Happy Friday, team! It’s a wrap on the week that was, which means we have another edition of The Nightcap for you! Read on for news of distillery developments, brilliant new bars, and intriguing product developments…
It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday… (you’re welcome for the earworm). It’s time to down tools for the weekend and reflect on another seven days in drinks.
Before we crack on with The Nightcap proper, let’s recall another stellar week on the blog. On Monday we got set for the Chelsea Flower Show with Annie’s round-up of deliciously floral whiskies – whether plants are your thing or not, it’s a sublime list of sunny-day sippers. Then on Tuesday we were VERY excited. We got to share a sneak peek inside Macallan’s new distillery following our secret visit back in April. It’s definitely one to add to the bucket list!
#WhiskySanta has something particularly “Special” this week from a closed distillery… Interest piqued? Enough build-up though (especially as you’ve already seen the title) – #WhiskySanta is giving away a bottle of Brora 34 Year Old!
We’ve almost reached the big day, folks! Only a couple more weeks left before Christmas, which means we’re nearing the end of my Super Wishes too. Somewhat bittersweet, wouldn’t you agree? However, this just means I’m going to have to make these final Super Wishes pretty bloomin’ special – and I know just the bottle to give away… A bottle of Brora 34 Year Old 1982 worth almost £1,500!
Big Diageo Special Releases fan? Wish there was a way to sample the whole caboodle in one go? You’re in luck – prayers and petitions have worked and the Diageo Special Releases 2017 Tasting Set is now a thing!
The Special Releases drum up quite the following when the whiskies are unveiled each year. Love or loathe the concept, we bet your Twitterbooks feeds are packed with opinions and tasting notes as the liquid is revealed. With the 2017 outturn featuring the likes of Port Ellen, Brora, an unusual blended malt, and the oldest whisky ever bottled by Diageo (Port Dundas 52yo), this autumn saw Special Releases perhaps pack the biggest punch yet.
Categories : Scotch Whisky
*MEGA WHISKY NEWS KLAXON*
The rumours are true! Two of Scotland’s most iconic closed whisky distilleries, Port Ellen and Brora, are to be brought back to life by 2020, to the jubilation of whisky geeks the world over.
It hardly needs stating that these most beloved of Scotch whisky distilleries – Port Ellen on Islay, a few miles from Lagavulin, and Brora on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, adjacent to Clynelish – have garnered a cult-like following in the 34 years since their closure; their highly sought-after bottlings (which often command four-digit prices on the secondary market) an integral part of the Diageo Special Releases programme.
Categories : Scotch Whisky
It’s one of the most highly anticipated whisky events of the year – the Diageo Special Releases 2017 series is now available for pre-order!
Last month we revealed details of the 10 whiskies in the Special Releases line-up for 2017 – and the contingent does not disappoint. From the oldest-ever Diageo bottling* to a blended malt featuring all 28 of the drinks group’s operational Scotch distilleries, there’s a whole host of incredible whisky goodness going on.
What’s more, there’s a very exciting addition for 2017. For the first time, Drinks by the Dram has teamed up with Diageo to make all ten of the expressions available through the marvellous medium that is a tasting set. All 10! In a tasting set!! Hallelujah to the whisky gods.
Categories : Scotch Whisky
The 2016 Special Releases are available for Pre-Order now and we tasted them all last night, including the oldest ever Port Ellen!
When it comes to whisky releases, Diageo’s aptly named annual Special Releases always attract plenty of excitement each year. This year’s selection including whiskies from Port Ellen, Brora, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Glenkinchie, Cragganmore, Linkwood, Auchroisk, Mannochmore and Cambus distilleries, all of which (at the time of writing) are available to Pre-Order!
One thing you may notice, is that we’re not going to be doing our lotteries or charity auctions for any of these, as we have for some other exciting releases this year, and there’s a simple reason for that. Unlike the situation we had with the Yamazaki Sherry Cask, for example (or will have shortly with a certain collection of American whiskeys), Diageo have endeavoured to price the rarer releases at their ‘market value’. That’s why the prices went up so quickly a couple of years back as they bridged the gap before more or less levelling out (this year’s Port Ellen, from ever-depleting supplies, is £100 more than last year, an increase of around 4%, whereas there had been increases of 100% in recent years).
We’ll be honest with you, we didn’t think anything Drinks by the Dram’s The Whisky Advent Calendar could throw at us would be more exciting than the release of a new Star Wars movie. (Even with the endless adverts beforehand “make sure you have the official Star Wars mascara” etc.) Not until the final window, perhaps. Wrong, we were, however, as day 19 has provided The Lost Distilleries Blend from The Blended Whisky Company!
Named World’s Best Blended Whisky at Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards in 2014, it does exactly what it says on the tin – it’s a blend of whiskies exclusively from sadly now closed distilleries, many of whom have become legendary such as Port Ellen and Caperdonich. There’s even some Imperial entanglements in there… Yes, the force is strong with this one.
It’s that time of year once again and last night Diageo invited us to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery to taste the 2015 Special Releases! There are nine this year. That’s two less than last year, which as I’m always up against a bit of a time limit (two hours) to scrawl down some meaningful tasting notes for you all (as well as fight through the crowds and also try to avoid notes from elsewhere – ham, butter, bread, candles, aftershave…) was fine by me! There was, of course, still plenty of stunning whisky on show.
Before we go on, however, I should probably point out that the Special Releases are available for Pre-Order now! You may want to head straight over there. If you do miss out on any of them then keep your eyes on the @MasterOfMalt twitter feed over the next couple of weeks as there may be more available once the bottles land.
Ranging in price from £80 to £2,400, Nick Morgan has gone on record to say that even amongst Special Releases “This year is a special one”. Exciting.
For those of you not blessed with omniscience or immortality, window 24 of Whisky Advent Calendar offers an exciting opportunity to taste some historic whiskies. And if you do happen to be omnipotent or immortal? Well it’s still an opportunity to taste some jolly delicious old and rare whisky!
The Lost Distilleries Blend was named World’s Best Blended Whisky 2014 at Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards and does exactly what it says on the tin (or at least the bottle and handsome box). It’s made up solely with whiskies from sadly now closed distilleries, many of whom have become legendary, with batch six containing malt from Port Ellen, Mosstowie, Caperdonich, Glenisla, Imperial, Glen Mhor and Brora, alongside grain from Port Dundas.
On Tuesday evening I found myself the nearest thing to a corner possible at a curvy and buzzing Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens on a cold, rainy November night. Here I would attempt to write some meaningful tasting notes for 11 limited edition cask strength single malts in a couple of hectic hours, including the time it would take to fight through the crowd each time I needed to move on to new whiskies, and the time it would take for the smell of prawn hors d’oeuvres to dissipate each time the diligent waitresses came over to offer them.
Meanwhile, our Spirits Buyer Toby Cutler (he’s nice, you’d like him – he really enjoys a good picture of Kevin Costner, or Chris Tucker for that matter) was having no such problem as he enjoyed a range of whiskies, some quite valuable, in a leisurely fashion alongside some pleasant conversation. Add all of this up, and it can only mean one thing: it was the launch of Diageo’s much-anticipated 2014 Special Releases!