Glengoyne goes offline with new whisky, Glenlivet goes online to change perceptions, and a football manager goes to his vineyard to show some gratitude. It’s The Nightcap!
Before we get into this week’s round-up, we thought we’d let you know about some recent changes. You may have noticed our home page has become all fancy thanks to a bit of refurbishment, and there’s some hot new additions like The Vault. There’s also a page where you can register your interest in the truly top-tier releases. This week, for example, it’s the oldest ever whisky from The Macallan. An 81-year-old single malt Scotch whisky, drawn from a single sherry-seasoned cask that was laid down in 1940, called The Reach. You can register here, and admire the new-look-MoM (Master of Malt, not your actual mother) whenever you feel like it.
Things might be all change on the front page, but on the blog, it was business as usual as we churned lots of cracking content. There was our preview of all the delicious independent bottlings launched in That Boutique-y Records, as well as our look at the simple but sublime Americano cocktail. We also welcomed a Platinum Jubilee Edition of Taylor’s Very Very Old Tawny Port and put together a new competition with Mermaid Gin to offer you the chance to win all kinds of gin-based treats. Father’s Day prep also began, with our pick of presents, expert advice on how to become more original in your gift-giving, and our own testimony on what we’ll be getting our own dads here at MoM Towers. There was still time to preview the upcoming Fèis Ìle, with our round-up of what to expect, and Dr. Nick Morgan’s explosive story of a festival corrupted by greed.
Phew, what a week! And there’s still more to come. It’s The Nightcap: 27 May edition.
World’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky sells for £1.1 million
Remember that story we covered about the massive bottle of whisky? Well, somebody stumped up over £1m for it. The Intrepid, which stands at 5ft 11 inches tall and is filled with 311 litres of 32-year-old Macallan single-malt whisky, went under the hammer on Tuesday (25 May) at international auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull and fetched £1.1m (it’s hard not to say that in Dr. Evil’s voice). The project is supporting various environmental, physical, and mental well-being charities such as Marie Curie and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), chosen by the 11 explorers honoured by the expression, including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and Karen Darke MBE. The Glenfiddich was also in a fundraising mood, raising £150,000 to help with the long-term support of the people of Ukraine. It auctioned 460 bottles of its 2022 edition (The Cooper’s Cask) on Whisky Auctioneer, with proceeds from the auction going to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, www.dec.org.uk. Look at all this expensive whisky doing good for the world. We’ll overlook the driving of crazy auction prices for this week…
Glengyone launches ‘world’s first offline whisky’
Did you know that over a third of Brits admit to checking their phones frequently when spending quality time with friends and family? Surely, it’s nearer 100%. If you had the urge to use your phone to Google that, then you’re part of the problem. It’s this fact, and an overactive marketing department who presumably used their phones incessantly in the creation of this expression, that has led to Glengoyne releasing The Offline Edition. Billed as the “world’s first offline whisky”, the key thing here isn’t so much the liquid as the packaging, which contains aluminium inner cylinder to turn the whisky box into a digital black spot, blocking out electromagnetic signals for up to four smartphones. The packaging was inspired by the original Faraday cage, invented just three years after Glengoyne began making its whisky in 1833. “No matter where we are, or how hard we try, there’s a temptation to check our phones, or be distracted by someone else’s screen lighting up at the table. It’s no surprise that time away from our tech has become one of the greatest luxuries of all”, Barbara Turing, brand manager at Glengoyne, said. “As Scotland’s slowest distilled malt, we’ve always celebrated being unhurried. The Offline Edition gives a new meaning to the term ‘second use’ – a special box that gives us all some time back for our own special moments with others and to savour a great-tasting dram.” It’s the same kind of obnoxious as those signs in cafes and bars that say “there’s no wifi password, talk to each other”, but this will still probably sell out in about 15 minutes. If the actual whisky means anything to you, the box includes a 700ml bottle of Glengoyne Legacy Series: Chapter Three, the final bottle in the Legacy collection.
The Glenlivet aims to challenge whisky stereotypes
Changing the outdated stereotype of the whisky drinker is a fight many of us have subscribed to in recent years, and The Glenlivet is taking the fight on with its #BreakTheStereotype initiative. It kicks off with a scheme to infiltrate search engine algorithms and purposefully plant images so that when you search ‘whisky drinker’ using Google Images (not sure who actually does this, but ok) you are greeted with unique and diverse depictions of real whisky drinkers in 2022. This means it won’t be all middle-aged, white men, basically. Research conducted by Pernod Ricard shows that the modern whisky drinker has evolved, with a third of whisky drinkers globally being women, so that search really shouldn’t return such one-dimensional results. It is great to see the industry finally challenging these kinds of stereotypes, even if it cultivated them for decades. As part of the initiative, The Glenlivet has partnered with the excellent Equal Measures through its Education and Mentorship Scheme by providing up to 30 participants from marginalised communities with access to qualifications, one-on-one mentorship, and opportunities. The brand is also inviting whisky drinkers to the #BreakTheStereotype pop-up bar taking place at Coupette in London from 13–19 June, where guests who post a photo of themselves with a cocktail with the hashtag will enjoy a free drink. Talk about infiltrating the algorithm. A portion of proceeds from each cocktail purchased from the menu beyond the complimentary drink will be donated to Equal Measures too. We’re not quite convinced the Google Images route will have any real impact, but Glenlivet does seem awfully committed to moving the dial to make the drinks and spirit industry a more welcoming and inclusive place, and we’re all for that.
Diageo partners with LGBTQ+ museum
Expect joy, celebration, and Pride in abundance from Diageo in the coming months as the drinks giant celebrates 50 years of the UK Pride Movement. To kick things off, it’s announced a new two-year partnership with Queer Britain in London, the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum. The first-of-its-kind partnership will provide funding to the site that aims to capture some of the lost LGBTQ+ contributions to history and culture in the UK, as well as resources to support the museum’s archivists in their mission to grow an archive of valuable stories and artifacts. Archivists for brands such as Guinness and Johnnie Walker will work with the recently opened museum in Granary Square at King’s Cross to upskill volunteers and create archive best practices that will enable the museum to preserve LGBTQ+ history. Diageo’s own global archive covers the equivalent of 55 football pitches, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. “We’re so proud to be supporting Queer Britain in their mission to celebrate queer culture in the UK”, commented Conor Brown, chairman of Diageo’s Rainbow Network Group at Diageo GB, “As part of Diageo’s ongoing commitment to creating a fairer, more inclusive society, we’re honoured to support an archive that strives to reinforce that all-important sense of belonging and connection for the community.” Alongside Diageo’s support for the Queer Britain archive, Diageo will also be announcing a number of other exciting collaborative initiatives and events in the coming months, with vodka brand Cîroc hosting the stage for the first of the festivities.
Top London bars launch new menus
A whole host of swanky London bars have been launching new bar menus recently, so much so that we thought we’d do a little group round-up this week. Starting with The American Bar at the Savoy, which has revealed Re:Invented, which coincides with the bar reopening to the public for the first time since last year. As Shannon Tebay departed, drinks expert and former manager of the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar Anna Sebastian stepped in to create a menu that pays tribute to the bar’s fabled place in history, whilst transporting some of its most famous cocktails into the future. Expect cutting-edge techniques, the latest sustainable practices, seasonality, forgotten ingredients, and fascinating stories. Oh, and great drinks. It’s The American Bar after all. Elsewhere, St James Bar at Sofitel London St James hotel has created three cocktails in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, including serves like the Lilibet Fizz which features two of her best-loved beverages: Pimm’s Cup N.1 and Bollinger Champagne. Should be delicious, and fitting way to salute her Maj. It’s donating £1 of every Ray cocktail (which has the Pride colours) purchased at the bar to the estimable charity London Friend. Finally, the team behind innovative cocktail bar Eve, located beneath Michelin-starred Frog by Adam Handling, will launch a new cocktail menu inspired by Handling’s favourite drink, The Perfect Manhattan. It’s called ‘V’ as the ‘PM’ is made with five ingredients, and features five different spirit categories, stories, and tastes created by five bartenders. Serves include the Brusketta Martini, a combination of sourdough vodka, Ginepraio gin, tomato, rosemary, and brine. Now, go and check them out. You won’t regret it!
Tamnavulin appoints Leon Webb as new distillery manager
Tamnavulin has a new distillery manager: experienced whisky maker Leon Webb! He joined the team in early May, returning to his native Scotland following a period of five years in Canada where he worked as master distiller and blender to acclaim for Shelter Point Distillery on Vancouver Island. Originally from Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, Webb has an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and has produced award-winning drams in Scotland and Canada. He’ll now bring that experience to the Speyside distillery to work alongside distiller Sam Douglas and blender Kirsty Hodge. “Leon will be a fantastic addition to Tamnavulin and our distilling team,” says Shane Healey, distillery director at Whyte & Mackay, which owns the brand. “I am confident he will build on all the great work already done at the distillery and make a great contribution to the extraordinary growth of the Tamnavulin brand around the world. Leon joins Tamnavulin at an exciting time, fresh after the Spirit of Speyside Festival.” Best of luck, Leon, and congrats on the new role.
Balblair wants you to ‘embrace the unrushed’
More single malt Scotch whisky campaigning comes this way from Highland distillery Balblair, which has partnered with Scottish photographer and director David Eustace to encourage the nation to “embrace precious moments” with a new film. Entitled ‘Precious Time’, it explores the making of Balblair’s single malt with lots of picturesque shots of the Highlands that surround the distillery and stars distillery manager John MacDonald. He emphasizes how the Balblair’s slow distillation and lengthy maturation in the traditional, earthen-floored dunnage warehouses underpin its ‘unrushed approach’, explaining that “a respect for time is a must in whisky production and we never manipulate or control it”. He adds that the film ‘Precious Time’ is about “appreciation; the anticipation before the whisky touches your lips and savouring that moment in time.” Viewers can check out the film at www.balblair.com.
We rocked down to Ardbeg Day in London
Ahead of Fèis Ìle and Ardbeg Day ‘proper’ on Saturday 4 June, we spent World Whisky Day at the distillery’s punk rocking London bash. This year’s Ardcore release, and even the London celebration, won’t be news to regular Nightcap readers. So what’s the update here? Well, basically that it was really fun! We tasted the roasted black malt Ardcore – think Glenmorangie Signet chocolate malt vibes, with rich bran notes and ‘spiky’, peaty goodness – alongside the recent Ardbeg 8 Years Old Committee Release, and got into everything the day had to offer. The sun was out, they had Islay whisky slushies, there were games (the ‘welly-wanging’ was, of course, done with DM boots), and we caught up with friends (Matt from Whisky For Everyone, Simon and Franchi from Simply Whisky, and even Andy off of @londonwhiskyguy and our own Pour & Sip). For just a moment, on a glorious Saturday afternoon, it was like being back at Ardbeg’s festival day at the distillery itself. Just, you know, without the sea and scenery and stills… We did our best to make up for that by pogoing to some live Buzzcocks and Stooges tunes though. There were, we’re told, “as many as three” punks on Islay back in the ‘70s, after all.
And finally… Napoli manager thanks journalists with his own wine
Covering football for a living is a pretty sweet gig (yes, we know covering drink is too), but it’s even better when you’re given Tuscan wine as a bonus. That’s what happened to journalists attending the final press conference of the season for Napoli football club manager Luciano Spalletti, who thanked with a bottle of his own wine. His family has a 50-hectare estate called La Rimessa which sits just west of his hometown of Certaldo in Tuscany. The grounds boast farmhouses for tourists to stay in, as well as tennis courts, olive groves, a lake, and even an ostrich. Grape varieties Sangiovese, Merlot, Vermentino, and Trebbiano grapes are hand-picked from Spattetti’s vineyards, who is said to have become serious about winemaking after he was sacked by Internazionale in 2019. The Bordocampo he gave out is actually from the 2019 vintage and is made from 100% organically cultivated Sangiovese, and Antonio Petrazzuolo of Napoli Magazine posted his gratitude to the manager for the gift on Twitter this week, saying “Thanks to #LucianoSpalletti for the kind thought towards the press @napolimagazine @sscnapoli”. It’s a lovely gesture, but we can’t help but wonder what he’ll whip out if Napoli wins the Scudetto…