATCH: Kentucky warehouse collapse creates giant bourbon barrel heap

On Friday Kentucky distillery Barton 1792 experienced something of a disaster: a partial warehouse collapse sending as many as 9,000 barrels of bourbon tumbling to the floor. The aerial footage of the aftermath is something else…

It’s a whisk(e)y fan’s worst nightmare. Thousands upon thousands of prime maturing barrels lost accidentally in a momentary disaster.

That’s exactly what happened over in Kentucky last week at Barton 1792 Distillery when part of a historic rack house came crashing to the ground.

Categories : American Whiskey, News
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Q&A: Jim Beveridge, Johnnie Walker master blender!

He looks after more casks than there are people in Scotland, leads a blending team of 12, and creates the world’s best-selling blended Scotch whisky… Meet Johnnie Walker’s Jim Beveridge!

Newsflash: Johnnie Walker, already the most popular Scotch whisky name in the world, has returned to triumphant growth. According to Brand Champions figures, released by trade magazine The Spirits Business this month, the brand saw volume sales soar by 5.2% to 18.3 million 9-litre case sales in 2017. That’s a LOT of whisky. And it’s the most the brand has shifted since 2013. In other words, Johnnie Walker is ON.

The secret to its success? It’s impossible to narrow it down to just one. But the team producing the stuff, led by master blender Jim Beveridge, should get a shout out. They preside over millions upon millions of casks, maturing all across Scotland, and it is their expertise that brings expressions such as Black Label, Blue Label, the experimental Blenders’ Batch releases and even the luxurious Odyssey to life.

We catch up with Beveridge to find out how he keeps his eye on so many expressions at once, get the lowdown on recipe development, and make him pick out just one Johnnie Walker dram…

Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The winner of the Formula One Grandstand tickets is…

Johnnie Walker F1

Last month we teamed up with Johnnie Walker to give a lucky winner a pair of Formula One Grandstand tickets for the British Grand Prix – and we have our winner!

The excitement. The tension. The thrill of racing. The spectacular rewards of beating others to the finish line. We’re not talking about how we feel when someone brings cake into MoM Towers, we’re clearly talking about the kind of stuff you can expect watching Formula One. You might remember that we teamed up with Johnnie Walker to give away a pair of Formula One Grandstand tickets for the British Grand Prix, meaning a lucky winner (and an even luckier plus-one) would get to experience all this first-hand. Well, we have our winner!


Categories : Competitions, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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The Nightcap: 22 June

Another week comes to a close, so it’s time for a round-up of booze stories to help you start your weekend with a brain full of knowledge – it’s The Nightcap!

It’s Friday! Unless you’re in Australia, where it’s probably next Wednesday. For those of you in Oz, keep powering through hump day. For everyone else, it’s time to grab a tasty beverage and have a gander at the booze news from this week with The Nightcap.

And today has been a news fest! If the Nightcap wasn’t enough for you, Macallan owner Edrington announced its financial results with a bit of a bang: as well as posting 7% growth, it also announced plans to sell Glenturret and Cutty Sark. Wowzers.

Elsewhere on the Master of Malt blog this week; Annie looked at the world of Bourbon alongside Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe and picked out the blends you’ll want to boast about. Sam took a glance at Tomatin’s turnover (of the money variety, nothing to do with delicious baked goods). Kristy headed (just) north of the border to taste the first whiskies from the Annandale Distillery, and looked at how everyone goes to the pub when it’s sunny.

Henry didn’t quite share the enthusiasm for the sunny weather this week, as he introduced us all to Light Strike Awareness Day (it’s a thing), as well as showing off his knowledge of popular Scotch whiskies around the world, and exploring an upcoming Island distillery.

Phew. On the with booze news!

Categories : American Whiskey, Beer, Cocktails, Cognac, News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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Macallan-maker to sell Cutty Sark and Glenturret as sales hit £706 million

Calculators at the ready, folks – Edrington, the company that makes The Macallan, Highland Park and Famous Grouse, among others, has just released its financial results for the year to March 2018. And in the document the company announced it’s looking to sell the Cutty Sark and Glenturret Scotch whiskies! We investigate what’s going on and crunch the sums after sales climbed 7%* to £706.7 million.

It’s all change for spirits-maker Edrington. It’s a case of out with the old for Cutty Sark and Glenturret, and in with the new (THAT new Macallan distillery) as sales climb and stats are bolstered.

Categories : News, Scotch Whisky
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The Importance of Light Strike Awareness Day

Have you heard of Light Strike Awareness Day? If not, Henry is here to give you the low-down…

Today, the 21st June, the longest and potentially sunniest day of the year, is Light Strike Awareness Day. What, you didn’t know? Well, I’ll grant you it doesn’t have quite the same level of recognition as Movember or British Sausage Week, but if you’re a rosé drinker in particular (and these days who isn’t) then you should be paying attention.


Categories : Wine
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The Master of Malt World Cup of Scotch

Shin-pads, sticker books and half-time oranges at the ready, folks. It’s time for the The Master of Malt World Cup of Scotch!

You might have noticed that there’s some sort of sporting jamboree going on in Russia at the moment. Sadly Scotland didn’t qualify but the spirit of Scotland – literally – is in the hearts of almost all football playing countries. What’s interesting is how different brands, some of which aren’t even available in Scotland, dominate different markets. So in honour of the country that might not be the best at football but is pretty damn good at whisky, here is the Master of Malt World Cup of Scotch, each country represented by its favourite Scotch.


Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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