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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: English Whisky

English spirits for St. George’s Day

Mark the Feast of Saint George, England’s patron saint, with some of the most delightful and delicious tipples from across England. You might have woken up this morning thinking today…

Mark the Feast of Saint George, England’s patron saint, with some of the most delightful and delicious tipples from across England.

You might have woken up this morning thinking today was simply just the dreaded post-Easter weekend return to reality. But it’s April 23rd, and that means it’s St. George’s Day. Here at MoM Towers, we can think of no better way to commemorate the dragon-slaying knight than by championing the ever-increasing number of innovative and charming distilleries that are popping up all over this fair country.

We’ve rounded some choice selections up here (and also here), so you can indulge with ease this St. George’s Day. From new and exciting whiskies to evocative, flavoursome gins, we’ve got you covered!

Happy St. George’s Day everyone!

Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

It’s fair to say the first single malt whisky from the Cotswolds Distillery did not disappoint. Produced using barley grown in the Cotswolds, distilled in Forsyths copper pot stills (Mary & Janis to be precise) and matured in a combination of ex-bourbon and red wine casks, this eagerly awaited dram has received acclaim from far and wide for good reason. Just look at its shiny Gold medal from The World Whisky Masters 2018 (The Spirits Business) if you don’t believe us!

What does it taste like?:

Spicy cereal notes, malt and porridge, orange peel, lemon, grassy, marzipan, black pepper and vanilla custard.

English Whisky Co. 8 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)

Given that it’s Saint George’s Day today, it seemed only right that we selected a whisky that featured the man himself and the customary dragon on the label. The two are fighting here over what appears to be a collection of whisky and a massive caramel sweetie, so the stakes are high. This delicious dram was distilled by the English Whisky Co. and drawn from bourbon and sweet Sauternes casks.

What does it taste like?:

Bonfire smoke, sweet green apple, cherry soda, bruised pears, rich barley, cinnamon sticks and candy cane menthol.

Salcombe Gin – Start Point

From Salcombe, one of the few distilleries in the world that is accessible by boat (how cool is that), comes a gin that was inspired by the Salcombe ‘fruiters’ that brought exotic fruit into Devon from the Azores, West Indies and the Mediterranean in the 19th century. This influence is evident in the botanical selection, which includes Macedonian juniper, fresh lemon, lime and red grapefruit peels, cardamom, liquorice, cinnamon bark, chamomile, coriander seeds and cubeb berries. It’s very tasty and is begging to be put to good use in a G&T.

What does it taste like?:

Warming spiced citrus, fruity peppery heat, floral aromas and plenty of earthy and resinous pine notes.

The English – Original

When the aptly named St George’s Distillery at Roudham in Norfolk was founded by the Nelstrop family in 2005, it became England’s first registered whisky producer for over a century. Since then The English Whisky Co. has made a habit of producing a variety of wonderful whisky. The Original, launched in 2016, is an unpeated single malt that was aged in bourbon casks, so expect a creamy, vanilla-rich flavour profile.

What does it taste like?:

Zesty orange, vanilla custard, grassy malt, almond, hazelnut, milk chocolate, orange, rich barley and a handful of spices.

Brockmans Intensely Smooth Gin

As you can imagine, Brockmans Intensely Smooth Gin is one smooth customer. It’s also delicious in a Negroni. However, the unique selection of botanicals is the feature of this beauty that appeals to us the most. Where else would you find Tuscan juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander, blueberries, blackberries and bittersweet Valencian orange peel?

What does it taste like?:

Cooked fruit, strawberry, damson jam, almonds, blueberries, juniper, herbs, liquorice root and soft aniseed notes.

Adnams Triple Malt Whisky

If you still think of Adnams purely as a brewer of quality Suffolk beers then you need some booze-based re-education. Sensational spirits are all the rage at Adnams in recent times. Take this delightful Triple Malt Whisky, for example. It was produced in Southwold using a trio of malted grains – barley, wheat and oats – then matured in new American oak casks for five years. Wonderful stuff.

What does it taste like?:

Toasted coconut, white grape, foam banana, apricot, chocolate orange, caramelised almonds, bubblegum, charred oak, honey and a kick of white pepper.

The Wrecking Coast Cornish Clotted Cream Gin

You read that right. This is a handcrafted, small-batch English gin that was made with Cornish clotted cream. Tell me you don’t want one of these immediately. How did The Wrecking Coast do it? It macerated 12 botanicals in grain spirit for a fortnight before running them through a computer controlled iStill (no, really), while cold distilling the Cornish clotted cream in a vacuum still. The two spirits are blended together, and there you have it! The brand recommended you enjoy this with tonic water, strawberries and lime, which we’re definitely taking them up on.

What does it taste like?:

A creamy mouthfeel carries notes of vibrant, earthy juniper, vanilla pod and honeyed floral. Hints of angelica root and peppercorn stick around in the background.

Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin

A small-batch gin distilled and blended in a 19th century chapel on the banks of the picturesque River Lyn, North Devon, Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin features an intriguing selection of 11 botanicals, including juniper, angelica, cardamom, coriander, cubeb, grains of paradise, hibiscus, Makrutlime leaves, orange peel, lemon peel and lemongrass. This makes it a distinctive, enjoyable tipple that proves Devon isn’t solely about ale and cider.

What does it taste like?:

Clean juniper, lemon, angelica, hibiscus sweetness, a hint of fennel seed, drying cubeb peppery hints and a touch of savoury thyme.

Silent Pool Gin

Silent Pool Gin was created using 24 botanicals, including Makrut lime, chamomile, local honey and lavender. The ever-popular tipple is not only a wonderful example of the creativity and craft being demonstrated by countless English distilleries, but it’s also a very tasty, intriguing spirit that makes for a great G&T.

What does it taste like?:

Violet, lavender, lime leaf, cardamom, juniper, elderflower, honey sweetness, a spark of black pepper, chamomile and a waft of orange blossom.

Sir Robin of Locksley Gin

On a day of celebration to all things English, we simply had to include a gin that was named to honour folk hero Robin Hood. A refreshing and super sweet spirit, Sir Robin of Locksley Gin features a botanical selection which includes elderflower, dandelion and pink grapefruit. It also makes a mean Bramble, folks.

What does it taste like?:

Pink grapefruit, liquorice, elderflower sweetness, dandelion, cassia, juniper and plenty of herbs.

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New Arrival of the Week: The English – Virgin Oak Cask

The English Whisky Co. is looking to see in St George’s Day the only way it knows how. With a new English whisky, of course! English whisky’s recent rise probably…

The English Whisky Co. is looking to see in St George’s Day the only way it knows how. With a new English whisky, of course!

English whisky’s recent rise probably hasn’t escaped you. There’s seemingly no end to the glut of new brands and distilleries emerging, and they’re releasing any number of exciting expressions. But before most of the new arrivals had a drop of the good stuff to shout about, there was The English Whisky Co.. When St George’s Distillery at Roudham in Norfolk was founded by the Nelstrop family in 2005, it became England’s first registered whisky producer for over a century.

The English Whisky Co. has since become the most prolific English malt whisky producer and the family-run, award-winning brand is probably best known for creating a wide variety of expressions. You want a peated dram? It’s got ‘em. You want an unusual cask? No problem. Fancy a single grain English whisky made with a combination of malted barley and rye? A specific pitch, but regardless they’ve got your back. From smoky, to floral, spicy and sweet, it’s a distillery that covers a lot of bases.

This is due to The English Whisky Co.’s self-confessed experimental side. It’s not a brand with centuries of tradition to maintain and manage, so it’s little surprise that in the decade or so since it has been releasing new whiskies, we’ve seen the company flex its creative muscles. Despite being an old-timer in English whisky terms, it’s worth remembering this is a relatively young distillery that’s forging its identity.

The English – Virgin Oak Cask

The St George’s Distillery in sunny Norfolk

Which brings us to The English – Virgin Oak Cask, a whisky launched in time to mark the celebration of the patron saint of England. The English Whisky Co. informs us that this single malt was distilled in July 2013 and bottled in March 2019, with 2,689 bottles filled in total.

As you can probably guess from the name, the stand-out feature of The English – Virgin Oak Cask is its full maturation in virgin American white oak casks. Which is an interesting way to go. It’s fair to say that virgin oak casks have proved to be quite divisive. The fear is that a whisky matured in a brand-new oak barrel is at risk of borrowing too heavily from the cask, resulting in a flood of wood-forward flavour and colour.

But that doesn’t seem to have perturbed The English Whisky Co., and why should it? This is a brand that honours a fella who used to fight dragons, for goodness sake. As long as you approach the ageing process with enough care and an understanding of your spirit, you can utilise any cask and not end up with one-dimensional-tasting whisky.

Which is what The English Whisky Co. has managed to do rather well here. It’s certainly sweet and, in places, vanilla-rich, but these flavours are balanced and there’s a lovely blend of dark, fruity and malty notes present to add depth.

The English – Virgin Oak Cask

Look, it’s The English – Virgin Oak Cask !

To give you an even better idea of what you’re getting with The English – Virgin Oak Cask, it seems only right to end this feature with a classic MoM tasting note:

Tasting Note for The English – Virgin Oak Cask:

Nose: Toasted vanilla pod, coconut ice, ginger and a hint of caraway.

Palate: Full-bodied barley and almond liqueur notes, with nutmeg warmth growing. Yet more vanilla, now with some chocolate coffee notes developing.

Finish: Honey on toast, soft citrus and some final peppery touches.

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Whisky Advent 2018 Day #11: Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Open Door No. 11 and you’ll find that Drinks by the Dram has treated us to the first dram of English whisky in 2018’s Whisky Advent Calendar… Christmas in an…

Open Door No. 11 and you’ll find that Drinks by the Dram has treated us to the first dram of English whisky in 2018’s Whisky Advent Calendar

Christmas in an exciting time, isn’t it? There’s all kinds of amazing food to look forward to, you’ve got some days off work and who knows, you may even get a present you absolutely adore on the day itself. But even more exciting than waiting for Santa is the burgeoning English whisky scene. First expressions from interesting and innovative new distilleries are hitting the shelves (virtual or otherwise) seemingly all the time, joining an ever-growing list of impressive bottlings to sample. It’s fair to say things are looking very bright for the category, as a superb distillery in the Cotswolds countryside demonstrates. It released its first whisky this year to much acclaim and today you can find out what all the fuss is about yourself.

Behind window 11 is…

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The Nightcap: 30 November

Welcome to Friday, team! The weekend has arrived as so has The Nightcap, with our round-up of the newsiest booze stories of the week. Enjoy! And what a week it’s…

Welcome to Friday, team! The weekend has arrived as so has The Nightcap, with our round-up of the newsiest booze stories of the week. Enjoy!

And what a week it’s been! Among all the Black Friday excitement and the most dreamy, delicious deals, there’s been loads going on over on the blog.

On Monday, #WhiskySanta revealed the next Super Wish he’d squirrelled away up his sleeve: a bottle of Midleton Method and Madness Single Pot Still 28 Year Old! And he’s even selected one person who has CLEARLY been very good this year… all will be revealed at the end of the Nightcap.

Next, our Annie caught up with the one and only Salvatore Calabrese to get his take on how to store spirits. Opened something special? Want to keep it in its finest form for as long as physically possible? We got Salvatore’s tricks of the trade to maxing out tastiness.

On Wednesday news broke that La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, the French drinks group that owns the likes of Glen Moray, had snapped up the Cutty Sark brand from Edrington, significantly bolstering its Scotch portfolio in the process. Exciting times. Later that same day we received word of some mighty exciting Scotch bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, including a 30-year-old Macallan expression and sibling 26 and 28-year-old Rosebanks. Delicious!

Rounding off the week (until now, that is), Henry took us on a journey to Herefordshire where he discovered Chase Distillery, purveyor of potato-based vodka and gin. Intrigued? Check out the post!

Marvellous stuff. But now: on with the booziest news from the week that was!

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East London Liquor Company’s first whisky is here: meet London Rye!

To welcome the comeback of whisky distillation in East London, we travelled to East London Liquor Company and were among the first to taste London Rye! Last night MoM was…

To welcome the comeback of whisky distillation in East London, we travelled to East London Liquor Company and were among the first to taste London Rye!

Last night MoM was invited to an incredibly exciting preview dinner. Why? The marvellous folk over at East London Liquor Company (ELLC) revealed London Rye whisky for the first time! This is a very exciting development for a number of reasons, the first being the obvious – yay, more whisky! But more pertinently, this is a particularly notable launch because it’s a part of history. Not only is the expression the first whisky ELLC has ever released, but it’s also the first to be distilled in London’s East End since the closure of Lea Valley in 1904.

The inaugural London Rye release is an attempt from ELLC to make an English whisky that could appeal to a range of drinkers and bartenders. East London Liquor Company’s whisky distiller, Andy Mooney described it as “perfect to drink neat the minute you crack open the bottle”. What stands out straight away is that it’s a rye whisky. However, don’t expect the classic American variety. The recipe Mooney and his team created features a mash bill of 42% rye and 58% extra pale malted barley.

London Rye is intriguing. It was distilled in a combination of pot and column stills before the new make spirit was initially matured for a year in 30-litre and 60-litre new French oak casks with Level 5 and 3 char. This was followed by two years in ex-bourbon before it was finally finished for one month in an ex-Pedro Ximénez sherry cask. It was then bottled at 46.8%.

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The winner of our VIP Lakes Distillery trip is…

It’s about time to announce the winner of our VIP trip up to the Lake District to visit the Lakes Distillery – as well as the Reiver-y Instagram winner! The…

It’s about time to announce the winner of our VIP trip up to the Lake District to visit the Lakes Distillery – as well as the Reiver-y Instagram winner!

The wait is over. We’ve picked our winner of the VIP trip up to the glorious Lake District to see where Steel Bonnets, The ONE, Lakes Gin and more are made – the Lakes Distillery! We filled up the hat with names and masterfully pulled one of them out. That name is…

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WIN a VIP trip to The Lakes Distillery!

You and a lucky plus-one could win a trip to visit England’s award-winning The Lakes Distillery, located in Cumbria’s spectacular Lake District! Prize includes a two-night stay at the marvellous…

  • You and a lucky plus-one could win a trip to visit England’s award-winning The Lakes Distillery, located in Cumbria’s spectacular Lake District!
  • Prize includes a two-night stay at the marvellous 4* Trout Hotel, tasting tour, three-course lunch, delicious drinks, and a numbered bottle of Steel Bonnets whisky hand-signed by master whisky maker Dhavall Gandhi!
  • Enter our Instagram comp too! Share your best Border Reiver and/or whisky-related snap and bag your very own signed bottle of Steel Bonnets!
  • Whether you’re into whisky, walking or generally enjoying delicious things amid wonderful scenery, you are in for a right treat with this! We’ve teamed up with our pals at The Lakes Distillery to offer one lucky human (and their even luckier plus one!) the chance to visit the award-winning whisky, gin, vodka and liqueur-maker, which just so happens to be situated in one of the UK’s most scenic national parks: The Lake District.

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    The Nightcap: 31 August

    Happy Friday, folks! Here’s The Nightcap to help you roll on into the weekend armed with a plethora of booze news. Always handy if you’re looking to impress down the…

    Happy Friday, folks! Here’s The Nightcap to help you roll on into the weekend armed with a plethora of booze news. Always handy if you’re looking to impress down the pub/on a hot date/out in a bar*…

    Welcome to the weekend, team! Step away from the workload and pick up a dram. You deserve it. Friday evening is here! (Apologies as always if you’re a non-nine-to-fiver and are indeed working at the weekend… join the vibe when you can.)

    It’s been a short week here at MoM Towers thanks to the summer bank holiday Monday. But that hasn’t stopped us bringing you all manner of news over on the blog this week.

    On Tuesday we unveiled our latest competition of much excitement – win a VIP trip to Speyside and discover The BenRiach Distillery! Then on Wednesday we got hold of Pernod Ricard’s annual report and crunched the numbers to see how the likes of Jameson, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal performed over the last year.

    Yesterday we had a blog double whammy: Annie talked us through all things aquavit in her beginner’s guide, before we shed a little bit more light onto Diageo’s Special Releases 2018 line-up. Not long until the full reveal: check back on 12 September for details of all 10 bottlings in full.

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    We paid a visit to Copper Rivet in Kent

    What’s more exciting than a local whisky distillery? One that makes gin, vodka and an intriguing Port-like wine, too! We have a nose around Kent’s Copper Rivet distillery and get…

    What’s more exciting than a local whisky distillery? One that makes gin, vodka and an intriguing Port-like wine, too! We have a nose around Kent’s Copper Rivet distillery and get to sample some very intriguing spirits indeed…

    The building that houses the Copper Rivet Distillery looks like it should be in a piazza in Siena rather than amongst the retail parks of what used to be the Royal Naval Dockyards in Chatham, Kent. A former pump house, it lay derelict for years until it was spotted by Matthew Russell who was having a picnic over the River Medway at Upnor Castle. His family had been looking all over the country for a place to start making gin, but when he saw those Italianate arches, he thought “bingo” (or perhaps “gingo”).

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    London Rye and beyond: East London Liquor Company on English whisky

    Last week, East London Liquor Company steamrollered its original crowdfunding target of £750,000 in a mere 24 hours. Here, founder Alex Wolpert reflects on four transformative years, details the distillery’s…

    Last week, East London Liquor Company steamrollered its original crowdfunding target of £750,000 in a mere 24 hours. Here, founder Alex Wolpert reflects on four transformative years, details the distillery’s next steps, and anticipates the future of English whisky with his hyper-local London Rye.

    “It’s been quite a week,” a humble Wolpert tells me over the phone, and I don’t doubt him for a second. The gin, vodka and whisky distillery – east London’s first for more than a century – exceeded the £1 million marker of its Crowdcube campaign within four days, with investments ranging from £10 to £175,000. At the time of writing, ELLC is making clear headway on its amended target of £1.5m.

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