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Tag: Drinks by the Dram

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Just three sleeps until Christmas! By this point you really should have got that shopping sorted, food procured, and drinks menu planned. So kick back with a dram of something…

Just three sleeps until Christmas! By this point you really should have got that shopping sorted, food procured, and drinks menu planned. So kick back with a dram of something delicious! And right on cue, here to chat us through today’s Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar tipple is Jura distillery manager, Graham Logan.

Ok, ok, that introduction may have been a tad optimistic. If, like many of us here at MoM Towers, you’re still in the panic zone, fret not! We’ve got all kinds of last-minute gifts to sort you out (think, gift vouchers, Pour & Sip subscriptions… all is not lost!).

With that in hand, now you really can sit back with a dram! And today’s whisky is a good one. It started life on the Isle of Jura, a picturesque island off Scotland’s west coast, and was aged for a whopping 18 years! No guessing needed today, it’s Isle of Jura 18 Year Old!

Time to find out more about this dreamy drop with Jura distillery manager, Graham Logan.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Meet Graham Logan, Jura distillery manager!

Master of Malt: Jura is a stunning island. Tell us about what makes it special for you…

Graham Logan: Many things make Jura for me. The first is my wife, who I met on my first foray to the pub 33 years ago after being on the island for 12 hours. Then there’s the scenery, the wildlife, the remoteness, the community, my second job as a crofter (or a small farm) where I have two cows, eight sheep, and a goat, and my third job as a volunteer firefighter. If I hadn’t been a distiller, I would have been a firefighter. Also, the distillery staff. Who make my job a dream job.

MoM: How does its remote setting impact whisky-making on Jura?

GL: Jura distillery brings everything in and out via two ferries. Malted barley, yeast, casks, spare parts, and boiler oil in; and sending out spirit, spent grains and filled casks. That means we have to keep a stock of everything required, and if ferries go off to bad weather we can keep going. It usually means all the cows on Jura are happy as they get free draff (spent grains).

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

The distillery is located on a beautiful, remote island

MoM: How would you describe the Jura distillery character?

GL: Jura has really tall stills. The wash stills are 26ft 1in (7.95 metres), and the spirit stills are 25ft 4in (7.72m) tall with the Lyne arms slowly rising to the condensers. As they are so tall only the lightest spirit vapours reach the condenser, and as we have so much copper in the still neck, the copper helps with reflux (or redistillation). All the heavy vapours that don’t get to the top of the still fall back down, and get re-distilled when they meet the new vapours that are rising. This makes your spirit strength slightly stronger and lighter in character with floral/cereal notes.

MoM: Jura 18 Year Old is today’s dram! Can you tell us how it was made?

GL: As I have been at Jura for 29 years, I have very much had a hand in making this. I was a mash and still operator for 24 years! All Jura spirit is made the same way, and is filled into first-fill ex-bourbon casks, even the peated spirit which gives the 18 Year Old a subtle smoke finish. Then the spirit is finished in a premier cru classe red wine cask for 18-24 months. It’s a beautiful dram with pear, marzipan, tropical fruits and baked apple on the nose, and vanilla, coffee, ginger syrup and black forest fruits to taste. A real Christmas winter warmer.

MoM: Money and availability no object, what would be your dream Christmas dram?

The distillery team had a tasting with Richard Paterson in the early 2000s and we were lucky enough to taste a 50-year-old Dalmore. If money was no object, it would definitely be anything of Dalmore over 50 years old. Sitting with a dram of that, next to an open roaring fire and watching the Queen’s speech would be heaven.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #22: Isle of Jura 18 Year Old

Isle of Jura 18 Year Old Tasting Note:

Nose: Cinnamon, dried berries, Wine Gums, hickory.

Palate: Brandied cherries, Turkish delight, milky coffee and blackcurrant jam.

Finish: Chocolate chip cookies, a touch of hay, orange oil.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #21: The Dalmore Cigar Malt

Can you believe it?! It’s the Monday before Christmas, and the festive spirit is REALLY kicking in. The whisky behind door 21 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar…

Can you believe it?! It’s the Monday before Christmas, and the festive spirit is REALLY kicking in. The whisky behind door 21 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar will particularly appeal to those partial to a cigar. Here to tell us more is Stephen Martin, Whyte & Mackay’s global single malt whisky specialist!

Right. Christmas is almost here. Whatever the big day is going to look like for you this year, it’s time to pause, sit down, and take a moment just for yourself. Yourself and a really rather tasty dram.

Today’s number was blended with cigar lovers in mind, to complement their smoke of choice. But fear not! It’s a delicious drop whether or not you’re planning on sipping while lighting up. It hails from the iconic Dalmore distillery in the Scottish Highlands, and it was actually brought back due to popular demand after being discontinued in 2009. So you know it’s got the backing of the masses! Today’s dram is…

The Dalmore Cigar Malt!

But that’s enough from us. Here to tell us more about it is Stephen Martin, Whyte & Mackay’s global single malt whisky specialist!

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #21: The Dalmore Cigar Malt

Give a big Advent welcome to Stephen Martin!

Master of Malt: The Dalmore is an iconic brand. What do you think sets the distillery apart?

Stephen Martin: Whisky is all about people and place and The Dalmore is such an amazing example of this. This is true from the Mackenzies, who arrived at the distillery in 1867 and introduced the Royal Stag to every bottle to remind us of their royal heritage dating back to 1263, right through to our current decorated master blender, Richard Paterson, who celebrated 50 years with us in September this year. We’ve always had a meticulous and innovative approach to making whisky and you need to have the right people in place to make this work.  

MoM: Lots of different cask maturations go on with Dalmore. What finishes work especially well with the spirit?

SM: The Dalmore matures exceptionally well in a number of different casks due to the body and weight of the new-make spirit. In particular, Matusalem sherry butts from Gonzalez Byass are incredible! These gems have held Matusalem sherry, a combination of oloroso and PX wines, for 30 years. A lot of the chocolate orange and sweet spice characteristics that we expect from The Dalmore come from these casks. Tawny port pipes from W&J Graham are a favourite of ours also!

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #21: The Dalmore Cigar Malt

Dalmore’s Richard Paterson is regarded as one of the true great master blenders

MoM: Any whisky and food- or cigar-pairing tips? What should we look for?

SM: Absolutely! Sherry plays such an important role in our whiskies and I love pairing the Dalmore with Andalusian cuisine. A bottle of The Dalmore 15 alongside some Iberico, manzanilla olives and manchego Iniesta is a real crowd pleaser and a bit out of the ordinary! In terms of cigars, I’m really enjoying the Davidoff Winston Churchill Late Hour just now. Medium to full-bodied, this cigar contains tobacco that has been aged for six months in single malt whisky casks, so it works really well The Dalmore Cigar Malt. 

MoM: What about Cigar Malt means it pairs particularly well with cigars?

SM: Flavour and body for me! The Cigar Malt is profoundly influenced by Matusalem sherry and red wine barriques, so there’s an abundance of deep, rich flavours that work well with the right cigar. The red wine barriques also contain a lot of tannins that contribute to a silky, velvety texture that dances with the cigar smoke on your palate as you draw. When you get the pairing just right there are not many better things in life!

MoM: What whisky will you be pairing with the Christmas festivities this year?

SM: Cheese is a big thing in my house at Christmas so I’ll be pulling out a bottle of the Port Wood Reserve after dinner! Delicious with a strong cheddar, creamy brie or salty Lanarkshire blue! I’ll also be making Christmas eggnog for the family with the Dalmore 12 Year Old, which works really well. 

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #21: The Dalmore Cigar Malt

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Tasting Note:

Nose: Caramel, shortbread, biscuits, coffee and chocolates. Simple, clean and moreish.

Palate: Yet more toffee, caramel edging towards the burnt cinder-toffee side of things. Flamed orange-zest, and perfectly integrated sherry.

Finish: Reasonably simple, Christingles (orange Zest and clove with a touch of cinnamon), more mid-palate than palate-coating.

Overall: Definitely meets the criteria of pairing with a ‘BIG’ cigar.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #18: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey

You might have noticed that there’s just a week left until Christmas, which means there aren’t many drams left in your Whisky Advent Calendar. Better savour the remaining ones, particularly…

You might have noticed that there’s just a week left until Christmas, which means there aren’t many drams left in your Whisky Advent Calendar. Better savour the remaining ones, particularly what’s behind window #18…

By now you’ve probably had your fair share of Christmas tales (I’ve watched The Muppets Christmas Carol every day since November 1st and have loved every minute of it) so today we’re going to tell you a different story in celebration of the dram behind window #18, which is…

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey!

The man the brand honours Nathan Green, known as Uncle Nearest to friends and family, who was the first African-American master distiller and taught a certain Jack Daniel how to distil. He was also instrumental in the evolution of the Lincoln County Process, and by association the creation of Tennessee Whisky itself. Cheers to you, Uncle Nearest!

We wanted to find out more about what’s going on with the brand, so we asked a few questions to Matt Neal, UK brand ambassador to see what’s going on in Tennessee!

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey

The wonderful Fawn Weaver, the founder of Uncle Nearest whiskey

Master of Malt: How would you describe the character of Uncle Nearest whiskey?

Matt Neal: What I find in our 1856 Premium Whiskey is toffee, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon on the nose, followed by a corn sweetness wrapped in oak spice with a healthy dose of orange stone fruit on the mid pallet, it has an oily creamy mouthfeel that coats the mouth and finally finishes with baking spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove and a dose of mint, and for me sage. It also has what our CEO calls a ‘Tennessee Hug’. An alcohol warmth that continues down into your chest. At 50% and 8 plus years old I guess that is to be expected.

MoM: What sets Uncle Nearest whiskey apart in your view?

MN:  The age is the first thing that stands out. It’s made up of 8-14 years old which is OLD for a whiskey aged in a climate like Tennessee. Next is the fact we ‘proof down’. We try to control the loss of water and alcohol in the ageing process making sure our spirit loses more alcohol than water. This means when it comes out of the barrel we can add as little water as possible to bring it to 100 proof, 50% ABV, which means we keep as much flavour in the bottle as we can.  Finally, there is the story behind the brand. I could talk for hours on the Friendship between Nearest Green and Jack Daniel that basically created the category of Tennessee whiskey. It’s an incredible history and one that is hard not to admire. 

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey

Uncle Nearest is the fastest-growing independent American whiskey brand in history

MoM: Can you share a little bit of that story? 

MN: Our Story is two-fold at Uncle Nearest. We have our history, the story of Nathan Green teaching Jack to distil back in the mid-1800s and his influence on Tennessee Whiskey, and American Whiskey in general. Then we have our current history. We were the most awarded whiskey of 2019 and 2020. We appointed the first female African-American master blender, Victoria Butler, a direct descendant of Uncle Nearest. We have done so much charity work this year I can barely keep up and have been at the centre of a lot of the big conversations at the heart of our industry. In fact, it’s got to the point where I’m torn between which ‘history’ excites me most.

MoM: What fun things have happened in the world of Uncle Nearest in 2020?

MN: 2020 has been a strange year all over, but there have been some great things happening for us at uncle nearest. Firstly our 1820 single barrel picked up double gold in San Francisco, Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey was named in Oprah’s list of her ’Favourite Things’ of 2020 and we won Wine Enthusiasts Magazine Spirits Brand Of The Year Award. I thought it would be hard to stay positive during this time but with a team like ours, it’s been hard not too. That said I do miss drinking a dram with friends and ranting at strangers in bars about American whiskey over cocktails.

MoM: What’s next for Uncle Nearest? Any 2021 plans you can give us a hint about?

MN: Our Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch small-batch whiskey, blended by Victoria, should make its way to the UK as soon as the Americans stop drinking it all! We are also doing some innovative things with grains and messing about with production. We are a relatively new company and whiskey takes time, so when these things might hit the market is never certain. I am really excited though.

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey Tasting Note:

Nose: Buttery vanilla and brown sugar, mixed with soft sultana and cinnamon sweetness.

Palate: Caramelised nuts, oat cookies, more brown sugar, sandalwood, authentic corn hints and a hint of cut grass.

Finish: Lingering mint leaf and milk chocolate notes, with a final touch of spicy oak.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #16: Fettercairn 12 Year Old

A mere nine days to go until the big man departs MoM HQ and embarks on his epic present-flinging voyage around the globe! It’s time to continue our own journey…

A mere nine days to go until the big man departs MoM HQ and embarks on his epic present-flinging voyage around the globe! It’s time to continue our own journey with Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar. And on Day 16, we’re taking a trip up to the Highlands of Scotland with Andrew Lennie, brand specialist at Fettercairn Distillery.

And, just like that, we’re on the single-digit countdown to Christmas! It’s still not entirely clear what celebrations will look like this year (tiers, bubbles, households…), but one this is certain. Today’s dram hidden behind Door 16 is a treat indeed. It hails from a distillery that once slightly lesser-known is now often found at a pub or bar near you (when they’re open). But it’s still something of a discovery dram, and it’s got our mouths watering. Behold: Fettercairn 12 Year Old!

Here to share more about the dram and its distillery is Andrew Lennie, Fettercairn’s brand specialist! 

Fettercairn 12 Year Old

Say hello to Andrew Lennie!

Master of Malt: Tell us a little bit about Fettercairn’s history…

Andrew Lennie: Fettercairn is a beautiful distillery on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands. The name literally translates as ‘Foot of the Mountain’, which will give you an indication as to where our distillery is in relation to the Cairngorm mountain range, which provides a stunning backdrop. The distillery is truly picturesque: whitewashed walls, an iconic pagoda roof, and the rolling Grampian Hills in the background. If you asked anyone to paint or imagine a typical Highland distillery, I’m sure it wouldn’t look too dissimilar to Fettercairn.

North of the distillery is an old drovers route known as the Carin O Mount where, historically, farmers would march their cattle down into the market towns of the south. They were a thirsty bunch as you could imagine, and this area became infamous with illicit distilling. Fettercairn was the second legally registered distillery in Scotland. Founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay who converted Nethermill cornmill into the distillery. Ramsay also brought with him the iconic unicorn, Scotland’s national animal, which was part of his family crest and now proudly adorns each bottle of our single malt whisky. Sir Alexander Ramsay capitalised on the popularity of illicit distilling in the area and employed a well-known illicit distiller named James Stewart to be the first whisky maker at Fettercairn.

MoM: Fettercairn has the most amazing stills! Give us the lowdown on the cooling rings…

AL: The cooling rings were invented in the 1950s by the distillery manager at the time, Alistair Menzies. He fitted a ring of copper around the head of the spirit still which would drench it with cold mountain water during distillation. This was his way of creating a lighter and cleaner version of the spirit. Today we have two spirit stills both fitted with copper cooling rings which are seen nowhere else in the industry. When I show guests around Fettercairn, this is a real focal point. The cold water slowly flowing down the stills and the hot steam rising upwards is quite hypnotic. It has also turned the copper almost black with beautiful hints of teal, cream and gold shining through.

Fettercairn 12 Year Old

Fettercairn is one of Scotland’s most unique distilleries

MoM: Can you describe the signature Fettercairn distillery character?

AL: I would describe our house style as funky tropical fruits. The new make spirit is vibrant and fresh with notes of ripe banana, mango, pineapple, and a malty spice which is derived through the ingenuity of the copper cooling ring distillation process. We predominantly mature this spirit in ex-bourbon American white oak casks. This helps retain and enhance as much of the distillery character as possible, and adds layers of vanilla, white chocolate, and soft spice.

MoM: Fettercairn 12 Year Old is today’s dram! How has it been produced? 

AL: Fettercairn 12 Year Old was released in 2018 as part of a new collection of single malts from the distillery. It is a celebration of our new house style: fresh, vibrant, and approachable. This is a non-peated whisky and is fully matured in ex-bourbon American white oak barrels. On the nose, the first thing that comes across for me is a fresh pear and green apple followed by dried pineapple and soft spice. If you hold this dram on the palate for 10-15 seconds there are loads of tropical fruit flavours dancing around, which begin to turn slightly creamy like passion fruit cheesecake or mango Panna Cotta. The finish brings in sweet vanilla and coconut with a lingering hint of cinnamon.

MoM: What will be in your tasting glass this Christmas Day?

AL: This Christmas I am very much looking forward to a few glasses of sherry or a wee Port in the evening. As long as Home Alone is on in the background, I’ll be happy with anything.

Fettercairn 12 Year Old

Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Refreshing nectarine, white flowers and milk chocolate emerge initially. Black toffee and subtle roasted coffee provide darker notes underneath,

Palate: Tropical fruit and sticky Jamaican ginger cake add a sweet and spicy depth which a flicker of bitter herbs and vanilla complement.

Finish: Orchard fruits and soft spices linger.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #14: Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask

We’re two weeks into advent, so it’s time to open door #14 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar. And to tell us more we have David Sinclair…

We’re two weeks into advent, so it’s time to open door #14 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar. And to tell us more we have David Sinclair from Macallan…

Before we get on to today’s whisky, I just want to tell you about a conversation I had with my daughter recently. She’s much too young for a whisky calendar so she has a chocolate one. I was trying to explain to her that when I was growing up advent calendars didn’t have treats in. There were just pictures behind the doors, and yet we would get all excited over what was behind the door. Oh look it’s a donkey! My brother and I would get so excited that we would fight for the chance to open that door. My daughter didn’t get it at all, and frankly I’m a bit mystified. Imagine getting all excited over a picture of a donkey. I suppose there wasn’t much else to do in the early ‘80s.

Anyway, there’s no donkey behind the 14th door of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, you’ll be pleased to hear. Instead we’ve got an expression from a distillery that needs no introduction to Master of Malt customers:

It’s the Macallan 12 Year Old Double Wood!

It gets its name because it’s aged in both American and European oak sherry casks. Makes sense. To tell us more we have brand ambassador and all round lovely fellow David Sinclair. 

It’s David Sinclair, in a swanky hotel, having a glass of Macallan. You’re living the dream, David!

Master of Malt: Can you tell us a bit about The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask and how it is matured?

David Sinclair: The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old forms part of our Double Cask range which marries the classic Macallan style and the unmistakable sweetness of American oak. This is a fully rounded single malt in perfect balance, with flavours of honey, citrus and ginger.

MoM: What makes The Macallan so special as a distillery?

DS: The Macallan distillery and visitor experience marries our whisky making heritage with the innovative vision that sits at the heart of The Macallan and guides our future. Designed by internationally-acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the iconic evolution of the home of The Macallan embodies the care, passion and superior craftsmanship that goes into every bottle of our single malt.

MoM: How has the distillery adapted to the unusual events of this year?

DS: An experience at The Macallan Distillery provides a truly immersive brand experience for our guests; bringing our brand to life and enabling us to tell the remarkable story. To ensure the safety of our staff and guests, we have adapted our guest experiences to create a safe environment and while there will be some changes, we have not compromised on the quality of the experience. In light of these changes, The Macallan has been accredited by the industry standard ‘We’re Good To Go’ – an official UK body which marks compliance with Covid-19 guidelines for hospitality and tourism businesses, along with the AA Covid-19 Confident certification. 

The Nightcap

Macallan’s Tellytubby-inspired new distillery opened in 2018

MoM: What do you think the world of whisky is going to look like in 2021?

DS: The world of whisky continues to thrive despite the many challenges the world is experiencing, we are seeing new distilleries starting to come of age bringing new innovations and excitement to the category whilst consumers demand for transparency and forensic detail on the values behind the labels will continue to become more important.

MoM: What will you be drinking over the festive period?

DS: After a long winter walk a hot toddy is always welcomed and I always make sure we have a good supply of maple syrup, bitters, oranges and “insert your favourite whisky here” to whip up an Old Fashioned if conversations are needing a change of direction.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Classic dried fruit territory, if less intense than the Sherry Oak expression. Aromatic butterscotch too.

Palate: Creamy and honeyed with some thick-cut marmalade, cinnamon and warm pastries.

Finish: Fruity with vanilla and sultana.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #11: Glenfiddich Experimental Series – IPA Cask Finish

On the 11th day of Advent, Drinks by the Dram decided to treat us with a category-crossing whisky that brings together the humble brew with the water of life. It’s…

On the 11th day of Advent, Drinks by the Dram decided to treat us with a category-crossing whisky that brings together the humble brew with the water of life. It’s Glenfiddich Experimental Series – IPA Cask Finish!

It’s Friday! Or ‘Fri-yay’ if you’re posting on Instagram, which you may well be – and don’t forget to tune into #WhiskyAdvent if you are. Anyway, there’s lots of reasons today is a ‘yay’ rather than just simply a ‘day’. But the main one is that there’s yet another delicious dram squirrelled away in your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar! Beer lovers, whisky lovers, it’s time for you to put your differences aside and come together with this top release from Glenfiddich, finished for three months in casks which previously held IPA. Is that a ‘yay’ we can hear? Of course it is.

Called Glenfiddich Experimental Series – IPA Cask Finish, it was released as part of the Speyside distillery’s Experimental Series – it’s not every day you see beer and whisky coming together so literally. We turned to brand ambassador Mark Thomson (whose official title is ‘ambassador to Scotland – Glenfiddich Single Malt Whisky’, which is awesome but must be hard to fit on a business card) to chat about this unique release, the year that was, and his favourite Christmas sipper!

whisky advent glenfiddich ipa cask

It’s Mark Thomson, everyone! Where can we get a tasting glass like that?

Master of Malt: An IPA-finished whisky! Can you talk us through this release?

Mark Thomson: Sounds strange doesn’t it? Well, we’ve had a long history of experimenting with whisky at Glenfiddich and this particular release fitted into our Experimental range launched in 2016. It came around from a conversation between a brewer and Brian Kinsman, our malt master. Rather than taking a beer cask, we infused a cask at Glenfiddich which had already contained our whisky with a bespoke-brewed hoppy ale. Then removed it from the cask and added back Glenfiddich whisky to allow a conversation between the two creations to begin. It’s a light style of Glenfiddich in general, being fully matured in American oak, there is sweetness with classic fruit notes. However, the influence of the ale is not lost with a hoppy, zesty overtone and delicious lingering aftertaste. It’s perfect enjoyed on its own, but I often find myself pairing it with a beer on the side. A traditional serve known as a Hauf ‘n Hauf in Scotland.  

MoM: You can only pick either beer or whisky – which one is it?

MT: Whisky of course, because it’s always appealing to me, can be mixed into cocktails or lengthened into a highball. Far more flexible than beer if I was to be forced down such a path – you have to play the long game. 

MoM: What was a 2020 highlight for Glenfiddich?

MT: I suppose in any other normal year it would be difficult to choose because we are always forging ahead with new releases, activations or events. As we all know, this year wasn’t anything close to “normal”. So I’d say our highlight was the charity drive we did over the year with fundraising events, challenges and auctions. Our own Standfast programme which was set up to support the hospitality workers of the UK to raise £300k and we are still coming up with other initiatives to support charities such as the Benevolent in Scotland and the Drinks Trust elsewhere in the UK. In addition to this, the ambassadors of William Grant & Sons all made a huge effort to support hospitality workers wherever possible. Even if that was simply having a coffee (safely) and letting them voice their concerns and worries. 

whisky advent glenfiddich ipa cask

Gaze upon the actual Glenfiddich distillery.

MoM: Can we expect more releases along these beer-y lines from Glenfiddich?

MT: Perhaps not so much beer related, but you never know. Brian has a number of experiments maturing in the warehouses of Glenfiddich and the Experimental Series was always a playground for us to try new things. We aim to always have three releases available in the series -there have been four so far, however Winter Storm, a 21 year old finished in Canadian ice wine casks, was a limited edition. There should have been a new release in the series for 2020, but we’ve popped that back in the warehouse for now until things return or settle to a new normal. Keep an eye out over the next year to 18 months for some new and exciting Glenfiddich releases. But I’m afraid my lips are sealed for now on what those may be.

MoM: Which Glenfiddich dram will we find you enjoying at Christmas?

MT: I’ll be celebrating Christmas this year with an indulgent drop of our luxurious Grand Cru whisky. A 23 yr old Glenfiddich allowed to rest for a time in French cuvée wine casks before being bottled. It’s fast becoming one of my favourite available whiskies in our range. The character is quite unlike anything else we have out at the moment. The whisky, before hitting those final French oak casks, is already delightful with a subtle sweet/salty note, delicate floral elements and classic Glenfiddich white fruit. Then it is elevated into an incredibly complex yet approachable whisky by those fabulous French casks. Quite simply, a perfect whisky for any celebration, not just Christmas.

whisky advent glenfiddich ipa cask

Tasting Note from the Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: An elegant harmony of fresh green apple, William’s pear and spring blossom. Complimented with aromatic hops and fresh herbs.

Palate: Vibrant with a zesty citrus note followed by creamy vanilla and a hint of fresh hops.

Finish: Enduring sweetness with an echo of green hops.


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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #9: Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask

Behind today’s little cardboard door of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar is a fruity Speysider that brings together Scotland and the Caribbean. It’s Balvenie 14 Year Old…

Behind today’s little cardboard door of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar is a fruity Speysider that brings together Scotland and the Caribbean. It’s Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask!  

You will never again make the choice between rum and whisky with Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask. But this single malt wasn’t just finished in any old rum casks. Oh, no. Balvenie malt master David C. Stewart made his very own blend of West Indian rums, filled it into casks, waited patiently and then finished Balvenie whisky in these delicious rum-seasoned casks after an initial maturation in American oak.  Tropical fruit and toffee awaits…

Who better to grab a moment with than UK brand ambassador Alwynne Gwilt? She’s on hand to have a festive chat with us about cask finishes and Christmassy drams! 

whisky advent 2020 balvenie

Say hello to Alwynne Gwilt!

Master of Malt: What do you think it is about rum casks and Balvenie whisky that works so well together?

Alwynne Gwilt: When you nose a number of aged rums, you’ll note similar aroma characteristics to what you find in whisky: brown sugar, toffee, spice. And our malt master David Stewart MBE is a big fan of rum, so when he noticed those synchronicities he was keen to experiment with how to continue bringing out the best of our whisky, while adding on some nuances to it through the rum-cask finish.

MoM: How do you drink this whisky?

AG: I think Caribbean Cask 14 is my favourite for experimenting with in the range. I like to drink it neat, of course, because it is fruity, sweet, spicy and incredibly well balanced. But I also love it in a Highball in the summertime, and a Caribbean Cask 14 Piña Colada is something else! Absolutely delicious! 

whisky advent 2020 balvenie

The stunning Balvenie distillery!

MoM: What does 2021 have in store for Balvenie?

AG: We are all looking forward to getting back to doing more events and activations – COVID-19 permitting – and we will be continuing the ‘story’ of Stories, as well as hero-ing our dedication to craft in some new and unique ways, so definitely watch this space!

MoM: What’s your favourite type of cask finish? (You don’t have to say rum!)

AG: My favourite type is one which still allows the main DNA of the whisky to shine through – so, for The Balvenie, malty, honeyed sweetness from a long maturation in American oak is key – while just adding a slight hint of something ‘extra’ through a short finish. It should be there to add an extra layer, rather than dominate. So, while I cannot say I have a favourite, this is definitely what I look for in our whisky and others that I try. 

MoM: What will you be drinking on Christmas day?

AG: I recently discovered a dram of Port Wood 21 leftover from a tasting event, so I’ve saved that up for Christmas – after all, it is David Stewart’s favourite! That and some gorgeous South African wine that I’ve been looking forward to opening up after a long year!

whisky advent 2020 balvenie

Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Rich with notes of tropical fruits, namely passion fruit, and creamy toffee.

Palate: Sweet vanilla forms a creamy palate with notes of apples and mangoes with a hint of orange in the background.

Finish: The finish lingers with a vanilla focussed character.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #6: WhistlePig 10 Year Old

The first Sunday of Advent is upon us! And there’s an absolute treat behind today’s door. The dram in question comes all the way from Vermont. It’s… WhistlePig 10 Year…

The first Sunday of Advent is upon us! And there’s an absolute treat behind today’s door. The dram in question comes all the way from Vermont. It’s… WhistlePig 10 Year Old!

Like rye whiskey? Then you should be well on board with today’s dram! The team behind WhistlePig are absolutely obsessed with the grain. And with good reason. The lively, warming, complexity of rye has won the hearts and palates of many around the world. And today we get to revel in a 10-year-old expression!

WhistlePig is becoming increasingly familiar across the UK, but if it hasn’t crossed your tasting glass yet, here’s a 101. The team set up operations in 2010, ‘rescuing’, maturing, blending and bottling Canadian spirit as the distillery ramped up production and its own liquid came of age. The vision is for a total grain-to-glass operation, spanning Vermont-grown grain, local water, and even barrels made from forests nearby.

It’s a bold mission, and here to tell us more about it is Christian Tirel, WhistlePig’s UK steward of the brand!

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #6: WhistlePig 10 Year Old

Joining us today is the wonderful Christian Tirel!

Master of Malt: Tell us a bit about WhistlePig’s history…

Christian Tirel: WhistlePig opened in 2010 on an old dairy farm in Shoreham, Vermont. It was the brainchild of our iconic distiller, Dave Pickerell, his search for the perfect rye, and his vision to bring ultra-premium craft rye to the forefront of American whiskey. 

MoM: Why rye whiskey?!

CT: While America may not have a monarchy, pre-Prohibition rye was pretty much both king and queen of America. It was this bleak time that caused the downfall of rye for bourbon. Although history and palates were changing, in more recent times there has been increased demand from bartenders to be reaching for the authentic recipes for the much-loved classics such as the Manhattan and Sazerac, which call for high-rye whiskies. Palates becoming more sophisticated and exploratory gave further momentum to the desire for a 100% rye offerings with hefty statements. This left a huge gap to be filled for an authentic 100% rye, 10-year minimum, 100-proof whiskies, and the legendary Dave Pickerell more than filled that gap with WhistlePig.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #6: WhistlePig 10 Year Old

Whistlepig is a is grain-to-glass distillery

MoM: Why is grain-to-glass so important to you and the team?

CT: Being a ‘zero generation’ distillery, we have cut our teeth in the whiskey world predominantly through the revered art of blending and maturation. As with most distilleries, we have a goal to make a grain-to-glass whiskey, not only to showcase a truly exceptional standard of rye, but to begin our legacy here. Unlike many distilleries in the world, we have the luxury of having the water source, rye crops and the Rolls-Royce of wood on-site, Vermont oak.

MoM: WhistlePig 10 Year Old is the dram behind the door today! How has it been made?

CT: Our flagship whiskey came from a Holy Grail of Rye mission that Dave Pickerell set out on to find the perfect 100% rye pot-distilled whiskey that followed the stipulated rules of straight rye whiskey, in charred virgin oak barrels, too. He discovered this hoard of gold…coloured liquid in Canada. It is still sourced from there to this day. It is then brought to the pastoral WhistlePig Farm in Shoreham, Vermont, where it is further matured in new charred virgin American oak casks with every last drop being aged for a minimum of 10 years. The final and arguably most important step is the expert small-batch blending to achieve the signature WhistlePig 10 Year profile. 

MoM: Money and availability no object, what would be your dream Christmas dram?

CT: My Christmas dram? Simply BossHog V: The Spirit of Mauve. It was eloquently described by Dave Pickerell as “a tiny atomic apple pie bomb going off”, and this could not be more true! It’s got warm spice and rye on the tongue, with a mushroom cloud of baking spices that coat and warm the roof of the mouth, all the while there is a baked apple flavour radiating throughout. It’s perfect for Christmas, decadent, warming and barrel-strength to help with the in-laws!

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #6: WhistlePig 10 Year Old

Whistlepig 10 Year Old Tasting Note:

Nose: Fresh peppermint and herbal thyme initially, with sweet vanilla and marzipan developing. Creamy butterscotch, raspberry jam and orange rind round it off.

Palate: Warm baking spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice burst to life and are tempered by sweet muscovado sugar, bright oak and dark chocolate. Vanilla cola and caramel shortbread linger.

Finish: Medium-length, with warm rye spices, sweet malt and sour cherries.

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Whisky Advent 2020 Day #2: BenRiach 12 Year Old – Sherry Wood

If you’ve opened window #2 of your Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar you’ll find you got a sherry-tastic Scotch whisky to enjoy… One of the great things about…

If you’ve opened window #2 of your Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar you’ll find you got a sherry-tastic Scotch whisky to enjoy…

One of the great things about your Whisky Advent Calendar is that it lets you tour the world of whisky from the comfort of your own home. Sometimes you’ll visit new exotic locations, other times you’ll get to explore one of Scotland’s many whisky regions, like Speyside, which is home to a huge number of fantastic distilleries. One of those is Benriach Distillery, which is known for creating fruity, malty and sometimes smoky spirit that matures beautifully in a wide variety of casks. And a whisky that demonstrates that exact point is what we’ve got behind window #2. It’s…

BenRiach 12 Year Old – Sherry Wood!

A delightful dram that was matured in a combination of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, this Benriach bottling has got more sherried deliciousness than you can shake a stick at. Michael Brown, Brown-Forman’s Irish & Malts brand ambassador, joins us to tell more all about today’s dram and the distillery that made it.

Master of Malt: How would you describe the character of Benriach whisky?

Michael Brown: Benriach’s character comes from all over the world thanks to the selection of the eclectic casks that we use. It is very fruit-forward with layers of luscious orchard fruit but also with malt sweetened and spiced oak. Our master blender Dr. Rachel Barrie often says that the Benriach The Original Ten for instance is “Speyside in a glass” and the beautiful creaminess you taste in it makes her think of a “Speyside Patisserie”. We also have Smoky Single Malts in Benriach’s range which represent a smooth introduction to sweet smoke. Benriach brings a true world of flavour and there is a Benrich for everyone’s taste!

MoM: What sets Benriach apart in your view?

MB: At Benriach distillery, we have an unconventional whisky-making heritage producing three styles of whisky: classic unpeated, Highland peated and triple-distilled. Along with our varied cask profiles, it has enabled our whisky makers since 1898 to explore the full flavour possibilities of single malt, creating some of the richest, most multi-layered whiskies in Speyside. This long-standing tradition continues today under the guidance of our Master Blender. Dr Rachel Barrie who has over a quarter of a century’s experience and a love of creative whisky which means that Benriach is the perfect place to practise her art!

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #2: BenRiach 12 Year Old - Sherry Wood

Dr Rachel Barrie is one of the most renowned master blenders in the whisky world.

MoM: This year the brand’s core range was refreshed and you adopted a new look. How has it been received?

MB: We have been thrilled to see the very positive feedback from consumers we met in recent virtual shows and live streamings as well as the warm welcome from our trade partners and media. Benriach has huge potential with endless flavour possibilities to still unleash and we cannot wait to release very soon new expressions to complete the core range already available. So more to come, keep your eyes peeled!

MoM: What trends or developments do you think we’ll see in the world of whisky in 2021?

MB: Trends are something I tend to steer away from as they come and go and at Benriach we always make our choices based on what casks work with our style of new make spirit. However, what I see happening in the Scotch whisky world as a whole, is a move towards simplifying language and information and talking about whisky in terms of flavours that are more familiar to people, rather than more specific whisky language. For instance, at Benriach, we bring it back to flavour references of a patisserie, from fruit jams and creme patisserie to custards and rich buttery pastries. For me these flavour references allow people to be transported to a time in their life where they remember jam roly-poly and custard or another pudding that really sticks in your mind.

MoM: What will you be drinking this Christmas?

MB: You really can’t go wrong with a lovely neat whisky on a cold winter’s night and this year for me, I will be reaching for one of my favourites in the new Benriach range, Benriach The Smoky Twelve. It really takes me to the smells of Christmas desserts being prepared, smoked vanilla and orange, rich brown sugar and chocolate notes and a whisky that is such a Christmas treat, the finish just keeps delivering waves of flavour after the first sip. But for a Christmas Highball to serve to family, I will reach for a few easily got ingredients to make an Allspice Highball using Benriach 10 Year Old and spicy ginger beer at its most simple or follow the recipe below and make them as good as your bartender: Combine 50ml of Benraich 10 Year Old, 5ml of Bitter Truth Pimento Dram Liqueur, 5ml of lemon juice, 5ml of sugar syrup and top it with 140ml of ginger beer.

Whisky Advent 2020 Day #2: BenRiach 12 Year Old - Sherry Wood

Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Cooked apple drizzled in crème de cassis, brown sugar and zesty orange.

Palate: Fig, blackcurrant jam, apricot, slowly building Christmas spice and continued vanilla.

Finish: Soft ginger root spiciness.

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Introducing Pour & Sip: a new subscription club for whisky lovers

Hey, look! There’s a new monthly whisky subscription service in town. And it’s powered by us! It’s called Pour & Sip, and we’d love to tell you all about it….

Hey, look! There’s a new monthly whisky subscription service in town. And it’s powered by us! It’s called Pour & Sip, and we’d love to tell you all about it.

Do you ever wake up and decide you’re going to do things differently? Like convincing yourself that you’re going to start running 5 miles every morning (I’d take making it to the kitchen without pulling a muscle at this rate) or that you’re going to stop staying up until 2am every night arguing with strangers online that Girls Aloud’s Biology is a masterpiece of pop music composition (it is, and I regret nothing).

Well, here at MoM Towers we decided to change things up and have actually gone through with our big idea. Which is how we’ve arrived at Pour & Sip. It’s a new monthly whisky subscription service we created to change the way whisky lovers engage with and share the spirit while still providing the newest, most exciting and much-loved expressions around.

Pour & Sip was built to be a flexible platform for drinks discovery, tailored to customers and with community, accessibility and inclusion at its core. The founding team recognises that whisky can be intimidating, and has worked to develop a club that is welcoming for all (apart from those under the legal drinking age, obviously). Whisky is for anyone who enjoys flavour experiences, regardless of gender, ethnicity, background, or anything else. It’s basically one big happy family that welcomes connoisseurs to novices alike, all enjoy tasting and talking about the water of life. Sounds neat, right? 

Pour & Sip

Welcome to Pour & Sip. It’s as badass as it looks

Here’s how it works. Each month, customers who subscribe will receive five different 30ml measures of very tasty whisky. How do we know it’s so delicious? Because the selection has been curated by our passionate expert buyers and writers who boast years of experience in the whisky industry. Yay for us! Members are encouraged to join twice-monthly online tastings which provide an opportunity to explore each taster in detail, ask questions, and generally immerse themselves in all things whisky. 

They can also enjoy bespoke blog content, and will even receive access to exclusive discounts on full-price bottles at Master of Malt. Pour & Sip boxes ship monthly, with members at complete control of their subscription. Deliveries can be paused and resumed at any time at no cost, and set two- and three-month gift options are also available. Oh, and new customers receive a welcome pack containing a pair of tasting glasses, a ‘how to taste whisky’ card, detailed tasting notes, plus the first five 30ml whisky samples. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to announce the launch of Pour & Sip. We’re so excited to share our new whisky finds and passion with everyone, making this an experience less intimidating,” Giovana Petry, Pour & Sip lead, said of the launch. “Every monthly box is distinct, different, and filled to the brim with flavour. All our members have to do is sit back, Pour & Sip!”

Pour & Sip

Sit back, relax and let us do the hard work for you. All you need to do is pour and sip!

Pour & Sip is now open to new members, with the first welcome packs shipping in September. So, check it out: https://pourandsip.com/

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