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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Advent Calendars

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #24: The XL Blend

Christmas Eve has arrived! We’re ready to crack open the final window of the Whisky Advent Calendar, and it seems Drinks by the Dram has gone big for this one….

Christmas Eve has arrived! We’re ready to crack open the final window of the Whisky Advent Calendar, and it seems Drinks by the Dram has gone big for this one. Very big. XL, you could say…

This is it, folks. Christmas Eve has finally arrived! Perhaps you’re completely prepared and frankly you’re just eager for Christmas to occur so you can reap the benefits of being punctual with your roast potato plan like a squirrel that has stockpiled the tastiest seeds, nuts and half-inched crisps right before hibernation. Maybe that’s the complete opposite of your situation and you’re glancing at this blog while on the bus to the shops to try and buy a Christmas present for every friend and family member in under an hour (colloquially known as the Jake Mountain approach here at MoM Towers). Either way, the anticipation of Christmas Day is at its peak, so it would take a very special whisky to appropriately complement these heightened levels of excitement. Luckily, a whisky which fits that description sits right behind window #24 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #23: Bunnahabhain Stiùireadair

We’ve arrived at the penultimate dram of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. But there is no need to be sad. An epic Islay tipple awaits… It’s easy when…

We’ve arrived at the penultimate dram of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. But there is no need to be sad. An epic Islay tipple awaits…

It’s easy when we think of Scotch whisky from Islay, to picture a certain style of tipple. One with provenance, personality – and plenty of peat. But distilleries such as Bunnahabhain have demonstrated that you can create some stunning spirits without the smoke. Want an example? Well, that’s handy. Because there’s one behind door #23 of your Advent calendar.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #22: The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Year Old

Christmas is almost here, which means our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar countdown is coming to a close. Only something truly delicious will distract us from this sorrow….

Christmas is almost here, which means our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar countdown is coming to a close. Only something truly delicious will distract us from this sorrow. Luckily we’ve got just that behind window #22!

Last summer (NOT the boiling 2018 one, the one before, when we could actually comprehend something other than the weather) the talk of the whisky town for a good few weeks was the arrival of peated Balvenie! We got incredibly excited, and you can read all the full deets in this blog post right here. But to provide a brief overview, The Balvenie had been distilling wash made from barley peated to 30PPM (parts-per-mission) for one week a year. And Peat Week 14 Year Old was the result!

It marked something of a departure for the classic Speyside distillery known for its honey vanilla sweetness. But don’t be alarmed. The point of Balvenie Peat Week isn’t to pack a full-on smoke punch. For starters, it’s not made with that distinct Islay peat, so there’s less iodine and more earth. Plus, by the time the whisky comes out the bottle it tastes more in the region of 5PPM. The Balvenie Character is still there.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #21: Aberfeldy 12 Year Old

It’s Festive Friday! At least that’s what we’re calling it. As the big day hurtles ever closer, it’s time to tuck in to Day 21’s dram. And it’s a Highland…

It’s Festive Friday! At least that’s what we’re calling it. As the big day hurtles ever closer, it’s time to tuck in to Day 21’s dram. And it’s a Highland corker…

Aberfeldy is one of those distilleries that doesn’t necessarily spring to mind when you think ‘single malt Scotch’. Known as the home of Dewar’s and with the liquid a key component in the White Label blend, single malt expressions have historically been limited to 12 and 21 year old bottlings. But all that has changed!

Bacardi (yep, of rum fame) bought the Highland distillery and brand (along with the rest of the Dewar’s portfolio) back in 1998. As the single renaissance took hold, Bacardi invested in broadening the portfolio, introducing the 16 Year Old and even a 25 Year Old (although that is now sadly discontinued).

Today the distillery produces around 3.5 million litres of alcohol and remains a core part of Dewar’s White Label, but single malts are a much larger focus. And the distillery itself, with its visitor centre and really rather wonderful archive is well worth a visit.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #20: Peat’s Beast

Not long to go now until Santa Claus comes sliding down the chimney. To enjoy while you wait, we have a seriously smoky malt behind door #20 of Drinks by…

Not long to go now until Santa Claus comes sliding down the chimney. To enjoy while you wait, we have a seriously smoky malt behind door #20 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar

On the 20th day of Advent, we have whisky that’s peatier than Peter the Great, smokier than Bill Hicks, and has more TCP than a 1980s boarding school. It’s a single malt from Fox Fitzgerald Whisky Trading, an independent bottler and blender. The boys at FF are being very secretive about it. They won’t tell which distillery or even part of Scotland it comes from.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #19: Jim Beam Rye

Nineteen days into Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar and still no rye whiskey? Good thing that’s all about to change…

Nineteen days into Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar and still no rye whiskey? Good thing that’s all about to change…

Rye whiskey is enjoying something of a renaissance in recent times. As bartenders and consumers become more adventurous, rye’s resurgence can be attributed to its powerful, punchy profile and ability to satisfy the increasing desire for spirits with provenance and history. It’s no surprise then that both new brands and expressions from established distilleries are popping up all over the place, keen for high-rye interpretations to become the new go-to for whiskey lovers.

One such example comes from the stalwart that is Jim Beam, whose rye bottling is today’s dram in the Whisky Advent Calendar. It’s sure to please both fans of the style and new converts in-waiting.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #18: Glenfarclas 105

Behind the 18th door of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a classic sherried Speyside single malt bottled at cask strength… In this ever-changing world of whisky, where…

Behind the 18th door of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar lies a classic sherried Speyside single malt bottled at cask strength…

In this ever-changing world of whisky, where it seems that not a week goes by without the announcement of a new distillery, and drinks companies are constantly consolidating, amalgamating, and mutating, Glenfarclas is an anomaly. Just look at those labels, they haven’t been anywhere near a Shoreditch-based graphic designer. What worked in the 1940s works now. Visiting the distillery is a similar experience. It’s not glitzy and polished, the equipment is neither antique nor brand new. It’s the same attitude: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Glenfarclas is one of the last distilleries in Scotland to use direct-fired stills, and all its whiskies are aged the traditional way in ex-oloroso casks in a dunnage warehouse.

This immunity from the whims of fashion has a lot to do with being in the hands of one family, the Grants, since 1865. The current chairman, John Grant, is the fifth-generation family member in charge. This continuity extends to stocks as well. The family are able to offer very old whiskies as well as vintage-dated expressions dating back to the 1950s.

These whiskies are some of the most highly-regarded in Scotland. Along with Macallan, Glenfarclas is the apotheosis of the sherried Speyside style. And despite all that tradition, the family isn’t immune to a spot of innovation. In the 1960s it was one of the first distilleries to shift business away from supplying blends to bottling its own single malts.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #17: Irish Single Malt #1 13 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

The final full week of Advent is upon us, and we’re kicking things off in lovely, lovely, lovely fashion with a tasty indie dram from the Drinks by the Dram…

The final full week of Advent is upon us, and we’re kicking things off in lovely, lovely, lovely fashion with a tasty indie dram from the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar

Following on from yesterday’s punchy and peaty treat (the excellent Rock Oyster), you might be in the mood for something equally as delicious but a bit more laid-back. If that’s the case, you’re in luck, as behind window #17, you’ll find a whiskey that is mellow in every sense of the word. In fact, you might go so far as to describe it as lovely (lovely, lovely)…

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #16: Rock Oyster Malt Whisky

It’s the 16th day of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. Behind today’s door you will find a marvellous maritime malt from independent bottler Douglas Laing. It’s tempting,…

It’s the 16th day of the Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. Behind today’s door you will find a marvellous maritime malt from independent bottler Douglas Laing.

It’s tempting, especially at Christmas, to see whisky as an after-dinner drink. You know the sort of thing: curl up by the fire, ask your faithful spaniel to bring your slippers (thank you, Waffles), put on a smoking jacket, light up the old pipe and settle down with a dram. Or perhaps that’s just me. But if you’re saving your whisky for after dinner then you are missing out because Scotland’s finest spirit goes superbly with food.

Richer sherried malts can be great with puddings especially dark chocolate. But probably my best whisky and food experience was at a seafood shack on Skye slurping down scallops with a glass of the local whisky (alright, it was Talisker.) Peated whiskies go brilliantly with all kinds of fish (especially the smoked kind), crustacea and molluscs. Which brings me neatly on to today’s whisky. The name is a clue to the perfect way to serve it…

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Whisky Advent Day #15: The GlenDronach 12 Year Old

We’ve reached day 15 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, so what’s in store for us today? I think I can smell something sherried behind the window……

We’ve reached day 15 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, so what’s in store for us today? I think I can smell something sherried behind the window…

After checking the calendar (the one which isn’t filled with delicious whiskies – the paper one that has a different picture of a pug for each month and is covered in birthday reminders), I discovered that we’ve only got 10 days left until Christmas. You can count that on your fingers. I promised myself that I wouldn’t get surprised by how quickly December is going, but gosh dang it I am shook. Let’s take some time now to look at what dram is behind window #15 of the Whisky Advent Calendar and later make a plan to get back to panic-buying gifts for… Well, for everyone.

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