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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: English Whisky

Booze branding buzzword bingo

Today the choice of what we drink has never been greater, from gins made with unusual botanicals to whisky from far-out places like, err, Norfolk. Why then, asks bartender Nate…

Today the choice of what we drink has never been greater, from gins made with unusual botanicals to whisky from far-out places like, err, Norfolk. Why then, asks bartender Nate Brown, is marketing often so formulaic? 

Making a product is only half the bottle (sic). Often, the real work starts when it comes to selling it. Thus, distillation complete, in steps the branding team (funding permitting), fresh with their focus group pie charts, jealous competitor analysis and creepy demographic detailing. It’s their job to create a connection with potential consumers amid a myriad of new releases. They try to put flavour and lifestyle into words. Sadly, they often employ a limited lexicon to appeal to as many people as possible. Rather than risk offence or isolating a portion of their audience, they use a homogeneous factory line of copy cats and safe bets.

‘Retail is detail’

So, here’s a fun game: read the back label from an anonymous spirits bottle and try and guess what it is. Chances are you’ll be met with a bingo scorecard of buzzwords. In order to help you through the word soup, I’ve provided this handy guide:

Artisan: This product has been made by someone with zero qualifications but it makes them feel better about themselves after a career in finance

Craft: Like graft, only without the attention to detail and the love. Craft means made. We know it’s made. It’s in our hand. Don’t celebrate craft, celebrate graft.

Foraged: We weren’t planning on using these botanicals but they’re free.

Founded by: Somebody whose fabricated story tentatively embodies what we want our product to be. We think that by having a face on the label you’ll find us more likeable. The founder is not real. Unless it’s your mate.

Fruity: A deliciously lazy catch all. It could be passion fruit, it could be tomato, or it could be that lovely pear top note you get from poorly-distilled spirits.

Handcrafted: Just like hand-cut chips, which are chips cut by machine with an on button pressed by a real life human. Handcrafted, when you think about it, is a little bit seedy and creepy.

Innovative: We came up with this idea almost all by ourselves. Almost. Besides, someone was already doing what we planned to do.

Smooth: Lacking bite, or possibly flavour. Or maybe structure. Or the finish. Or we’ve added sugar to compensate for its horridness. Or we have literally nothing else to say about this spirit.

Nate Brown

Nate Brown, hand-crafting a cocktail

Bonus points awarded for:

Water source: We have a reverse osmosis machine to demineralise and reduce our water to pure H2O (so does literally everyone else but we’ll just ignore that).

X years experience: We’re going to pretend that practice makes perfect, and that all the years we’ve served in this industry have somehow been building to this point.

These buzzwords suggest a dumbing down of our industry, but actually the opposite is true. We as customers are becoming more and more aware of the liquid in the glass, the words on the label should follow suit.

Nate Brown has owned and operated spirit specialist cocktail bars in London for the better part of a decade. He’s a regular speaker on industry panels, a judge for various spirit awards and has been known to harbour an opinion or two.  

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The winner of our Cotswolds Distillery competition is…

We teamed up with our friends over at the Cotswolds Distillery in the beautiful English countryside to bring you the chance to win a VIP trip around the stunning distillery….

We teamed up with our friends over at the Cotswolds Distillery in the beautiful English countryside to bring you the chance to win a VIP trip around the stunning distillery. Now, the time has finally come to reveal the lucky champion…

Cast your minds back to the very beginning of May, when bank holidays were aflowing and we announced our Cotswolds Distillery competition! It was easier than ever to enter, as all you had to do was buy any whisky or gin from the Cotswolds distillery range!

Now, the champion of that competition will soon be on their way (with their equally fortuitous plus one) for an overnight stay at the distillery plus much, much more. Will the lucky victor go for a gin or whisky masterclass, we wonder? It’s out of our hands now, we’ve done our part. Whatever they choose, it’ll be delicious.

We are super stoked to announce the winner, who will soon be galavanting around the distillery and sipping on Costwolds G&Ts.

The lucky winner is…

Lee Taylor, from Gloucester!

The Cotswolds Distillery

A Cotswolds cloudy G&T, to be enjoyed by our winner

 

An enormous thank you to those who entered, and a huge congratulations to our winner! If you weren’t so fortunate this time, with your bottle of Cotswolds gin or whisky, you’re already winning!

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The Nightcap: 24 May

Powers, plastic straws and pineapples – plus a few things that don’t begin with ‘P’. It’s all here in yet another edition of The Nightcap! Today is Friday, and many…

Powers, plastic straws and pineapples – plus a few things that don’t begin with ‘P’. It’s all here in yet another edition of The Nightcap!

Today is Friday, and many of us will be heading into the final Bank Holiday weekend for a few months. There’s one at a seemingly random time in August, but the smattering of three day weekends throughout April and May occur in such a cluster that we almost become used to it. We must not become complacent! We must approach this three day weekend with the same vim and vigour as we did previous ones! Oh, and also we should start it as we do other weekends (extended ones or otherwise), with The Nightcap! Obviously.

In a week in which we announced that we’re going to Fèis Ìle 2019, we also launched two new competitions, one to win the entire Game of Thrones whisky range and the other to win a VIP trip to Bombay Sapphire’s distillery. Nate Brown then extolled the virtues of sherry, Jess took a look at Diageo’s new Italian gin, Villa Ascenti and Annie explored where to imbibe in Bowie’s old haunt, Berlin and who the up-and-comers of alcohol-free are. Adam enjoyed the latest chapter in Balvenie’s story, then picked Big Peat Fèis Ìle 2019 Edition to be his New Arrival of the Week, for obvious reasons, while Henry enjoyed Redbreast’s new expression, video masterclasses from Mortlach and Johnnie Walker and even manged to find time to make the Grand Sour his Cocktail of the Week. Phew…

Now, on with the news!

Nightcap

Our PR manager Mariella Salerno holds up our shiny new prize!

MoM named DB Awards Online Retailer of the Year!

It was celebration station on Tuesday afternoon at the DB Awards, hosted by the team over at trade magazine The Drinks Business. We were delighted to pick up the Online Retailer of the Year award! The ceremony took place as part of the London Wine Fair, so we got to join the jubilations early, enjoying some really rather marvellous tipples from across the world. They said loads of nice things about us, and we picked up a shiny trophy. Oh, and #WhiskySanta got a highly commended nod too, for his excellent work spreading festive spirit far and wide through the social realm. Cheers, Team DB – you made our week!

Nightcap

Look everyone, it’s Kent’s first single malt whisky!

Kent’s first single malt whisky is here

Kent is something of a booze hotspot with its hop gardens and breweries, orchards and cideries, vineyards and gin distilleries, and of course, it’s the home of a certain online retailer. Now the Garden of England has its first single malt. The whisky is a collaboration between Andy Reason and Norman Lewis of the Anno Distillery in Marden (who make a fine gin) and the Westerham Brewery. The mash was made with English barley and fermented with two strains of yeast comes from the brewery. It was then double distilled in a tiny 300-litre copper pot still named, appropriately enough, Patience. The spirit came off at 63.5% ABV into an ex-bourbon cask that previously held a Speyside single malt. After ageing, the resulting whisky was bottled at 40% ABV. Norman Lewis said of the partnership: “It’s been a wonderful experience working with Robert Wicks from Westerham Brewery. Our combined expertise has come together seamlessly and resulted in something which we’re extremely proud of. We hope those who are lucky enough to taste this limited-edition whisky enjoy savouring it as much as we enjoyed making it.” It’s such a limited edition that customers are being limited to three bottles (at £120 each) and it’s available directly from the distillery and Westerham Brewery. Hurry, while stocks last.

Nightcap

They might seem delightful, but they need to go.

England moves to ban plastic straws and stirrers

Great news, folks! The government this week confirmed it will ban plastic straws and stirrers in England (and plastic cotton buds, but less relevant to us) from April 2020. There are some sensible exemptions for those with medical needs or a disability (pubs and bars will still be able to give them out on request), but we can wave goodbye for good to unnecessary plastic in our drinks. The move follows a government consultation which found 80% back a ban on straws, and 90% on stirrers. About time, too. Apparently, we use 4.7 billion plastic straws and 316 million plastic stirrers each year in England alone! And yes, alternatives are available (we sipped through some fancy bamboo ones recently), but the government reckons a whopping 95% of straws are still plastic. Boo. Even more boo: it’s thought there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans, and that every year one million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals die from eating or getting trapped in plastic. This ban can’t come soon enough.

Nightcap

Introducing: Scarabus Islay Single Malt

Hunter Laing releases Scarabus Islay Single Malt at Fèis Ìle

Peat heads of the world, unite! A new release from Hunter Laing & Co. is always exciting news, especially when it’s an Islay single malt like Scarabus. Appropriately, the whisky is being released at this year’s Fèis Ìle. If you’re down that way then you’re in luck, because the very first drams will be poured (and tasted) throughout the festival at Hunter Laing’s newly-opened distillery on the island, Ardnahoe. Scarabus means ‘rocky place’ in Nordic, and the whisky is named after a mystical area of Islay, complete with equally mystical golden packaging. “We’re extremely proud of the Scarabus whisky and the Fèis Ìle Festival is the perfect place to release the first bottling”, said Stewart Laing, Managing Director. “We aimed to produce an expression that showcases a traditional Islay whisky style, and the unmistakable Islay smoke matches wonderfully with the rich, sweeter notes that linger on the finish.” If you’re not down Islay-way, fear not, as Scarabus will soon be available in the UK and beyond. Keep an eye on our social channels for updates.

Nightcap

Hit the books spirit nerds, we’ve got a new challenge up ahead!

WSET Level 3 Award in Spirits is live!

Great news, spirits geeks! There’s a new qualification in town, and it’s the toughest one yet. Developed in response to our collective (and global) thirst for all things spirits and subsequent desire to know all about them, the Level 3 Award builds on the Level 2 course (Team MoM highly recommends) but digs down into greater production detail while covering new spirits categories, like baijiu. It’s a much tougher assessment process, too, with a blind tasting exam as well as multiple choice and short-answer question paper. In all, candidates will need to put in at least 84 hours of graft. We’re excited! “The spirits industry has been crying out for a more advanced qualification in spirits,” said course developer Nick King. “Candidate numbers for WSET spirits qualifications (Levels 1 and 2) have grown significantly in the last 10 years (from 540 in 2009 to 6600 in 2019) and are now taught in 33 countries worldwide reflecting growing global demand. We are delighted to now be able to offer the industry a Level 3 Spirits qualification that develops candidates’ knowledge and understanding of the category in great depth and also builds their tasting skills, teaching them to identify the structural and aromatic elements that make up a spirit and to make a compelling quality assessment.” The first UK courses get under way in October!

Nightcap

All the delights of Powers Irish Whiskey with none of the effort? We’re in.

Powers Irish Whiskey’s first ever bottled cocktail

If stirring and, ugh, waiting aren’t for you, Powers Irish Whiskey has your back because the brand has just unveiled its first-ever pre-mixed cocktail, Powers Old Fashioned! Pow! The cocktail sees a combination of the classic Powers Gold Label, sugar syrup and bitter herbs flavouring. The recommended serve is, of course, over ice with a twist of orange peel – well, how else could you garnish an Old Fashioned? The bottle boasts a whole new look, with sleek modern packaging which you’d be hard-pressed to recognise as Powers. “A careful balance of the rich history of Powers with an eye on the future, we are confident that the refreshing ritual of ‘Ice, Pour, Twist’ will appeal to whiskey fans and the cocktail curious alike who are looking for simple and convenient ways to create new Irish whiskey experiences at home or in their local pub”, says Brendan Buckley at Irish Distillers. The cocktail will be launching in Ireland from the end of May, and if it finds success then hopefully we can expect to see it much further afield. Old Fashioneds all around!

Nightcap

Counting oysters by hand, that’s commitment to conservation

Glenmorangie & partners plan to return native oysters to Europe’s seas

Oyster-loving folk, gather round. In historic marine-related news, a landmark Native Oyster Restoration Alliance (NORA) conference on reef restoration was held in Edinburgh this week. It was hosted by The Glenmorangie Company and its partners, including Heriot-Watt University, bringing together conservationists, administrators and oyster producers from across Europe to develop a ‘blueprint’ for native oyster reef restoration. Oysters were overfished to the point of extinction in the 1800s, and it turns out oyster reefs are among the most endangered marine habitats on Earth. The restoration is going to be done through the Dornoch Environmental Enhancement Project (rather aptly abbreviated to DEEP), which was established in 2014 and has already returned 20,000 native oysters to the Dornoch Firth in the Scottish Highlands. The aim? To increase this population of 20,000 to four million (!) by 2025, and in turn the reef will become self-sustaining. “We are incredibly proud to be pioneering DEEP’s vital environmental work with our partners, not only protecting but enhancing Glenmorangie Distillery’s environment for future generations,” says Glenmorangie President and CEO Tom Moradpour. It looks like the world really is our oyster.

Nightcap

Happy Anniversary guys!

The Coral Room celebrates its first anniversary

We got our party shoes on this week and headed up to London to join The Coral Room’s first-anniversary bash! The sleekly cosy cocktail bar is part of The Bloomsbury Hotel, but very much comes with its own character, look and feel. And on Wednesday, that feel was celebration! There was cake, a confetti cannon, and even a sneak peek at the new cocktail menu, which includes such deliciousness as the May Day Spritz, made with Tanqueray, Italicus, orange blossom and honey bitters, and English sparkling wine; and the Drinking in Newquay, with Cîroc, Crème de menthe, Blue Curaçao and Belsazar Riesling Supreme. There was even a Rinomato Sorbet, too! Very festive. Do pop in raise a cocktail to the team – congrats to everyone at The Coral Room!

Licor 43 lays down cocktail and coffee challenge

There’s nothing more on-trend than putting coffee and cocktails together. So, it’s appropriate that Licor 43 has just announced the opening of the UK round of its Bartenders & Baristas Challenge 2019. Now in its third year, this competition lays down the gauntlet to both bartenders and baristas to create serves with coffee and Licor 43 (the details of how to enter are here). Winners will go to a grand final in Gran Canaria this autumn. UK brand manager Charlotte Oswald said: “There is a natural marriage of aromas and flavours between Licor 43 and coffee and we’ve been communicating this with our Carajillo 43 signature serve. We are often amazed at the creativity, knowledge and passion from contestants and this really went up a level with the introduction of the coffee element last year – bartenders who were very well-versed in all things spirits were finding a whole new world of cocktail creation. We can’t wait to see what they come up with this year!” Licor 43, a blend of spices and citrus fruits, is something of a cult drink in Spain. There’s now a special Liquor 43 Baristo made with coffee beans from the Canary Islands which the company has produced a film about (above). So, what are you waiting for bartenders and baristas, get experimenting!

Nightcap

Happy International Pineapple Day, folks!

And finally. . . shake your maracas cos it’s International Pineapple Day!

From the Piña Colada to Carmen Miranda, we all know that the pineapple is the most exotic of all the fruits. No wonder it has a special day devoted to it: 1 June is International Pineapple Day! To help things go with a swing, That Boutique-y Gin Company is putting on a Pineapple Gin Parlour pop-up at 15 Bateman Street, in Soho, London on 1-2 June. There will be masterclasses and food historian Tasha Marks on hand to explain the history of the king of fruit. In the 18th century pineapples were high-value status symbols: having a pineapple was the Regency equivalent of a Ferrari parked outside your house. The neighbours would say ‘oooh, get her, who does she think she is with that pineapple, Lord Byron?’ Thankfully, drinks at the pop-up will be rather more affordable. Simply say the code word ‘mule’ and your Pineapple Mule will cost you nothing at all. Isn’t the modern world brilliant?

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Win a VIP trip to the Cotswolds Distillery

WIN the trip of a lifetime to the Cotswolds Distillery! One winner and their lucky plus-one will enjoy a tailored distillery tour and blending masterclass, an overnight stay and more!…

  • WIN the trip of a lifetime to the Cotswolds Distillery!
  • One winner and their lucky plus-one will enjoy a tailored distillery tour and blending masterclass, an overnight stay and more!

There are so many reasons to visit the charming Cotswolds, from its rolling hills to its thatched medieval villages. But our favourite reason to journey to its scenic countryside is to pay our friends at the magnificent and multi-award-winning Cotswolds Distillery a visit. Which is exactly what we’re offering you the opportunity to do. We’ve joined forces with the makers of delicious English booze to offer an incredible overnight VIP stay for one lucky person and their plus-one!

The Cotswolds Distillery

It’s the wonderful Cotswolds Distillery!

“So what exactly do I win?!”

The winner of this competition will earn a VIP visit to the Cotswolds Distillery and their shiny new visitor centre, including an overnight stay at The Bell in Alderminster, with dinner up to the value of £75 and breakfast included.

But that’s not all. If you’re fortunate enough to win this amazing prize, you’ll also be treated to a gin* OR whisky** blending masterclass, plus the brand’s award-winning tour at the distillery and a 20cl bottling of Cotswolds Dry Gin with 2 fancy Copa glasses. Oh, and you’ll also receive a Cotswolds Cloudy G&T on arrival. As if you haven’t been spoiled enough already!

So whether you’re a lover of all things brilliant and boozy and would jump at the chance to visit one of the country’s finest distilleries or you’re the adventurous type who’s keen to explore one of the many fantastic features of the beautiful English countryside then taking part in this competition is a must. You never know who’s name could be on that ticket…

The Cotswolds Distillery

One of these will be yours to enjoy on arrival.

“How do I enter this magnificent competition?!”

It’s so easy. You will be *automagically* entered into the competition if you buy any whisky or gin from the Cotswolds distillery range from Master of Malt between the 1 May and the 15 May 2019. (For the nitty gritty details, see the competition terms below.) You’ll receive an entry for every delicious bottle you buy!

So, whether you’re partial to the sublime Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, a fan of the Founder’s Choice or gaga for the brand’s tasty Dry Gin, you’ll not only get to sample their delights as usual, but for a limited time you could win big with your indulgence! If not, you’ve still got some delicious booze to enjoy. It’s a win-win, whatever way you look at it.

This is probably a good time to mention that the Cotswolds Distillery has received a number of awards for its range of spirits, and were named Craft Producer of the Year at both the Icons of Whisky and the Icons of Gin in 2018! Its Single Malt Whisky was a San Francisco Spirits Competition 2019 Double Gold winner, while its Founder’s Choice won Best English Whisky at World Whiskies Awards 2019. The Dry Gin, meanwhile, has been acknowledged by the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) and World Gin Awards with a Gold Outstanding in the category of London Dry in 2017 and Best London Dry Gin in 2016 respectively. Plus we really like them. Which is the real prize. Also the actual prize on offer in this competition. Don’t forget about that.

The Cotswolds Distillery

The delicious Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Good luck, all!

*Gin masterclass includes a tour of the distillery and tour of Research and Development Lab
**Whisky masterclass includes a detailed tour of the distillery and the warehouse.

MoM Cotswolds 2019 Competition open to entrants 18 years and over. Entries accepted from 1 May to the 15 May 2019. Winners chosen at random after close of competition. Travel only provided from a UK location. Prizes not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash equivalent. Entry also available with no purchase. See full T&Cs for details.

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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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