Does the Angel Share harm the environment? How did a whisky receipt solve a crime? Is there such a thing as beer island? All these questions and more are answered in this week’s Nightcap. 

It’s almost autumn, which might be the most depressing thing I’ve said all year after “no, I don’t think I need dessert.” But with time flying by, it’s important to reflect on and savour each week. The Nightcap is very useful for that. Plus it’s good fun. Let’s get to it.

On the blog this week we had the pleasure of welcoming back former editor Kristy who will be contributing features like this doozy on beer-focused whiskies. We also celebrated the return of another legend, our own exclusive whiskies, then teamed up with Ron Santiago to offer you a rummy bundle and even made a Daiquiri with that very same rum. Elsewhere, we learned how sea turtles can be saved with rum, went behind the scenes at Mannachmore, showed how easy it is to make cocktails with fortified wine, tasted the renewed Glenturret range, opened the MoM museum for old and rare whisky, and tasted new Teeling.

A big week, but there’s more. Here is The Nightcap: 19 August edition!

angels' share

The evaporation from these could be problematic

Does the angels’ share harm the environment?

Does the angels’ share harm the environment? That’s what the Scottish government will review as part of its commitment to improving air quality. The assessment of emissions that come from malt whisky maturation, in particular the impacts of non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) emissions, is what’s under scrutiny, with the government saying that emissions from malt whisky maturation increased by 54% between 2005 and 2019 as the sector expanded. As we’re sure most of our readers will know, the angels’ share refers to the whisky lost to evaporation during maturation. Due to Scotland’s cooler climate, it’s a small amount, about 2% of spirit from an individual cask a year. However, with 138 operating Scotch whisky distilleries and around 22 million casks maturing in warehouses in Scotland, according to the Scotch Whisky Association trade body, if there is a negative impact it needs to be understood. Let’s just hope the review is sensible and fair. We always want to ensure that we’re pursuing best practices but crucifying an important industry because it’s an easy target when there’s far worse culprits won’t do much good either.


The series aims to uncover the secrets of whisky’s star grain

Bruichladdich expands Barley Exploration series

Bruichladdich is rounding off its unpeated Barley Exploration series by adding Bruichladdich Organic Barley 2011 and Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2012 to the roster, alongside the already released Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2013. Head distiller Adam Hannett says the range originally began in pursuit of flavour, “but it has grown into so much more” as the Islay whisky makers consider how growing process, heritage grains, and natural crops can elevate the drinking experience, all while supporting the farmers who grow for them. “By partnering with them we can truly push the boundaries of what we can achieve with barley, discovering new flavours and resurrecting long forgotten ones. Ultimately, it’s about reconnecting our whisky with its vital raw ingredient,” Hannet says. Bruichladdich Organic Barley 2011, for example, was made with 100% Scottish barley cultivated at Mid Coul farm in Inverness, Scotland, without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides, while Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2012 uses one of the most fascinating grains still cultivated today, as bere dates back to the dawn of Scottish agriculture around 4,500 years ago. Comparing and contrasting the two is sure to be a rewarding experience for anyone who is interested in terroir and how pre-maturation processes affect a whisky’s flavour. Luckily, they’re on their way to MoM Towers now.

Wedding whisky

The marriage Macallan should fetch a hefty price

Prince Charles and Diana wedding whisky up for auction for £2,000

A rare whisky made to honour Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding is up for auction for thousands of pounds. The Macallan Royal Marriage Malt Whisky was blended from two single malts distilled in 1948 and 1961, the birth years of Charles and Diana, before being bottled in Scotland 41 years ago and released to celebrate the Royal Wedding on 29 July 1981. The label shows two whisky barrels nestled side by side bearing the years 1948 and 1961 together with the words: ‘Long Life and Happiness’. That didn’t quite work out, and now the whisky is going under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers today, where it is expected to fetch between £1,800 and £2,000. Auctioneer Charles Hanson says this rare limited-edition Royal Marriage Malt is likely to be sought after not only due to the occasion, but also because it’s Macallan. “It’s a rare bottle to find and we’ve seen it offered by whisky retailers for prices approaching £10,000,” he explains. “For any whisky connoisseur or collector, it’s an impressive addition to the drinks cellar and an investment item.”

Budweiser launches World Cup giveaway with Messi

Being the official beer of the World Cup, Budweiser is wasting no time promoting this year’s tournament by offering football fans the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Qatar. The brand began dropping hundreds of red prize boxes across the world on 13 August to mark the 100-day countdown to the World Cup, with England Men’s and Women’s shirts signed by the respective squads, signed Sterling England shirts, the opportunity to watch the England team train, and the grand prize of a trip to Qatar for the tournament up for grabs. Budweiser QR codes, shared on its social accounts earlier this week, can be scanned by fans to reveal the coordinates of these prize boxes, with Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr., and Raheem Sterling staring a in a trailer teasing the giveaway. “There’s only 100 days until the FIFA World Cup and I’m dropping Red boxes around the globe with Budweiser to give fans the trip of a lifetime,” says England star Sterling. “Just like I was given the chance to pursue my dreams, my fans have a chance of their own to chase their dreams and see the World Cup in person.”


Portrait of Margie Samuels by artist Honora Jacob.

Maker’s Mark honours Margie Samuels

It’s hard to understate the contribution of Margie Samuels to the creation of Maker’s Mark. It was Margie who suggested to her husband that he should trial mashbill recipes by baking bread, came up with the name, designed the shape of the bottle, and it was her who had the idea to dip each bottle in red wax. Now the co-founder of Maker’s Mark is being paid the homage she deserves with an exhibit celebrating her impact on the brand. The Margie Vestibule at the distillery features treasures such as her private pewter collection, which inspired her to name the family bourbon Maker’s Mark in the 1950s. She may have passed in 1985, but her legacy lives on with the classic red wax seal on one of America’s most famous bourbons. “My grandmother, Margie Samuels, represents all the values that have shaped not only our family, but the way we continue to work every day at Maker’s Mark,” said Rob Samuels, an eighth-generation distiller and leader of Maker’s Mark. “She was ahead of her time, playing a significant role in establishing what has become one of the most recognizable brands in the world in an industry which in those days had very little room for women.” Cheers to you, Margie.

St James bar

A snapshot of Once In A Lifetime

St James Bar launches new menu

St James Bar has a new menu: ‘Once In A Lifetime’. Launching at the beginning of September at the classic bar at Sofitel London St James, the new list is inspired by bucket list experiences, from adventures to breathtaking locations around the world, like driving a Formula One car and climbing Mount Everest. Award-winning head bartender Angelo Sparvoli led the creation of the 16 cocktails, each a take on a classic serve. There’s some classy glassware, theatrics, and fancy-Dan techniques like fat-washing, sous-vide, and nitro-infusion used to create cocktails that evoke an experience through sight, taste, and smell. For example, Green Lights draws on Nordic Aquavit, pine needles. and crisp clean lemon to recreate the experience of lying on snow watching the Northern Lights. Meanwhile, Javari comprises Canaïma Gin, made with Amazonian botanicals, and a red amaranth garnish, as well as cocoa, yerba mate, soapbark, and timur pepper, which combine to create the native humid aromas that we’d imagine inhaling when exploring the Amazon rainforest. It’s sure to be a knockout, so don’t miss out.


Who knew an innocuous bottle of whisky could be so vital?

Whisky receipt incriminates drug smuggler

Is there anything whisky can’t do? This week we learned that a receipt for a bottle of Scotch proved to be a crucial piece of evidence to prove a lorry driver was guilty of attempting to bring £3 million of heroin into the UK. According to the National Crime Agency, Edmundas Bruzas purchased a bottle of Grant’s Triple Wood Blended Scotch as well as 200 cigarettes on the ferry crossing from Rotterdam to the Immingham, Lincolnshire back in March, where he declared the purchases to the authorities stating he was transporting strawberries. Border Forces then carried out a search of his lorry and discovered another cargo consisting of 60 tape-wrapped blocks of heroin. Bruzas denied knowledge, but little did he know that officers found a carrier bag next to the Class A drugs containing a receipt for the whisky he had declared, with his card details on it. On Monday he admitted to being guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin into the UK while being tried at Grimsby Crown Court. He’ll now serve 12 years and six months in prison, all thanks to a £15.90 bottle of Scotch and a rogue receipt.


Presumably you need to be vaccinated

And finally… Corona creates beer island

Corona beer has launched an entirely sustainable island retreat, Corona Island (man that name really has taken a beating in the last couple of years). It’s not simply a party island, but apparently part of a wider company policy to maintain a net-zero plastic footprint by converging “escapism and indulgent needs with ethics and sustainability to attract eco-conscious travellers”. To do so, Corona has partnered with Oceanic Global to create a destination on a tropical island off the coast of Colombia. From construction and energy production to food sourcing and guest experiences, eco-friendly practices were pursued. “On Corona Island, we are celebrating the majesty and beauty of the outdoors by getting guests engaged in protecting paradise,” said Felipe Ambra, global vice president for Corona. “We look forward to welcoming visitors, rekindling their relationship with nature, and hopefully creating more advocates to protect our natural world.” That all sounds lovely, but is there going to be beer? We were picturing something closer to Homer’s land of chocolate.