fbpx
£

We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Compass Box

New Arrival of the Week: Compass Box Orchard House

Our New Arrival this week is Orchard House, the newest core offering from Compass Box and the first to be made with whiskies entirely laid down by the bottler/blender. We…

Our New Arrival this week is Orchard House, the newest core offering from Compass Box and the first to be made with whiskies entirely laid down by the bottler/blender. We tasted it with founder John Glaser, and found out how it earned its name.

It’s as idyllic as a Zoom tasting could be – held on the autumnal equinox, and John Glaser is sitting in what was to be the last of the summer (or is it autumn?) sun in his garden, chatting us through a momentous new release for Compass Box called Orchard House. 

Whisky Exploder

Glaser likens what he’s doing to the Song Exploder podcast, where each episode a musician takes apart their song, and piece by piece, tells the story of how it was made. He wants to create Whisky Exploder, and get whisky-makers to take you through the inception and creation of a whisky – you heard it here first. This won’t surprise those of you who are already familiar with Compass Box however, as it’s long been a champion for transparency within the whisky industry. 

The origins of Orchard House began in 2018, when Oak Cross, a long-standing blended malt, was going to lose one of its key ingredients due to stock issues. Glaser and fellow whiskymaker James Saxon couldn’t lay down the whiskies in time to create an exact replacement for Oak Cross. “It’s not trying to be Oak Cross,” Glaser is quick to note, but it was in trying to replicate Oak Cross that Orchard House was born. Eventually, the team gave up on trying to get a replacement, and instead ran with the fruity spirits they were finding along the way.

Compass Box Orchard House

Orchard House, appropriately surrounded by orchard fruit

It’s all about distillery character

Orchard House is a “spirit-forward, fruity style” with the vanilla pastry cream, light oak character that you get from American oak allowing each spirit’s distillery character to evolve over time, too. New oak maturation and sherry bombs are all over the place now, Glaser notes, but he believes that distillery character ought to be at the forefront of the flavour profile. 90% of the whisky is matured in first-fill ex-bourbon barrels, which allow exactly that.

It’s a big step for Compass Box because Orchard House is the first release from the bottler to be wholly made with whiskies that were laid down and entirely matured by Glaser and the team. The core is made up of “perfumed, what the industry calls waxy” Clynelish and fruity Linkwood. Benrinnes comes in as a hefty support, “adding a bit of weight”. There’s also a decent percentage from a distillery in the town of Aberlour – he’s not allowed to say exactly which distillery, but it’s completely sherried, and described by Glaser as ‘meaty’, so you can probably work it out. There’s also a minimal amount (just 2%) of Caol Ila bringing a smoky depth to an otherwise very bright, fresh spirit. 

Compass Box Orchard House label

Orchard House, ready for a close up

We can see this being a brilliant whisky to introduce people to the spirit, as it’s approachable while still packing in a lot of flavour – though that’s not to say seasoned sippers won’t enjoy it too. Unsurprisingly, given its orchard-forward flavour profile, it’s apparently a wonder with cheese.

In classic Compass Box style, the label is something to behold. It was inspired by the work of a pair of Californian artists who go by the name Fallen Fruit, and is a pretty accurate visual representation of what you can expect from the whisky within the bottle. Stranger & Stranger created the finished packaging, a firm that Compass Box has been collaborating with for around 13 years now. 

This marks the start of an exciting future for Compass Box. Glaser is thinking long term into the next 10 and 15 years, laying down whiskies with future core products in mind – Orchard House is just the beginning!

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Fresh green and red apples almost hit you in the face, living up to its name. Underneath there’s notes of grainy pear skin, bright lychee, and a faint hint of aromatic smoke.

Palate: Sweet and bright. Tart apple is balanced by pineapple, golden syrup, buttery pastry, with that subtle peat smoke appearing underneath. 

Finish: Creamier on the finish, with vanilla buttercream and fresh fruit lingering.

You can buy a bottle of Compass Box Orchard House here.

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Compass Box Orchard House

Cocktail of the Week: The Penicillin

This week we turn our attention to one of the great modern cocktails and the ultimate smoky Whisky Sour: the Penicillin cocktail! I’ve been thinking about pineapple on pizza a…

This week we turn our attention to one of the great modern cocktails and the ultimate smoky Whisky Sour: the Penicillin cocktail!

I’ve been thinking about pineapple on pizza a lot recently. Mostly because it seems everybody else has been doing the same. It’s somehow the most divisive culinary conversation of our time (a 2017 YouGov poll found that 29% of people hate the idea. Not dislike it. Hate it.) and its bizarre and brilliant creation continues to amuse.  You see, the controversial pizza style was invented in 1962 in Canada. By a Greek immigrant called Sam Panopoulos. Who was inspired by Americanised versions of Chinese meals such as sweet and sour chicken. So he put a South American fruit on an Italian dish. Which then became to be known as a Hawaiian. What a ridiculous species we are.

This trail of thought made me realise that one of my all-time favourite cocktails, The Penicillin, is also a cross-continental innovation. The Scotch whisky-based serve was invented by an Australian, Sam Ross, in a Manhattan bar, Milk & Honey. While working at the iconic New York bar back in 2005, Ross (now the owner of Attaboy) began riffing on a Gold Rush, which is essentially a Whisky Sour with honey in place of sugar. A recent shipment of Compass Box whisky prompted him to swap bourbon for blended Scotch whisky as the drink’s backbone before he added fresh lemon juice and homemade honey-ginger syrup. What took the drink to the next level, however, was his decision to float some peaty whisky on top.  

What he created was The Penicillin cocktail (a name that’s a nod to medicinal associations ginger, honey, lemon and whisky have), a terrifically smoky Whisky Sour that’s surprisingly easy to make. Which is one of the things I love about it. Ross managed to do something remarkable, create something truly delicious and yet brilliantly simple. It’s what cocktail innovation should be all about. What Ross didn’t realise until later is that he’d also created that rarest of things: a modern classic. The Penicillin cocktail was, for a short time, a New York secret. It wasn’t long, however, before the cocktail started popping up on menus all over and by 2016 cocktail historian Robert Simonson was calling it “the most well-travelled and renowned new cocktail of the 21st century,” in his book A Proper Drink

This week we're making the amazing Penicillin cocktail!

It’s not often you get to see peated whisky shine in a cocktail, but it does here

The secret to the Penicillin cocktail’s success

The Penicillin cocktail’s popularity seems inevitable looking back. It appeared on the scene as pre-Prohibition era serves were making a comeback and whisky cocktails began to cement themselves in drink culture. The profile was delicious and familiar enough to be inviting to those who wouldn’t usually imbibe whisky-based cocktails, but also complex and just strange enough to appeal to those who desired innovation. 

Whatever category you fall in, it’s worth noting that, as with all spirit-forward serves, your Penicillin cocktail is only as going to be good as the whiskies you use to make it. If you want to go truly classic, the Compass Box combo of Great King Street Artist’s Blend and Peat Monster works a treat. Personally, my go-to is the mellow, creamy, sweet, fruity and ever so slightly smoky Black Label, which comes into its own in a Penicillin cocktail. For the peated whisky, you can go for any number of classic Islay bottlings, but the delicately sweet and a measured maritime note of Aerolite Lyndsay brings a classic Islay vibe without going overboard on the smoky elements so I’m using it. Don’t be afraid to play with the ratios of the peaty whisky. If you’re a cautious person, 5ml will be a subtle introduction. On the other end of the scale, 25ml should put some hair on your chest.

In the Difford’s Guide edition of the cocktail (which is excellent. Big-ups), the recipe calls for combining ginger liqueur and honey, which is simpler and less time consuming, but also more expensive than what Ross’ original recipe called for, a homemade honey & ginger syrup. So, I thought it was worth breaking down how you make one of those too. Begin by combining 250ml of honey with the same amount of water and one peeled and sliced piece of ginger root (six inches is about right. Stop laughing) in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, before refrigerating the syrup overnight. Give it one final strain and discard the solids and you’ve got your syrup. Now let’s combine it all together with some Scotch and fresh lemon juice!

This week we're making the amazing Penicillin cocktail!

The Penicillin cocktail

How to make The Penicillin cocktail:

50ml blended whisky (Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 Year Old or Compass Box Great King Street – Artist’s Blend)
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
20ml honey & ginger syrup
15ml smoky whisky (Aerolite Lyndsay 10 Year Old or Compass Box The Peat Monster)
Candied ginger to garnish

Combine the blended whisky, lemon juice, and honey & ginger syrup into your cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and give it a good hard shake, then strain into a chilled rocks glass over a large piece of ice. Then, very gently if it’s your first time, pour the smoky whisky slowly over the back of a spoon so it floats delicately on the top of the drink. Garnish with candied ginger on a skewer and enjoy!

No Comments on Cocktail of the Week: The Penicillin

Pick up a treat for Halloween!

Quench your (blood) thirst with our range of devilishly delicious Halloween drinks.  Halloween is going to look a lot different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun….

Quench your (blood) thirst with our range of devilishly delicious Halloween drinks. 

Halloween is going to look a lot different this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun. Whether you’re planning to throw a socially-distant Halloween party, host a movie night or just vibe in your kitchen dressed as Dracula, one thing you can make sure doesn’t change is the quality of the drink in your hand.

That’s why we’ve created this round-up of spooky or autumnal drinks that are perfect for Halloween. Oh, and each comes with its own spooky serve so you can make the most of whatever you have planned.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Halloween

Beware of the Woods Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

Beware of the Big Bad Gin! From the folks at (That Boutique-y Gin Company), Beware of the Woods is an aromatic and intriguing expression that’s got the perfect aesthetic and profile for Halloween. Just look at that label!

Spooky serve: Dark Woods Negroni 

Our first creepy cocktail is a riff on the classic Negroni, which TBGC adjusted to make it scary enough for the season. It’s even got a cool name and everything. To create the Dark Woods Negroni (see?), squeeze an orange wedge into a rocks glass and then add 25ml of Beware of the Woods Gin, 15ml of Campari, 35ml of sweet rooibos tea and lots of ice. Stir to chill and garnish with an orange slice.

Mozart Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Cream Liqueur

You might already have an idea of what pumpkin spice is thanks to pretty much every café chain in existence, but they don’t have a monopoly on this flavour. Be part of the movement to reclaim its autumnal delights with this tasty treat from Mozart, a brand that knows all about making the finest chocolate liqueurs. Plus, if you want it to be extra spooky, you can always create this cocktail…

Spooky serve: The Gruesome Grasshopper

The ghoulish green colour of this classic cocktail always makes it a Halloween winner. To create it simply fill a shaker with ice cubes and add 25ml of vanilla vodka, 25ml of Monin Crème De Menthe Verte, 25ml of Mozart Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Cream Liqueur and 10ml of fresh cream. Shake and strain into a Martini glass and serve. 

Halloween

Peat Monster Compass Box

This Peat Monster is only to be feared if you’re not a fan of smoky, complex and powerful whisky. Otherwise, you should enjoy its fearsome presence! Its versatility makes it the kind of peated whisky you always want in your drinks cabinet and this makes it particularly handy for the big occasions, especially if you want to create some scary serves. Speaking of which…

Spooky serve: The Blood and Sand

Another cocktail with the winning combination of looking the part, sounding cool and tasting delicious, The Blood and Sand really has it all. Start by popping a coupe glass in the freezer for a few minutes before you start to get it nice and chilled. Then add 30ml of Peat Monster Compass Box, 25ml of Martini Rosso , 25ml of Ableforth’s Cherry Brandy (or Heering Cherry Liqueur) and 25ml of fresh orange juice to a shaker with ice and give your best hard shake for about 30 seconds. Take your chilled glass out of the freezer, pop a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry in the bottom of it and then strain the mix into the glass. Garnish with orange zest before you serve and enjoy!

Halloween

Dead Man’s Fingers Cornish Spiced Rum

For spiced rum lovers, we’ve got one of the most popular expressions around, which also happens to have a devilishly appropriate name. Made using a blend of Caribbean rums, plenty of spices and ZERO actual fingers, this Cornish spiced rum (it doesn’t sound as scary when you call it that) tastes great on its own and mixes beautifully, making it a winner in my book.

Spooky serve: Passion Is Dead

A bespoke serve made by the brand, to create this terrifyingly tropical treat combine 50ml of Dead Man’s Fingers Cornish Spiced Rum, 60ml of ginger beer, 40ml of mango juice, 25ml of lime juice and the flesh of two scooped out passion fruits in a highball glass with ice. Stir vigorously and then garnish with passion fruit and small pieces of ginger.

Halloween

Bathtub Gin 

For those who desire a classic juniper-forward gin that does the business, then we recommend the World’s Best Compound Gin. Seriously, Bathtub Gin was awarded this title at the last World Gin Awards, and for good reason. This aromatic, rich and versatile bottling makes a sublime G&T, but can also be used to make any number of cocktails.

Spooky serve: Bathtub Blackberry Fizz

A dark and delicious serve, the Blackberry Fizz is distinctly autumnal and looks fab. To make, add 50ml of Bathtub Gin to a highball glass along with 5 blackberries. Muddle them at the bottom of the glass, then add half a bottle of premium tonic water and stir. Fill the glass with ice and top with more tonic water then garnish with more blackberries and an orange slice.

Halloween

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey

An excellent expression with an equally cool sounding name, this bottling is actually named after The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City, home to the largest collection of Irish whiskey in North America and where this whiskey was made. It’s sweet, spicy and smooth and just waiting to be experimented with in any number of spooky serves, like this one…

Spooky serve: The Rabbit’s Remains Boulevardier

Whisky’s answer to the sublime Negroni, The Boulevardier is easy to make and its dark red appearance makes it an ideal Hallows Eve serve. To make, combine 45ml of The Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey, 25ml of Campari and 25ml of Martini Rosso in a mixing glass with ice (this doesn’t actually contain rabbit, it’s just a name, folks). Stir, then strain into a chilled tumbler over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist and serve.

Halloween

Crystal Head Vodka 

No, this vodka has nothing to do with terrible sequels to classic, beloved film franchises. In fact, we have a different Hollywood legend to thank for this delightful creation, the Dan Aykroyd. If you’re dressing up as a Blues Brother or Ghostbuster this year you’ll enjoy this, as will anyone who wants a big cool-looking skull in their home for Halloween!

Spooky serve: The Bloody Mary

Always a home-run at this time of year, the Bloody Mary is perfect for Halloween night, or the morning after… Start by adding ice into a shaker with 125ml of tomato juice, 50ml of Crystal Head Vodka, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and 25ml of Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez. Then you’ll need to add a ¼ tsp of Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of hot sauce and a pinch each of salt, black pepper, celery salt and fennel seeds. Shake then strain into a tall glass with ice and garnish with a celery stick, lemon wedge and a cherry tomato.

1 Comment on Pick up a treat for Halloween!

Compass Box celebrates 20 years in whisky

In the early 2000s, Compass Box turned industry heads with the launch of a 100% blended grain Scotch whisky called Hedonism, the first of its kind. Twenty years and more than…

In the early 2000s, Compass Box turned industry heads with the launch of a 100% blended grain Scotch whisky called Hedonism, the first of its kind. Twenty years and more than 100 whiskies later, the team has released Hedonism Felicitas – a tribute to the legendary bottling that launched the brand. Here, founder John Glaser reflects on two decades of whisky-making…

It’s hard to imagine the modern Scotch whisky industry without Compass Box. Ever since its inception, the company has sought to take the category in directions others daren’t – challenging Scotch whisky convention with different uses of oak, advocating for greater transparency in whisky, and, of course, reimagining what blended whiskies could be.

“Launching our business with Hedonism was widely seen at the time as unusual, because so few Scotch whisky companies bottle 100% grain whiskies,” Glaser said. “I am hopeful that over the years, we have shown people how delicious good quality Scotch grain whisky can be and as a result, Hedonism has become a signature whisky for us.”

This desire to think differently is reflected once again in their latest bottling, a combination of three grain whiskies – Port Dundas, Strathclyde and North British – each distilled in a different decade. “Hedonism Felicitas is intended to convey the good fortune, happiness and gratitude we feel having met and worked with so many remarkable people,” whiskymaker James Saxon, who led the project, commented.

John Glaser, looking pensive

On October 23, 2000, Glaser began blending whiskies at his west London home. Today, the business boasts two blending rooms in London, 20 international staff, independent stocks of maturing whiskies in Scotland, and more awards for innovation than any other Scotch producer. As Hedonism Felicitas hits shelves (and sells out almost instantly), we caught up with Glaser to chart the rise of Compass Box from the inside…

Master of Malt: Congratulations on two decades of Compass Box! Could you talk about what the company was like when you first launched Hedonism, and how that initial set-up compares to today?

John Glaser: Thank you! At times, I do struggle to believe it has been 20 years. When Hedonism Batch 1 emerged from the bottling line, ‘the company’ was just me. I’d create blends from my kitchen table in west London, writing my recipes in a little notebook. The ‘office’ moved to a basement property underneath a hairdresser in Marylebone before we created our blending rooms in Chiswick. From a team of one, there are now nearly 20 people lending their energy and creativity to Compass Box. Back in 2000, I’d be in contact with both brokers and distilling companies about stocks which isn’t so different from now. That being said, I was only making one whisky, whereas today we need to source supplies for eight regular releases. Many more casks go into each release, too, whereas the original Hedonism comprised just two casks. The idea that we can always improve appeals to me a great deal – that intention to make things better has very much stayed the same.

MoM: Across experimenting, finalising a blend and releasing the end result, is there any aspect of the development cycle you enjoy more than the rest?

JG: Every stage of making a whisky has its fascinating moments and is rewarding in its own way. I still love coming across a parcel of whisky which is truly delicious, one for which so many ideas arise. However, the biggest ‘thrill’ comes when we know we have found the recipe for a new product; there is nothing more we wish to do to make it better. It’s fantastic to taste the liquid at this stage and say, “We’re really going to make people happy with this. People are going to love it.”

Compass Box Hedonism (left), and the new Felicitas bottling which is sadly sold out

MoM: Hedonism Felicitas pays tribute to the whisky that originally launched the company. When you were developing it, did you set out to create a specific flavour profile? 

JG: We did not start with a specific flavour profile in mind, other than to keep it within our defined ‘tramlines’ of what a Hedonism-style grain whisky is (namely, a vanilla-driven style and a softness on the palate). For any limited edition Hedonism, we want to capture the compelling richness and sweetness of aged Scotch grain whisky so, for Felicitas, it was a question of sourcing stocks that would ensure we could achieve that. Parcels came in and were removed over the eight months it took us to agree the recipe. We were very happy with five barrels of aromatic and silky whisky from the Strathclyde Distillery, but it wasn’t until we included the sherry butts of whisky from Port Dundas Distillery that we struck on the necessary richness. Then it was about adjusting the bottling strength to ensure the whisky carried itself in the right way.

MoM: Looking in, the company has accomplished so much in those 20 years. Could you share one or two of your most memorable highlights?

JG: There have been so many. One of the early highlights was the famous whisky and beer writer Michael Jackson giving me our first award for whisky innovation in 2002. He called me the enfant terrible of the whisky world, which I took as a compliment. That was the first time I felt that the whisky ‘industry’ was taking Compass Box seriously. Years later, after a staff tasting at the original Milk & Honey bar in New York, Sam Ross used Compass Box whiskies I’d left behind to create the Penicillin cocktail. If Compass Box were somehow to go away tomorrow, the Penicillin cocktail would live on. It’s nice to know we played a small role in the creation of a contemporary classic in the cocktail canon.

The Compass Box range is available from Master of Malt

No Comments on Compass Box celebrates 20 years in whisky

The Nightcap: 16 October

Video games, new whisky, the UK’s first Bloody Mary doughnut and more all await you in this week’s edition of The Nightcap. Get stuck in. Did you know that the…

Video games, new whisky, the UK’s first Bloody Mary doughnut and more all await you in this week’s edition of The Nightcap. Get stuck in.

Did you know that the Met Office has said that Saturday 3 October was the wettest day for UK-wide rainfall since records began in 1891? These aren’t the kinds of records we want to be setting. ‘Woman eats the most amount of hot dogs in a minute’ or ‘man sets the record for owning the highest number of cats’ is the type of story we want to read. Aside from the latest news from the world of booze, of course. We’re always excited to see what’s going on and, hopefully, you are too. Which is why you’re here. So, let’s get on with it. It’s The Nightcap!

On the MoM blog this week we were delighted to launch another incredible #BagThisBundle competition, this time with plenty of delightful Mermaid Gin expressions up for grabs. Adam revealed the news that The Macallan has launched one of the most astonishing ranges of whisky we’ve ever seen before continuing our Sober October coverage by profiling the category-defying Three Spirit Drinks before suggesting some delicious, hearty, comforting drinks for Autumn. Our Cocktail of the Week is a silky serve that needs some shakin’, The Silver Fizz, while our New Arrival is one of the world’s great brandies. Elsewhere, Annie spent five minutes in the company of wonderful Rich Woods from Scout London and Henry had a taste of a particularly intriguing Cuban rum.

The Nightcap

The name ‘Ao’, means blue and is a reference to the oceans that connect the distilleries together.

Beam Suntory announces “first-ever world blended whisky”

There might not be much travel going on at the moment but, as well as a chance to see something other than the inside of your home, holidaymakers will receive another treat in the future thanks to Beam Suntory’s latest innovation, the “first-ever world blended whisky”. ‘Ao’, a global travel retail exclusive, was made using whisky from five distilleries in Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US. There’s no official word on which distilleries were used, but given the brand owns one Irish distillery, one Canadian distillery, and has an American and Japanese distillery in its name, you’ll only really be guessing which Scotch it’s opted for (Laphroaig, Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Glen Garioch and Ardmore are the contenders). Beam Suntory has revealed that fifth-generation Suntory chief blender, Shinji Fukuyo, selected each liquid based-on “Suntory’s globally-recognised Monozukuri craftsmanship” and that this innovative blended whisky “embodies the spirit of Suntory and is a tribute to the liquid’s long history”. Fukuyo added, “Ao is an exceptional whisky which, through the art of Suntory blending, allows you to enjoy the unique characteristics of all five major whisky-making regions.”  The distinctive climate, fermentation and distillation processes in each whisky-making region should lead to quite the profile. But then, we would know, given That Boutique-y Whisky Company has already created a World Whisky Blend. Not to brag or anything… 

The Nightcap

New Compass Box whisky is always a treat

Compass Box releases “experiment in oak and smoke”

Some people really know how to celebrate occasions. Take Compass Box, for example. The maverick Scotch whisky brand has marked its 20th anniversary year by announcing the release of  more intriguing new whisky. That’s how you do it, folks. Hot on the heels of  Hedonism Felicitas and Rogues’ Banquet, Peat Monster Arcana is described as the “result of a long-running experiment into the secrets and mysteries of oak and smoke”. Basically, a cask strength version of The Peat Monster was further matured in three French oak custom casks for more than two years and then blended with malt whiskies from the Talisker, Miltonduff and Ardbeg Distilleries. It was bottled at 46% ABV without any additional colouring or chill-filtration and there’s 8,328 bottles produced globally, so if you want one I’d suggest you act quickly. “We have been experimenting with French oak since the early days of our company,” says Compass Box founder and whisky maker John Glaser. “Peat Monster Arcana is the first Compass Box to feature smoky whiskies matured in French oak. We’re delighted to be able to build on this experiment in our 20th anniversary year and we hope dedicated fans of The Peat Monster discover a new side to this charismatic whisky.”  The new dram, which goes well with soda water or blue cheese, will be discussed during a virtual tasting hosted by Glaser, who will also talk about the past, present and future of his brand on Sunday 22 November at 20:00. You can sign up here. If you miss out, don’t worry, Peat Monster Arcana is on its way to MoM Towers…

The Nightcap

The Coastal Cask Collection were all distilled after the distillery was reborn in 2008

Glenglassaugh celebrates its rebirth with the Coastal Cask Collection

We love stories about distilleries brought back from the dead here at Master of Malt so we were delighted that Glenglassaugh is releasing some very special whiskies distilled after the Highland distillery was reborn in November 2008. Prior to this date, it had been out of action for 20 years and few thought they’d ever see it distilling again. But it was revived by Stuart Nickerson and a team including Ian Buxton, who wrote a very good book on the subject. The distillery is now safely in the Brown Forman stable. Anyway, back to those limited-edition releases, master blender Dr Rachel Barrie explained the idea behind them: “No matter what is happening in the world around us, each day the surf rolls in on Sandend Bay and the invigorating North Sea air passes through our coastal distillery and warehouses. That’s the beauty of Glenglassaugh’s coastal casks, each truly a distillation of nature’s elements, come wind, rain or shine. Over a decade since the spirit reawakened in 2008, Coastal Casks is the first global release of a selection of Glenglassaugh cask bottlings at 10 and 11 years old. Like the surf in Sandend Bay, each cask brings rolling waves of flavour that intensify and evolve in each and every sip. Nurtured by the coast, each Glenglassaugh Coastal Cask shares a unique and luscious sweetness. With tasting notes ranging from raspberry fruit jam to salted caramel; tropical fruit syrup to chocolate profiterole and clotted cream,  this collection is a celebration of Glenglassaugh’s coastal malt journey, which I hope you will savour to the full.” There are ten bottlings, each exclusive to a particular market. We’re hoping to get some of Cask 559, the UK release, in at Master of Malt soon, so watch the New Products page.

The Nightcap

Exciting times ahead at Echlinville Distillery!

Echlinville Distillery undergoes £9m expansion

Echlinville Distillery, the producer of Dunville whiskey and creator of Weavers Dry Gin and Echlinville Single Estate Irish Pot Still Gin, has announced this week that the distillery is set to be transformed thanks to a huge £9m expansion project. The plan, which Invest NI contributed £659k towards, is to increase the distillery’s production capacity and create a new visitor centre which will create 36 new jobs in operational and administrative roles. “Irish whiskey is recognised as the world’s fastest-growing spirits category, which is giving us a great foundation upon which to build our export business with the help of this funding from Invest NI,” Shane Braniff, the owner of Echlinville Distillery. “Every bottle that leaves our distillery features our address in Kircubbin and tells of our roots in the Ards Peninsula. Alongside increasing exports around the world, we also hope to raise awareness of what this part of Ireland has to offer and attract more visitors to the area with the development of a dedicated visitor centre.”

Kraken Rum launches Halloween game with Rockstar

If you need a way to make the most of Halloween from the comfort and safety of home then The Kraken Rum might just have the thing for you. The brand has announced it’s teaming up with legendary Rockstar Games director and writer, John Zurhellen (the creative force behind Grand Theft Auto IV, Manhunt 1 & 2 and Red Dead Redemption) to launch an online video game. Right now the working title is Screamfest 4 The Kraken’s Revenge and the game will see fans control an actual human being, via a smartphone or laptop, using on-screen game commands (‘forward’, ‘back’, ‘hide’, that sort of thing), trying to escape the Kraken’s nemesis, The Balthazoid (I have no idea what that is either, it sounds like a type of vermouth). The online game will run from Wednesday 28 October until Friday 30 October, with slots running from 5pm each day. Tickets will be available via The Kraken’s online hub The League Of Darkness from 9am on Monday 12 October. In exchange for tickets, fans will also receive The Kraken’s Survival Pack, including a game-guide, ingredients and just enough delicious rum to create an exclusive Halloween cocktail. “The brief for Kraken Screamfest was simple: come up with a concept more terrifying and warped than anything 2020 has to offer,” says Zurhellen. “So, I delved deep into our primal fears – being hunted, tight spaces, dark shadows, hate-filled creatures – and I’m pretty confident I’ll deliver one of the most terrifying experiences to be seen in UK homes this year”. 

The Nightcap

Simon Robinson (left) with Rhona Cullinane and Steve Spurrier

Classic Method campaign unveiled for English Sparkling Wine 

English and Welsh wine is booming at the moment with sales and vineyard area increasing every year. There’s now a proliferation of styles and grape varieties which though exciting can be confusing to the consumer. Riding to the rescue is industry organisation Wine GB which has come up with a term to differentiate sparkling wines that are bottled-fermented as in Champagne from sparkling wines that might be carbonated or made like Prosecco. From now on the words “Classic Method” and a snazzy hallmark will appear on bottles made in this way, and the plan is for all bottles in future to clearly label how they became fizzy.  Only wines with the Quality Sparkling Wine PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) will be eligible which have to be made with the classic Champagne grape varieties. Simon Robinson, chairman of Wine GB and owner of Hattingley Valley Wines, commented: “We have long recognised the need to positively differentiate and protect our flagship category – wines produced from the classic method. This is the hero style that has put Great Britain on the wine map and led us to more extraordinarily exciting developments in our industry. We now boast a broad range of diverse and high-quality wines in all styles. Our sparkling wines, however, remain at the forefront of our industry and are driving sales both here and overseas. This campaign has set us on the path to ensure that our classic method wines are more positively recognized among the finest wine regions of the world. This is the first such initiative from what is an extremely young trade body, Wine GB was only formed in 2017, and it will be interesting to see whether “Classic Method” means anything to customers. 

The Nightcap

Want to sip on some sustainably-shaken cocktails? Head over to Camden’s shiny new Crossroads!

Crossroads takes over Camden’s Ladies & Gentlemen site

What was the old Camden Ladies & Gentlemen site has been giving new life in the form of Crossroads, which sits beneath the pavement in an old Victorian WC right under the Camden Town bridge. It only opened back in August, and this week team MoM finally made it over! Run by husband and wife duo Bart and Monika Miedeksza, what’s special about it is that it’s fully committed to its zero waste principles. There’s no citrus on the menu as it’s notoriously wasteful – where many bars will go through around four cases of limes each week, Crossroads doesn’t even use 20 individual fruits (mostly for Daiquiris, Bart tells me). Spare Champagne? They’ll whip up a Champagne vinegar to add some delicious acidity to the gin-based, rickey-inspired Oregami cocktail! Bay cuttings from Bart’s own tree at home sit along the bar, along with other various potted plants and herbs, which then end up in my delightful Bay cocktail with white rum, vermouth and tonic. A smoky Calvados-based serve called Jack & Jill battles to steal the show with Pepper, multi-faceted spicy rye- and black pepper-based take on an Old Fashioned. We’re even presented with a small bowl of pickled veg to snack on, which would otherwise have gone to waste from the cocktail production. In the spirit of sustainability, flamboyant garnishes are nowhere to be found here: giant ice cubes and a singular leaf as a garnish (if any) paired with delicate glassware are quite enough. At its core though, Crossroads is just your friendly neighbourhood bar, so while the ingredients may sound complicated the bar itself is far from pretentious. Bart’s passion is infectious, though if you’re worried you may not be able to make it down soon, we also heard that there’s a collection of pre-bottled cocktails on the way…

The Nightcap

The world’s first Bloody Mary doughnut is finally here. What took you so long?

And finally… did somebody say Bloody Mary doughnut?

There are two guaranteed pick-me-ups when you’re feeling a bit peaky in the morning, a Bloody Mary and a box of doughnuts. So it seems crazy that nobody has thought to combine the two. Until now….yes, “gourmet” doughnut shop Longboys has teamed up with Bloody Drinks to create what they claim to be the world’s first Bloody Mary doughnut. Dubbed the Bloody Longboy, it’s made from dough flavoured with real Bloody Mary and then filled with, according to the press release: “Bloody Mary créme, confit tomato, lemon celery confiture and Bloody Mary gel. It’s then garnished with tomato and celery crisps and dusted with tomato sugar.” Sounds pretty tasty. Just in time for Halloween, you can buy one from Longboys in London, which also delivers, but we reckon it should be available on the NHS. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 16 October

Valentine’s Day gifts that they’ll love

Save yourself the panic of finding the perfect Valentine’s Day present by indulging in one of these brilliantly boozy gifts.  The day of enforced romance is upon us. And you…

Save yourself the panic of finding the perfect Valentine’s Day present by indulging in one of these brilliantly boozy gifts. 

The day of enforced romance is upon us. And you know that a box of chocolates isn’t going to cut it anymore. To truly set the stage for romance, you need something personal, something impressive. For those who have a passion for the stronger stuff, that means something boozy.

But, let’s be honest, finding that perfect something can feel impossible. Who has the time to rifle through all those waves of present ideas trying to figure what feels ‘right’? Well, don’t fret, because we’ve rounded up the most romantic expressions we have at MoM Towers to save you the stress of searching. Who knows, you might even get lucky – they might share some of their new booze with you!

If you’re still stuck, then you can always check out our gift ideas, pick yourself up a gift voucher, blend or personalise your own whisky or let our gift finder ensure that the perfect present will be yours. 

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

Valentine’s Day Tasting Set

The Valentine’s Day Tasting Set (above) is the obvious place to start for those in need of a pressie.  Within this set, you’ll find five different 30ml wax-sealed drams of gin, complete with a snazzy sleeve that leaves a space for you to write something original and romantic (or something you found while Googling) to your loved one.

Valentine’s Day Tasting Set contents:

Hernö Gin, Salcombe Gin – Start Point, Elephant Gin – Elephant Strength, Japanese Gin and Rhubarb Triangle Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

 

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

Eden Mill Love Gin

Another ideal gift in gin form, Scottish craft brewer Eden Mill made the delicious Love Gin with juniper, coriander seed and angelica as well as rhubarb root, rose petal, goji berry, elderberry, marshmallow root and raspberry leaf, before infusing this tasty treat with hibiscus flowers post-distillation.

What does it taste like?

Floral, fresh and zesty with juniper, clean lime citrus, strawberries and cream, red berries, rose and slightly sweet hibiscus.

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

Compass Box Flaming Heart

If you’re stuck for something to get for the whisky-lover in your life, then Compass Box Flaming Heart ticks all the boxes: it’s delicious and it’s got a festive(ish) theme. This powerful and smoky expression was made by blending whisky from Caol Ila, Clynelish, Deanston and more before it was bottled at 48.9% ABV.

What does it taste like?

Coastal air, fiery peat, honey on toast, vanilla pod, drying Christmas spices, oatcakes, salted butter, orange, clove and a very slight touch of raisin cookies.

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

Mermaid Pink Gin

Pink is basically the official colour of Valentine’s Day (I’m a fuchsia man myself) so a delicious pink gin seems an appropriate present. We recommend this beauty from The Isle of Wight Distillery, a delicious variation of the excellent Mermaid Gin which was infused with island strawberries. This addition not only gives Mermaid Pink Gin a sweeter profile, but also that delightful pink hue.

What does it taste like?

Light and bright, the strawberry notes arrive right away, supported by citrus and slowly building juniper spice. Samphire gives is a coastal edge, while hints of liquorice root and coriander develop later on.

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

Four Roses Single Barrel 100 Proof

Giving your lover roses on Valentine’s Day can be bad or badass depending on how you play it. Lazily buying an old, wilted bouquet that 100 other people have bought from the same store because you’ve run out of ideas? That’s bad. Plumping for a bottle of the sweet, rich and intense Four Rose Single Barrel 100 Proof? That’s badass. You know what to do.

What does it taste like?

Chocolate, toffee, vanilla, tart stone fruits, prunes, baking spices, morello cherries, oak and butterscotch

 

Valentine's Day gifts that they'll love

The Lakes Rhubarb & Rosehip Gin Liqueur

At this time of celebration, you may be tempted to pop open a bottle of bubbly and toast your love. With the right liqueur, you can do that in style. Add The Lakes Rhubarb & Rosehip Gin Liqueur to a glass of sparkling wine (or tonic water, for that matter) and you’ll be rewarded with a subtle, balanced and delicately sweet drink that looks as good as it tastes.

What does it taste like?

Tart rhubarb starts things off, with a prickle of peppery juniper and creamy angelica to balance it out. Lighting floral fragrance develops throughout.

 

1 Comment on Valentine’s Day gifts that they’ll love

New Arrival of the Week: Compass Box No Name No 2

Today we have a smoky blended malt so special that it doesn’t even have a name! It could only be a release from those crazy cats at Compass Box. Until…

Today we have a smoky blended malt so special that it doesn’t even have a name! It could only be a release from those crazy cats at Compass Box.

Until recently, the components of most blended whiskies were a closely-guarded secret. It was all about the brand, one didn’t want to confuse the customer with too much information. But this is changing: just look at Johnnie Walker’s new Black Label Origins, a series of blends based around regions and distilleries. Part of the credit for this opening up has to go to Compass Box.

This small scale blender was founded in 2000 by John Glaser, an American who had previously worked with Johnnie Walker. Since then his company has won Whisky Magazine’s Innovator of the Year prize six times by pushing the boundaries of what is possible or even legal with Scotch whisky. You know you’re doing something right when you get into trouble with both the EU and the SWA.

John Glaser Compass Box

‘You can find the perfect blend’, John Glaser

The company buys a mixture of aged stock, and new make spirit which is then aged. To spice things up, Glaser and his team also acquire casks of ready-aged blends which are genuine mysteries, not even the people selling them know what they were made up of. Whereas some blends might contain more than 40 component parts, Compass Box bottlings tend to be much simpler. 

The company tries to be as transparent as possible but in the past they have run up against EU regulations that forbid whisky producers from advertising the age of the component parts. You’re only allowed to state the age of the youngest part. And with the Spice Tree blend they incurred the displeasure of the SWA because it used new French oak staves placed within the cask. Compass Box managed to get around the regulations by fitting new oak ends to an old cask. 

But this was nothing compared with Affinity released earlier this year which indulged in some cross-category canoodling by blending whisky with Calvados. And it worked beautifully. Compass Box products look striking too, with packaging by Stranger & Stranger, and names inspired by art and literature, or sometimes no name at all! Which brings us on to our New Product of the Week. 

The first No Name was a limited edition released in 2017 and so-called because no name could do justice to the smoky character of the whisky. Or perhaps Compass Box just ran out of ideas. Now the follow-up is here, No Name No 2! It’s a blend of  Caol Ila aged in sherry casks, Talisker aged in charred hogsheads, some Clynelish and then a mysterious element, a blend of Highland malts finished in new French oak. It’s bottled at 48.9% ABV. So what does all this add up to? Pretty much everything we have ever tried from Compass Box has been delicious and this is no exception. It’s a combination of the smoky and salty with the custard, clove spices, and both dried fruit and fresh fruit like apples and cherries, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. See full tasting note below. Now all it needs is a name.

No Name No 2, nice label

Tasting notes from The Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Lots of smoky peat with some salty saline notes, vanilla and custard with cloves, sweet floral notes and orange peel.

Palate: Really creamy, crème brûlée, with bonfire smoke, black pepper and salt, all the time with fresh apples and dried apricots.

Finish: Lingering wood smoke with red cherries and a touch of tannin. 

 

 

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Compass Box No Name No 2

Dream Drams… with Joe Hall of Satan’s Whiskers

You miraculously find yourself on a desert island equipped with a beach hut bar and eight spirits of your choosing. What are you sipping? For Joe Hall, general manager at…

You miraculously find yourself on a desert island equipped with a beach hut bar and eight spirits of your choosing. What are you sipping? For Joe Hall, general manager at London bar Satan’s Whiskers, survival sustenance means frozen Cognac shots, amontillado Sherry and Piña Colada pineapple goodness…

It’s a dilemma we’ve all pondered at one point or another. If you should find yourself stranded on a remote island with little more than a selection of handpicked bottles to call company, which particular boozes would fill your glass?

We put the question to Joe Hall, general manager at laid-back neighbourhood hangout Satan’s Whiskers. For the unacquainted, Satan’s serves up some of Bethnal Green’s finest cocktails to a formidable hip hop soundtrack. The daily-changing menu is packed with riffs on classics so killer, the man himself would patently approve.

Satan’s Whiskers

Say hello to Joe Hall!

No stranger to the back bar, Hall’s career started at former north London bar Wax Jambu at the age of 18. After a few years he moved to Bristol – “a place that I still think has one of the best cocktail scenes in the country, with Hyde & Co, Redlight and Filthy XIII leading the charge at the moment,” he says before returning to London to Beaufort Bar at The Savoy, which won Best International Hotel Bar at The Spirited Awards 2015 during his tenure. Hall left The Savoy for a junior bartender position at Satan’s Whiskers, which almost four years on, he now runs.

“During my time at Satan’s I’ve learnt a lot, taken a great sense of ownership over the place and won a few competitions,” he continues namely Belvedere’s Grain to Glass 2019 and the Diplomatico World Tournament 2017, for which he was crowned the European winner “nowadays I’m much more settled and focused on the advancement and training of the staff at the bar. In my limited spare time, I’m also a certified Cognac educator on behalf of the BNIC.”

Being the first to tackle our ever-so-slightly shameless homage to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs is a pretty big undertaking, but Hall did not disappoint. After raiding his metaphorical suitcase Border Patrol-style, MoM asked him to talk us through the contents. Here’s what we found…

Martell VSOP

Why? The perfect mixing Cognac. Clean, Borderies-only and lees-less liquid amazing in Harvards, French 75s, and Cognac and Tonics. Also, perfect for those frozen Cognac shots we all love right?

Cognac Frapin Fontpinot XO

Why? This is the Cognac you want to drink neat. Unbelievably flavourful product of single vineyard Grand Champagne grapes, aged for a long time in dry cellars. It’s rich and complex, but has remarkably distinct tropical notes passionfruit and pineapple. This is an amazing example of what, for me, makes Cognac stand out amongst other spirits.

Hidalgo Amontillado Napoleón

Why? Pleasant, accessible amontillado Sherry. Maybe too light for the ultra-serious sherry heads of this world but it’s perfect for clean, crisp mixed drinks. Makes my favourite [version of the cocktail] Adonis, and Sherry and Tonic or a Sobremesa, a drink of mine that contains sherry, sweet vermouth, cucumber and a touch of mezcal.

Satan’s Whiskers

Satan’s Whiskers, which we hear is a hell of a night…

Potocki Vodka

Why? Why isn’t everyone aware of this stuff?! It’s through distilling only twice with no filtration during the production process that creates this beautifully-flavoured and textured rye vodka from Poland. It makes Martinis that are absolutely out of this world.

Compass Box Hedonism

Why? I knew I wanted to include something from Compass Box, but picking which bottle is a real challenge. They have such a fantastic range, with some unbelievable blends on offer. As far as pushing the envelope and mind expansion goes, Hedonism has it all, showing that grain whisky can be 100% delicious too.

Kahlua

Why? You wouldn’t be able to make any White Russians without this.

Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva Rum

Why? The fondest memories in my entire career are of my time in Venezuela with Diplomatico and the rest of the European competitors. Such wonderful hosting, food, country, weather and… rum. This is the kind of rum you can drink in cocktails during the day, on ice in the evening, and straight out the bottle at night. And that’s just what we did.

Virginia Black

Why? As if I could do any kind of Desert Island Discs piece from a cocktail bar that only plays hip hop without referencing Drake. I like to think we’re the only small, curated industry cocktail bar that stocks it, let alone has it taking pride of place in the centre of the back bar. Tastes 100% acceptable.

Satan’s Whiskers

From frozen Cognac shots to Sobremesas, Hall serves up some of Bethnal Green’s finest

In-keeping with the theme, if you could take one book with you, which would you choose?

Champagne Cocktails by Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller. Apart from being an informative and succinct list of fancy drinks, this book does a fantastic job of evoking the convivial fun that drinking Champagne should be. Having this on a desert island would get some good celebratory nostalgia going!

And your luxury item?

My phone. Just for the Instagram. Can you imagine the photo opportunities? Coconut shell cocktails and banana leaves… My stories would go viral.

Finally, if you could only drink one cocktail there, what would it be?

On a desert island I’m going to need all the sustenance and nutrition I can get. So, out of necessity more than anything else, I’m going to pick the humble Piña Colada. Plenty of fresh pineapple goodness and calories to sustain me. If you’re going to get stranded on a desert island, you may as well get into it…

No Comments on Dream Drams… with Joe Hall of Satan’s Whiskers

Springtime treats for Mother’s Day

Struggling for Mother’s Day presents? In need to replace the winter warmers with refreshing, spring-tastic booze? Well then you’ve come to the right place. With Mother’s Day fast approaching (it’s…

Struggling for Mother’s Day presents? In need to replace the winter warmers with refreshing, spring-tastic booze? Well then you’ve come to the right place.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (it’s Sunday 31st) and spring very much in full flow, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some seasonal spirits and splash out on great gift ideas.

Fortunately for you, we’re on hand to give you a, err… hand. Not only have we put together a show-stopping list of perfect presents on our Mother’s Day gifts page (where you’ll find gin gifts, whisky gifts, tasting sets, gift sets and gift vouchers), but we’ve also picked out a super selection of spring-themed tipples that we reckon you and the matriarch in your family would most certainly love to sip on a warm evening.

So, what are you waiting for? Brilliant booze is just a scroll away…

The Epicurean

One of Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts, The Epicurean is an expression created to highlight the best of Scotland’s Lowland region and tell the story of a 1930s Glaswegian maverick, who is pictured on the bottle’s label. A small-batch bottling that’s presented without any additional colouring or chill-filtration, The Epicurean is another winner from the ever-reliable Douglas Laing that’s delicious neat or in a variety of serves.

What does it taste like?:

Apples, pears and white grapes, chocolate fudge, cloudy lemonade, honey’d barley and a thin layer of thyme honey are joined by notes of elegant lemongrass, grist and cereals, as well as a pinch of pepper.

Spring-tastic serve: The Epicurean Horse’s Neck

Douglas Laing created this cocktail to highlight all that’s great about The Epicurean’s light, sweet and grassy profile. To make, simply add ice, lemon peel and 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters to a tall glass. Then add 25ml of The Epicurean and top with a good quality ginger ale. Stir and then serve, while preparing yourself for any number of Godfather-based dad jokes.

Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin

Who doesn’t look at this beauty and immediately think of sprucing up their G&Ts or creating any number of delicious cocktails? You may know Whitley Neill as the English gin with an exotic, African inspired flavour profile, but the brand has looked closer to home for its inspiration with this expression. This Rhubarb & Ginger Gin pairs two rustic and distinctive flavours in delicious gin-tastic harmony, to the extent that the World Gin Awards 2018 felt it deserved a silver medal in the Flavoured Gin category!

What does it taste like?:

Subtly tart with clear rhubarb influence. A twist of orange sweetness and herbaceous coriander brings balance to the palate.

Spring-tastic serve: The Rhubarb and Ginger Spritz

This cocktail is spring and simplicity in a glass, metaphorically of course. To make, simply take a highball glass and fill with cubed ice. Pour 50ml Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin and 15ml of lemon juice into the glass and give it a quick stir to infuse. Top with a good quality tonic water, then garnish with fresh orange slices and serve to your guests who are no doubt picking flowers or birthing lambs or whatever people do when it’s springtime.

Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition

A rich, fruity and intriguing expression, Allta (Scots Gaelic for ‘wild’) was released as part of the pioneering Private Edition series. It’s the very first whisky to be created from a bespoke strain of wild yeast growing on local barley and the resulting spirit was matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Classic Glenmorangie style meets experimental flair. What’s not to love?

What does it taste like?:

Rounded, with biscuity, yeasty tones, floral notes of carnations, vanilla, butter candy, soft raisins, gentle mint and sweet mandarin orange.

Spring-tastic serve: The Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is delicious and simple. What more could you ask from a cocktail? To create, start by putting a level teaspoon of brown sugar into an Old Fashioned glass. Then add a splash of hot water and a two dashes of Fee Brothers Orange bitters. Stir vigorously so that the sugar dissolves, then add 80ml of Glenmorangie Allta Private Edition. Stir a bit more, add ice cubes, stir a bit more and garnish with a piece of orange peel. Serve while trying to keep the yeast-based facts to a minimum. It’s not much of a crowd pleaser for those who aren’t whisky geeks like us.

Issan (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

For those who want an introduction to the superb category of cane juice spirits, this complex and characterful Rhum Agricole should do the trick. It was sourced by That Boutique-y Rum Company from Issan, a Thai distillery that places a pleasing emphasis on sustainability and community. The spirit is made with the juice from red sugar cane, which is distilled in the copper pot still that you see on the label. Intriguing, tasty and perfect for enjoying in cocktails or on its own, this is one for the adventurous types.

What does it taste like?:

Grassy and herbaceous, with green olive water, damp hay, tinned sweetcorn water, aromatic vanilla, butterscotch, dark berries and a hint of honey blossom lingers.

Spring-tastic serve: Neat

It’s really worth trying this one on its own before you indulge yourself in the wonderful world of Agricole rum cocktails. The connoisseurs of this style of spirit will be rewarded with the kind of profile they adore, while newcomers will get a chance to experience the delights of its unique character in all of its naked glory.

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old

The flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery and a sublime introduction to the Lowland region, Glenkinchie 12 Year Old was declared the winner of the Best Lowland Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards 2016 for good reason. Full of light, sweet and creamy notes, this is one to have fun and play with in a number of serves.

What does it taste like?:

Light and aromatic with hints of barley malt, almonds, hazelnuts, stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels and manuka honey/beeswax.

Spring-tastic serve: The Whisky Sour

It’s a classic for good reason, the Whisky Sour. To create your own barnstorming edition, you’ll need to add 45ml of Glenkinchie 12 Year Old, 25ml of fresh lemon juice and 25ml of simple syrup (if you want to make your own, it’s one part water to one part sugar) to a shaker filled with ice. Then shake the mix and strain it into a tumbler filled with fresh ice. Finally, garnish with a single Luxardo Maraschino Cherry and a lemon wedge, then serve and raise a glass to whisky, springtime, whisky, Mother’s Day and great whisky!

Monkey 47 Dry Gin

An ever-popular, wonderfully unusual and utterly delicious gin from the Black Forest in Germany, Monkey 47 contains a total of 47 botanicals (actual monkeys, or indeed any member of the band The Monkeys aren’t one them, relax) and was bottled at a healthy 47%. No prizes for guessing why it’s called Monkey 47 (also presumably because monkeys rock). Among the 47 botanicals are the likes of Acorus calamus, almond, angelica, bitter orange, blackberry, cardamom, cassia, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon verbena, cloves, coriander, cranberries, cubeb, dog rose, elderflower, ginger, Grains of Paradise, hawthorn berries, hibiscus abelmoschus, hibiscus syriacus… you get the idea.

What does it taste like?:

Fresh grassy citrus, sweet liquorice, plenty of spice, juicy berries, cardamom, pine and herbal juniper.

Spring-tastic serve: Schwarzendorff Martini

A brilliant Black Forest-inspired twist on the universally adored cocktail, the Schwarzendorff Martini couldn’t be simpler to make. All you have to do is combine 45ml of Monkey 47 Dry Gin, 45ml of Schatzel Riesling 2016, two dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters and a little ice together in a cocktail shaker. Shake this mix and then strain it into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest and a dash of cinnamon, and have a few monkey-based puns ready for when you serve. If you don’t do it, somebody else will.

Cazcabel Honey Liqueur

One for the mothers or mother figures that are sweeter than sugar, this superb honey liqueur from Cazcabel was made using its Blanco Tequila as a base and honey sourced from local bees. An individual, distinctive liqueur, this is a bold and crowd-pleasing tipple that’s simply begging to be put to good use in a cocktail.

What does it taste like?:

Rich, sweet and full of honey and caramel with earthy and smoky notes.

Spring-tastic serve: Honey I’ve Made Margaritas!

A refreshing, warm and street treat, you can make this take on the classic Margarita by combining 55ml of Cazcabel Honey Liqueur, 20ml of fresh lemon juice and 40ml of Gran Marnier in a cocktail shaker. Stir vigorously then add a cup of ice and shake for 10 seconds. Pour straight into a Margarita glass, garnish with a lemon wheel and serve. If you want a salted rim, then before you make the cocktail you’ll need to take a lemon wedge and coat the rim of the glass. Then dip it in margarita salt, rotating until coated.

Compass Box Hedonism

Smooth, creamy and really very tasty, Hedonism represents Compass Box trying to create a decedent dram, as the name suggests. It’s a blended grain whisky featuring liquid (depending on batch variation) from Cameronbridge, Carsebridge, Cambus, Invergordon, Port Dundas or Dumbarton that was matured in 100% first-fill American oak barrels or rejuvenated American oak hogsheads. Equally delicious neat or in a multitude of classic cocktails, Hedonism is also amazing with a caramel-based dessert.

What does it taste like?:

Fraises des bois, sponge cake, red pepper, black cherry, milk chocolate, toasted oak and sweet spices with some cereal notes.

Spring-tastic serve: The Rob Roy

In this delightful Rob Roy the vanilla-rich Hedonism mirrors the bourbon-based profile of the cocktail’s inspiration, The Manhattan. To create, stir 50ml of Compass Box Hedonism with 20ml Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, a dash of Angostura Bitters and ice. Then strain and serve up in a coupe glass garnished with a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry before toasting your mother/mother figure because they’ve almost certainly earned it!

No Comments on Springtime treats for Mother’s Day

The Nightcap: 22 February

Greetings and welcome to Friday – you’re tuned in to your weekly round-up of all things booze news, The Nightcap! Yes folks, it’s Friday once again! Not only that, it’s…

Greetings and welcome to Friday – you’re tuned in to your weekly round-up of all things booze news, The Nightcap!

Yes folks, it’s Friday once again! Not only that, it’s also National Margarita Day, so if you’re not reading this edition of The Nightcap with a freshly-prepared Margarita, please feel free to prod anyone in arm’s reach and ask them kindly if they’d like to make you one. Or go make one for yourself and the aforementioned person in arm’s reach. Either way, ensure a tasty lime-and-Tequila-based beverage is in-hand before proceeding to read The Nightcap.

So, what’s been happening on the MoM blog this week? Henry taught us how to make a Margarita for our Cocktail of the Week, and hopped over to Ireland to check out the Dublin Liberties Distillery opening. Annie showed us the best time-saving treats for your home bar, and dug into the history of the Rat Pack and its connection to J&B Rare. Adam looked to the west and picked out some terrific Welsh drinks to celebrate St. David’s Day with. Oh, and we launched a gin. And won the Icons of Gin Online Retail of the Year award. As you do.

On with the remainder of the news!

Your love of Jim Beam meant it exceeded 10 million case sales!

Japanese gin and Jim Beam bolster Beam Suntory’s 2018 results

It was Beam Suntory’s turn to unveil those all-important 2018 numbers this week, and they make encouraging reading. Bourbon first, and Jim Beam continued its “strong momentum” to exceed 10 million case sales, while Makers Mark posted “double-digit” gains, passing the two million case-mark for the first time (that’s a lot of bourbon). Cognac brand Courvoisier and Canadian Club whisky contributed “high single-digit growth”, with Hornitos Tequila also performing well. But gin is well and truly in for Beam Suntory. Sipsmith’s growth was in double figures, while ROKU Japanese Craft Gin, which entered 31 new markets, “inspired strong sales”. Overall, Beam Suntory posted “mid-single-digit” sales gains. Cryptic, but clearly all’s well at the American-Japanese drinks group. Looking to future growth, Takeshi Niinami, Suntory Holdings Limited president and CEO, said in the financial results: “The key will be to continue providing high quality products like The Premium Malts and Jim Beam, and creating strong brands that are loved by consumers. In order to do this, we need to develop and grow premium products that have new value, which our rivals cannot offer.” Bring it on!

So this is what the future looks like…

Penderyn gets the green light for its second distillery!

Exciting distillery news alert, especially with St. David’s Day approaching – Welsh whisky producer Penderyn has got the go-ahead to open a second distillery! Planning permission for the new Swansea site was granted earlier this week, meaning work to transform the historic Hafod Morfa Copperworks site can get under way later this year. “Penderyn is delighted to bring a copper-based industry back to this area,” said Stephen Davies, Penderyn’s chief executive. “Once opened, we hope to see up to 100,000 visitors a year, and it will become one of the major attractions in the area. This all helps us promote our whiskies from Wales to the world.” The Lottery Heritage Foundation awarded £3.75 million to the project, which will comprise an exhibition area detailing the history of the copperworks, shop, tasting bar, conference suite and, of course, the distillery It’s all expected to open in 2022. Llongyfarchiadau, Team Penderyn!

A work of art – and that’s just the whisky!

Compass Box releases Leonardo da Vinci-inspired whisky

Just to remind us that blended whiskies can be seriously swanky comes a new release from the master of mixing, Compass Box. Called Tobias & the Angel, it’s named after a work by Verrocchio-Leonardo (meaning that it was painted at the school of Andrea del Verrocchio by Leonardo) hanging in the National Gallery in London depicting the biblical story of Tobias. The whisky is a blend of 24 year old Clynelish aged in American oak hogsheads and a peated Caol Ila of “considerably older age”, according to Compass Box. Founder John Glaser said: “For nearly 20 years, since we created our malt blend called Eleuthera in 2002, we have held a special reverence for the two distilleries used in Tobias and the Angel. That’s when I first discovered how perfectly these single malts complement each other. When we were recently offered extremely old and special parcels of whiskies from these two distilleries, I was compelled to put them together again.” He went on to say: “For this whisky, the name of the biblical story Tobias & the Angel just felt right; it seemed to reflect the personality of the two whiskies in this recipe. Searching through the many depictions of the story over the centuries, the Verrocchio-Leonardo painting had the beauty and the gravitas we wanted for this special creation.” Only 2,634 bottles will be produced and they will retail for around £450 ($500).

It’s time to party like your distillery manager used to work at a rum distillery in the 60s.

Ardbeg Day 2019: Time to get out your maracas

Well, have we got news for you. It turns out that the Islay-based Ardbeg distillery actually has some old connections to the Caribbean. Hamish Scott, Ardbeg’s distillery manager from 1964 to 1967, used to fill the same role at a rum distillery! Ardbeg Day has quite a reputation, with locals transforming everything from tractors to wheelbarrows into magnificent floats. Hence, on 1 June, during the famed Fèis Ìle Festival, Ardbeg Committee Members from around the world will gather in celebration of this year’s limited edition bottling, Ardbeg Drum. Dubbed a “peaty excuse for a party”, the single malt whisky has been matured in bourbon casks and finished in rum casks from the Americas, which should make for a rather interesting dram. It looks like this bottling will be as flamboyant as the celebrations surrounding it! The Committee release will go on sale from 5 March, though only a limited number of bottles will be released – let the festivities begin!

The GlenDronach 1993 Master Vintage, in all its glory.

The GlenDronach announces limited release 1993 Master Vintage

If you’ve ever enjoyed the pleasures of a Scotch whisky from Highland distillery GlenDronach (if you haven’t you need to correct this ASAP), then you’ll know that the brand specialises in bold, rich and predominantly sherried single malts. The distillery’s new release, The GlenDronach 1993 Master Vintage, is no exception. The liquid in some sherry casks filled in 1993 proved so exceptional that the distillery did the sensible thing and bottled some of it! The GlenDronach master blender, Dr Rachel Barrie, personally hand-selected the Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherry casks used in this twenty-five-year-old expression, which was bottled at 48.2% ABV without chill-filtration or additional colouring. “With a quarter of a century slowly maturing in our renowned Andalucían casks, The GlenDronach Master Vintage 1993 Aged 25 Years has developed profound layers of depth and complexity, leading to an exceedingly long, voluptuous and memorable finish,” said Dr. Barrie. “Fans of The GlenDronach’s traditional Highland Single Malt can expect rich brandy-laced fruitcake on the nose, cocoa-dusted coffee and sultana brioche on the palate and lingering pecan toffee notes in the finish. I hope sherry cask connoisseurs around the world enjoy The GlenDronach 1993 Master Vintage, as an example of the finest sherry cask maturation.” Well, that sounds amazing. Is anyone else salivating a little?

Behold: Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon

Balcones readies new pot still bourbon

Hang on to your hats, American whiskey fans! Waco-based distillery Balcones has a new addition to its core range. Behold: Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon! Made using the brand’s Forsyth pot stills and aged for 24 months in new charred oak barrels, the mash bill features roasted blue corn, Texas wheat, Texas rye and malted barley. The result? An intriguing straight bourbon bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV). “Texas Pot Still Bourbon is about inclusivity,” said Jared Himstedt, head distiller at Balcones. “We wanted to create something that both long-time Balcones enthusiasts and people who are experiencing us for the first time can appreciate. By delivering flavour complexity within an approachable taste profile, we can introduce more people to the nuance of what we do.” Balcones Texas Pot Still Bourbon should be with us in the second half of 2019, but if you really can’t wait and fancy a trip to the US, you can get it from Texas, Florida and California now, priced at US$29.99.

The Dalmore and Massimo Bottura Present The Dalmore L’Anima Aged 49 Years.

Folks, we have Dalmore news! There’s a new expression on the block, and this one comes with some significant age. The Dalmore L’Anima Aged 49 Years was created by master distiller Richard Paterson and Massimo Bottura, owner of three-Michelin starred Osteria Francescana in Modena (voted the best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in 2018). 49 years-matured. Michelin-star chef. Dalmore. This should be good. Dalmore L’Anima – meaning soul in Italian – was inspired by Bottura and Paterson’s shared love of creativity, innovation and flavour. The 41.5% ABV cask-strength, natural colour expression is a marriage of Dalmore expressions previously matured in freshly-emptied small batch bourbon barrels; Gonzalez Byass casks which previously held 40 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry; and Graham’s vintage Port pipes. How does it taste? Sunkissed raisins, bitter chocolate, old English marmalade; freshly brewed Java coffee, Demerara sugar, pecan pie and crème brûlée, according to the tasting notes. But the most pleasing aspect of this new expression? It will be auctioned at Sotheby’s later this year raising funds for Bottura’s non-profit Food For Soul, which tackles fight food waste through social inclusion. “Bottura’s approach to deconstructing and reinventing daring food pairings is very similar to the way I approach whisky making,” said Paterson. “The coming together of our passions allowed me to create a whisky that is bold, different, full of warmth and completely unforgettable – it is a true reflection of the love, blood and balsamic that unites us.” Delightful.

The House of Peroni is a fully immersive experience

Introducing The House of Peroni 2019

Peroni Nastro Azzurro has kicked off its House of Peroni 2019 activation! The multi-sensory immersive experience is set London’s Covent Garden and features eight different spaces, inspired by eight emerging fashion designers. For example, the Sicily space focuses on light that recreates the Sicilian sky, the Nature and Maximalism room is full of botanical scents and a wall of man-made flowers, and the Future and Sci Fi area transports visitors to a futuristic time through industrial city sounds. Then there is, of course, the bar! Visitors are invited to sip on a selection of Peroni-infused cocktails crafted by Manchester-based bartender Sam Taylor, who has been mentored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s master of mixology, Simone Caporale. Taylor was scouted from a nationwide search for the best bartending talent, so expect great things from his creations! Each tipple is inspired by each of the eight designers, plus there’s Peroni Libera 0.0%, an alcohol-free serve just as stylish as its boozy counterparts. Just goes to show the Italian beer brand can keep up with current low alcohol trends. 2019 marks the seventh outing for the House of Peroni concept, which runs until 9 March.

Congratulations Scott Gavin!

Scott Gavin appointed bar manager at The Bloomsbury Club Bar

The Bloomsbury Club Bar, London, has a new bar manager. It’s UK World Class finalist Scott Gavin! With over 10 years of international experience in high-end hotels, independent cocktail bars and immersive bar outfits, Gavin began his career in 2006 in sunny Malta at Twentytwo, the island’s most prestigious bar. He returned to the UK in 2012 to become head bartender at the award-winning Limewood Hotel in Hampshire, before spending two years as senior bartender at the sublime Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London. His first managerial role was at industry haunt NOLA, where he helped relaunch the bar. He also frequently collaborates with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. That’s some career, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can bring to The Bloomsbury Club Bar. “I’m thrilled to be joining the team,” said Gavin. “The Bloomsbury Club Bar has been really innovative in the way it works with brands and other bars across the world. This position will be a new challenge for me and I’m excited to help continue raising the profile of the bar in London and worldwide.” Best of luck, Mr. Gavin!

Golden Barrel LeClarc Briant

Behold! The golden barrel!

And finally… For the wine lover who has everything, how about Champagne aged in 24-carat gold?

Winemakers love experimenting with fermentation vessels. Wines can be made in oak casks, concrete tanks, stainless steel vats, and even clay amphora, just like in Roman times. But now one Champagne producer has come up with the blingiest way to make wine yet: in a gold barrel. According to The Drinks Business, Champagne house Leclerc Briant will be releasing a wine fermented and aged in a stainless steel barrel lined with 24-carat gold some time in 2021. When asked what was the point of a gold-plated barrel, winemaker Hervé Jestin talked about “a resonance between solar energy and the wine”. He then went on to say that the gold would “increase the level of solar activity during the first fermentation” and “makes a connection with cosmic activity”. We’ll have what he’s having!

No Comments on The Nightcap: 22 February

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search