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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Advent Calendars

Whisky Advent 2021 Days 18, 19, 20 and 21

We’re on the home stretch, everyone. There’s just one more Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blog to come after this, so let’s enjoy the festive spirit while we…

We’re on the home stretch, everyone. There’s just one more Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blog to come after this, so let’s enjoy the festive spirit while we can!

We’re so close to Christmas! It’s time to start wrapping the presents, assembling the cheeseboard, and peeling sprouts. You might be a little sick of Christmas music by now but here at MoM Towers, we can’t get enough to be honest. As long as nobody plays Dominic the Donkey. I’m deadly serious. If I hear that “hee-haw, hee-haw”, somebody is getting a stocking to the face.

One thing nobody will have any disagreements over is how good days 18, 19, 20, and 21 in your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar have been. There’s some classic names and new favourites to enjoy, in a selection that particularly lends itself to mixing. Who wants a Christmas cocktail? 

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 18: Monkey Shoulder

William Grant’s classic blend that changed everything, prompting a generation of bartenders to start mixing whisky again with the confidence that this creamy, supple and very malty Scotch made only with single malt whisky wouldn’t let them down. Try it neat or in a variety of cocktails. You can’t go wrong.

What does it taste like?

Berry fruit, juicy toasted barley, cloves, butterscotch, manuka honey, hot-buttered-toast, and dried apricot develop.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 19: The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection

This range takes its name from the process of sun-drying grapes in Jerez for sherry production, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sherried deliciousness is a focus here. A perfect introduction to all things that make Glenrothes fantastic, this 12-year-old single malt is a smooth, creamy, and beautifully balanced treat.

What does it taste like?

Creamy hazelnut, dried fruit chocolate, old leather, dried herbs, cinnamon, honeyed oak, and Galia melon.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 20: Talisker Port Ruighe

Pronounced ‘Port Ree’, this no age statement release from the always popular Talisker is finished in Port wine casks, which imparts a new dimension of rich, fruity goodness to this salty, slick, and smoky Isle of Skye single malt.

What does it taste like?

A thick, oily mouthfeel carries notes of wood smoke, sea salt, brine, and orange peel as well as additional characteristics from the Port casks such as plum and chocolate.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 21: Stauning Rye

Made from a combination of local rye and barley and matured in new American oak barrels before it was bottled without chill-filtration at 48% ABV, this Danish delight is different from other ryes you’ll taste. The spicy, dusty American profile makes way in a fruity, rich, and mellow sipper that’s full of the nutty, orchard fruit-heavy distillery character we love.

What does it taste like?

Buttery, creamy, and full-bodied with marmalade, cinder toffee, floral honey, freshly baked rye bread, salted popcorn, peanut butter, stewed apples, cherry, lemon peel and a rich, aromatic note of stem ginger.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

How to make a Sazerac with Stauning Rye

The Sazerac. A genuine classic: strong, smooth, superb. It’s also a very simple drink that people love to overcomplicate. This is a cracking little recipe that allows you to get the full benefit of the absinthe without waste or leave stirring a sugar cube into whisky all day. You can substitute Stauning Rye for a different rye whisky if you prefer, but do use Peychaud’s Bitters, there’s really no replacing it.

30ml Stauning Rye or any rye whisky you fancy
3ml sugar syrup
1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
A dash of absinthe

Pop your ingredients in a tasting glass and give them a swirl before tasting for sweetness. Sling in a handful of ice, and give the drink a quick stir. Grab your serving glass and roll a glug of absinthe before tipping it back into the bottle (no need to waste it if your glass is clean. You can also just drink it) and then strain your well-chilled, well-diluted cocktail into the glass. Finish off by expressing a fresh lemon twist over it and serve.

That’s it for now. Your final Advent update will be on 24 December. See you then!

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Whisky Advent 2021 Days 11, 12, 13 and 14

Scotland, Ireland, England and Sweden. We’re really off on an adventure in this round of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar tasting. We’ve officially reached that time of…

Scotland, Ireland, England and Sweden. We’re really off on an adventure in this round of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar tasting.

We’ve officially reached that time of year where the tree is up and you can begin to compile your list of approved Christmas movies after you’ve eaten your body weight in turkey and stuffing. The Muppets Christmas Carol is non-negotiable. It is the greatest Christmas film of all time and I’ll hear no arguments either way.

It’s also time to look back on some truly brilliant Adventing. In your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar you’ve had some corkers so far and this bunch doesn’t fail to live up to expectations. Featuring drams from Scotland, Ireland, England, and Sweden, there are all kinds of liquid loveliness to enjoy. We even popped a Bobby Burns cocktail recipe on the end as a bonus treat. Now, let’s look at what we’ve got for days 11, 12, 13 and 14.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 11: Egan’s 10 Year Old Single Malt

From the reborn, family-owned Irish independent bottlers Egan comes an aged single malt that’s a real desert of a dram. A single malt Irish whiskey that was aged for 10 years in oak casks selected by the Egan family, there’s a viscous quality to the texture of this one that carries beautiful tropical fruit and baked good notes.

What does it taste like?

Light smoke alongside aromas of pineapple, coconut, vanilla, apples and freshly baked cookies.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 12: Mackmyra Björksav

All the way from Sweden comes a marvellous Mackmyra single malt that is made up of whisky aged in bourbon casks, Oloroso sherry casks, Swedish oak casks, and even casks that previously held Swedish birch sap wine! Inspired by the long wait for spring to arrive, you can expect a bright and floral profile.

What does it taste like?

Green apples, lemongrass, citrus blossom, peach, vanilla tablet, spiced biscuit dough and candied ginger.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 13: Tobermory 12 Year Old

The signature expression of Tobermory Distillery, this whisky was matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks and bottled without any additional colouring or filtration to let that fruity, vibrant and slightly spicy distillery character shine, and shine it does.

What does it taste like?

Pear, peach and apple, with a dusting of brown sugar. Greek yoghurt, barley and a hint of cinnamon pastries.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 14: Gullivers 47

This English whisky brand was made in honour of Samuel Gulliver, who explored the world in pursuit of wines, spirits and liqueurs, and brought them back to 18th century Britain, by his descendant Stuart Gulliver, carrying on the legacy eight generations later. The award-winning 47 is made with gently peated English single malt by The English Whisky Company using Concerto barley grown in East Anglia and was matured in bourbon casks from Jim Beam to give it a moreish, delicately smoky profile.

What does it taste like?

Apples and pears, cinnamon loaf, toasty oak, vanilla sponge and candied citrus with creamy malt and a whisper of bonfire smoke.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

How to make a Bobby Burns

The Bobby Burns first appeared in Harry Craddock’s 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s a variation on the Rob Roy, a Manhattan made with Scotch in place of bourbon or rye, named after Robert Burns. This recipe of two parts whisky to one part vermouth with just a dash of pastis allows each ingredient to shine and gives it a deep, festive red colour.

50ml Tobermory 12 Year Old
25ml Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino vermouth
A dash of Ricard Pastis, or more to taste (or a teaspoon of Drambuie)

Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker, stir well and strain into a coupe or Nick & Nora. Garnish with a lemon peel or maraschino cherry.

That does it for today. Your next Advent update will be on 17 December. See you then!

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Whisky Advent 2021 Days 8, 9,10

It’s the next part of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blogs for 2021, taking a closer look at what is behind doors eight, nine, and ten. What…

It’s the next part of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blogs for 2021, taking a closer look at what is behind doors eight, nine, and ten. What could possibly be lurking behind those doors?

The big question is, have you put your decorations up yet? Where we live, the council only took the town decorations down in May. It was strange seeing Santa and a great big ‘Merry Christmas’ sign on the roof of a town hall on a warm spring morning. Perhaps a glimpse at what Christmas in Australia or Hawaii would feel like.

Incidentally, we’ve had that Hawaiian Christmas song by Bing Crosby in our heads all week: “Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way to say Merry Christmas to you.” Now you will have it in yours.

Right, that’s the music sorted. Let’s take a look at what was behind the last four doors of your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar. There’s a delicious recipe at the bottom in case you’re still pondering what to do with your drams.

Teeling Small Batch Whisky Advent 2021

Day 8 Teeling Small Batch

Behind the window sits a dram of brilliant Irish whiskey. It’s a blend of single malts and grains which is initially aged in ex-bourbon barrels, before being moved over to Central American rum casks for a finishing period of up to 12 months, and then bottled at a nice punchy 46% ABV. 

What does it taste like?

Cut grass, orange blossom, allspice, apple pie, and vanilla on the nose, with creamy vanilla, caramel, dried herbs, and baking spices on the palate. 

West Cork Advent Calendar 2021

Day 9 West Cork Black Cask

Another excellent Irish blend. Black Cask from West Cork Distillers is made up of 66% grain and 34% malt whiskey. It spent its first aging in first-fill bourbon casks before it was moved to heavily charred bourbon casks for a year. Lots of oak char and creamy vanilla in this one!

What does it taste like?

Sweet malt and wafts of subtle smoke, with orchard fruit, cinnamon and honeycomb with a finish that’s all about creamy and chocolate. Super smooth.

Brenne French Single Malt Whisky Advent Calendar

Day 10 Brenne Cuvée Spéciale 

Brenne French Single Malt Whisky was launched in 2012 by Allison Parc, collaborating with a distiller in Cognac. It’s made with malted barley grown in the Cognac region, double distilled, then initially matured in Limousin oak casks before enjoying a finishing period in Cognac casks. Each bottle is drawn from a single cask.

What does it taste like?

Brandied cherry, dried mango, red rope liquorice, vanilla, a hint of cinnamon spiciness, and Nutella.

whisky sour

How to make a Whisky Sour

A deliciously refreshing cocktail that balances the sweetness of Teeling Small Batch with the freshness of lemon juice. 

30ml Teeling Small Batch
15ml lemon juice
7ml sugar syrup
½ an egg white (optional)

Add all the ingredients to the shaker and dry shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Fill with ice and shake hard again, then double strain into a chilled tumbler and garnish with a twist of orange.

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Whisky Advent 2021 Days 4, 5, 6 and 7

We’re back to peek behind the windows of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar and feast on the delicious drinks inside. How’s everyone enjoying their Advent? By now…

We’re back to peek behind the windows of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar and feast on the delicious drinks inside.

How’s everyone enjoying their Advent? By now you’ll have enjoyed a week of whisky surprises, with drams from Speyside, Islay, the Highlands, and even Finland lying behind each window of your calendars. This time we’ve got a hot newcomer and some criminally underrated distilleries providing us with a selection of welcome winter warmers. We’re even going to use one of them to make a cracking Old Fashioned.

So, let’s get to it and see what you’re drinking. Oh, and don’t be afraid to pick up a Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar if you don’t have one yet, there’s plenty of time to catch up. 

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 4: Glengoyne 12 Year Old

Glengoyne is a relentlessly reliable distillery home to rich and rewarding drams thanks to its insistence on long fermentation and slow distillation that maximises copper interaction and reflux to produce a gentle, sweet, and fruity spirit that’s elevated by hand-selected sherry casks. The 12 Year Old is so sophisticated for its age and makes a great Old Fashioned, as you’ll see very soon…

What does it taste like?

Toffee apples, a little acacia honey, nectarine in syrup and spice, vanilla, and coconut milk supported by toasted barley in the background.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 5: Nc’nean Organic Single Malt Whisky – Batch 7

One of Scotland’s most impressive new distilleries, Nc’nean’s considered process has led to some delightful first releases, from its gentle fermentation and distillation right down to the 100% recycled glass bottles. A combination of STR (shaved, toasted, and re-charred) red wine casks and bourbon casks enhance its fruity spirit, creating a vibrant tipple that really holds its own despite its young age.

What does it taste like?

Honeycomb, waxy peels, almond, strawberry jam on rye toast leading into a spicy hint of ginger and peppercorn.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 6: Tamdhu 12 Year Old

The fabulous Tamdhu doesn’t get anywhere near enough attention for our liking, but fans of the distillery know how much it has mastered the art of sherry-matured whisky. This particular expression was aged exclusively in a combination of first-fill and refill Oloroso sherry casks for 12 years, giving it oodles of fruit and spice. 

What does it taste like?

Orange Starburst, plum, juicy raisin, chocolate fudge, cinnamon swirls, and toasted oak, along with some mint chocolate.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Day 7: Singleton of Dufftown 15

Dufftown does easy-drinking and elegant whisky seriously well and this is one of its most quaffable releases. Matured in a mix of European and American oak casks, Singleton of Dufftown 15 has a beautiful balance of sweetness and spice.

What does it taste like?

Conference pears, green apple skin, golden syrup, and vanilla lead into a spicy, dry finish.

Whisky Advent 2021 Days

Old Fashioned with Glengoyne 12 Year Old

It’s one of the world’s simplest and oldest cocktails. If you’ve already finished your Glengoyne 12 Year Old then never fear as you can use any whisky. Click here for more Old Fashioned ideas.

30ml Glengoyne 12 Year Old or any whisky you fancy
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
1 teaspoon hot water
1 dash Angostura Bitters

In a tumbler add the sugar, bitters, and hot water. Stir vigorously until most of the sugar has dissolved. Add half the whisky, keep stirring until there is no graininess left. Now add three or four big cubes of ice and stir. Finally, add the rest of the whisky, stir some more, and serve with a maraschino cherry. 

That’s all, folks. Your next Advent update will be on 10 December. See you then!

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Whisky Advent 2021 Days 1, 2 and 3

It’s the first of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blogs for 2021, taking a closer look at what is behind doors one, two and three. There’s some…

It’s the first of our Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar blogs for 2021, taking a closer look at what is behind doors one, two and three. There’s some tasty drams in there.

Advent has begun which means we have entered the season where it’s completely acceptable to have a mince pie and a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream while still in your dressing gown. No wonder it’s called the most magical time of the year. 

But we’re all whisky fans here, so instead of sweet sweet sherry we’ve got delicious drams to wash down seasonal treats. If you’re the proud owner of Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, then these drams below are the ones you are enjoying at the moment, or have already polished off. 

If you don’t have a Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, don’t worry as there’s plenty of time to buy one and catch up. And finally, if you’re after some drinking inspiration, we’ve included a cocktail recipe at the bottom.

Advent 2021

Day 1 Aerolite Lyndsay 10 Year Old

There’s plenty of mystery about this wee dram. From its peculiar name (it’s an anagram, see if you can figure it out…) to the fact it’s sourced from an undisclosed distillery on Islay. But, one thing we know for sure is that it’s damn tasty and makes a great introduction to Scotland’s most distinctive collection of distilleries.

What does it taste like?

Maritime peat, iodine, honey sweetness, paprika, salted caramel, old bookshelves, mint dark chocolate, espresso, new leather, honey, liquorice allsorts, bonfire smoke and toffee penny, with a pinch of salt.


Day 2 Kyrö Malt Rye Whisky

Rye is really enjoying a moment. With it’s bold spicy flavours, it’s the cocktail whiskey par excellence. The heartlands of rye are the USA and Canada, but we’ve tasted superb examples from England, Holland and this Kyro Rye Malt from Finland. It’s made from 100% malted wholegrain rye and makes a damn good Old Fashioned (see below).

What does it taste like?

Honeyed apricot, orange and sultana, baked earth spiciness, a hint of chocolate and coffee hiding in there too. Deliciously sweet and spicy. 

Brilliant Burns Night whiskies

Day 3 Laphroaig 10 Year Old

Another Islay treat and one of Scotland’s most distinctive whiskies. With its smell of iodine, TCP and wood smoke, there’s no mistaking Laphroaig 10 Year Old. It’s one that people tend to either love or hate, so much so that the distillery cleverly built a marketing campaign around its divisive nature. Let us know what you think.

What does it taste like?

You’ll find seaweed, smoke and TCP with supporting notes of vanilla ice cream and a massive spicy surge, think cardamom/black pepper/chilli.


How to make an Manhattan

When the Manhattan was first created back in the 19th century, it would have been a mix of rye and vermouth. But don’t worry if you’ve finished your Kyro Rye Malt because you could use bourbon, or even Scotch whisky in which case it becomes a Rob Roy. 

30ml Kyro Rye Malt
15ml Cinzano Rosso 1757 (or any sweet vermouth)
Dash of Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients with lots of ice in a shaker and strain into a cold Martini glass (you can use a coupe or a Nick & Nora instead). Express a piece of orange zest over and drop into the glass. Add a cherry if you’re feeling hungry.

That’s it for now. Your next Advent update will be on 7 December. See you then!


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Your guide to MoM Advent 2021

Get your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar ready because our countdown to Christmas begins this week. Here’s your guide to MoM Advent 2021. Have you got your Drinks…

Get your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar ready because our countdown to Christmas begins this week. Here’s your guide to MoM Advent 2021.

Have you got your Drinks by the Dram Advent calendar ready? If not, there’s still plenty of time to buy one, and catch up. There’s no better way to make December fly by. That and watching repeats of Frasier.

Here on the Master of Malt blog, we’ll be counting down with you, with information on what’s behind the door of your calendar and even recipe suggestions in case you’re in the mood for a whisky cocktail. 

We can’t reveal exactly what riches you’ll find as that would spoil the surprise. But we can promise that whisky lovers will not be disappointed. There will be smoky single malts, smooth blends and spicy rye whiskeys with classics from Scotland and Ireland, plus some offerings from non-traditional whisky nations. There’s something for everyone. As long as you like whisky that is. 

Advent Calendar 2021 Whisky

Your guide to MoM Advent

In previous years, we’ve had a blog each day but we’re doing things a bit differently with seven blogs rounding up the drams of the previous three or four days. This is how it’s going to work:

Friday 3 December – the first three drams

Tuesday 7 December – the next four

Friday 10 December – three more whiskies

Tuesday 14 December – four gins. Just kidding, it’s more whisky

Friday 17 December – three whiskies 

Tuesday 21 December – four more delicious whiskies

Friday 24 December – Christmas Eve and the unveiling of the final three whiskies!

We will update this post as Advent unveils.

Does that all make sense? Good. Let the countdown commence!


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Beware fake advent calendars!

Rogue gift websites have been selling fake Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars. We are warning customers to be aware of these scam products. In the last few days we’ve…

Rogue gift websites have been selling fake Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars. We are warning customers to be aware of these scam products.

In the last few days we’ve had a tidal wave of calls about a number of sites selling fake advent calendars.

They’re generally offering them at 50 to 70% off the normal price, and, unsurprisingly, what’s delivered is rubbish.

Fake advent calendars

One fake calendar contained empty bottles and cheap trinkets

As is so often the case, when something looks too good to be true, it is.  These calendars are cheap fakes, riddled with spelling mistakes and full of empty bottles rather than actual drams.

Fake advent calendars

Detail from one of the fakes, note all the typos

We immediately tried to get the sites selling them taken down, and with some degree of success, but for each one taken offline, two more sprang up to take their place.

Initially we thought they might just be phishing sites set up to harvest personal information from scammed customers (which they might still be) but, remarkably, they do actually seem to be shipping something to people who buy from them.  Sadly, none so far appear to contain any actual drams, the contents being more of the empty bottle and key-fob variety.

We know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but a lot of unsuspecting people are getting caught up in this scam and getting conned out of money they can’t really afford to lose.

Pre-order your delightful booze-filled Advent Calendars now

This is what a genuine Bourbon Advent Calendar should look like

Justin Petszaft, Master of Malt Founder, was characteristically unimpressed:

What kind of dickhead do you have to be to scam people like this, knowing that you’re going to ruin someone’s Christmas when they open up the first window and find a used plaster and a candy corn instead of a delicious dram of single malt whisky? The people perpetrating this obvious scam are utterly shameless. Don’t get taken in, don’t let your friends get taken in, and if you’ve been defrauded by one of these assholes contact PayPal immediately and get your money back.” He continued: “We’ve obviously contacted everyone we can about this – PayPal, the domain registry, the web hosts and other platform providers, but as soon as one site gets taken down, two more pop up in their place.”

So please be on the lookout for these fake calendars, and tell your friends to do the same:

-If the pricing seems too good to be true – assume it is!  Where you can, buy from a trusted site like masterofmalt.com 

-The fakes are easy to spot even because of the numerous spelling mistakes on the packaging such as “Calenday”, “Advane” and “Hane waxed” (we’ve never Hane waxed anything in our lives).. 

-If you buy a calendar and it doesn’t have 24 of our hand waxed drams inside, please immediately request a refund through PayPal or your credit card to give you the best chance of getting your money back.

-Please also report the site in question to PayPal or your card provider to add pressure for them to be taken down.

-If you do discover one of these webshites, please do let us know at [email protected] so that we can add that retailer to our list of scam sites to be taken down.

Thank you for reading and have a good (fake free) Christmas!

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The Nightcap: 22 October

We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful stories from the world of booze including dog that can fetch gin, Arbeg’s monster ice cream truck, and Glenlivet appears on MTV Cribs….

We’ve got plenty of weird and wonderful stories from the world of booze including dog that can fetch gin, Arbeg’s monster ice cream truck, and Glenlivet appears on MTV Cribs. They’re all in the Nightcap: 22 October edition.

It being the 22 October today means we’re nearly in November. And that means that the year is almost done. It certainly doesn’t feel right that 2021 has almost gone the way of the dinosaurs. But the numbers don’t lie. Here we are, very close to 2022, and not even really feeling like we’ve got our heads round 2020. It’s all a bit much, isn’t it? Better to not think about it, on reflection. Let’s all distract ourselves with some lovely safe Nightcapping. Ahhhh. That’s better, isn’t it?

This week the MoM blog became home to some exciting new competitions, including one that offers you the chance to visit Campbeltown in the company of Glen Scotia and another that promises a boozy bundle from Inverroche Gin. Elsewhere, Henry did his bit to make sure Tomatin whisky gets the spotlight it deserves and made a delicious The Gimlet, while Lauren learned the art of the cooper. On-hand to report on the big news that Johnnie Walker has a new master blender was Adam, who also explained why he still dreams of Bertie’s whisky bar and then put a torch to his face to tell some spooky whisky ghost stories

But we ain’t afraid of no ghosts. So we’re cracking on with The Nightcap: 22 October edition!


The ultimate gin advent calendar

Which? reveals the best gin advent calendars 

UK’s consumer champion Which? magazine has just revealed the results of its latest test, finding the best Advent calendars on the market. Taking in three categories, chocolate, toys, or gin, 23 calendars were marked by a panel to reveal which are worth your money and which are better avoided. Hotel Chocolat and the Playmobil Pirate Island were both highly rated but what you’re really interested in is gin, isn’t it? Of the five gin advent calendars tested, the Drinks by the Dram Premium Gin Advent Calendar (that’s us) came out on top. Huzzah! It received high praise for its packaging and variety of gins – featuring bottles from around the world and small niche distilleries. That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Advent Calendar (that’s us too) was also awarded an Editor’s Choice and was the second favourite of the panel, receiving praise for its selection of UK craft distilleries, and mix of sweet and dry gins. The other calendars tested did not score as highly, partly because they contained several cheaper-to-produce gin liqueurs with much lower ABVs, which did not provide the same value for money. “Our research shows it pays to do your homework when looking for an advent calendar this Christmas, as the difference in quality and value for money between the best and worst examples in our tests was huge,” says Ele Clark, Which? retail editor. Which is basically a corporate way of saying we kick ass. Get your Advent calendars here folks. They’re officially the best around, after all.

ArdbegIceScreamTruck Halloween

We scream for Ardbeg

Ardbeg creates monster ‘Ice Scream’ truck 

Whisky lovers are in for a treat this Halloween as Arbeg has specially commissioned an ‘ice scream’ horror truck as a homage to classic B-Movie beasts. The vehicle, which took three months and 12 people to build and comes complete with horns, tentacles and beady eyes. It will serve exclusive ice cream creations made in collaboration with top ice cream maker Ruby Viole featuring Ardbeg’s smoky single malt Scotch whisky. These include: Cookies & Scream, with Ardbeg Wee Beastie ice cream sandwiched between charcoal cookies, coated in (optional) crunchy mealworms; the Ahhh, No! Bar, made with Lapsang Souchong ice cream with an Ardbeg An Oa caramel centre coated in white chocolate; and Ice Cream Groan, a charcoal cone, filled with Ardbeg Ten smoky blackcurrant ice cream, topped with sour cherries and a brittle insect-flecked shard. The ice creams are free for Ardbeg Committee Members and are also available to buy from Ruby Violet’s King’s Cross Coal Drops Yard outlet in London from Friday 22nd October until stocks last. Visitors to the Ice Scream truck can also book an exclusive 45-minute slot in a scary Monsters of Smoke ‘cage’ and indulge in ice and cocktails. The ‘cage’ is an extension of the Ice Scream horror truck and allows visitors to experience squeamishly smoky cocktails. The Ice Scream truck will visit London, Glasgow, and Edinburgh between 26 and 31 October. Go here to purchase tickets.


It’s Alexander Reid, founder of the Macallan and notorious ginger

Macallan launches Red Collection

It literally never stops at The Macallan. Seemingly every week, the marketing department gets in touch to tell us about another amazing rare whisky or collection of whiskies from this famous distillery. In the past month, we’ve reported on the 71 Year Old Tales of Macallan, a rather more affordable chocolate-inspired whisky, and the 30 Year Old Double Cask. You’d think the team would be off with the Macallan caravan to Hunstanton for some well-earned R&R. But no, there’s more, and it’s pretty special. Called the Red Collection, it’s inspired by the colour that runs throughout Macallan’s history. The distillery’s founder Alexander Reid’s surname means ‘the red one’, The Macallan’s Choice Old range launched in 1903 had red print on the boxes and there was the red ribbon tied around bottles of The Macallan 40 Year Old in 1980. It consists of a 40 year old, 50 year old, and a scarcely believable 78 year old, the oldest ever release from The Macallan to date. What’s more, they’re coming soon to Master of Malt! But seriously, a plea to the big wigs at The Macallan, give your staff some time off. They’ve really earned it. 

Millie SCOTY 3Award Winner-10_3

Millie Milliken (left), spirits communicator. The spirits you drink, not the spooky kind

Millie Milliken wins IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year

We are delighted that one of Master of Malt’s writers has won one of the biggest awards in the British drinks industry. Last night at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Millie Milliken fought off stiff competition to be crowned IWSC Spirits Communicator of the Year. It was quite the shortlist with ex-Master of Malt editor Kristiane Sherry, Moa Nilsson aka ‘Swedish Whisky Girl’, Felipe Schrieberg of ‘The Rhythm and Booze’ project and Forbes fame, and Billy Abbot from the Whisky Exchange all in the running. The year, however, didn’t begin so well for Milliken, as Imbibe magazine where she was deputy editor closed its doors, but since then she has gone from strength to strength, launching the Drinks Community with the Drinks Trust, and writing for a huge variety of publications including the Master of Malt blog (read her stuff here). She told us: “Winning this award is a huge honour. Looking back at the previous winners, it’s unbelievable to think I am now the latest to hold this accolade. The world of spirits communication has never been more exciting thanks to incredible people making incredible liquids. I hope I can help bring a new wave of thirsty drinks writers through the ranks with the plans I have over the next year – and beyond.” Congratulations Millie!

a bottle and a glass of whiskey on a black background with space for text

Enjoy a dram from your Glencairn glass while composing a crime story

Glencairn Glass launches crime short story competition

Did you know that for the past two years Glencairn Glass has been a headline sponsor of the McIlvanney and Bloody Scotland Debut crime-writing prizes? Yep, the whisky glass experts have been helping to celebrate the finest in Scottish crime writing talent and now it’s building on this creative collaboration by launching its very own crime short story competition, in partnership with Scottish Field Magazine. The competition opened for entries on 20 October and runs until 31 December, inviting all budding crime writers to build their stories around the theme: ‘A Crystal-Clear Crime’ in no more than 2,000 words. Prizes for the winning trio of authors includes £1,000 for first place, whilst the two runners up will each receive £250. All three winners will also get a set of six engraved Glencairn glasses. The overall winning entry will be published in Scottish Field and the Glencairn website in spring after the winners are announced in March 2022. The judges include Scottish Field’s drinks columnist and author of the historical thriller Hare, Peter Ranscombe, the 2020 winner of the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year for her book Hold Your Tongue, Deborah Masson, as well as Glencairn’s marketing director Gordon Brown, who has written eight crime novels and is one of the founding directors of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival. So, if you fancy yourself to be the new Ian Rankin, then make sure you submit your short story entries here before midnight on the Friday 31 December 2021.

Brewdog gold can

It’s only gold-plated

Brewdog’s solid gold beer can ad misleading, ASA says

Cast your mind back to the balmy days of July, we ran a story on how some customers were up in arms about a misleading gold can of Brewdog beer. The maverick brewers ran a promotion which said customers could win ‘solid gold’ beer cans. Now advertising watchdog (so many dogs in this story) the ASA says the claim was misleading, as some winners complained after discovering the cans were not solid gold, but were gold-plated instead. The ASA received 25 complaints in relation to three social media adverts and in its ruling said it “understood the prize consisted of 24 carat gold-plated replica cans,” but added “because the ads stated that the prize included a solid gold can when that was not the case, we concluded the ads were misleading”. In response, James Watt, co-founder and chief executive at Brewdog, said: “We hold our hands up, we got the first gold can campaign wrong.” Brewdog said its social media posts which contained the words “solid gold” did so in error due to miscommunication, which also claimed the can’s value was £15,000. The ruling comes amid heavy criticism of Brewdog in recent months, with a letter from ex-workers stating former staff had “suffered mental illness” as a result of working for the craft beer brewer. Perhaps a period of quiet reflection might be in order for the bad dogs of brewing.

Glenlivet Iain Stirling MTVH78A3396x

Iain Stirling gives Glenlivet the MTV Cribs treatment

The Glenlivet gets the MTV Cribs treatment

Trading Beverly Hills for Speyside, The Glenlivet and comedian Iain Stirling have released a new episode of the hit show, MTV Cribs. Offering an exclusive tour of the Glenlivet’s new Speyside home and tapping into some premium noughties nostalgia, there might not be sports cars or entourage-packed jacuzzis, but the distillery does have an interactive barley field. Take that, Snoop Dogg. The episode – available to view here – features the classic MTV Cribs peek inside the fridge, which is filled top-to-bottom with the Glenlivet Capsule Collection. There’s also a glimpse at some of the other exciting experiences on offer, which could even tempt Mariah to pop down and jump in a bath of cocktail capsules sometime soon. Taking cues from the original episodes, Stirling even introduces viewers to a few friends along the way, including the oracle of The Glenlivet and master distiller, Alan Winchester, who he attempts to catch out in a quick fire round of questions. If you’d like to check out Speyside’s finest crib, then you’ll be pleased to know that it is now open to the public and you can book here.

Dog gin

Who’s a good boy then?

And finally…  dog taught to fetch gin

More canine-based news: it has been revealed this week that a woman has managed to teach her dog to fetch her a drink when she says ‘it’s gin o’clock!’ Somerset residents Janice, and her husband Dave, first realised their dog had the capacity for exceptional customer service after taking a break from gardening. Janice turned to their labrador Bear and said, ‘ooh, it’s gin o’ clock’ and off he went to the kitchen to retrieve a premixed can of Gin and Tonic with his mouth. Bravo, Bear. It does make us wonder what the implications of this news is. Might this be the answer to staff shortage in the hospitality industry? Can we expect to see dogs working the back bar? And have dogs secretly always wanted to be involved in the drinks industry? There’s a lot of questions to answer. But what’s not in doubt is who’s a good boy then. It’s Bear. What a good dog.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #23: The Perspective Series 21 Year Old – Berry Bros. & Rudd

Are you giddy with festive glee? Because there’s just two more sleeps until Christmas! This calls for a dram. Luckily there’s a particularly excellent one behind window #23… It’s Christmas…

Are you giddy with festive glee? Because there’s just two more sleeps until Christmas! This calls for a dram. Luckily there’s a particularly excellent one behind window #23…

It’s Christmas Eve Eve (definitely a thing) and we’re so close to the big day you can almost smell it. And taste it. And hear it. Man, Christmas is a feast for the senses, isn’t it? But outside of all the food, songs and other festivities, there’s another tradition that whisky lovers get to enjoy, for a couple of more days at least, and that’s finding out what their Whisky Advent Calendar has in store for them. Behind today’s window is…

The Perspective Series 21 Year Old – Berry Bros. & Rudd!

There are only a couple more drams left in the Whisky Advent Calendar so naturally, our friends at Drinks by the Dram wanted to take things up a notch, which it certainly has done here. We’re big fans of this range, so much so we wrote a whole blog about it. And you know who else is a fan? Berry Bros. & Rudd assistant reserve spirits manager Jonny McMillan, who kindly agreed to tell us more about the brand and dram!

The Perspective Series 21 Year Old - Berry Bros. & Rudd

Merry Christmas Jonny McMillan!

Master of Malt: Berry Bros. & Rudd has a pretty storied history. Can you share a little tale from the brand’s past…

Jonny McMillan: For me, the best stories are those implied by the artefacts we have lying around in No.3 St James’s. We have some old ‘vest pocket price lists’ showing that in 1907 we were selling our own bottlings of 1885 Talisker!  Legend has it that these casks were kept in the cellars of St James’s and were bottled steadily as customers ordered them, but they seem to have been available for at least 3 years so I like to think perhaps we had a large stock of them, bought by some intrepid spirits buyer who made an expedition up to Skye to secure some casks from the wild Gaelic distillers! On the same list, we have 1897 Macallan, which was available by the gallon for 25 shillings…

MoM: What fun things have happened in the world of Berry Bros. & Rudd in 2020?

JM: Like most other whisky companies we’ve had to embrace the world of online tastings via Zoom and Streamyard etc… I must admit that at first I was pretty sceptical about how the comradery inherent in a physical tasting session can translate to a digital platform, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed tasting whisky with people on the other side of the planet.  Though, the time difference when hosting a tasting in Australia can be a challenge – it took true stoicism for the greater good of whisky to stick my nose in a glass of Caol Ila at 0730 GMT.

The Perspective Series 21 Year Old - Berry Bros. & Rudd

In the Berry Bros. & Rudd vaults, there’s all kinds of fascinating boozy history

MoM: What trends or developments do you think we’ll see in the world of whisky in 2021?

JM: I suspect the trend for online tastings will continue, ultimately I think a lot of people enjoy the ease and comfort of being able to taste drams in their own home while also getting expert advice via a live stream – it can be a better environment to really analyse a whisky too rather than a loud, beer charged tasting room. Beyond online tastings, I think the new distillers experimenting with different yeasts and barleys are going to start having more mature stock in the next couple of years, most of these being from outside of Scotland – the results from these casks could really shake things up.

MoM: What did you try to achieve with The Perspective Series and how was it received?

JM: There’s really nowhere better to enjoy a dram than in the great rugged wilderness of the Scottish Highlands, but alas we can’t take all our customers out to sip 40 year old whisky in Glencoe, so we opted to work with acclaimed landscape photographer Lindsay Robertson instead. We gave him samples of some glorious aged blends we’d be developing and asked him to pair them with photos of Scotland at her most majestic, and I think some of the images he chose work perfectly. The image of the beautifully desolate Sandalwood Bay up in Sutherland works wonderfully with the understated elegance of the 21-year-old.

MoM: What will you be drinking this Christmas?

A magnum of Berry’s Good Ordinary Claret… I might even share it.

The Perspective Series 21 Year Old - Berry Bros. & Rudd

The Perspective Series 21 Year Old – Berry Bros. & Rudd Tasting Note:

Nose: Sherried dried fruits, rich chocolate and a hint of leather, with a generous helping of baking spices.

Palate: Creamy vanilla builds into distinct oaky tones, alongside both fresh orchard fruit and dried fruit with a drizzle of honey.

Finish: Creamy notes continue into a lengthy finish with a hint of tannic oak and sherry.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Just three sleeps until Christmas! By this point you really should have got that shopping sorted, food procured, and drinks menu planned. So kick back with a dram of something…

Just three sleeps until Christmas! By this point you really should have got that shopping sorted, food procured, and drinks menu planned. So kick back with a dram of something delicious! And right on cue, here to chat us through today’s Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar tipple is Jura distillery manager, Graham Logan.

Ok, ok, that introduction may have been a tad optimistic. If, like many of us here at MoM Towers, you’re still in the panic zone, fret not! We’ve got all kinds of last-minute gifts to sort you out (think, gift vouchers, Pour & Sip subscriptions… all is not lost!).

With that in hand, now you really can sit back with a dram! And today’s whisky is a good one. It started life on the Isle of Jura, a picturesque island off Scotland’s west coast, and was aged for a whopping 18 years! No guessing needed today, it’s Isle of Jura 18 Year Old!

Time to find out more about this dreamy drop with Jura distillery manager, Graham Logan.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Meet Graham Logan, Jura distillery manager!

Master of Malt: Jura is a stunning island. Tell us about what makes it special for you…

Graham Logan: Many things make Jura for me. The first is my wife, who I met on my first foray to the pub 33 years ago after being on the island for 12 hours. Then there’s the scenery, the wildlife, the remoteness, the community, my second job as a crofter (or a small farm) where I have two cows, eight sheep, and a goat, and my third job as a volunteer firefighter. If I hadn’t been a distiller, I would have been a firefighter. Also, the distillery staff. Who make my job a dream job.

MoM: How does its remote setting impact whisky-making on Jura?

GL: Jura distillery brings everything in and out via two ferries. Malted barley, yeast, casks, spare parts, and boiler oil in; and sending out spirit, spent grains and filled casks. That means we have to keep a stock of everything required, and if ferries go off to bad weather we can keep going. It usually means all the cows on Jura are happy as they get free draff (spent grains).

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

The distillery is located on a beautiful, remote island

MoM: How would you describe the Jura distillery character?

GL: Jura has really tall stills. The wash stills are 26ft 1in (7.95 metres), and the spirit stills are 25ft 4in (7.72m) tall with the Lyne arms slowly rising to the condensers. As they are so tall only the lightest spirit vapours reach the condenser, and as we have so much copper in the still neck, the copper helps with reflux (or redistillation). All the heavy vapours that don’t get to the top of the still fall back down, and get re-distilled when they meet the new vapours that are rising. This makes your spirit strength slightly stronger and lighter in character with floral/cereal notes.

MoM: Jura 18 Year Old is today’s dram! Can you tell us how it was made?

GL: As I have been at Jura for 29 years, I have very much had a hand in making this. I was a mash and still operator for 24 years! All Jura spirit is made the same way, and is filled into first-fill ex-bourbon casks, even the peated spirit which gives the 18 Year Old a subtle smoke finish. Then the spirit is finished in a premier cru classe red wine cask for 18-24 months. It’s a beautiful dram with pear, marzipan, tropical fruits and baked apple on the nose, and vanilla, coffee, ginger syrup and black forest fruits to taste. A real Christmas winter warmer.

MoM: Money and availability no object, what would be your dream Christmas dram?

The distillery team had a tasting with Richard Paterson in the early 2000s and we were lucky enough to taste a 50-year-old Dalmore. If money was no object, it would definitely be anything of Dalmore over 50 years old. Sitting with a dram of that, next to an open roaring fire and watching the Queen’s speech would be heaven.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Isle of Jura 18 Year Old Tasting Note:

Nose: Cinnamon, dried berries, Wine Gums, hickory.

Palate: Brandied cherries, Turkish delight, milky coffee and blackcurrant jam.

Finish: Chocolate chip cookies, a touch of hay, orange oil.

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