Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Exploring the trend for rum cask-finished Scotch whiskies

Now more than ever, Scotland’s whisky-makers are treating their ageing stocks to a resting period in tropical casks from sunshine shores. We explore the trend for rum cask-finished Scotch whiskies…

With ‘gooey caramel, helpings of apricots, dark chocolate, bittersweet vanilla and soft baking spices’, you’d be forgiven for assuming this tasting note was describing Ron Zacapa or El Dorado. In actuality, it documents the deliciousness of BenRiach 22 Year Old Dark Rum Cask Finish, which saw out the final period of its maturation in dark rum barrels from Jamaica.

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Categories : Rum, Scotch Whisky
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10 drinks that taste as good as they look

Boozes that taste as good as they look

We all know that the most important feature of a spirit is how it tastes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an elegant or innovative bottle every now and then…

Did you know that numerous studies have shown that when food or drink looks good it effectively makes it taste better, too? We just can’t help but be drawn by beautiful things, be it the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) or Beyoncé (Aurora Bey-ealis). So it stands to reason that a thoughtful, creative spirits presentation could make a difference. And we’re down for anything that means a more enjoyable dram…

Let’s be clear: we’re not judging a book by its cover. A truly great expression has to have the substance to match its style. We’ll only settle for a celebration of the complete package.

With this in mind, we thought we’d have a lovely little rummage through the shelves at MoM Towers to find the fairest of them all. We present to you our list of 10 drinks that taste as good as they look!

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Categories : We're drinking...
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Checking out Kentish rum at Greensand Ridge

A rum distillery in the garden of England? Yes indeed! We take a trip to Greensand Ridge Distillery.

Distilleries don’t come much smaller than Greensand Distillery. Located in leafiest Kent just up the road from Master of Malt HQ in Tonbridge, it’s housed in converted stables and employs just two people: founder Will Edge and Chris Poole, a former bartender who looks after sales. “Having only two people keeps the risk low but makes the work harder,” Edge told me when I visited recently. “It means a lot of late nights.” He uses a combined pot and column still which means he can make a wide variety of spirits in a small space. The rest of the stables is crammed with barrels and fermentation equipment.

When I visited the air was alive with the heady smell of rum low wines coming off the pot still. “Rum is tricky to make, there is so much sugar that it’s a toxic environment for yeast; it needs a long fermentation,” he explained. After the low wines have been collected, he puts them through a column still on a “stripping run to remove sulphur”. The idea, according to Edge, is to make a “soft, subtle rum, a floral spirit that doesn’t need lots of ageing”. It’s spends a year in ex-bourbon casks, and emerges sweet, spicy and as smooth as David Niven in a velvet DJ.
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Categories : Features
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10 things you need for a dynamite home bar

Home bar looking a bit… lacklustre? It’s time to give your boozes the tender loving care they deserve. To paraphrase the late, great Aretha Franklin, all they’re asking for is a little respect. Sock it to ‘em with our selection of home bar essentials…

We have an inkling that you’re into tasty spirits and cocktails. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? Coincidentally, that’s why we’re here, too. The two of us have so much in common… but please, enough flirting for a moment.

We’re gravely concerned about the wellbeing of your cherished bottles and request that you complete this short quiz. Tempting as it may be, don’t circle your answers like in newspapers, because you’ll ruin your computer. Just try to remember them instead.

I keep my spirits bottles (a) kinda sticky, by the kitchen counter, (b) lightly dusty, in a display cabinet, or (c) squeaky clean, in a designated bar cart.
Ice is (a) merely a solid form of water, (b) what happens to the freezer until it needs defrosting, or (c) often essential for making a decent drink.
Cocktail garnishes are (a) a nuisance, (b) for eating, or (c) for adding aroma (and style) to a mixed drink.

If you answered mostly A or B to the above, consider this an intervention.

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Categories : Features
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The Nightcap: 17 August

The weekend is here, folks! And with the promise of two days of raving (or behaving) comes this week’s Nightcap, our digestif of the week’s top booze news stories. Enjoy!

Step away from that keyboard, put the high viz down. The weekend is here! While you unwind with a dram, why not catch up on the week’s goings on from the world of drinks?

On Monday, Annie explored the world’s best spirits-themed hotels for booze lovers, while on Tuesday Adam brought us his top tipples for the upcoming bank holiday weekend (soz if you don’t get the bonus day off where you are!). Then, on Wednesday, Annie checked out the delectable world of savoury gins – herbal is most definitely delicious in our book. Then yesterday we published our chit-chat with Alasdair Day, co-founder of R&B Distilleries, where he shares the family history of all things Tweeddale. It was a good week indeed!

But what other liquor-related activities else went down this week? We’re glad you asked…

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Categories : News
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Stefanie Anderson wins Talisker’s Race to Skye comp!

Talisker’s Race to Skye

Some of the UK’s finest bartenders took part in the Scotch whisky brand’s challenge, but there could be only one winner of Talisker’s Race to Skye competition.

Stefanie Anderson of Bon Vivant, Edinburgh has been crowned the champion in the annual Race to Skye competition. She follows in the footsteps of inaugural winner Andrew Lennie, from The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh.

The Scottish native was able to see off worthy opponents in Elysa McGuire from Epicurus: Death & Taxes, Leeds; Alex Francis from Devil’s Darling, London; Mike Pendergast from East London Liquor Company, London; Adam Day from Peggy’s, Manchester; Liam Grogan from Kelvingrove Café, Glasgow; and Miran Chauhan from Buck & Birch, Edinburgh.

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Categories : News
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Q&A: Alasdair Day, R&B Distillers co-founder!

We meet Alasdair Day, R&B Distillers, to chat Tweeddale blends, his whisky heritage and what the future holds for blended Scotch whiskies…

R&B Distillers is a company on a fascinating journey. Inspired by a mysterious old ledger, its Tweeddale blended Scotch whiskies challenge long-held conventions around the category. Its first distillery, Isle of Raasay, is bringing jobs and tourists to the eponymous little-known Hebridean island. And there’s a second distillery in the works in Scotland’s Borders region, too. Co-founder Alasdair Day is the driving force behind it all, and we caught up with him over the phone to talk specifically about all things Tweeddale…

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Categories : Features
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Savoury gin: Explore a boozy herb garden

Thanks to the rise in hyper-local gins and imbibers’ burgeoning fervour for bitter flavours – Negroni, anyone? – savoury gins are having something of a moment. From lemon verbena to loveage, sage to sorrel, we cast our eyes over the herbal delights that bring drinkers a taste of the countryside…

Gone are the days when cocktails were solely saccharine-sweet – in 2018, menus are peppered with all kinds of complex, herbal, bittersweet drinks, made with barks, roots, herbs and spices. Many, you’ll notice, are gin-based. So, what’s driving the trend for these vegetal tipples?

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Categories : Features
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The bank holiday boozes you need in your life

With a precious bank holiday fast approaching (if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that marks it) there is little time to waste. You need some delicious booze, but what should you choose? And where to find it? Don’t fret, dear reader. We have all the answers you need…

Bank holidays provide us with a well-earned break, a chance to catch-up with friends and/or family, and offer a seriously good excuse to indulge in a tasty tipple or two. So, what’ll it be this year? Maybe you’re one of the many going gaga for gin, or perhaps you’re on the lookout for a new go-to wine. Others will be searching for a superb single malt or are looking for some cocktail inspiration. With so many different styles and spirits around, the biggest challenge is finding the right booze to tickle your taste buds!
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Categories : We're drinking...
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The world’s best spirits-themed hotels for booze lovers

Forget ‘bed and breakfast’, this summer it’s all about the ‘bed and beverage’. Dream of sleeping in a giant wooden Tequila barrel? Fancy a 5-star stay with a built-in rickhouse? We’ve picked out the most alluring spirits-themed hotels across the globe…

It’s no secret that hotel bars have been stealing the show over the last few years. Of the ‘50 Best Bars Of 2017’ list, the top four (in the world!) can be found in 5-star lodgings. Now, this spirited excellence is transcending the ground floor and weaving its way into hotel rooms.

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Categories : Features
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