The whisky by-product that’s good for your skin, the ultimate destination for Valentine’s Day, and Sassenach Tequila gives Heughligans a reason to celebrate. It’s The Nightcap!
The slow decline of traditional news outlets has also made scrappy young lads holding a newspaper aloft shouting “Extra, extra! Read all about it!” obsolete. We don’t have a solution to this problem (the word ‘problem’ doing a lot of heavy lifting here), but we’d like you to imagine that right now there’s a young boy shouting his heart out, desperate for you to take in the latest from a fresh copy of The Nightcap. Got that? Good, let’s get on with the news.
But first a look at the blog. In a week where we won big prizes (check us out), our blog was also full of news on new &Whisky releases, an influx of French whiskies, and the incredibly exciting return of the Boby mill. For Valentine’s Day, we wrote love letters to whisky and gin, complete with some top recommendations for presents, while enjoying the simple pleasures of a Gibson Martini as well as a top Irish pot still whiskey.
The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Here’s The Nightcap: 10 February edition!
Outlander star Sam Heughan’s Tequila brand arrives
It’s hard to imagine there’s many drink lovers who aren’t aware of the huge success of Sassenach whisky, a brand launched by Outlander star Sam Heughan. The blend has proved so popular it’s allowed the actor to branch out into new categories and his Tequila brand has finally landed at MoM Towers. The snappily-named El Tequileño The Sassenach Select – Double Wood Reposado, was made in collaboration between El Tequileño’s master distiller, António Salles, and Heughan, and is a copper pot distilled 100% agave Tequila matured in American and French oak. That makes this a double wood reposado expression, very fancy indeed. Heughan has already won several cabinets worth of awards for his signature whisky, named after the pet name his character Jamie gave Caitriona Balfe’s Claire on the show, and it has sold out numerous times. Early signs suggest the Tequila could be destined for the same fate. It certainly helps to have an army of ‘Heughligans’, the name super fans of the actor give themselves, awaiting each release. We noticed that one welcomed the news by commenting on social media “I’m assuming @MasterOfMalt will ship to Australia too? Nice Congratulations Sam!” The answer is yes, we will. Enjoy.
Chivas Ultis XX is the ultimate flex, apparently
It’s hard to imagine from all the upbeat whisky-related news but we sometimes get a little down here on the Master of Malt blog. But what always cheers us up is the latest press release from Chivas. Right on cue comes marketing director Nick Blacknell to tell us all about Chivas Ultis XX: “As we continue to challenge traditional conventions of blended Scotch, Ultis XX takes pride of place as the pinnacle of our portfolio and the ultimate flex to elevate those ‘I’ve made it’ moments with.” We’ll have what he’s having! In plain English, this is a 20-year-old age statement version of the upmarket Ultis blend and contains Allt A’bhainne, Braeval, Longmorn, Strathisla, and Tormore single malts combined with grain from Strathclyde. Sandy Hyslop, Chivas master blender, added: “Ultis XX is the ultimate tribute to the five generations of master blenders who preceded me in dedicating their life’s work to mastering Chivas’ iconic house style”. It sounds like a great whisky though honestly we still have no idea what an “ultimate flex” is.
Learn to mix Valentine’s Day cocktails with TT Liquor
Forget crowded restaurants and flowers, we’ve found the best thing to do this Valentine’s Day: learn to make cocktails. Yes, on the day itself, that’s Tuesday 14 February for those of you who need reminding, TT Liquor in Shoreditch is hosting a one-off cocktail-making class. It kicks off with a glass of Champagne on arrival and then you and that special someone gets to have fun learning to make cocktails. Hopefully not embarrassingly lewd ones like Sex on the Beach or Screaming Orgasm. Not sexy. We think this is especially good for either a first date, ice broken over mixology mishaps, or for those couples who have heard all of each other’s stories dozens of times. So what are you waiting for: click here to book and let a little love in.
Glencairn and Bloody Scotland renew their vows
Good news for lovers of crime thrillers as the Glencairn Glass has just announced that it will be sponsoring the Bloody Scotland Scottish International Crime Writing Awards for the next three years. The two awards up for grabs are the McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, named after legendary Glasgow writer William McIlvanney, and for those starting out in the craft, Debut Crime Novel of the Year. Last year the winners were Alan Parks’ May God Forgive and debut writer Tariq Ashkanani with Welcome to Cooper. Kirsty Nicholson, Glencairn’s design and marketing Manager, commented: “We are delighted to extend our sponsorship of such prestigious writing prizes. Like Scottish crime writing, the Glencairn Glass is a truly global phenomenon and we look forward to working with Bloody Scotland in celebrating great crime novels.” Festival director Bob McDevitt: “We are so pleased that The Glencairn Glass has extended its sponsorship of our prizes, helping us to celebrate new and established voices in Scottish crime writing.” The makers of everyone’s favourite whisky glass started its association with Bloody Scotland in 2020 and the two will be linked until the end of 2025, and beyond… potentially.
Port of Leith launches Perpetuity whisky
A blended whisky modelled on the infinity bottle concept? You have our attention. While we wait for the new £13.5m Port of Leith vertical Distillery to open this summer, the brand has launched another product to keep us occupied. Unlike previous releases like Lind & Lime Gin, however, this is the first whisky and it’s a very cool-sounding product. It’s called Perpetuity and was inspired by the way people create infinity bottles. That process of collecting and blending liquid, before topping it up again, is one a lot of us will be familiar with. Similarly here, Port of Leith has created a vat of whisky from a blend of single malt and single grain whiskies from Highland, Speyside, and Lowland distilleries, then taken half of it to fill 1,430 bottles. A different selection of whiskies will then be added to the vat, creating a constantly evolving and perpetual supply of Scotch whisky. “Batch 1 is made up of casks from Deanston, North British, and Glentauchers distilleries,” reveals co-founder Ian Stirling, who says to expect notes of caramelised apple tart on the nose, toffee and marmalade on the palate, and a sharp lemon drizzle cake with clotted cream from the finish. Perpetuity will be arriving at MoM Towers soon.
Compass Box announces new exciting release Delos
Compass Box also has a new whisky: Delos. Well, it’s actually a reimagining of Asyla, first created in 2001 and retired in 2018, but this time with older stocks. Bottled at 49% ABV, the blended Scotch marks the second release from the whiskymaker’s Extinct Blends Quartet series, which celebrates discontinued characters and flavours. Eventually, there will be four different expressions, with the remaining two from the series to be introduced in late 2023 and early 2024. Delos, named after a Greek island said to be the birthplace of the god Apollo, is comprised of malt whiskies from Glen Elgin, Imperial, and Miltonduff distilleries – all aged in American oak barrels. “While inspired by the style and recipe structure of Asyla, Delos has richer and rounder flavours from using older stocks of whiskies which amplify the character, bringing more grandeur to it and making it more resonant,” says James Saxon, Compass Box lead whiskymaker. “The delicate mouthfeel and transportive aromas within Delos are nevertheless familiarly delicious. For me, sipping Delos feels like a holiday.”
Cazcabel launches very first Margarita Week
National Margarita Day is on 22 February, but Cazcabel is taking things up a notch by creating a whole Margarita Week. Taking place from the 18 to 26, it’s eight days of masterclasses, events, tastings, partnerships, and promotions across the country. The UK’s bestselling 100% agave tequila is teaming up with venues like Callooh Callay and Murder Inc. in London, Science + Industry and El Capo in Manchester, Butter and PINS in Liverpool, Leave Me Alone, Lisa and Hibou in Newcastle, and many more to put together events like ‘Master Your Margarita’ masterclasses, a 24hr ‘Marg-a-thon’, and a ‘Fastest Margarita in the East’ competition. We love a good Margarita and hardly need an excuse to enjoy it, but a series of Margarita events does sound right up our street.
And finally… is whisky good for your skin?
Whisky can help keep skin healthy. No, really. It’s in a study, guys. Well not exactly whisky, it’s pot ale, a byproduct from whisky production that is usually fed to cattle or processed as biofuel. But new research suggests that’s also good for your skin. It’s useful for reducing inflammation and puffiness, as well as calming redness and fighting environmental damage, according to a study by Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, Aberdeen. Samples used in the tests were from a local distillery in the Highland town of Dingwall (not hard to work out which one after about 30 seconds on Google Maps) after several rejections elsewhere. The scientists believe it’s the first time whisky by-products have been used to investigate antioxidant benefits, but the RGU’s research was initially inspired by the beneficial effects the sake yeast fermentation process had on the skin, proven by a Japanese company in the 1970s. The experiments didn’t entail rubbing pot ale on the participants’ faces, before you go running to the local distillery, but by extracting the nutrients and polyphenols and placing them in skincare products. There’s already a real-world application as firm Zaza & Cruz, who were involved in the study, now uses the ingredient in its products. So you know where to go for that whisky-washed complexion.