So, it turns out we’re no longer allowed to go outside again. Well, that was fun while it lasted. Time to pretend you love a virtual quiz, desperately try to remember your Zoom password and resist the urge to look longingly at the local boozer across the road. If you need a bit of cheering up or distraction, or if you’re in your element indoors surrounded by screens (no judgement, we respect the game) then you’ll be delighted to hear that all the doom and gloom hasn’t stopped us putting together another cracking edition of The Nightcap. Read on!
This week in the blog-o-sphere we announced the first Master of Malt Day! What is a Master of Malt Day? Well, you’ll have to click on the blog to find out. Ian Buxton returned to investigate what distilleries are doing to combat the lack of visitors in 2020, while Henry cast an eye on some overlooked joys, including a cocktail that combines bourbon and red wine and a delightful Irish whiskey brand. Annie, meanwhile, turned her attention to Britain’s diverse, dedicated and highly experimental rum brands, three-ingredient classic cocktail recipes and the very first single malt from the 100% organic Scotch whisky distillery Nc’Nean before Adam got his teeth into Glenmorangie’s new cakey delight and learned from Corte Vetusto what makes mezcal so great.
The Macallan launches sixth and final release in Edition series
We received mixed news this week as we learned that we were going to get to enjoy a new expression from The Macallan, but also that the sixth release from the Edition Series will be the final one. The Speyside giants have announced that Edition No.6 was created to “tell the story of unique land and an extraordinary river, where whisky making, agriculture and nature all live in total harmony” and “capture the River Spey’s energy, the extraordinary life of the Atlantic salmon on the beat and the warm, welcoming personality of Macallan’s ghillie, Robert Mitchel”, who is responsible for monitoring fish stocks and hosting fishing trips on the River Spey. Macallan whisky maker, Steven Bremner, chose five styles of American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks for this one, which is said to have aromas of fresh fruits, nutmeg and toffee merged with oak and flavours of ripe plum, vibrant sweet oranges and cinnamon, developing into spicy fresh fruits and creamy chocolate and toasted oats at the finish. The brand also marked the news by launching a charitable partnership with The Atlantic Salmon Trust, who help to conserve at-risk fish salmon and sea trout whose numbers have declined so rapidly in places like the River Spey. “This complex single malt provides the perfect conclusion to the Edition Series as there is so much to discover in this whisky,” said Bremner. “The natural colour of antique brass derived from The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks indicates the richness of flavour that awaits and there is a structure and depth that is uncovered more and more over time.” And the best news of all? Edition No. 6 is on its way to MoM Towers.
New Tobermory 23 Year Old is sherry heaven
We’re taking orders for a very special Tobermory that will be landing at MoM towers soon. It’s a 23-year-old expression finished in sherry casks. When we say finished, it’s not a matter of months but six years in Oloroso sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass. Just enough time to take on masses of sherry without, according to master blend Julieann Fernandez, “taking on too much sherry and masking the Tobermory.” Previously the liquid, from the famed 2008 release of Tobermory 15-year-old, spent 17 years in refill hogsheads. It was bottled this year at 46.3% ABV. We were the first outside the distillery to taste it and were very impressed. It’s a deep copper colour with the nose alive with ginger cake, dried fruits, cinnamon and barley with that classic citrus Tobermory note, on the palate it’s thick and sweet with salted caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and best of all a finish like candied walnuts. In fact, the finish tastes just like Gonzalez Byass’s premium sweet Oloroso, Matusalem. All this magnificence doesn’t come cheap, £320, but we think it’s worth every penny. Best of all, it’s not a limited edition but a permanent addition to the Tobermory range.
Spirited Awards reveal 2020 winners
For obvious reasons, the renowned bar industry gathering Tales of the Cocktail couldn’t continue in New Orleans as normal this year – which meant the Spirited Awards ceremony was a virtual affair. Assessed by a highly regarded panel of experts, the bar and personality accolades are considered to be some of the most robust in the category. And we’re celebrating a few of the international winners here! The Connaught scooped Best International Bar Team, while Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London was named Best International Hotel Bar. The wonderful Kwānt was rewarded with Best New International Cocktail Bar, and Singapore’s Atlas picked up the trophy for World’s Best Cocktail Menu. When it came to individual categories, Alex Kratena was named Best International Bar Mentor, with Kelsey Ramage awarded International Bartender of the Year. HUGE congrats to all the nominees and winners – check out talesofthecocktail.org for the full list.
Jura whisky exclusive auctioned for charity
The Jura has also announced that new whisky is on the way, but this expression was bottled to raise funds in aid of SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). The incredible gesture (for a mighty important cause) will see 470 individually numbered bottles of exceptionally rare whisky be auctioned online via Whisky Auctioneer as part of a wider effort led by Whyte & Mackay employees to fundraise for mental health charities around the world. The challenge – Whyte & Mackay Cares – was inspired by the heroic feats of Captain Tom Moore in the UK and since June, the team has clocked up enough miles to virtually run, walk, cycle or row around the world twice. As for the whisky itself, the distillery’s latest release is 19-Year-Old whisky that was distilled in May 2001 and placed into Jura cask No 1708 (a sherry butt) before being bottled at a cask strength 55% ABV in August 2020. The Jura Distillery Cask is said to have notes of liquorice toffee, ginger biscuits, subtle vanilla with a subtle touch of sea spray. “I have been so impressed by my colleagues’ passion to support communities where our colleagues, friends and consumers live during the pandemic,” said Daryl Haldane, head of whisky experience at Whyte & Mackay. “The speed and creativity which has allowed this new whisky to reach public auction is outstanding and I am incredibly proud of the team’s efforts to get us here. All of the funds raised from the auction will go directly to SAMH, a charity which has been instrumental in providing vital mental health support to people throughout the pandemic.” To find out more about the auction and register your interest, click here.
Glenturret reveals new core range and swanky new rebrand
We reported back in December 2018 that Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, no less, had been bought by French luxury wine company Art + Terroir. Seeing as the company is run by Silvio Denz who also owns Lalique, you won’t be surprised to hear that the brand is moving upmarket. One of his first new signings was ex-Macallan whisky maker Bob Dalgarno, a real statement of intent. Last week, Dalgarno revealed the new range he’s been working on along with the swanky new rectangular downward tapering bottle featuring the Glenturret crest, inspired by the coat of arms of the Murray family, the founders of the distillery. We then tried the four core expressions: Triple Wood, 10-year-old Peat Smoked, 12-year-old and 15 year old. We were particularly taken with the honeyed 12-year-old expression. Plus there will be two limited editions, a 25-year-old and an “Extremely Scarce” 30-year-old. Dalgarno spoke about: “the challenge of creating a new range of whiskies with a different cask and character profile. And went on to say that: “Building on previous experiences and having the freedom to influence and develop, respecting the history whilst writing new chapters was a perfect fit”. Ian Renwick, the distillery manager, added: “Having Bob on board is a recognition of the scale of our ambition and a testament to our transformative work over the past eight months. We cannot wait to share the new expressions with the world.” Nor can we.
Shepherd Neame sales are booming… in Mexico
Guadalajara resident Fernando de Obeso had a happy surprise when he visited his local supermarket in Mexico’s second city: strong Kentish ales. In place of local beers, there were bottles of Shepherd Neame 1698 and IPA. He told us “because of COVID, local large breweries like Corona and Modelo were forced to shut down. So supermarkets scrabbled to get beer from every place in the world, so for some time we have had beer from many small breweries in Europe.” Olly Scott, head of export sales at Shepherd Neame, confirmed the story: “The feedback from importer is that there has been more demand for imported beers during the lockdown and we have noticed where we would expect two orders across four months there have been three.” Mr de Obeso went on to say that discovering Kent’s finest beers has been a “silver lining to the pandemic and let the brewery know that they now have a Mexican fan.”
And ninally… Missing Oktoberfest? Crack out the cheese!
Oktoberfest is a staple of the season. Alas, this year celebrations will have to take place in a somewhat different format. And one suggestion especially caught our eye at MoM Towers this week. Wisconsin (also apparently known as the State of Cheese), is encouraging beer-loving folks to indulge in a spot of cheese-pairing. “Beer is the perfect palate cleanser for cheese, and frankly, it’s hard to go wrong when pairing beer with cheese,” said Molly Browne, education manager at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and American Cheese Society Certified cheese professional (how do we get that title?!?). Top suggestions include Butterkäse – a mild, buttery option – and Kolsch; Limburger – a Wisconsin-made punchy rind cheese – and Belgian Ale; and Brick and Weiss Beer. The semi-soft, nutty cheese is said to pair delectably with a wheat-based sipper. Great stuff. Now all you need to do is crack out the pretzels, put on the polka tunes, fashion a beer tent, and Eureka! You may as well be in Germany.