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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Dingle

Gaze upon our exceptional whiskies and more!

With payday on the horizon after working hard all month, you deserve a reward for all your efforts. It’s time to treat yo self. January is nearly over, folks. It…

With payday on the horizon after working hard all month, you deserve a reward for all your efforts. It’s time to treat yo self.

January is nearly over, folks. It might feel like it’s taken forever, but the end is in sight. You’ve pushed through the drab and dreary, shaken off those winter blues and made peace with your lack of New Year’s resolutions. Who needs ‘em anyway? Not you.

Now you want to celebrate the approaching payday with a little well-earned indulgence. Perhaps an experimental Scotch whiskey, or the World’s Best Gin 2019? Maybe a legendary Guyanese rum or a marvellous mezcal? You might even want something new and shiny… Whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re bound to find it here. Enjoy!

Sazerac Straight Rye

Sazerac Straight Rye was named after the Sazerac Coffee House in New Orleans, the birthplace of the eponymous cocktail. This spicy rye whiskey from the Buffalo Trace distillery is ideal for said serve, but is equally delicious neat. 

What does it taste like?:

Sweet spices, stem ginger in syrup, orange zest, freshly ground black pepper, mixed peels, peanut butter, toffee and barrel char.

Glenfiddich – Fire & Cane

We all like to embrace our experimental side every now and again, and for those who want Scotch with a point of difference, the Glenfiddich Experimental Series is an obvious place to start. Fire & Cane was created by malt master Brian Kinsman by giving some of the distillery’s peated single malt a three-month finishing period in rum casks that were selected from a variety of South American countries. 

What does it taste like?:

Rich sweet toffee, zesty fresh fruit, Highland peat campfire, toffee and sweet baked apple.

El Dorado 12 Year Old

The desire for rum to get more of the spotlight has been palpable for some time in this industry, but with so much competition in the market and such a variety of styles and expressions, those who want to upgrade their rum game might not know where to start. We recommend this outstanding 12-year-old Demerara rum from El Dorado, which has won numerous awards and accolades for its complex and refined profile.

What does it taste like?:

Toffee, vanilla, smoke, cocoa, caramel, prunes and sweet spices.

Benromach 10 Year Old

Benromach 10 Year Old is one of the finer entry-level expressions you find in the Scotch whisky market and thanks to its singular profile. Inspired the classic pre-1960s Speyside character, it makes for an intriguing dram even for seasoned Scotch drinkers. The fruity, balanced profile with a light touch of smoke comes from the fact that it was lightly peated to 12-14ppm and then matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks.

What does it taste like?:

Dry barley, sweet spices, puckering prune, maple fudge, slightly herbal, grassy, ground ginger and dry sherry.


Montelobos Joven Mezcal

An ideal expression for mezcal lovers and newcomers to the category alike, Montelobos Joven Mezcal was created by biologist and distiller Iván Saldaña and Mescalero Don Abel Lopez with espadín agave using traditional production methods. It’s also got a bottle with a cool-looking wolf on the label. What more could you want?

What does it taste like?:

Gentle wood smoke, green bell pepper, underripe green apple, blue cheese, a delicate mineral streak, subtle smokiness and ripe tropical fruit.


Dingle Original Gin

The winner of the World’s Best Gin at the 2019 World Gin Awards, Dingle Original Gin was made with locally foraged botanicals, including rowan berry, fuschia, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather from the south-west coast of Ireland. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better G&T than the one you’ll make with this beauty,

What does it taste like?:

Juicy and sweet with authentic summer berry notes, followed by fresh herbs (think mint leaf and fennel).


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New Arrival of the Week: Dingle Single Malt – Batch No.4

Our New Arrival of the Week is something fans of Irish whiskey fans all around the world will have been waiting for… Dingle Distillery is doing a very good job…

Our New Arrival of the Week is something fans of Irish whiskey fans all around the world will have been waiting for…

Dingle Distillery is doing a very good job of making a name for itself in the Irish spirits category. Just this year its Dry GIn was named the World’s Best Gin at the 2019 World Gin Awards. But for whiskey fans, the Kerry-based brand is better known as the home of one of the most in-demand ranges of small-batch spirits, an annual release that has brought us some of the finest Irish single malts on the market.

This year on the 4th of April, Dingle revealed the long-awaited Batch 4 Single Malt (see what they did there, with all the 4s? That’s marketing right there, my friends), as well as its cask strength variant, to the world. This is very exciting. There’s a reason this is our New Arrival of the Week.

Part of Dingle’s appeal as an Irish whiskey producer is that it was one of the first of the delightful new breed of Irish distilleries to have its own distillate to release. Many have not yet reached the stage where the stock has matured enough to be bottled as whiskey, and so have to make do with importing spirit from elsewhere in Ireland or creating gins and vodkas in the meantime.

Dingle Single Malt

The superb Irish distillery has gotten a lot of attention for its delicious spirits.

Dingle, however, is able to demonstrate its own distillery profile in its spirit and has taken this opportunity to emphasise provenance in its whiskey production. Each expression was distilled in its three bespoke copper pot stills and diluted with localised well water, for example. But what probably stands out the most about its annual batches of single malt to fans is the increasing variety of casks used in maturation.

The first batch was drawn from bourbon casks. The second from bourbon and Pedro Ximénez casks. Batch three was a marriage of bourbon cask and Port cask-matured whiskey. And what of Dingle Single Malt – Batch No.4? It was drawn from a combination of bourbon, sherry (both Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso) and Port casks. Which technically is four casks, isn’t it? They’ve done it again!

Elliot Hughes, a partner at The Dingle Distillery, said that this maturation in the distillery’s three main cask types, “gives it a really unique point of difference which should once again give people further insight into how our Dingle whiskey will continue to grow in terms of flavour over the coming years.”

But what of the flavour of this particular batch? Well, the first thing to be said about Dingle Single Malt – Batch No.4 is that it’s properly delicious, which is a good start. While this is a rich and creamy dram (think chocolate, vanilla, toffee) with plenty of distinct wine notes present (lots and lots of sherried dried fruit), there’s also some pleasant drying warm spice (gingersnap biscuits) as well as a refreshing burst of citrus (citrus) that makes this a well-rounded and balanced bottling.

Now, there will be some people reading this who are resigned to the idea that they won’t get to taste this beauty for themselves. When it comes to Dingle single malt releases, the volumes that are available tend to be quite low. That’s what you get with small-batch production techniques. These whiskies are highly sought after and its little surprise to see them sell out in a matter of days.

However, batch number four means more this year. Following an increase in production, there are 30,000 bottles of Dingle Single Malt – Batch No.4 available globally, compared to the 2,000 bottles that were created in total for Batch 3. In fact, that number will now be available in the UK alone, with a release of 500 bottles of a cask strength variant to be launched exclusively in the UK and Ireland. This is good news as it hopefully means more people will get to taste this fine whiskey.

Regardless, if you want one – move fast. It’s very tasty and I want more. Sláinte!

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Are these the most delicious gins in the world?

Gin Magazine has named its World’s Best Gins 2019. From London dry to signature botanical, Navy strength to Old Tom, the winners run the gamut of juniper-based styles. But who…

Gin Magazine has named its World’s Best Gins 2019. From London dry to signature botanical, Navy strength to Old Tom, the winners run the gamut of juniper-based styles. But who came out on top?

Last week saw the World Gin Awards take place – a suitably glitzy ceremony where the great and the good of the juniper-scented contingent gathered in London (Team MoM was there for Icons of Gin Online Retailer of the Year! We’re still getting over the excitement). Trophies were bestowed, backs were patted, and gins were sipped (naturally). But what do the awards mean, how were they decided, and are the winners worth a taste? (Spoiler alert: yes.)

First off: full disclosure. I was invited to join the World Gin Awards 2019 judging panel, and I gladly took the Gin Magazine organisers up on it. One of the great joys of judging spirits is that you get to taste a whole host of products, literally hundreds – the downside on a personal note is that everything is done blind, so you have no idea what that mysterious but delectably unusual treat-for-the-palate is.

Step one was to assess a whole bunch of samples in a preliminary tasting. A massive box of miniature bottles arrived at my house, and then the evaluation began (it’s a marathon, not a sprint, people). Then, after everyone submitted their initial scores, the panel (led by David T Smith, the rest of us largely a mix of on-trade experts and writers) met in London to reassess the leading contenders. At the end of the day, we still didn’t know who had won. And that’s part of the thrill: you’re led only by your nose and palate. And with consensus, comes a rather marvellous list of must-taste gins.

But what’s the deal with spirits awards anyway? They are celebrated, but what do they count for? It’s easy to end up eye-rolling at winners, medals, trophies and the rest. But actually, if you consider a list of award-winning spirits to be a group of industry-endorsed recommendations, they suddenly start to make a lot more sense.

So, are these the ‘world’s best’ gins? According to the collective judges’ palates, from the list of entrants, they scored highest. And, from the list of winners, here’s our pick of the ones that we think are worth exploring (and many come in drams, so you could even build your own tasting set of award winners!).

Whatever you think about awards, if you’re in the market for a gin, give these a go!

Dingle Original Gin

Dingle Original Gin

World’s Best Gin: Dingle Original Gin

Winner of the World’s Best London Dry category, Dingle Original Gin from Ireland went on to scoop the overall World’s Best title – and with good reason. It’s made using a secret recipe (although we know that includes rowan berries, bog myrtle, heather and hawthorn), it’s delicious with tonic, and it’s got an unusual earthy floral quality that sets it apart. And, with St. Patrick’s Day approaching, what better excuse do you need to give it a try?!

Hernö Juniper Cask

Hernö Juniper Cask

World’s Best Matured Gin: Hernö Juniper Cask

Time for a trip to Sweden for this bottle of deliciousness. To make this gin, the Hernö team takes its already delectable gin and pop it in a cask made from juniper wood for a month. The result? A gin bursting with pine, orange and fresh juniper notes, and that’s thick and velvety on the palate. We are fans.

Elephant Gin - Elephant Strength

Elephant Gin – Elephant Strength

World’s Best Navy Gin: Elephant Gin – Elephant Strength

What do we have here? A gin that isn’t just elephantine by size, flavour and strength, but one that donates 15% of its profits to two elephant foundations, too! But back to the flavour: Elephant Gin is made using a whole host of African botanicals, including baobab, Buchu plant, devil’s claw and African wormwood – and at 57% ABV, it packs an irresistible punch.

Sacred Old Tom

Sacred Old Tom

World’s Best Old Tom Gin: Sacred Old Tom

What do you get when you mix cutting-edge distilling with an 18th century recipe? A must-taste gin, of course! Sacred Old Tom takes vacuum-distilled liquorice root and sweet orange peels to give its classic juniper-led expression a slightly sweeter twist. We reckon it makes a cracking Martinez – or a sipper over ice, if you feel so moved.

Gin Eva La Mallorquina

Gin Eva La Mallorquina

World’s Best Signature Botanical Gin: Gin Eva La Mallorquina

Hands up who loves olives? *Most of MoM HQ waves their hands in the air like they just don’t care* Get this on your must-drink list with haste. La Mallorquina is made with actual olive pomace, steeped in alcohol and distilled, and then blended with a juniper distillate and a dash of coriander. It smells like olives and the Mediterranean sunshine. And it tastes even better…

Salcombe Gin Mischief - Voyager Series

Salcombe Gin Mischief – Voyager Series

World’s Best Presentation Design: Salcombe Gin Mischief – Voyager Series

Moving away from taste in terms of palate to taste in terms of the eyes now, and it’s easy to see why Salcombe Gin scooped the presentation design trophy for its Voyager Series. We love the box, the crisp white, the gold accents… it’s almost like we’d judge a gin by its bottle. But it’s ok though, Salcombe Gin is as tasty as it looks.

Citadelle Gin

Citadelle Gin

World’s Best Brand Design: Citadelle Gin

Reminiscent of fairy tales, apothecaries and adventure, Citadelle’s brand design mirrors both its French roots and global recipe. Botanicals include Moroccan coriander, Mexican orange peel and Chinese liquorice, and we reckon the charming bottle sums up its appeal. It’s a clean, crisp and floral gin – as atmospheric and aromatic as the bottle suggests it will be.

Kyrö Napue Gin

Kyrö Napue Gin

World’s Best Label Design: Kyrö Napue Gin

“Rye! Rye!” cry the Kyrö crew in greeting, and rye-obsessed they are. The distillery’s rye-based spirits are gaining quite the following – and the bold label design helps. Napue is no stranger to fancy ceremonies: it was the inaugural winner of the IWSC Gin & Tonic Trophy in 2015.

There you have it. The cream of the crop, the most delicious and dashing of the World’s Best Gins 2019. Enjoy!


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Master of Malt triumphs (again!) at the Icons of Gin

Last night was the Gin Magazine Awards in London, which saw the Icons of Gin 2019 named. There were many trophies up for grabs, including the coveted World’s Best Gin…

Last night was the Gin Magazine Awards in London, which saw the Icons of Gin 2019 named. There were many trophies up for grabs, including the coveted World’s Best Gin slot (and, spoiler alert! One had our name on it!). We have the full story.

Last night, we arrived at the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC to its friends), a massive seven-acre site in the City of London, to be confronted with the biggest G&Ts I’d ever seen. We were clearly in the right place for the Gin Magazine Awards. The evening was divided into three sections: Icons of Gin (honouring brands, retailers, bars and people), World Gin Awards (looking at liquid quality), and finally the Hall of Fame (individuals who have made notable contributions to the world of gin). Paragraph Publishing, the company behind Whisky Magazine, launched Gin Magazine in 2017 and the accompanying awards last year.

World Gin Awards

The trophy! And in the background Laura Carl and Angus Lugsdin from Salcombe Gin

Regular readers will know that we love gin here at Master of Malt, so much so that we just launched our very own bottling. We were delighted therefore to win Online Retailer Award for the second year running! The judges were particularly impressed with the range, the simplicity of the website, and the quality of the tasting notes and the blog. There to collect the award were campaigns executive Laura Carl, managing director Justin Petszaft, campaigns manager Jake Mountain, Atom Nucleus MD Joel Kelly and features editor Henry Jeffreys (that’s me!).

Master of Malt

The winning team, from left: Mountain, Petszaft, Carl, Jeffreys and Kelly.

Also honoured in the Icons of Gin category were our friends over at That Boutique-y Gin Company: Steph DiCamillo won Gin Brand Ambassador of the Year, and the company won Brand Innovator of the Year.

There was then a short break where a couple belted out opera classics and a bit of Tom Jones at full volume. I think they were paid entertainers, but may have been waiting staff with an urge to entertain. When they had finished, it was time for the World Gin Awards section of the evening.

In this section, all the gins were blind-tasted by a panel of judges led by David T. Smith, someone who will be familiar to gin lovers. There were lots of categories, but the overall World’s Best Gin award (sponsored by Wade Ceramics, mustn’t forget to mention the sponsor) went to Dingle Gin from Ireland, which also picked up the London Dry Gin Trophy. Congratulations to the team at Dingle! Their gin really is superb and their whiskey ain’t bad, either.

Christopher Hayman

Christopher Hayman with a gin still called Marjorie

For the finale, two gin legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame: Jon Hillgren from Hernö Gin in Sweden, and Christopher Hayman from Hayman’s Gin in London. These were two extremely popular choices, especially Hayman who kept the faith with gin in Britain when it was unfashionable. Hayman said a few words about how things have changed since he joined the business: there were very few brands and spirits were still shipped in cask. He finished by concluding that “gin runs in his family’s veins”.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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