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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Blended Malt

New Arrival of the Week: Old Perth Cask Strength

This week we are delighted about the return of one of the grand old names of Scotch whisky, Old Perth, with a beautiful sherry-aged blended malt and a mighty cask…

This week we are delighted about the return of one of the grand old names of Scotch whisky, Old Perth, with a beautiful sherry-aged blended malt and a mighty cask strength version.

If you walk around Perth today, you’ll see evidence of its proud whisky heritage. It’s there in the grandeur of the town’s architecture which seems quite out of scale for a city of 50,000 people and you’ll see ghost signs advertising Old Perth whisky. Well, these are ghost signs no longer as the family firm Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers has brought whisky back to the town and resurrected this great brand. 

First, a bit of history

Known as the Gateway to the Highlands, the city of Perth was ideally placed for merchants to buy characterful malt whiskies from the north and blend them with the lighter spirits of the Lowlands to create a consistent product to sell in Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and export around the world. 

Scotch whisky as we know it was to a large extent a Perth creation and with the coming of the railways, Perth’s first station was built in 1848, the city boomed. Giants warehouses were built providing employment for thousands whilst the whisky barons spent their leisure time in the city’s fashionable gentlemen’s clubs.

The city was home to some of the biggest names in Scotch whisky including Matthew Gloag, Arthur Bell and John Dewar. There’s a fourth name that’s not so well known but deserves to be put alongside them: Peter Thomson.

Peter Thomson whisky van

Peter Thomson whisky van (photo courtesy of Morrison Distillers)

Enter, Peter Thomson

The youngest of three brothers, Peter Thomson set up his business in 1908 at 202 High Street Perth but the family had been in the whisky trade for much longer.  Peter’s father Alexander Thomson ran a grocery and whisky shop. Going further back, in 1837 John Thomson acquired the Grandtully distillery which remained in family hands until it closed in 1914. And further back still, according to family legend the Thomsons were too busy distilling and drinking whisky to take part in the Highland Rebellions of 1715 and 1745.

He was a canny businessman and the firm weathered the economic storms following the first world war. In the 1920s it launched Beneagles blended whisky containing a sizable proportion of Macallan single malt as well as high-quality grain whisky from the North British distillery in Edinburgh which the Thomson family had shares in. They also launched a premium whisky called Old Perth.

Peter Thomson died in 1939 and his son David Kinnear Thomson took over but the following year he was captured by the Germans at Dunkirk and saw out the war in a POW camp. Fortunately, the firm was in the more than capable hands of his secretary, Miss Cameron, who managed the firm until the war ended. In fact, it’s said she carried on the day to day running of the firm even after the war whilst David networked, socialised and promoted the business around the world. We’d probably use the term ‘Brand Ambassador’ today. 

A pioneering firm

The firm became known for its innovative marketing including ceramic whisky miniatures in the shape of curling stones, the Loch Ness monster, a golden eagle and, most magnificent of all, a Thistle and the Rose chess set portraying Scotland’s great rivalry with England. The pieces are figures from British history including Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and Robert the Bruce filled with Beneagles whisky. The empty vessels come up quite often on Ebay.

Peter Thomson was innovative in other ways. In the 1960s, the family took the bold decision to sell Macallan on its own. It’s hard to imagine now when Macallan is a globally-renowned luxury goods brand but most malt distilleries had no reputation amongst consumers. Peter Thomson obtained exclusive rights to sell Macallan and by 1985 they were selling 10,000 cases a year. So successful were they that Macallan eventually decided to handle sales themselves. 

Old Perth Cask Strength is its natural habitat

Old Perth Cask Strength in its natural habitat

Decline and revival

By this time, however, the family no longer controlled the firm. It was sold to a Cypriot businessman and later became incorporated into Whyte & Mackay. One by one, the great names of Perth whisky left the town of their birth. 

But some of that life returned in 2005 with the creation of Morrison & Mackay by Kenny MacKay, a former employee of Peter Thomson, Rob Starling, and Brian and Jamie Morrison, formerly of Morrison Bowmore. They opened a single malt distillery, Aberargie, outside the city in 2017. Last year, the company rebranded as Morrison Scotch Whisky Distillers.

They also acquired the Old Perth brand name from Whyte & Mackay and relaunched it as a blended malt whisky inspired by the original. Just landed at Master of Malt, we have two new expressions: a 46% ABV sherry cask, and a 58.6% ABV cask strength version. Both are truly superior blends that pay tribute to Perth’s rich whisky heritage. If you like a luxurious sherry cask malt packed with dried fruit and spices, you’ll love Old Perth. Here’s the tasting note for the cask strength version:

Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Toffee penny, cherry jam, and bundles of dried fruit.

Palate: Earthy root ginger spice, cinnamon stick, and toasted barley.

Finish: Brandy-soaked raisins and burnt brown sugar on the finish.

Old Perth Original and Cask Strength are available from Master of Malt.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #7: Smokey Monkey

It’s the first Friday of Advent! Got that weekend feeling? You will once you discover the dram squirrelled away behind Door No.7 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar……

It’s the first Friday of Advent! Got that weekend feeling? You will once you discover the dram squirrelled away behind Door No.7 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar…

Much excite in these parts today. Not only is it Friday, but there’s a right treat awaiting discovery in the Whisky Advent Calendar today.

But first! Some background. Scotch whisky cocktails are DELICIOUS. But historically (and this is an attitude that can linger in some circles today), single malts have been seen as ‘too good’ for mixing. What’s that all about?! A great drink needs flavour, character and balance, and single malt Scotches tend to have that dream trio in the bucket-load.

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Win a VIP trip to Speyside with Copper Dog!

WIN a magnificent trip to Speyside, including two nights at the famous home of Copper Dog – The Craigellachie Hotel! The winner will also receive a tour of a Speyside…

  • WIN a magnificent trip to Speyside, including two nights at the famous home of Copper Dog – The Craigellachie Hotel!
  • The winner will also receive a tour of a Speyside distillery, a bottle of Copper Dog signed by master blender Stuart Morrison and an engraved copper dog dipper!
  • Everyone’s a winner – enjoy £4 off Copper Dog until 2nd October!
  • If you’re a particularly lucky dog, you could be in for a very special jaunt up to Speyside for a two nights stay in The Craigellachie Hotel! We’ve teamed up with the folks from Copper Dog to send the winner and their plus one on a VIP trip to this spectacular hotel, including dinner and drinks at the Copper Dog pub both nights and a tour of a local Speyside distillery. The winner will also receive a bottle of Copper Dog signed by Diageo master blender Stuart Morrison, along with their own engraved copper dog dipper! (For the nitty gritty details, see the competition terms below.)

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    The Result of Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 3!

    Discover who came out on top in Whisky Magazine’s third Battle of the Blends: will it be George Keeble or new challenger Lyndsey Gray…? Back in March we announced the…

    Discover who came out on top in Whisky Magazine’s third Battle of the Blends: will it be George Keeble or new challenger Lyndsey Gray…?

    Back in March we announced the return of Battle of the Blends and that we needed your help to decide how it would be settled.

    The fates of reigning champion George Keeble, of Soho Whisky Club fame, and new challenger Lyndsey Gray, manager at The Quaich Bar at the Craigellachie Hotel, were in your hands. The task was simple: enjoy two delightful drams of blended whisky, one crafted by each competitor, and determine which effort was superior.

    Fast forward to now and you’ve made your collective choice. The votes are in, the tie is decided. It’s time to find out who has claimed all glory…

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    The Result of Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2!

    Discover who has come out on top in Whisky Mag’s second Battle of the Blends in association with Master of Malt: is it Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley or George ‘Aegir’…

    Discover who has come out on top in Whisky Mag’s second Battle of the Blends in association with Master of Malt: is it Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley or George ‘Aegir’ Keeble…?
     

    Back in January we told you all about Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2, another battle for the ages that you could help settle in the most delicious way possible!

    The fates of reigning champion Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley and Soho Whisky Club’s George ‘Aegir’ Keeble were in your hands and now it’s time to find out who has claimed all glory…

    6 Comments on The Result of Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2!

    Become a Judge in the Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 2!

    It’s time once again for a victor to be crowned in Whisky Magazine’s epic Battle of the Blends and you can be one of the judges! Simply pop a 1p(!)…

    It’s time once again for a victor to be crowned in Whisky Magazine’s epic Battle of the Blends and you can be one of the judges! Simply pop a 1p(!) Judging Set into your Master of Malt order now.
     
    Those of you who read Whisky Magazine will already be up to speed with their exciting second Battle of the Blends, and many of you will of course remember last year’s heavyweight bout. For those of you who haven’t followed its progress, we’re currently in the midst of another heroic blending tussle, this time between the reigning champion Neil ‘General Mashtun’ Ridley and George ‘Aegir’ Keeble to produce the perfect blended whisky and claim all glory!
     
    Their whiskies have now been lovingly constructed and once again we’ve been working alongside Whisky Mag to find a winner in this fantastic contest. This means that there’s a chance for you to join the illustrious judging panel!

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    That Boutique-y Whisky Company Adds Age Statements

    That Boutique-y Whisky Company has announced that they’re introducing age statements to all future releases with immediate effect and, right on cue, they have a raft of new and exciting…

    That Boutique-y Whisky Company

    That Boutique-y Whisky Company has announced that they’re introducing age statements to all future releases with immediate effect and, right on cue, they have a raft of new and exciting releases on the way!

    All the new releases are listed below and are also available to buy or pre-order from Master of Malt now.

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    World Whiskies Awards and World Drinks Awards Winners

    Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards. Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks…

    World Drinks Awards World Whiskies Awards 2016

    Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards.

    Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks by the Dram have once again teamed up with the World Drinks Awards to create an easy way to taste a whole bunch of these award winners! Head over to our World Drinks Awards 2016 page to browse their selection of 8 different World Whiskies Awards and World Drinks Awards Winners Tasting Sets.

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    The Return of Johnnie Walker Green Label!

    We’re delighted to announce that Johnnie Walker Green Label has returned to the UK and reclaimed its place in the Johnnie Walker range! First introduced in 2005, in 2012 it…

    Johnnie Walker Green Label

    We’re delighted to announce that Johnnie Walker Green Label has returned to the UK and reclaimed its place in the Johnnie Walker range!

    First introduced in 2005, in 2012 it was announced that the 15 year old blended malt whisky was to be discontinued, to the disappointment of its many fans (although it was never actually removed from all markets worldwide). In 2015 it was reintroduced in North America on a temporary basis to mark its tenth anniversary, but its long term future still hung in the balance.

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    Whisky Advent Day 10: Monkey Shoulder

    We’ve made it to day 10 of #WhiskyAdvent! Time to open another window of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and we have a good feeling about this one… Yep,…

    Whisky Advent Calendar

    We’ve made it to day 10 of #WhiskyAdvent! Time to open another window of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and we have a good feeling about this one…

    Yep, it’s time to have some fun with Monkey Shoulder! Whether it’s Pop-Down bars or Monkey Comps with UK Brand am-BADASS-ador Grant Neave, or practising your spooning so you can mix up some delicious Monkey cocktails, pretension gets left firmly at the door today.

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