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Tag: Aber Falls

New Arrival of the Week: Aber Falls Single Malt Autumn 2021

The first release from Aber Falls distillery sold out in 40 minutes. Thankfully, the second batch is now here, and even better, it’s very reasonably priced which is why Aber…

The first release from Aber Falls distillery sold out in 40 minutes. Thankfully, the second batch is now here, and even better, it’s very reasonably priced which is why Aber Falls Single Malt Autumn 2021 release is our New Arrival of the Week.

Whisky has always been expensive but it does sometimes seem that prices have been going particularly bananas of late. At the top end five figures are not unusual while new distilleries often release their three year old whiskies for north of £50.

Aber Falls Single Malt Autumn 2021 release 

So it’s refreshing to see the price of the second release from Aber Falls in Wales. Just £26 (at the time of writing). Roughly the price of a good blend. And for that you’re getting a small batch single malt whisky made entirely from local barley. And this isn’t some light fruity little whisky, it’s packed full of flavour from its complicated ageing regime. The distillery is going for maximum flavour in the young spirit. How do they do it for the money? 

The Aber Falls set-up is an interesting one with a mixture of copper pot and stainless steel stills. The 2021 release was then matured in a mix of ex-Oloroso and PX sherry casks, ex-bourbon casks, and virgin oak casks, before diluting with local spring water and bottling at 40% ABV. It’s a little more conventional than the inaugural release which included ageing in orange wine casks – yes, wine made from oranges. 

A big signing

Aber Falls began distilling in January 2018. The distillery is located in a beautiful part of North Wales located just south of Abergwyngregyn between the A55 and the Menai Strait. Earlier this year, parent company Halewood caused waves in the whisky world when it signed Dr Kirstie McCallum as its master blender earlier. She had only just joined Glen Moray in 2019 from Distell which owned Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory, but seemingly relished the challenge of joining a company where there was everything to play for. Halewood has many booze pies (mmmmm, booze pies) including the Crabbie’s single malt distillery in Edinburgh which is yet to release its inaugural whisky – more on that later this week.

McCallum commented on the Aber Falls 2021 release: “The perfect whisky is made up of exceptional ingredients, ideal conditions and well considered casks made of top-quality wood. In particular, the two sherry casks used for this single malt have provided a very enjoyable flavour that we’re incredibly proud of.”

The inaugural release sold out in 40 minutes

MD James Wright, who has been with the distillery since it was founded, added: “We are thrilled to release our 2021 Welsh Single Malt whisky, following the successful inaugural release earlier in the year, which saw 2,000 bottles sell out in just 40 minutes! We’re a distillery that proudly produces 100% Welsh whisky, capturing the Welsh craft and heritage in every bottle. As a result, our products are extremely sustainable, enabling us to benefit Wales at every stage of production, including returning any waste ingredients to local farms for use as fertiliser or cattle feed”.

Naturally there’s also a signature cocktail. Welsh Bartender Alex Mills has come up with an Old Fashioned with a Welsh twist that’s loosely based on the flavours of a Bara Brith, a spiced tea cake common in North Wales. The signature serve consists of ingredients from the four corners of Wales, including 15ml of honey from Nature’s Little Helpers in Cardiff, a pinch of black Welsh tea from Tea Traders in Carmarthen, five drops of coffee bitters from Dyfi Coffee in Machynlleth and, of course, 50ml of Aber Falls single malt.

With Aber Falls releasing whisky, there’s now something of a Welsh whisky scene alongside Penderyn’s Brecon Beacons distillery which was founded in 2000. Penderyn is now expanding with an outpost in Llandudno open and one in the pipeline in Swansea. Meanwhile we were fortunate enough to try some very promising new make from the In the Welsh Wind distillery in Cardigan Bay in South Wales. Let’s hope it follows the Aber Falls model of good whisky and reasonable prices. 

Aber Falls single malt 2021 release

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Creamy malt with diced nuts, caramel crystallized fruit, dates, and prunes.

Palate: Vanilla and toffee cross zesty orange peel, heaps of sherried sultanas, and dried fruits. A gentle spice picks up with clove, earthy coffee, and extra dark chocolate, studded with nuts.

Finish: The creamy texture prevails, vanilla fudge, darker notes of berries and cherries, sherried fruit cake, soft barley spice.

To buy Aber Falls Single Malt Autumn 2021 release click here

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The Nightcap: 3 September

It’s Friday, The Nightcap is back and the Tequila is on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his doppelgänger, unless us Brits spill it all coming back from the bar of…

It’s Friday, The Nightcap is back and the Tequila is on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and his doppelgänger, unless us Brits spill it all coming back from the bar of course… What are we talking about? Read on to find out…

How hard is it to get a saying going, do you think? For example, if we wanted to replace ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ (or TGI Friday if you’re rad/a restaurant chain) with ‘Thank God it’s The Nightcap’, how long would it take to popularise the new and improved version? We know we can count on everyone who reads this to get on board, and that must be at least six people. We just need a weekly round-up of boozy news to become so synonymous with the beginning of the weekend and Friday itself that it’s a natural move for people. It can’t be that hard. Hoover is synonymous with the vacuum cleaner and I don’t know anyone who owns a Hoover. Let’s aim for Christmas.

Anyway, those of you who take a gander at our lovely little blog every now and then will have noticed there were some very exciting things happening this week. Like us celebrating Boutique-y Whisky’s birthday by shouting all about the Home Nations Series, or reviewing the very first Benriach Malting Season release. Elsewhere, Adam had a taste of some intriguing Irish whiskey, Lauren spoke to the remarkable woman behind Montanya Rum, and Millie uncovered the world of whisky auctions. Oh, and if you’re in the mood to whip something up tonight, then perhaps try our Cocktail of the Week: The Dominican Double!

And yet there’s still even more drinks stories to tell this week. So let’s get on with it. Here’s The Nightcap: 3 September edition!

The Nightcap: 3 September

Jameson is the toast of 2021 for Pernod Ricard

Pernod Ricard “rebounding very strongly” from Covid

Pernod Ricard announced some very promising results this week with organic sales up 9.7% on pre-Covid levels and profits up by 18.3%. “The business rebounded very strongly during FY21 to exceed FY19 levels,” said CEO Alexandre Ricard. Much of this success was driven by the irresistible rise of Jameson, seeing a 15% growth globally. The Irish whiskey brand is now bigger than Absolut in the US. Looking at other brands in the portfolio there was a strong performance from the Chivas Brothers side of the business with Glenlivet, Chivas, and Ballantine’s all enjoying growth, as well as Martell and Malibu. On the other hand Royal Salute, Beefeater, and Havana Club all lost ground. Looking at markets individually: Europe was up 4%, with the UK, Germany, and Eastern Europe all performing strongly, in contrast to Spain and Ireland. Globally, China (up a massive 34%), Russia, India, and the US (up 6%) all performed well. As expected, travel retail was a disaster, down 50%. Ricard continued: “I would like to take this opportunity to praise the exceptional commitment of our teams during this difficult time and express my support to those who have been or continue to be impacted by this pandemic. We will stay the strategic course, accelerating our digital transformation and our ambitious sustainability & responsibility roadmap. Thanks to our solid fundamentals, our teams, and our brand portfolio, we are emerging from this crisis stronger.” Trebles all around!

The Nightcap: 3 September

Congratulations, Kirsten!

Brown-Forman Scotland welcomes new assistant blender, Kirsten Ainslie

Congratulations to Kirsten Ainslie who has just landed the job of assistant blender for Brown-Forman’s Scotch distilleries, working with the master herself, Dr. Rachel Barrie. Ainslie, who spent three years as distiller at Edinburgh’s John Crabbie & Co, will join Barrie looking after Benriach, The GlenDronach, and Glenglassaugh. The job will involve new product development, cask management, and assessing spirit quality. As you can imagine she’s quite pleased: “I feel very privileged to be taking on the role of assistant blender and working alongside Rachel Barrie who is renowned in the whisky industry. Working closely with Rachel, I hope to build on the legacy of maturing and marrying different casks, and crafting whiskies to be enjoyed by newcomers and connoisseurs alike,” she commented. Barrie added. “Kirsten will be a great addition to the team. Nurturing young talent is an important part of what we do at Brown-Forman and Kirsten has certainly proven she has the best nose for the job.” Sounds like she’s going to be a Scotch whisky star of the future. 

The Nightcap: 3 September

Real talk. The new-look Chivas is no cap. Yas queen. That’s how young people talk, right?

Chivas Bros gets down with the kids

My 10-year-old daughter has come up with a portmanteau word, ‘dadbarrassing.’ It’s for those moments when fathers try to get down with the kids. This new word sprang to mind when we received a press release announcing a redesign for Chivas 12 Year Old. Apparently the biggest in the brand’s 112-year history. Global marketing director of Chivas, Nick Blacknell explained (if that’s the right word) the thinking behind the change: “Social media has introduced a new, broader audience to the wonder of whisky – ‘flex’ consumers with a hustle-first ethos that seek out upmarket brands to align themselves with.” We’re not quite sure what this means but the colour scheme has changed to “vibrant burgundy” and the packaging has changed to be more environmentally friendly with a new lighter bottle that will apparently save 1,000 tonnes of glass annually. Meanwhile, the liquid will remain the same. Blacknell continued: “I’m particularly proud of the central role sustainability has played in reconceptualising Chivas 12 for a new generation. With this redesign, we have once again reinforced our belief that sustainable luxury is not an oxymoron.” Expect to see the hip cats drinking Chivas 12 in fashionable discotheques this autumn.

The Nightcap: 3 September

Free whisky cocktails is a deal we’ll never turn down

Whisky pop-up giving out free drinks

London pubs The Culpeper and The Duke of Cambridge are doing the Lord’s work, it has been revealed this week, by launching ‘Whisky Six Wednesday’. This means that to celebrate the teaming up of Nc’nean and the sustainable pubs, a pop-up is being made that will give out free whisky, soda, and mint cocktails every Wednesday throughout September from 6-7pm at the two locations. The Scotch whisky distillery and eco-conscious London establishments will offer the former’s signature Whisky Six serve free of charge for anyone who can make a pledge for what they’re going to do differently in life, via Nc’nean’s website here. Whether it’s going zero waste for a month, cycling to work, or simply not checking emails outside work hours – this partnership wants to encourage positive change. The Whisky Six is intended to be a fresh take on a G&T (as in, it’s a Highball) and mirrors the approach the partnership encourages, which celebrates the ‘golden hour’, an early evening moment to reflect and encourage new experiences and fresh takes on old ones. If you want to make the serve yourself, just combine 50ml of Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Whisky and 100ml of soda water in a glass filled with ice. Gently stir then garnish with a fresh sprig of mint. Otherwise, you can get it at all four Culpeper venues across London outside of the promotion. But you’ll have to pay. Our advice would be to get the free ones if you can.

The Nightcap: 3 September

The distillery is looking to harness its environment to become more sustainable

Bruichladdich Distillery aims for net-zero whisky

Great whisky doesn’t come without cost. It’s estimated that Islay’s nine distilleries burn 15 million litres of oil each year, which means a lot of CO2 emissions. Good thing a lot of effort has been made by various distilleries and companies to recognise the importance of sustainability, with Bruichladdich Distillery becoming the latest to make a commitment. The Islay maker says that, by 2025, its distillation process will be net-zero. The production of malted barley and the hot mash to create the wort, whisky’s source fluid, will follow. Innovative types of green hydrogen production using green electricity and water electrolysis are planned, but for now, Bruichladdich is depending on a green tariff. Renewables will hopefully be installed over the next few years with Douglas Taylor, Bruichladdich’s chief executive, hoping that the technique could then be applied to Islay’s other distilleries, businesses, and homes, transforming the island, which is also the site of experimental tidal energy pilot projects, from fossil fuel dependency into renewables self-sufficiency. “We have this view of ‘think big, start small, but start today’,” Taylor says. “And that’s one of the things you need in the industry: to take a brave and courageous step to represent what change could look like,” he said. “What you have to do is start with what you can control.” For more info on Scotch whisky’s quest for sustainability, this Guardian article goes into some great detail.

The Nightcap: 3 September

This is a distillery we’re very excited by

Aber Falls releases its latest whisky

Aber Falls continues to show off its whisky prowess following the launch of its Single Malt Inaugural Release in May, with a new 2021 bottling. The three-year-old expression was made using 100% Welsh malted barley and rock-filtered water taken from the Aber Falls Waterfall, so it’s delightfully local for those who love a bit of provenance. Whisky fans who like intriguing processes will also appreciate that the bottling was distilled in an intriguing mix of copper pot and stainless-steel stills before being matured in a mix of ex-Oloroso and PX sherry casks, ex-bourbon casks, and virgin oak casks, before being bottled at 40% ABV. The Welsh distillery says to expect an aroma of sweet fruits with a hint of clove and delivers a rich and full-bodied palate, with sweet sherry notes, dark chocolate and espresso. It stimulates a long and lingering finish of dried fruit and subtle spice. Welsh bartender Alex Mills has also made a signature serve, an Old Fashioned with a Welsh twist that’s loosely based on the flavours of a Bara Brith, a spiced tea cake common in North Wales. The signature serve consists of ingredients from the four corners of Wales, including 15ml of honey from Nature’s Little Helpers in Cardiff, a pinch of black Welsh tea from Tea Traders in Carmarthen, five drops of coffee bitters from Dyfi Coffee in Machynlleth and, of course, 50ml of Welsh whisky. The 2021 bottling is on its way to MoM Towers and you’ll be delighted to know the price point is insanely reasonable (the RRP is £26). Lots to like about this distillery, folks.

The Nightcap: 3 September

Apparently, one of these isn’t Dwayne Johnson.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wants to drink Tequila with his doppelgänger

The man who is definitely, totally and unequivocally most famous for owning Teremana Tequila, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, wants to share some of his greatest work with police officer Eric Fields, who happens to be the most remarkable doppelgänger. A picture of patrol lieutenant Fields’ was posted by the sheriff’s office on Facebook with the caption: “This gentlemen recently ran into Sgt. Mason and informed him he wanted to meet our Deputy that people say looks like “The Rock”. Sgt. Mason passed that along and Lieutenant Fields was happy to swing by the Hartselle Wal-mart to see him. Tyler is one of their many hard workers and it was great to meet him and some of his coworkers!” On Monday, the movie star responded by reposting a tweet comparing the two men side-by-side along with the caption: “Oh s**t! Wow. Guy on the left is way cooler. Stay safe brother and thank you for your service. One day we’ll drink @Teremana and I need to hear all your ‘Rock stories’ because I KNOW you got ’em #ericfields.” As for Fields himself, he’s surprisingly taken the news he looks like an international star and sex symbol in good spirits, telling AL.com “I’ve been called The Rock and Vin Diesel’s love child. I go along with it. It’s humorous. It’s flattering. It could be worse people, I guess.” 

The Nightcap: 3 September

RIP to all the lost pints.

And finally… data reveals Brits spill 11m pints per round

The return to busy bars and pubs means the old challenges are back. Getting the attention of bar staff. Nabbing a table that isn’t by the kitchen door. And trying to not spill everything you’ve just bought to huge ironic cheers from the other punters (this is actually a strangely loving response if you’re not from the UK and Ireland). According to hospitality app, OrderPay, Britons collectively spill an average of 11 million pints per round, and with the average pint in the UK costing £3.94 that’s the equivalent of over £43,340,000 each time! A whopping 40% of Brits confess to regularly dropping their drinks, with the average amount spilled per round just under a quarter of a pint. Disparities inevitably exist across the regions and the different age groups. The obviously lying over 55’s painted a cautious picture, with only 30% saying they lost beer to the floor, compared to 55% of honest 25 to 34-year-olds. Londoners typically seem to be in a rush the whole time as spillages were most prevalent in the capital, with almost half of people (49%) saying they regularly lost beer en-route. This perhaps is a good time to take stock and rethink. It’s an awful lot of drink wasted, folks. Our beloved booze deserves better. 

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Take a VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery with MoM!

Take a look inside North Wales’ first whisky distillery in a century thanks to our swanky VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery. Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it…

Take a look inside North Wales’ first whisky distillery in a century thanks to our swanky VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery.

Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. We head to Wales this week to check out a distillery that makes plenty of delicious white spirits and is in the process of creating its first Welsh whiskies. Enjoy!

One of only four distilleries in Wales, and the first in North Wales since the early 1900s, Aber Falls takes its name from the nearby famous Aber Falls waterfall, at the gateway of the Snowdonia National Park. Distillation, ageing and bottling of spirits all occur on-site, in a 6,000-square-meter building that dates back to the 19th century. Aber Falls prioritises the importance of local identity and traditional craft, working with local farmers to source Welsh malted barley and exclusively using fresh Welsh water. Distillation occurs in large copper stills, a 5,000-litre wash still and a 3,600-litre spirit still. Aber Falls whisky is expected to arrive in 2020, so keep an eye out!

VR tour of Aber Falls Distillery

If you’re intrigued about all things Aber Falls, you’ll be pleased to know we can deliver a bottle(s) or a dram(s) to your very doorstep. We recommend Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin, which is so good you’ll have to resist dipping your toast in it. I failed this particular temptation. And have no regrets #toastyourtoast. 

Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin Tasting Note: 

Fresh orange juice, with a punchy kick of dried juniper. A bit pithy at points.

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The Nightcap: 15 March

Rock, rye and Bristol – that’s what The Nightcap is about this week (among other things. There are many, many other things, too). Time to dig in! Spring is here….

Rock, rye and Bristol – that’s what The Nightcap is about this week (among other things. There are many, many other things, too). Time to dig in!

Spring is here. Kinda. Meteorological spring has been here for a while, but astronomical spring is kicking off next Wednesday. Also, the weather has still been a bit grim. We’re in a bit of a weird mini-season, which we’re going to call wing, partly because it’s the words winter and spring smooshed together, and partly as an homage to Wings, the band The Beatles could have been. Anyway, kick start your wonderful wing weekend with our weekly round-up of booze news – it’s The Nightcap!

Here’s what has been happening on the MoM Blog this week. Our Annie chatted to Knappogue Castle Irish Whiskey’s Tony Carroll and then showed off our Cocktail of the Week – The Shallow Negroni. Henry started up a new weekly feature for the blog focusing on exciting new arrivals at MoM Towers, and then did a spot of reading (whiskey-related reading, of course). Kristy caught up on all things Irish whiskey with Irish Distillers master blender Billy Leighton, and had a look at the plans for Gordon & MacPhail’s upcoming distillery. Adam then checked out the new series of photogenic whiskies from Berry Bros. & Rudd. Good stuff all around.

Now. On with the news!

Pernod Ricard

Will Pernod Ricard follow in the footsteps of Diageo and sell its wine brands?

Is Pernod Ricard about to sell its wine brands?

This week, we’re kicking off The Nightcap by dipping our toes into the world of reports, speculation and rumour – but if true, this development could significantly shape the structure of the global wine industry. On 13 March, Bloomberg reported that Pernod Ricard, best-known perhaps for its Jameson, The Glenlivet, Beefeater, and Havana Club spirits brands, is thinking about selling off its wine division. Why is this significant? Because its wine portfolio includes the likes of Jacob’s Creek and Campo Viejo, some of the biggest wine brands in the world. Pernod Ricard itself is tight-lipped, but if it does decide to sell up, it wouldn’t be the first spirits-maker to sharpen its focus on spirits by sacking off the wine. In 2015, Diageo offloaded its Chateau and Estate wine brands to Treasury Wine Estates, and in 2017, Campari Group sold off the Château de Sancerre winery, its final foothold in wine. Will Pernod Ricard follow suit? We’ll have to wait and see – probably with a glass of wine in-hand.

WSTA Brexit

Brexit is difficult and confusing. Booze? Now that we understand…

WSTA ‘delighted’ by apparent Brexit delay

If you’ve had one eye on UK politics this week, you’ll know there’s been a right load of drama. Votes left, right and centre, rebellious MPs, and more confusion than how and why Stonehenge was built – it’s been a palaver and a half. One group who have some sort of handle on what it all means for drinks is the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). On Wednesday, the day after Theresa May’s deal was thrown out (again), Miles Beale, WSTA chief exec, said the drinks trade faced “deeper uncertainty, and for longer”. He continued: “We welcome the decision that there would be a temporary suspension of tariffs on wine and most spirits under ‘No Deal’,” adding that more action was needed to keep the booze industry flowing. He was in chirpier spirits on Thursday though, when he said the WSTA was “delighted” to see ‘No Deal’ off the table. But is it actually? Beale said it was “imperative” for the government to pass emergency legislation before 29 March, the UK’s current leaving date. Still confused? Us too. “The wine and spirit industry still lacks clarity as to what the trading landscape will look like when we do leave the EU,” Beale continued. Can we have some of that clarity too, please?

Foo Fighters

It’s Times Like These you learn to love bourbon! Image: Andreas Lawen

Foo Fighters named Bourbon & Beyond headliners

Like your bourbon with a side of rock and folk? Then you’d better head on down to Louisville, Kentucky from 20-22 September. Annual festival Bourbon & Beyond, founded by whiskey author Fred Minnick and music exec Danny Wimmer, is a celebration of bourbon, music and food (throw in cats and you’ll have our top four all-time favourites), and this week the line-up was announced. Top of the bill? The Foo Fighters! Other acts include John Fogerty, The Flaming Lips, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and loads more, including one big name yet to be revealed. The bourbon line-up is also pretty impressive. Festival-goers will be able to sample more than 40 brands, including the likes of Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace, Coopers’ Craft, Evan Williams, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Michter’s, Old Forester, Wild Turkey, WL Weller, and Woodford Reserve. Blenders and distillers will be on hand to dish out info about their brands, and there’s a full programme of masterclasses, too. Tickets go on sale today, 15 March! Time to book some flights…

Aber Falls

All smiles at Aber Falls distilling Wales’s first rye

Aber Falls distils Wales’s first rye!

Rye whisky fans, we bring you glad tidings: Aber Falls has distilled its first ever rye whisky! It seems that Aber Falls is a distillery of firsts, as it is also the first whisky distillery that North Wales has seen for over 100 years. The distillery has been producing new-make malt spirit for just little over a year, since January 2018. Of course, the rye whisky will only be available from 2020, once it’s mature. Though it appears rye is the first of many plans, as the distillery is aiming to put itself on the world whisky map, building a portfolio fit for the next 20 years. Innovation is key to the distillery and James Wright, managing director at Aber Falls stated that this addition of a rye whisky “allows us to bring into the fold whisky drinkers beginning their journey of experimentation”. For both new and seasoned whisky drinkers, this is fantastic news from those Aber Falls folks.

legent

Introducing: Legent, which you will find at MoM Towers later this year…

Meet Legent, a bourbon where ‘East meets West’

When Japan’s Suntory Holdings snapped up US-based Beam, Inc. in 2014, it was a very stark union of East and West. And this accord is now playing out in actual whiskey! Behold Legent (pronounced ‘lee-jent’), an unusual bourbon developed jointly by Fred Noe, seventh-generation Jim Beam master distiller, and Shinji Fukuyo, the chief blender at Suntory whisky, and only the fifth person to ever hold the role. Legent starts life as a Kentucky straight bourbon made with a classic Beam recipe. It’s then aged in wine and sherry casks, before being blended with more straight bourbon for a “perfectly balanced yet complex and layered” tipple. Takeshi Niinami, Suntory Holdings CEO, described the expression as “the perfect articulation of the amazing things that can be achieved when two great cultures come together as one”. We’re intrigued – but might have to wait a bit to taste it. Legent is due to land a MoM Towers later this year.

Circumstance Distillery

The “unashamedly funky” Circumstance Distillery

Circumstance distillery releases saison yeast spirit

You want innovation? The team at Circumstance Distillery in Bristol has it coming out of their ears. Not content with offering pre-sales with their very own cryptocurrency, the team is now pushing the envelope with the first release. Called Circumstantial Barley, it will be made from 100% British malted barley. Doesn’t sound so crazy does it? The interesting thing is the fermentation process. In addition to distillers yeast, the team is using a French saison beer yeast, and the whole lot ferments for nearly two weeks. Most distilleries are all done within two days. The resulting wash is packed full of flavour. It’s then put through a short column still and, according to head distiller Mark Scot, aged for “six months on a combination of charred bespoke oak spindles and first-fill bourbon casks”. The result? “A beautiful raw spirit, and our short ageing techniques allows the quality of the raw spirit to shine through,” he continued. Co-founder Danny Walker added: “We have thrown out the rule book and are focusing on flavour over tradition and experimenting with every step of the process to make a ‘new world’-style spirit.” It will be bottled 45% ABV and cost £44 for 700ml bottle. Circumstance has a rye and an “unashamedly funky” (who is ashamed of being funky?) white rum in the pipeline. We want to try them all!

Waterford Distillery

Say hello to Hunter (the barley, not the person)

Waterford Distillery successfully makes spirit from heritage Hunter barley

Those barley- and terroir-obsessed Waterford folks are at the grain experimentation game again – this time with a spirited outcome! This week the distillery successfully distilled 10,000 litres of spirit – 50 barrels-worth – from a barley varietal that’s not been available to distillers for 40 years. The grain in question is called Hunter, named after a chap called Herbert Hunter who worked in barley breeding at Ireland’s Cereal Station (cool name, vital work). Hunter (the barley, not the person) was introduced in 1959, but was last used in 1979 when it fell out of favour as other strains provided better yields. So why bring it back now? It’s all part of efforts, led by the Waterford team, to take a flavour-focused approach to barley selection, rather than solely focusing on how much booze it generates. “Contrary to what much of the industry is telling drinkers, flavour starts with the grain and the terroir in which it’s grown,” said Neil Conway, Waterford’s head brewer. “Hunter is an old favourite, a very successful variety, so much so that it dominated for 20 years. That’s why we’re working with Minch Malt and our growers – we’re on the hunt for profound sources of flavour, even if that means going back decades to find these forgotten treasures.” Good luck to them! The Hunter development at Waterford follows the production of the ‘world’s first’ biodynamic whiskey at the distillery last year.

Kestin Hare x BenRiach

Those look lovely – and the clothes are nice too…

Kestin Hare x BenRiach collection arrives

We knew that whisky was fashionable, but combining whisky and fashion? That’s new! Scottish menswear designer Kestin Hare has joined forces with BenRiach distillery for his Spring Summer 2019 Collection! It features five different garments inspired by the whisky itself, the Speyside landscape and architecture of BenRiach distillery. The clothing has been dyed with peat, each shade representing a different aged single malt from BenRiach. Peat isn’t the only influence for the collection; inspired by the whisky casks themselves, Hare created a digital print that reflects the colours and patterns seen on the wood. What’s more, the pieces are fully functional for a trip to Speyside! They’re made from water-resistant fabrics inspired by golfing and fishing garments, while the colour scheme, full of golden sand, grass green and peaty tones, is sure to help you blend into the natural surroundings. Or camouflage into a wall full of BenRiach whiskies. It’s up to you. The SS19 collection can be found in store, online and in selected global retailers from today.

Francois Badel and Aldrick John Baptiste

Congrats to Francois Badel and Aldrick John Baptiste!

Francois Badel and Aldrick John Baptiste named Mai Tai Champions

How’s that for a title – Mai Tai Champion? Well, we now have two new ones following the conclusion of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge 2019. What is such a challenge? The Saint Lucian rum brand whisked a whole host of talented bartenders to the island’s Rodney Bay (aka, paradise) to put them through their paces. This was after heats in France, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Canada and the US, so we know we’re dealing with the world’s best here. Each bartender was then paired up with a local St Lucian bartender to collaborate on creating an incredible original Mai Tai-like serve using local ingredients and Chairman’s Reserve as a base. Each pair then had to present their creation to a panel, demonstrating the culture of St Lucia at the same time. And France’s Francois Badel and St Lucia’s Aldrick John Baptiste were named champions! “I was taken aback by the passion these skilful bartenders had for Chairman’s Reserve,” said Margaret Monplaisir, St Lucia Distillers managing director. “Their attention to every detail, their enthusiasm, and knowledge of Chairman’s Reserve was remarkable.” Mai Tai, anyone?

And finally… Joss Stone performs in North Korea as part of ultimate bar crawl

Yep, you read that right. Pop singer Joss Stone, best known for early noughties tunes such as Fell in Love with a Boy and You Had Me, has taken to the stage in a North Korean bar, of all places. Two questions: why; and, surely this isn’t newsworthy?! Bear with us. Stone is embarking on a literal world tour, or in her words, “to bring loveliness in the form of music to every single country on our planet”. It’s a noble effort. She’s already sung in Syria. And why is it newsworthy? We all have ambitions: to drink in every watering hole in town (responsibly, of course); visit as many breweries as possible; enjoy a dram at every Islay distillery. We reckon performing in every country in the world, taking in its many myriad bars as you go, is the stuff of dreams. It’s something we’d certainly sign up for if we could hold a tune. And the more adventurous of us would include North Korea in that…

On that note, have excellent weekends, folks!

No Comments on The Nightcap: 15 March

Celebrate St. David’s Day with wonderful Welsh tipples

St. David’s Day is a day of celebration of both St David’s life and of the Welsh culture, so why not enjoy the festivities this year with a wonderfully Welsh…

St. David’s Day is a day of celebration of both St David’s life and of the Welsh culture, so why not enjoy the festivities this year with a wonderfully Welsh tipple?

March 1st isn’t just the first day of spring, but a very special day in the Welsh calendar – St. David’s Day, of course! To some it might be the country of daffodils, unpronounceable towns and Sir Tom Jones, but to us here at MoM Towers, we see a land with a long and notable history of alcohol production and a modern industry that is currently booming. Whether it’s craft beer, climate-defying wines, sublime gins or the emerging array of fab Welsh whiskies, there really is something for everyone.

St. David’s Day is the perfect time of year to check out the results for yourself. Whether you’re a non-Welsh person looking for something new or a Welsh native that wants to champion and reconnect with their roots, you can toast the country’s national day with a local tipple. Cooking up a feast of leek dishes accompanied by lamb, mutton and Welsh cake isn’t the only way to mark the occasion. Take a leek look (sorry) at these delectable St. David’s Day drinks that we’ve selected to celebrate the patron saint of Wales.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus*, everyone!

Cygnet Gin

The first tipple on our list hails from Swansea and was created by master distiller and Cygnet Distillery director Dai Wakely, in what he described as “the only live micro gin distillery in Wales”. The botanica list includes juniper, lemon peel, lime peel, pink grapefruit peel, orange peel, liquorice root, orris root, coriander seed, angelica root, cardamom seed, almond and chamomile.

What does it taste like?:

Floral at first, with chamomile playing a big part on the nose. Fresh citrus peel give it a vibrant palate, joined by a bite of juniper and coriander spice.

Saintly serve: The Red Dragon

A fantastically fun and fruity tribute to the Welsh emblem and pride of the Welsh flag, The Red Dragon is a punchy, patriotic serve that’s incredibly easy to make. To create, simply add 30ml of Cygnet Gin, 30ml of Grand Marnier, 25ml blood orange juice, 25ml lemon juice and 3ml grenadine in a chilled glass together with ice. Shake well and then strain the mix into a chilled glass. Garnishing with an orange peel and belt out a resounding edition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau should you be so inclined.

Barti Ddu Spiced

Inspired by famous Pembrokeshire Pirate, ‘Barti Ddu’, (or ‘Black Bart’ in English), The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company crafted this spirit using a blend of Caribbean rums spiced with notes of vanilla, cloves and orange and one special, appropriately patriotic ingredient: Pembrokeshire laver seaweed, also known as Welshman’s caviar.

What does it taste like?:

Warm, rich baking spices, marmalade, toffee apples, red cola cubes, vanilla and a wave of coastal saltiness.

Saintly serve: Pistol Proof

Who doesn’t love the modern classic that is the Espresso Martini? This Barti Ddu take on the serve is designed to make you ‘Pistol Proof’, something Barti Ddu himself was known for. To create, put 30ml of Barti Ddu Spiced, 35ml of St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur, 25ml of Reyka Vodka, 25ml of sugar syrup and lastly 25ml of fresh espresso into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds before straining into chilled Martini glasses (20 minutes in the freezer should do it). Dust with nutmeg, then try to avoid any terrible pirate impressions as you serve.

Penderyn Portwood

Penderyn managed to forge itself quite a reputation for producing some mighty fine single Port cask releases, so it was only a matter of time before the Welsh distillery created a single malt bottling for its core range. The whisky, which was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks and then in Portwood casks, received recognition in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in 2018 with a Liquid Gold Award.

What does it taste like?:

Sweet, jammy and creamy with some toffee, rich fruit, plum wine, sweet goji berries and wood spice.

Saintly serve: Iechyd Da

A toast to good health, the Iechyd Da is a simple but effective way to make great use of this delicious Welsh whisky. To create, simply pour 50ml of Penderyn Portwood, a bar spoon of Welsh honey, 10ml blood orange juice, 2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters and ice into a tumblr. Stir vigorously and garnish with a twist of orange peel. Serve and try to pronounce ‘Iechyd Da’ correctly (yeah-ch-id dah).

Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin

Aber Falls is North Wales’ first whisky distillery in over 100 years and we’re big fans, as you can probably tell from this blog post. While whisky stocks mature the brand has released a slew of seriously tasty liqueurs and flavoured gins such as the Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin, which may well be as good on toast as it is in a Citrus Fizz…

What does it taste like?:

Fresh orange juice, with a punchy kick of dried juniper. A bit pithy at points.

Saintly serve: Citrus Fizz

We decided to go with the Citrus Fizz here and not toast for reasons we’re sure you’ll understand. This cocktail is as refreshing as it gets and it couldn’t be simpler to create. In a chilled glass add 25ml of Aber Falls Orange Marmalade Gin, 50ml of dry white wine (something like Isabel Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017), 75ml of soda water and plenty of cubed ice. Stir well and then garnish with orange zest. Serve and figure out how to actually pair gin and toast together later.

Penderyn Legend

If you want to toast the patron saint of Wales with a great Welsh whisky, then one with the red dragon proudly adoringin the label seems a sensible choice. Penderyn Legend is another rather tasty Welsh single malt whisky from the brand, who matured this spirit in bourbon barrels and finished it in ex-Madeira casks. It’s received a slew of awards, including Gold at in the European Single Malt – Premium category at The World Whisky Masters (The Spirits Business) in 2018.

What does it taste like?:

Rich and well-balanced, with dried fruit, dark chocolate, green apples, cream fudge and vanilla.

Saintly serve: Dewi Sant

This recipe was actually created as part of a St David’s Day celebratory menu in Donovan Bar, London by bar manager Armand Wysocki. All you need to do to create your own interpretation is add 50ml of Penderyn Legend, 25ml of Noilly Prat Original Dry, a dash of Angostura Orange Bitters and a dash of sugar into a Martini glass and stir well. Garnish with a lemon twist and raise a glass to Dewi Sant (St. David)!

Hibernation Gin

From Dyfi Distillery comes the delicious Hibernation Gin, which was crafted with some fantastic foraged ingredients including bilberries, crab apples and blackberries. Post-distillation the gin spends time maturing in white Port casks from the legendary Port house Niepoort.

What does it taste like?:

Gloriously bright and fruit-forward, with fresh white grapes and green apple, tempered by oily juniper and Alpine herbs. Slowly develops a subtly oak-y warmth on the mid-palate.

Saintly serve: Negroni

Add a dose of hearty Welshness to this Italian classic by combining 25ml of Hibernation Gin, 25ml of Campari and 25ml of Martini Rosso vermouth together in a cocktail shaker. Shake well with cracked ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel, grate some fresh ginger on top and serve alongside a wholesome helping of cawl.

Dà Mhìle Apple Brandy

Dà Mhìle is another very impressive Welsh distillery with a range of interesting products, including this organic Apple Brandy. It’s crafted using wild apples from the brand’s own farm and nearby valleys, which were first made into cider and then quadruple distilled. The spirit was then matured for a year in barrels which has previously held French red wine.

What does it taste like?:

Sharp and sweet apple, brown sugar, butterscotch and a little oak spice.

Saintly serve: The Apple Old Fashioned

The Old-Fashioned gets a gloriously autumnal makeover here in this tasty serve. To make, start by stirring together a teaspoon of maple syrup with a few good dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters in an old-fashioned glass. Then add ice and 80ml of Dà Mhìle Apple Brandy. Garnish with a wedge of green apple and serve.

Brecon Special Reserve Gin

Penderyn don’t just make fine whisky, but delicious gin as well! Brecon Special Reserve Gin was distilled with a host of botanicals sourced from all over the world, such as juniper from Macedonia, orange peel from Spain, Chinese cassia bark, Sri Lankan liquorice, Madagascan cinnamon, French angelica root, Russian coriander, Indian nutmeg, Spanish lemon peel and Italian orris root. Very impressive stuff indeed.

What does it taste like?:

Juniper, warm citrus, coriander and hints of spicy cinnamon.

Saintly serve: Smoky Welsh Martini

Martinis are such a versatile and tasty serve. This edition adds a little smokiness via a tasty Welsh whisky. To make, you just need to pour 75ml of Brecon Special Reserve Gin and 5ml Penderyn Peated Whisky into a Martini glass filled with ice. Stir well and then garnish with a fresh lemon peel, or a bit of leek if you’re feeling particularly patriotic/brave.

 

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