We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

How Neptune became 2018’s most awarded rum

Neptune Rum was only launched in 2017, yet it already boasts over 40 prestigious global awards. How did the brand do it? We find out. “I actually, physically, dreamt Neptune…

Neptune Rum was only launched in 2017, yet it already boasts over 40 prestigious global awards. How did the brand do it? We find out.

“I actually, physically, dreamt Neptune Rum, which is the most bizarre experiences I’ve ever had. I was walking down a beach in Florida after a hurricane, with large waves crashing and dark clouds. Then a beam of sunlight broke through the clouds and hit something shiny. I picked it up, and it was bottle of Neptune. I then immediately woke up.”

The name of Richard Davies’ rum brand, Neptune, came to him in a dream. The former hot air balloon pilot, bartender and restaurateur had been struggling to find the right name and angle for his new rum. It seemed too good be true, however. Rum has such an obvious association with sailors (not just pirates, people). Neptune is the Roman god of the ocean. Neptune’s trident is on the flag of Barbados. Davies wasn’t optimistic. Surely somebody had already trademarked it?

He was pleasantly surprised when he uncovered, after much Googling and research that began post-dream at 3am, that this was not the case. There were bars. There were cocktails. But there was no Neptune Rum brand. Davies was confident he had stumbled upon something. He consulted with James Molloy, now Neptune’s commercial operations director, who agreed. The two trademarked the name at the end of 2016 and launched Neptune in the UK market in 2017. The Neptune brand was born.

No Comments on How Neptune became 2018’s most awarded rum

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #21: Aberfeldy 12 Year Old

It’s Festive Friday! At least that’s what we’re calling it. As the big day hurtles ever closer, it’s time to tuck in to Day 21’s dram. And it’s a Highland…

It’s Festive Friday! At least that’s what we’re calling it. As the big day hurtles ever closer, it’s time to tuck in to Day 21’s dram. And it’s a Highland corker…

Aberfeldy is one of those distilleries that doesn’t necessarily spring to mind when you think ‘single malt Scotch’. Known as the home of Dewar’s and with the liquid a key component in the White Label blend, single malt expressions have historically been limited to 12 and 21 year old bottlings. But all that has changed!

Bacardi (yep, of rum fame) bought the Highland distillery and brand (along with the rest of the Dewar’s portfolio) back in 1998. As the single renaissance took hold, Bacardi invested in broadening the portfolio, introducing the 16 Year Old and even a 25 Year Old (although that is now sadly discontinued).

Today the distillery produces around 3.5 million litres of alcohol and remains a core part of Dewar’s White Label, but single malts are a much larger focus. And the distillery itself, with its visitor centre and really rather wonderful archive is well worth a visit.

No Comments on Whisky Advent 2018 Day #21: Aberfeldy 12 Year Old

Buyer found for Scotland’s oldest distillery, Glenturret

Good news for whisky lovers and for whisky workers, Glenturret distillery has found a buyer! We reported back in June that The Macallan owner, Edrington, was selling Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest…

Good news for whisky lovers and for whisky workers, Glenturret distillery has found a buyer!

We reported back in June that The Macallan owner, Edrington, was selling Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, as well as the Cutty Sark brand. Last month, Cutty Sark was bought by French spirits group La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, the owner of Glen Moray. Now Glenturret has gone to high-end wine distributor Art & Terroir as it makes its first foray into whisky. It’s like its Scotch transfer season.

No Comments on Buyer found for Scotland’s oldest distillery, Glenturret

Defy Christmas tradition with 20 alternative festive cocktails…

This is your call to arms: it’s time to reclaim Christmas. Knock over a gingerbread house, wear your Christmas jumper backwards, and shake up 20 experimental festive tipples that promise…

This is your call to arms: it’s time to reclaim Christmas. Knock over a gingerbread house, wear your Christmas jumper backwards, and shake up 20 experimental festive tipples that promise to give your nan’s sorry-looking Snowball a run for its money. Vive la résistance!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is upon us. Parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, carolling out in the snow, and all that. While I love the festive season as much as the next person (and I do), December is cracking on, and I’m growing tired of the obligatory mulled wine/Hot Toddy combo on every bar and pub menu. And if you’re reading this, you probably are too.

Take eggnog. Whoever created it probably thought it would be cool for maybe a year or two, and then something new and more delicious would be invented. After all, it’s essentially milky, sugary, boozy eggs, which is pretty much every ingredient that existed in the 13th century. And yet, here we are, hundreds of years later, grimacing as we gulp down spicy yolks.

My theory is this: It isn’t because eggnog is actually all that delicious, it’s just that no one has managed to come up with anything better. It’s the same reason radio stations churn out Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody every single year without fail.

No Comments on Defy Christmas tradition with 20 alternative festive cocktails…

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #20: Peat’s Beast

Not long to go now until Santa Claus comes sliding down the chimney. To enjoy while you wait, we have a seriously smoky malt behind door #20 of Drinks by…

Not long to go now until Santa Claus comes sliding down the chimney. To enjoy while you wait, we have a seriously smoky malt behind door #20 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar

On the 20th day of Advent, we have whisky that’s peatier than Peter the Great, smokier than Bill Hicks, and has more TCP than a 1980s boarding school. It’s a single malt from Fox Fitzgerald Whisky Trading, an independent bottler and blender. The boys at FF are being very secretive about it. They won’t tell which distillery or even part of Scotland it comes from.

No Comments on Whisky Advent 2018 Day #20: Peat’s Beast

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #19: Jim Beam Rye

Nineteen days into Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar and still no rye whiskey? Good thing that’s all about to change…

Nineteen days into Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar and still no rye whiskey? Good thing that’s all about to change…

Rye whiskey is enjoying something of a renaissance in recent times. As bartenders and consumers become more adventurous, rye’s resurgence can be attributed to its powerful, punchy profile and ability to satisfy the increasing desire for spirits with provenance and history. It’s no surprise then that both new brands and expressions from established distilleries are popping up all over the place, keen for high-rye interpretations to become the new go-to for whiskey lovers.

One such example comes from the stalwart that is Jim Beam, whose rye bottling is today’s dram in the Whisky Advent Calendar. It’s sure to please both fans of the style and new converts in-waiting.

No Comments on Whisky Advent 2018 Day #19: Jim Beam Rye

The Home Bar: Our Henry’s book is here!

Our very own features editor Henry Jeffreys has released a book! The Home Bar is full of all kinds of envy-inducing, Insta-worthy abodes, but also some really rather straightforward cocktail…

Our very own features editor Henry Jeffreys has released a book! The Home Bar is full of all kinds of envy-inducing, Insta-worthy abodes, but also some really rather straightforward cocktail ideas, too. We chat to him about all things at-home drinking.

If you’re anything like us, mixing cocktails for friends at home goes one of two ways. Something miraculous could happen where you actually have the ingredients, ice, enough kit and the time, and the Negroni comes out almost as it’s supposed to. Everyone appreciatively oohs and aahhs, but there’s that lingering, sneaking suspicion that a pre-bottled offering might have been better. Then there’s option 2. The most likely option. It looks like a sticky mess, questionable glassware and a total lack of balance. And that’s the best you can hope for even when you’ve got enough ice in.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Henry’s book The Home Bar presents a third option: cocktail recipes you can actually make at home along with glorious images of other people’s home bars. It balances aspirational with our inherent need for nosiness, while actually giving some top tips for at-home cocktail success. And it looks the part, too. (We also reckon it would make a fabulous last-minute Christmas gift if you’re listening, #WhiskySanta!).

No Comments on The Home Bar: Our Henry’s book is here!

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #18: Glenfarclas 105

Behind the 18th door of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a classic sherried Speyside single malt bottled at cask strength… In this ever-changing world of whisky, where…

Behind the 18th door of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a classic sherried Speyside single malt bottled at cask strength…

In this ever-changing world of whisky, where it seems that not a week goes by without the announcement of a new distillery, and drinks companies are constantly consolidating, amalgamating, and mutating, Glenfarclas is an anomaly. Just look at those labels, they haven’t been anywhere near a Shoreditch-based graphic designer. What worked in the 1940s works now. Visiting the distillery is a similar experience. It’s not glitzy and polished, the equipment is neither antique nor brand new. It’s the same attitude: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Glenfarclas is one of the last distilleries in Scotland to use direct-fired stills, and all its whiskies are aged the traditional way in ex-oloroso casks in a dunnage warehouse.

This immunity from the whims of fashion has a lot to do with being in the hands of one family, the Grants, since 1865. The current chairman, John Grant, is the fifth-generation family member in charge. This continuity extends to stocks as well. The family are able to offer very old whiskies as well as vintage-dated expressions dating back to the 1950s.

These whiskies are some of the most highly-regarded in Scotland. Along with Macallan, Glenfarclas is the apotheosis of the sherried Speyside style. And despite all that tradition, the family isn’t immune to a spot of innovation. In the 1960s it was one of the first distilleries to shift business away from supplying blends to bottling its own single malts.

No Comments on Whisky Advent 2018 Day #18: Glenfarclas 105

An Ardbeg masterclass with Brendan McCarron

We try Ardbeg’s core range with Brendan McCarron while he tells us about making raw, rugged whisky, the similarities between Bill Lumsden and Gordon Ramsay, and whether there are any…

We try Ardbeg’s core range with Brendan McCarron while he tells us about making raw, rugged whisky, the similarities between Bill Lumsden and Gordon Ramsay, and whether there are any plans to make a blend.

The team at Master of Malt were invited to Moët Hennessy’s swanky headquarters in London to try the core Ardbeg range with Brendan McCarron, head of maturing whisky stocks at the Glenmorangie Company. Lucky us. Ardbeg inspires fierce loyalty among whisky fans. Not least because it very nearly didn’t survive. The distillery was only working sporadically for most of the ’80s and ’90s, and by 1996, according to McCarron, “the bulldozers were at the gates”. But happily, in 1998 Ardbeg was saved when it was bought and refurbished by the Glenmorangie Company (who are now part of LVMH).

Back to the situation at hand. McCarron joined the team in 2014. He was a chemical engineering graduate who, after a stint making penicillin, joined Diageo. He had various jobs including blending at Johnnie Walker before, at 28 years old, he became the youngest distillery manager in Scotland at Oban. From there he moved to Islay to run Caol Ila, Lagavulin and the Port Ellen Maltings. Enough intro, let’s get the interview out of the way so that we can try some whisky!

1 Comment on An Ardbeg masterclass with Brendan McCarron

Master of Malt Auctions returns for a pre-Christmas whisky fiesta!

Love the thrill of an auction? Us too. Which is why Master of Malt Auctions is back with one final whisky bonanza this side of Christmas, featuring a Lagavulin Feis…

Love the thrill of an auction? Us too. Which is why Master of Malt Auctions is back with one final whisky bonanza this side of Christmas, featuring a Lagavulin Feis Ile bottling, 38 year old Royal Salute, and a particularly tasty Talisker from Diageo’s Special Releases way back in 2003

Ready to rock and roll, team? We’ve got one final fabulous flurry of Master of Malt Auctions bottlings set to go up for auction this side of Christmas. And we reckon there’s a bottling (or ten!) that will take your fancy.

Up for auction from 3pm today until Tuesday evening are ten sensational Scotch whiskies. They are all unusual in some way – either limited edition bottlings, stuff with some serious age, or they were limited to travel retail the first time round. There’s all kinds of tastiness. And bidding gets under way soon!

No Comments on Master of Malt Auctions returns for a pre-Christmas whisky fiesta!

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search