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Diageo Special Releases 2016

Diageo Special Release 2016

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).

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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Whisky Advent Day 12: Caol Ila 12 Year Old

Whisky Advent Calendar

We’re half way, can you believe it?! There’s still the same amount of delicious drams left after today as we’ve enjoyed from The Whisky Advent Calendar by Drinks by the Dram so far! (We’ve decided to adopt some festive calendar-half-full thinking – there are still plenty more treats to look forward to!) It also means that Christmas is drawing ever nearer so time’s running out to sort out all those pressies, made easier we hope by our Free Shipping offers and the like. On to the window at hand though, appropriately revealing a 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky for Day 12.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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Diageo Special Releases 2015

Diageo Special Releases 2015

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.

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Categories : News, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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Talisker Skye in June

Talisker-Skye

Earlier this year Talisker added another no age statement whisky to its range: Talisker Skye. This means that whilst it may not be able to claim to be “the only Single Malt Scotch Whisky rugged enough to call the Isle of Skye its home” for too much longer (with progress continuing at Torabhaig), Talisker has found another way to cement the link between the distillery and its beloved, windswept home.

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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Fèis Ìle – The Islay Whisky Festival 2015

Feis Ile Islay That Boutique-y Whisky Company

As some of you may already know, we’re sadly not going to be at Fèis Ìle this year. I know, I know. We had a good run though – attending the last four years in a row as Master of Malt, keeping you all (hopefully) entertained whether you’d made it along or not, running some great promotions and even kitting many of you out with some top notch drams, t-shirts and snazzy tote bags. And it was our absolute pleasure to do so.

There’ll be no Malt Mobile to look out for this year though (much to the delight of Bowmore’s bollards), no gratuitous shots of limited edition whiskies next to hot tubs or Port Ellen tastings and no week long series of our ramblings from the event. But if you are indeed going, especially if it’s your first time, allow us to present our little guide to this year’s festival…

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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The Lakes Distillery – A Delightful Weekend In The Country

The Lakes Distillery

“Are you a sponge or a stone? Do you like to experience all facets of life, or do you shut yourself off from new experience?”

With whisky distilleries opening right around the world, you must quite reasonably ask yourself questions such as this. We live in an age where a wide variety of excellent whiskies are being made outside of the traditional and well-established whisky producing counties, and if you’re not open to them, you’re missing out. In England, for example, the latest English whisky distillery to come on stream is The Lakes Distillery near Cockermouth.

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Categories : Gin, News, Tasting Notes, Vodka, Whisky
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Coastal Whisky: The Curious Relationship Between Whisky and the Seas

Coastal Whisky Bowmore

Some whiskies can be said to have a ‘coastal’ or ‘maritime’ character, and invariably these are also whiskies that I absolutely love. In fact, these seaside malts are the reason I became interested in whisky in the first place, and the very best examples are still probably my favourite spirits in the world. This is personal taste, of course, and whilst I love most of the gods’ rich tapestry of whisky flavour profiles, I just happen to be a sucker for the Neptunian ones. So, consider me your Neil Oliver as we embark on a journey of discovery and also consider exactly how is it that some malts seemingly take on the very taste of the coast. This, is whisky on the edge… *Cue music*

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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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Diageo Special Releases 2014

Diageo Special Releases 2014 Caol Ila 30yo

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!

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Categories : News, Tasting Notes, Whisky
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Feis Ile 2014, Tales From The Isle – Caol Ila Day

Tales From The Isle Caol Ila Feis Ile

Greetings traveller,

Traditionally-rigged tall ships are pretty cool. Ships like the Bessie Ellen, for example, Britain’s last wooden coasting ketch still under sail. These days it’s a regular sight at Fèis Ìle, making berth at Caol Ila distillery, having originally transported cargo (including peat) around the UK as early as 1906. Happily, it also shares part of its name with both a Laphroaig distillery manager of note and a nearby port town with a rather well-known closed distillery. Plus it has the added bonus of making us feel more than a little pirate-y too. Arr!

In this issue of Tales From The Isle we’ll be taking a look at Caol Ila’s festival bottling as well as reliving a terrifying tale of piracy from the seas surrounding Islay that’s guaranteed to shiver yer timbers!

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Maltstock 2013: There and Back Again… A Whisky Tale with another new Highland Park!

Maltstock 2013 logo

Ah, Maltstock! 2013 marked Master of Malt’s 4th visit to the “relaxed whisky weekend”, although of the four people who went, three of us were, in fact, Maltstock virgins! That Boutique-y Whisky Company have also now released their second batch of Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky, complete with Maltstock label – more on that towards the end!

As mentioned above, Cat (now Maverick Drinks’ Brand Communications Manager), was the only one of us who had travelled to Maltstock before (making the local newspapers in the process), the rest of the team was made up by her Maverick minion Teesh, Sam Alexandra (who is MoM’s marketing maestro), and yours truly!

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Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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