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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Glengoyne

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Budget promises big changes for the drinks industry, the world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist is made and a cask of whisky sells for over £1.6million. It’s all in this…

The Budget promises big changes for the drinks industry, the world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist is made and a cask of whisky sells for over £1.6million. It’s all in this week’s Nightcap!

Happy Halloween(ish), everyone! It’s the first one we’ve been able to celebrate properly in what feels like forever, so we hope you’ve got something fun planned, whether it’s a costume-filled party or a night in with some sweet treats. Nothing too scary. Good thing the only spirits you’ll find here are delicious and boozy. It’s The Nightcap: 29 October edition!

Those of you who are getting your Christmas lists in order will be delighted to know we launched our Christmas Gift Finder. We also let you know how to win big with Jack Daniel’s, how to enjoy Bonfire Night with some great company and fireside drams, and how to get your hands on our latest MoM exclusive: a Teaninich 11 Year Old 2010 finished in a sherry cask and bottled by James Eadie. Elsewhere on the blog, we made a kümmelised gin sour, gave you a mezcal 101, and made a case for fun drinks, while Adam looked into the story of one of the great bourbon brands and demonstrated why you absolutely can mix Islay whisky.  

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Budget will have a big effect on booze

Rishi Sunak outlines radical overhaul of alcohol duty

In his autumn Budget announcement this week chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed a major transformation of the current “outdated” alcohol duty system, in which drinks with stronger ABVs will be taxed at higher rates. “It will help end the era of cheap, high-strength drinks which can harm public health and enable problem drinking,” Sunak said. The price of a pint in the pub was slashed by 3p, and a planned increase in duty on spirits such as Scotch whisky, wine, cider and beer was cancelled. Consumers can also expect to pay less for rosé, fruit ciders, liqueurs, lower strength beers, and wines under the new tax system. The hospitality sector even received relief in the form of a 50% business rates discount worth almost £1.7bn Scrapping the planned tax hike on spirits was a move welcomed by distillers, while The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) characterised the wine and spirits duty freeze as a “much-needed break” for British businesses. Port and Madeira, however, will be particularly hard hit, with typical bottles of 20% strength port likely to see increases of over £1 in their tax, while Nightcap legend and WSTA chief executive Miles Beale was one of many sceptical voices on the revamped alcohol duty scheme, which he said “does not make the regime fairer” – particularly for spirits. “We are mystified by a proposal that embeds unfairness between products meaning that beer will be taxed between 8p-19p per unit, wine increases to 26p per unit and spirits remains at 29p per unit,” he concluded. The new measure will not come into effect until February 2023, and with staff and energy costs rising, we can’t imagine drinkers should expect to be paying less for a pint anytime soon.

The Nightcap: 29 October

The Angels Share by Trevor Jones, which serves as proof of authenticity

Macallan whisky cask sells for over £1.6million

If you’ve had any concerns that the whisky cask investment market has been going a bit bananas of late, then you might just wince at the results of a recent digital auction.  London based brokerage firm VCL Vintners sold a Macallan ’91 whisky cask for a record-breaking £1.69million this week. The last re-gauge of the cask put the ABV at 51.1%, with 600 bottles expected to be remaining, and has been housed at the distillery since it was filled on June 3, 1991. The previous world record for a whisky cask sold at auction was another Macallan cask, which went for £416,208 in August 2021 at Bonhams Hong Kong. The cask was represented in NFT (non-fungible tokens, representations of ownership digital or physical that cannot be copied) art by Trevor Jones as proof of authenticity for the overseas buyer. The piece, titled The Angel’s Share, references the natural evaporation of the whisky. Commenting on why VCL Vintners opted for an NFT artwork to sell the cask, director Stuart Thom said it gave the new owner “a 21st century way to connect with their whisky”. He explains that, instead of a photo which is for verification purposes more than anything, “the way Trevor is using new technologies to engage fresh audiences with traditional artforms fits exactly what VCL Vintners and Metacask are wanting to achieve for the whisky investment industry”. It’s all a bit concerning, to be honest, given whisky’s history of busting pretty drastically after a big boom. Still, why learn from the past when you can make £1.6m?

The Nightcap: 29 October

Glengoyne Distillery commissioned the troubling study

Climate change report on Scotch whisky makes for grim reading

Ahead of COP 26 in Scotland, a study commissioned by Glengoyne has revealed we shouldn’t take a good dram for granted. The report from climate researchers from University College London says that projected temperature increases and changes in rainfall patterns threaten distillery production over the next fifty years, with the volume and quality of spring barley in Scotland being drastically affected. It takes 800,000 tonnes annually to support Scotch production and a reduction in yield, as seen in 2018, could cost the industry up to £27million a year. Flavour and consistency could also be affected as production methods like fermentation are developed to suit the temperate climate of the area, while warmer air and water temperatures could also lead to inefficient cooling in traditional distilleries. With projection for a decline in summer rainfall of up to 18% and a 2.0 ̊C annual rise in temperature by 2080, it’s not a pretty picture. The report is clear: planning is essential to protect our whisky. Climate change professor at UCL Mark Maslin says this needs to come from government support, investment, and infrastructure and that being in “net-zero emissions as soon as possible” is essential. Glengoyne for its part was the first Scottish distillery to adopt a wetlands facility for liquid waste in 2011, and is releasing The Wetlands Single Cask Release, as part of its collaboration with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which also began that year. A portion of proceeds from the sale of the whisky will be given to the WWT to back its climate emergency work.

The Nightcap: 29 October

Oxford University experimental psychologist Charles Spence

Black Bottle creates world’s first ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist

Black Bottle Whisky has teamed up with Oxford University experimental psychologist, Charles Spence to create an interesting new way to taste whisky. It’s the ‘world’s first’ collection of audio tracks that alter and heighten sensory perceptions when drinking whisky, available on AlchemySeries.co.uk to mark the launch of Black Bottle’s Limited Edition Alchemy Series. Made up of Island Smoke and Double Cask, both are non-chill filtered and bottled at 46.3% ABV, and have already scooped a ‘Master’ award at this year’s Scotch Whisky Masters. An experiment to combine ‘sonic seasoning and real-world sounds’ to change the way we taste, the collab tasked Spence to work alongside master distiller Brendan McCarron to create a collection of audio tracks specifically to alter and heighten sensory perceptions when drinking whisky. McCarron says the experience gives whisky drinkers a truly personal experience and having attended a tasting ourselves, we agree. We also learned a few things: a) The new Black Bottle Double Cask and Black Bottle Island Smoke are both outrageously good value and are very tasty; b) We know absolutely nothing about whisky; c) sonic seasoning really does work. We highly recommend you give it a try. Pour some whisky, pop the playlist on and prepare to be amazed.

The Nightcap: 29 October

The brand’s inaugural cookbook has Christmas present written all over it

Guinness is releasing its first official cookbook

Guinness has always had a long association with food, whether it’s been as a drink pairing or as an ingredient to add depth and richness. But the Irish beer brand has never launched its own official cookbook – until now. The Official Guinness Cookbook, written by Irish food and drink journalist Caroline Hennessey, is an attempt by the brand to bring the ingredient out “from under the radar” and into more of our kitchens. Hennessy, a graduate of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, has put together a host of dishes including braised short ribs, traditional Guinness soda bread, and indulgent chocolate potato cake. Along with recipes containing the beers themselves and those designed specifically to pair with the brewer’s stouts, ales, and lagers, there are also dishes lifted directly from the food menu served at Dublin Guinness Storehouse, which has been feeding visitors its famous Guinness Burger, and Guinness chocolate mousse for years. A handful of cocktail recipes incorporating Guinness are also included in a collection said to be perfect for ‘anyone who wants to bring the taste and comfort of an Irish pub home.” Containing more than 70 recipes, the Irish brand’s fully-sanctioned book has launched in the US this week, but there will be pre-orders available for a December UK release. Sounds like Guinness fans will all be getting the same Christmas present!

The Nightcap: 29 October

The London Gin Club is back!

MoM visits the revived London Gin Club

Fans of all things juniper will be delighted to know that The London Gin Club has been brought back to life. After a two year closure, the Soho institution has returned to the historic Great Chapel Street, which housed bars as far back as 1785, so it was a no-brainer of a location for the club’s resurrectors, the London’s Inception Group. We got to visit this week and we’re quite charmed by the venue. It’s an intimate space littered with references to gin and Soho’s history and boasts an impressive back bar of over 100 gins. If you want something flavoured, something classic, or even something you won’t find anywhere else, like the missed Tanqueray Old Tom, then this is the place to be. G&Ts are an obvious staple of the menu but there’s also a 10 strong gin-based cocktail menu featuring new creations as well as long-standing classics. We tried two, a beautifully composed White House Negroni made with Bombay Sapphire gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, verjus and Franklin & Sons elderflower tonic water with cucumber, as well as a delightful drink called Garden Square, which paired makrut lime-infused Bombay Sapphire gin with Muyu Jasmine Verte liqueur, cloudy apple juice, lavender syrup and fresh lime juice. The drinks were delicious and it’s great to see a celebration of the spirit the capital is so associated with back in the groove. Cheers!

The Nightcap: 29 October

The limited-edition bottle sports a number of Money Heist references

Johnnie Walker teams up with Netflix for new bottle

People love a good crossover these days so there will be plenty of people trying to get their hands on a new limited edition bottle design for Johnnie Walker Red Label, made in collaboration with Netflix. Inspired by the streaming service’s series Money Heist, or La Casa de Papel, which tells the story of two large-scale bank robberies, the label will mark the finale, which will premiere on Netflix on 3 December 2021. Johnnie Walker’s special bottle design will appeal to fans of the series, with a label depicting several of the show’s characters and props alongside Johnnie Walker’s signature Striding Man branding. Eagle-eyed whisky lovers will also notice a few ‘hidden messages’, including the last words of one of the show’s main characters, that are revealed by placing the bottle under a UV light. “Like many fans around the globe, we’ve been gripped by the action unfolding from the fictional underworld of La Casa de Papel,” commented Julie Branham, Johnnie Walker’s global marketing director. “We’re delighted to be marking the climax of this series through this limited edition design. I’ll be watching the story unfold with a glass of Johnnie Walker in hand and a keepsake bottle to have forever.” It won’t be easy getting your hands on this one, however. For a start, just 150,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label La Casa De Papel Limited Edition Design will be released on 1 November, plus it’s only in select markets in Southern Europe and Latin America. Despite the fact the whisky sits at 40% ABV and retails for €13.49, you’ll probably see this one doing the rounds on auction markets in no time.

The Nightcap: 29 October

Miss your favourite Tequila coffee liqueur? It’s VIVIR to the rescue

VIVIR Tequila to the rescue with Café VS launch

Remember but two short weeks ago when it was revealed that the beloved Patron XO Cafe was being axed? All of us here in the UK (and at Master of Malt) were up in arms about it. But all hope is not lost – VIVIR to the rescue! Founded in 2019 (find out all about its inception in our blog post here), alongside its three core Tequilas, the brand has now announced that it’s plugging the coffee liqueur-shaped gap in the market with its own VIVIR Café VS. They swear it’s complete luck, as this toasty bottling has been in the pipeline for over two years. It’s made using VIVIR Blanco, and is naturally flavoured with locally-sourced Mexican coffee beans, as well as being sweetened with Piloncillo sugar, a raw form of pure cane sugar that is commonly used in Mexican cooking. We took it upon ourselves to taste it on behalf of the nation this week, and truly, it’s delicious. All that roasty, toasty, coffee bitterness is bolstered by red fruit, fresh agave, and very subtle woody sweetness, and we even detected an intriguing hint of Frazzles somewhere underneath. Needless to say, it’s quite spectacular in an Espresso Martini, but we also tried it in a coffee- and Tequila-based twist on a Negroni. It’s selling for £27, and will be arriving at MoM Towers very soon… 

The Nightcap: 29 October

“Here comes the bride… wait, where is she?”

And finally… Want to get hitched in a Busch Light-themed wedding dress?

It’s every little girl’s dream to wear a Busch Light-themed wedding dress down the aisle on their big day, right? Well, it must be somebody’s, because the beer brand has teamed up with Dave’s Bridal to launch its own wedding formal wear, including a Busch Light-themed wedding dress. It costs US$789, which is about £575 and so cheaper than the average wedding gown, and comes in a tasteful (ahem) camouflaged design. Naturally, it was inspired by Busch Light’s Camo cans, available now as a limited edition. It sounds like the kind of advertisement you’d see on The Simpsons, but this is all very real, we’re afraid. Let’s just say a little prayer right now for the groom who buys their bride one of these thinking it will go down well. 

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New Arrival of the Week: Glengoyne 15 Year Old – Old Particular

It’s Master of Malt week here at Master of Malt. Which means many interesting exclusive spirits to be had. Such as our New Arrival: Glengoyne 15 Year Old – Old…

It’s Master of Malt week here at Master of Malt. Which means many interesting exclusive spirits to be had. Such as our New Arrival: Glengoyne 15 Year Old – Old Particular, a single cask bottled by Douglas Laing. And did we mention that it’s only available from MoM?

Looking back through 10 years of Master of Malt blog posts – yes we have been blogging that long – I’ve noticed that we haven’t written much about Glengoyne. Whenever it’s sister distillery Tamdhu does anything, we’re all over it, but Glengoyne just doesn’t seem to get the love. Until now…

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

Master distiller Robbie Hughes at Glengoyne Distillery

A Master of Malt exclusive

Yes, this week we’ve got one hell of a Glengoyne for you. It was distilled in 2005, and comes from a single refill hogshead bottled without colouring or chill-filtration at 58.4% ABV by the good people at Douglas Laing. 242 bottles have been filled and they are only available from Master of Malt.

Glengoyne is one of the closest distilleries to Glasgow, located not far from the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. It’s also generally considered one of the prettiest distilleries in Scotland so it’s well worth a day trip if you’re spending a few days in the city. Legal distilling began there in 1833 when it was known as Burnfoot distillery. In 1879 it was bought by the Lang Brothers who changed the name to Glen Guin – meaning valley of the wild geese. In 1965 it was bought by Robertson & Baxter, a forerunner of Macallan owner the Edrington Group. Then in 2003, it was acquired by Ian MacLeod distillers who also own Tamdhu, as well as Edinburgh Gin and brands such as Smokehead and Sheep Dip. The current master distiller Robbie Hughes has been with the distillery since 2003.

A light fruity style

Glengoyne’s water comes from nearby Loch Carron. It makes a distinctive light, fruity and floral whisky – a world away from the meaty sherry bombs at its sister distillery Tamdhu. The still set-up consists of one wash and two spirit stills with level lyne arms, designed to create lots of reflux to create that characteristic fruity new make. The distillery practises both long and short ferments, and always with unpeated barley.

In a quirk of geography, distillation takes place in the Highlands whereas maturation takes place south of the Highland line, in the Lowlands. So, it’s both a Highland and a Lowland whisky. 

Traditionally, Glengoyne was used in blends such as Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark but it’s also a highly-regarded single malt. The 12-year-old Glengoyne is something of a classic for lovers of fruity light single malts. If you love the Glengoyne style, then you’re going to love this exclusive bottling from Douglas Laing. And we promise in future to write more about this distinctive distillery.

Glengoyne 15 Year Old 2005 (cask 14639) – Old Particular (Douglas Laing) is available from Master of Malt. Click here to buy.

Glen Goyne Old Particular

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Sticky toffee pudding, lemon meringue pie, and a hint of buttered brown bread.

Palate: Tangy marmalade, cassia, malted milk biscuits, caramelised nuts, and honey.

Finish: A touch of woody spice and nutmeg, while more orange notes linger on the finish.

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The Nightcap: 20 November

It’s the only place you’ll find rare whisky, pop stars and Kentish Pinot Noir all in the same place. The Nightcap is here! We’re now officially at that time of…

It’s the only place you’ll find rare whisky, pop stars and Kentish Pinot Noir all in the same place. The Nightcap is here!

We’re now officially at that time of year when Christmas shopping and decking the halls becomes less a joyous celebration of the festive season and more a stressful exercise in ticking boxes off a seemingly never-ending to-do list. In order to combat the chaos, we recommend a cosy chair, a good dram and some entertaining light reading. Like a round-up of everything that’s happened in the world in the booze. The Nightcap should do the trick. Read on.

The MoM Blog continues to be the place to be if you want to get your hands on tremendous drinks as we offered you the chance to win a VIP trip to the wonderful Jura Distillery. Elsewhere, Henry enjoyed the latest Exceptional Cask Selection from Foursquare, while Adam tasted his way through GlenAllachie’s Virgin Oak Series, picked out some bargain bottles of Irish whiskey and found out why Tequila is a spirit in demand. As for Annie, she had a week that made us long for the return of our favourite drinking holes, sitting down with cocktail trailblazer Julie Reiner, looking into the science behind mixing a cocktail and making a twist on an Old Fashioned that’s a long-time favourite at Sexy Fish.

The Nightcap

Raise your glasses, folks, to one of the greats

Port loses one of its greats, James Symington

The Port business lost one of its most influential and dynamic figures this week in James Symington. Born in 1934 in Oporto, his family had been in the Port business since the late 19th century. After serving with the British Army in Kenya, he joined the business in 1960 shortly after marrying his wife, Penny. It was a difficult period for the industry with sales in the doldrums. Symington was a vital force in the revival of the region. He worked as a taster and blender for the firm, and created such legendary vintage Ports as Dow’s and Warre’s 1966, and Graham’s 1970, and he was instrumental in turning the family firm into one of the most important in the Douro region. Later, he moved to the commercial side of the business, developing markets in the US, Canada and Scandinavia, regions that now have some of the keenest appreciation of Port. In 1987, Symington and his wife restored Quinta da Vila Velha, a derelict property in the Douro valley, which now makes some of the best wines in the region. He is survived by his wife, two daughters Clare and Miranda, and son Rupert who is the CEO of Symington Family Estates. Let’s raise a glass, Dow’s ‘66 preferably, to one of the greats of Oporto. 

The Nightcap

It could be you pouring this exceptional whisky…

Glengoyne to open rare 50-year-old whisky at someone’s special moment  

Glengoyne is doing something pretty amazing with the launch of its oldest ever expression. A decanter of its limited-edition 50 Year Old Highland Single Malt, priced at £22,500, will be given away via an online ballot, open to groups of five or more friends or family. All you have to do is submit an entry alongside a description of your perfect moment for savouring the Glengoyne 50 Year Old together next year. The Glengoyne team will then make that special moment a reality, delivering the highly sought-after whisky for one group to enjoy and savour. “At Glengoyne, we believe that patience is always rewarded. This year we’ve all had to sacrifice spending time with our loved ones or delay celebrations. That’s why we want to make these moments extra special in 2021 with a memorable whisky that, after waiting so long for just the right moment, is truly ready to be opened and savoured,” said Robbie Hughes, master distiller at Glengoyne. The 50 Year Old comes in a special crystal decanter, alongside a 25ml sample of the 50 Year Old whisky, as well as individually numbered books which are signed by Hughes. Available from next week, this extremely limited-edition release will join a new 30 Year Old Glengoyne and the present 25 Year Old whisky, as part of the distillery’s new ‘Fine and Rare’ range. If you’d like a chance to taste this incredible whisky, then you have until Monday 14th December to gather your group and submit your moment here.

The Nightcap

Dua Lipa and great whisky. Two things we love!

Johnnie Walker takes centre stage with Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054

Music and malt have always gone together particularly well so it’s no surprise to see a brand take advantage of a major collaboration. In this case, Johnnie Walker has launched a new partnership with Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 Livestream event. The digital music experience will be live-streamed globally on the 27 November and will see Lipa sing and dance with a cast of guest stars, surprise performers, acrobats and artists to tracks from her eponymous debut album, the multi-platinum Future Nostalgia and her most recent Club Future Nostalgia. Johnnie Walker, as the exclusive spirits partner, is tipped to feature throughout and has created a set of unique Studio 2054 Highball serves which celebrate global club culture throughout the decades. “This partnership is an opportunity for Johnnie Walker to be involved in a truly unique cultural moment that could only be delivered by a trailblazer like Dua”, says Julie Bramham, Johnnie Walker global brand director. “Our own ‘Keep Walking’ philosophy is all about a constant desire to push the boundaries and Dua is the perfect partner to do that with.” Further information and ticket access for the Studio 2054 live stream event can be found here and more details will be shared across Johnnie Walker social channels pre, during and post the event.

The Nightcap

Russ and Gemma Wakeham, founders of the world’s first carbon-negative rum distillery

Big week for environmentally-friendly rum

It’s been quite the week if you’re into sustainable rum. First, plans have been submitted for the construction of a new £10 million carbon-neutral rum distillery and visitor centre in Cornwall, which will be powered by geothermal energy. Entrepreneur Matthew Clifford, founder of the Cornish Geothermal Distillery Company (CGDC) wants to create a 100% sustainable rum cask maturation facility, visitor centre, cooperage and geothermal energy centre. The project even includes an “ultra-high-tech” Eden Project-style biome which can recreate global temperature and humidity profiles and will house the patent-pending carbon-neutral rum cask maturation pods. It all sounds a tad Bond villain, to be honest, but exciting nonetheless. Elsewhere, Two Drifters revealed it surpassed its fundraising target of £150,000 in three hours. The Devon-based brand (what is it with the south-west and green rum brands?), which was launched in 2019 by Gemma and Russ Wakeham and claims to own the world’s first carbon-negative rum distillery, began its crowdfunding campaign on Monday 9 November on Crowdcube to raise funds to secure larger retail opportunities and improve the distillery’s operations. “We are now in a position to take Two Drifters further to more people,” said Gemma Wakeham. We can also help out in that regard by pointing out that you can check out Two Drifters range of spirits here, which includes a British white rum, dark rum and an overproof spiced pineapple rum.

The Nightcap

All the joys of Whisky Live without having to change out of your PJs. Bliss

Whisky and Gin Live are coming to your home 

To help us through the boredom of lockdowns, there have been many online tastings such as our own Instagram Live series or the Whisky Show, and now this year’s Whisky Live is taking place at home. It’s called… wait for it… Whisky Live at Home! Brilliant! The standard ticket (click here) costs £89 and includes 29 x 30ml samples, the equivalent of around one and a quarter full-sized bottles of whisky. You also get a Glencairn glass, magazines, oatcakes and water. The whole jamboree launches on 30 November but the clever thing is that you can tune in any time to Whisky Live TV and watch masterclasses, seminars, interviews and tasting sessions all hosted by top whisky personality Christopher Coates and his new evil genius beard. You can also buy more upmarket tickets giving you fancier drams and access. Plus, the team is also putting on Gin Live TV (click here) which works in a similar way only with gin (we didn’t need to explain that though, did we?) Those lockdown evenings are going to fly by. 

The Nightcap

The Titanic dry dock and pump house building could soon be home to a new distillery

Whiskey distillery to open at Titanic Dock in Belfast

The Irish whiskey scene looks like it will welcome a new player as businessman Peter Lavery and Belfast-based venture capitalist firm Norlin Ventures have announced plans to construct a new distillery at Titanic Dock and Pumphouse in Belfast. Assuming the full planning application that will be submitted next month is granted in the first quarter of 2021 (which is expected), the new site should be open by the end of next year. This will allow the brand to relaunch the Titanic Whiskey brand in April 2021 to coincide with the departure of Titanic’s maiden voyage in April 1912. “Before Prohibition, Belfast was the largest producer of Irish whiskey on the island of Ireland,” said Lavery. “Whiskey has therefore played an important part in the history of our city and we are excited to tell this story through the relaunch of our Titanic Whiskey brand and the development of a new distillery at Titanic Dry Dock and Pumphouse.” Lavery has got experience in the distillery game, having been involved in the long-delayed distillery plans at the Crumlin Road Gaol prison in Belfast, which resurrected the McConnell’s Irish whiskey brand after more than 90 years in 2020.

The Nightcap

Kentish Pinot Noir, anyone?

Le Kent Nouveau est arrivé

Do you remember when you used to see signs outside Victoria Wine saying “le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé”? Come to think of it, do you remember Victoria Wine? Showing my age here a little. Anyway, people still get quite excited when the young, so-fresh-it’s-almost-still-fermenting Beaujolais from the current year arrives on these shores on the third Thursday of November. Well, now there’s a challenger, as this Wednesday, one day earlier than Beaujolais, Balfour near Tonbridge, released an English nouveau made with Kentish Pinot Noir. Now, even in the heat of the Garden of England, Pinot Noir isn’t that easy to ripen but we’ve been blessed with a particularly warm vintage this year, perfect for creating a juicy fruity wine. Head winemaker Fergus Elias commented: “The fruit from this parcel was so early, with a lovely strawberry jam character, that we thought we would never have a better opportunity to make a Nouveau style red wine. This fruit was the forerunner of a harvest of exceptional quality”. He described the wine as “brimming with rich red autumnal fruits combined with delicate hints of spice and coffee”. All this for £20 with free delivery. Go to https://hushheath.com/ but hurry, as only 1000 bottles have been produced.

The Nightcap

I’m lost for words, to be honest (Image credit: Hendrick’s)

And finally… Hendrick’s Gin launches £1,800 exercise bike

If we told you that a gin brand had branched out into exercise equipment, you’d probably be quite surprised. But, if we showed you a picture of Hendrick’s limited-edition penny farthing-inspired exercise bike, you’d probably nod and say “yep, that is so Hendrick’s”. The gin-makers has had its fair share of Nightcap coverage thanks to its weird and wacky approach, but The Hendrick’s High Wheel is probably the most ridiculous story yet. Particularly as it will set you back £1,889 (plus shipping from the U.S). The bike is made of iron and comes equipped with a “hydration holder”, a “pedal-powered incandescent bulb”, a small bell, an adjustable seat and a built-in bookstand. This can be used to hold the High Wheel Exercise Manual, which includes photographs of a bike journey through Scottish landscapes to Girvan’s Gin Palace – no wifi or electricity here. If you’re interested in embarrassing your children and you fancy picking yourself up a Hendrick’s High Wheel, then note that to mount the olive-green machine you need to use the cucumber side-pegs or a staircase at the rear. Oh, and that it sits upon a synthetic lawn complete with fallen rose petals. Of course it does. 

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How fans came to choose Glengoyne’s latest whisky

Glengoyne Distillery found a particularly interesting way to select which whisky should become the next ‘Cask of the Moment’ single cask bottling. Luckily, we were present to witness the fun go…

Glengoyne Distillery found a particularly interesting way to select which whisky should become the next ‘Cask of the Moment’ single cask bottling. Luckily, we were present to witness the fun go down…

Anyone else spending the extra time we got in lockdown trying to find something useful to do with all these strange new hours? I guess you could get into shape. Maybe start reading more books. Personally, I’m trying to find a way to disable the “Are you still watching?” prompts Netflix has (if you have then feel free to share).

Ian Macleod Distillers, however, is clearly not suffering from a lack of productivity. The Scottish family-owned spirits company has spent the last few weeks announcing all kinds of fun things. From the next instalment of Tamdhu’s excellent Batch Strength series (more on that in an upcoming post soon…) to some cool new Glengoyne developments.

Yesterday, Glengoyne revealed that its range has become fully recyclable and unveiled a swanky Queer Eye-style makeover. However, this is Master of Malt, so while we’re excited about sustainability and love the new look, we’re even more interested in the new whiskies that have been launched alongside this rebrand. This includes the next chapter in the Legacy Series and the second is the eighth batch in the Cask Strength range. And we enjoyed both very much.

But none of this compared to the excitement we felt on the evening of Friday 28 August. I was one of many Glengoyne fans who (virtually) tuned in to a live stream of a tasting of four samples. One of which would become the new ‘Cask of the Moment’ expression.

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

Alongside the revamped looks and sustainable policies, Glengyone has released some cracking new drams

Our voice, our dram

Global brand ambassador Gordon Dundas hosted, with distillery manager Robbie Hughes. Industry experts Rosalind Erskine, Christopher Coates and Blair Bowman were also present to discuss each dram and pick a favourite. As were we.

Yes, we the fans were also armed with a tasting kit filled with the samples. And we got to vote which was our favourite. Simply click a link, select a chosen dram and bam! Democracy. It was basically the Highland’s X-Factor

The four candidates were single casks samples that were chosen from Glengoyne’s Warehouse #8. A sherry hogshead, an ex-bourbon barrel, a Port pipe and a Madeira cask. This is a particularly exciting line-up not only because of its variety but, as Hughes pointed out, “some of the liquid in the sample kits may have never been released for sale”. Making this a one-of-a-kind experience.

Hughes says the samples were chosen with three main objectives in mind. “One was to select styles of whisky Glengoyne isn’t normally associated with. Secondly, I didn’t want the whiskies to be too old because I wanted people to be able to afford them. The third objective was to select three whiskies that I really liked. It took us just 40 minutes to choose these four whiskies. That’s how outstanding they were”. 

So, without further ado, here are the four samples and our thoughts on them:

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

The tasting kit featured four completely different samples

Cask A 

An ex-bourbon barrel that Hughes remembers filling back in December 2004, as it was “the first bourbon cask we distilled in years”. Only two of the 73 casks remain, but despite this Glengoyne isn’t known for its use of bourbon cask, with only the 12 Year Old featuring any first fill bourbon in it from the core range. 

Nose: There’s masses of vanilla upfront with desiccated coconut and some classic Glengoyne fruitiness (mostly green apples). Lemon drizzle cake adds some citrus elements among tangy elements of barbecued pineapple and blackberries. Throughout there’s a note of sticky toffee pudding filled with dates and covered in vanilla ice cream, as well as hints of freshly grated nutmeg and cacao powder.

Palate: Through drying oak spice, ginger and black pepper comes brown sugar, polished furniture and raspberry and vanilla sponge. There’s plenty of dried mango and makrut lime as well as a note of summer flowers throughout. 

Finish: Lemon bonbons, dark berry jam and red apple skins linger.

Overall: A terrific whisky. There’s heaps of distillery profile that the cask enhances while bringing enough of its own personality to the table. To be honest, I thought we already had our winner with the first dram when I tasted this. Then came Cask B…

Cask B

Back on 19 January 2005 Glengoyne distilled a batch of its signature new make and popped it into a 404 litre Port pipe, and boy am I glad they did. Hughes says this cask was one of the biggest ever filled at the distillery and that only three remains. This would have had Colheita Port in it for nearly 30 years (1977), which actually doesn’t sound promising as you would think it’s taken a lot of goodness out of the cask itself. Hughes says he was wary himself, but the angel share was reasonable (they ​lost 23.4%) and there proved to be plenty of power left. 

Nose: Wow. The best nose of the range. The thick and rich elements of dark chocolate, black cherry, raisins and treacle come first, then clove, liquorice and caramelised oranges add contrast. An underlying oaky dryness adds structure to the sweet richness of the port elements before we get that classic Glengoyne orchard fruit note, hazelnut, pomegranate molasses then leather and espresso beans. You could nose this all day and not get bored.

Palate: Blackberry jam, stewed plum and black wine gums provide a similar big and bold opening to the nose with manuka honey dried apricots and fresh herbs bringing balance this time. Lots of nutty tones, vanilla and red cola cubes are present with an underlying note that’s similar to Tunes Cherry Menthol Lozenges.

Finish: Damp earth, fruitcake and salted caramel with a little black pepper remain.

Overall: A spectacular dram. It’s so indulgent, full-bodied and moreish. The cask brings an incredible variety of flavours, but the most impressive aspect is how well the distillery character has been integrated beautifully. Port is usually a finishing cask, but this is the kind of dram that proves it can do full maturation. Hughes remarked in the tasting he’s “never tasted a Glengoyne like this before,” and that he was “going to have to go and try the other two casks now… for science!”

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

Seeing the public’s thoughts on the samples in real-time gave the tasting an extra element of excitement

Cask C

Cask C is an ex-sherry refill hogshead, which means we’re in very familiar Glengoyne territory here. The hogshead’s capacity was 148.2 litres, which Hughes says is one of the smallest he’s seen. Cask C is the last one of this particular batch, so it’s exceptionally rare. Hughes also remarked that when they tried this one in the warehouse they didn’t think twice about putting it in the tasting, so that gives you an idea of the standard we’re working with here. 

Nose: Big notes of sherry-soaked fruit upfront (dates, plums and blackberries) as well as pomander balls, Christmas cake and marzipan. Grape skin, strawberry pencil sweets and vanilla come next with toasted almonds, old leather, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco and toasted brown sugar. Sublime.

Palate: Chocolate ice-cream, vanilla pod, Seville marmalade and red fruit (cranberries, mostly) lead with baking spice, potpourri and cracked black peppercorns in support. As the palate develops there’s nectarine in syrup, caramel, stewed pear and resinous wax. With water, there’s a really beautiful note of fresh melon as the palate becomes lighter, creamier and more aromatic.

Finish: The finish is tannic and dry with red apple skin and melted chocolate. 

Overall: A beauty. Sadly, this sample has much in common with the core range and this meant it became a little overlooked compared to the more intriguing cask types. But it’s an expression any fan of the distillery would love if they purchased it.

Cask D

Our final dram of the evening is the Madeira cask, another very rare option as there’s only two of these left on site. This one dates back to 2007 and was probably the sample I was most intrigued to taste. A quick look at MoM demonstrates how rare whisky fully-matured in Madeira casks are.

Nose: Salted caramel, rhubarb and custard cake and old leather initially followed by black cherry, banana foam sweets and tinned pineapple chunks. Underneath there’s a note of coke and vanilla ice cream float. 

Palate: Beautiful, for my money the best palate of the range. There’s nectarines in syrup, marmalade and acacia honey with drying spice, balsamic vinegar, condensed milk and toasted almonds adding depth. Tangy pineapple, creme brulee and apricot jam arrive in the mid-palate with marzipan, creamy vanilla and stewed orchard fruits.

Finish: Stem ginger, resin, sultanas and a hint of banana milkshake.

Overall: I love this whisky. It’s an exceptional example of how to do Madeira cask whisky right. And a lesson in balance between distillery character and a cask that can often easily overwhelm the liquid. It’s a multifaceted, complex and integrated whisky. The palate offered new notes with every sip. 

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

This project demonstrated how many wonderful varieties of whisky Glengoyne has maturing in its warehouses

And the winner is…

As you can imagine, casting my vote proved very difficult. Cask B has the best nose. But the palate on Cask D was *chef’s kiss*. I felt bad for not giving Cask A enough consideration, which was sublime. Then I felt really bad for Cask C. It would stand out in any other tasting. All the fun and exploration didn’t give it much room to shine, however. Glengoyne could, and should, release all of them (I’m not being greedy).

Hughes says that Glengoyne’s spirit works well in so many different cask styles as the new make has few harsh spikes that need ironing out with time in a cask. “It means our original character, which is light, with strong fruity, estery notes, doesn’t change dramatically over the years. It doesn’t diminish quickly in the cask and the cask rarely domineers it either. It’s quite a strange combination, to be honest, but the end result is excellent,” he explains. “What is also key is that you must get your cask selection right from the start. It isn’t enough to just produce an excellent spirit. You must have quality oak casks to put it in. Once you put them both together and leave time to do its stuff you can get something special”.

As far as the format for picking a new whisky goes, I was a huge fan of this process. I can’t remember the last time I did a round of tastings and enjoyed each whisky so much. The execution of the event was smooth. The delivery was on time and came with clear instructions. The live vote brought genuine excitement and anticipation. The range also worked as an insight into the effects of full-term, single cask maturation. And as an education in how distillery character reacts to different profiles of casks. I’d like to see this become a more common approach. Dundas believes the brand could do it again. “When you’re able to engage your fans in such a unique way, it makes sense to see how you can evolve it to make their experience with Glengoyne the best it can be”.

Anyway, you’re probably all anxious to learn which dram was the winner. Well, first here’s how the panel ranked the samples:

Robbie Hughes – Winner: Cask B (Runner up: Cask A)

Rosalind Erskine – Winner: Cask B (Runner up: Cask A) 

Blair Bowman – Winner: Cask B (Runner up: Cask A) 

Christopher Coates – Winner: Cask B (Runner up: Cask D) 

Gordon Dundas – Winner: Cask A (Runner up: Cask B)

So, Cask B was the clear winner there. But, the public still had the ultimate say. And the winner was…

Glengoyne Distillery launches new whisky and revamped look

Cask B in bottle form!

Cask B!

It would appear the panel’s thoughts carries some weight. Although Cask B was so good it’s perfectly possible the entire Glengoyne community came to the same conclusion in unison. Hughes, who picked Cask B as the standout whisky of the evening, summarised that “Glengoyne has a top-notch core range offering and we release high-quality single cask whiskies as well. But Cask B has a point of difference from them all. It has enjoyed full maturation in a Port pipe cask since January 2005. So this isn’t simply a cask seasoned with Port for a couple of years,” he said. “This cask has a pedigree and over the 15 years of maturation, the Glengoyne spirit was, in my opinion, able to develop into one of the finest single casks we have produced. It’s yet another example of what this wee distillery is capable of producing. It never fails to surprise me!”

It’s a worthy victor. I highly recommend the purchase, although I will note that it does come with a premium price. However, one of the many advantages of going for the Port pipe was that it’s huge and so Glengoyne was able to fill 789 bottles from it, meaning there is still some left (at the time of writing). The whisky is available to purchase at the newly reopened distillery shop and online via the Glengoyne website. And don’t forget, you can pick up Legacy Series: Chapter Two the Cask Strength series Batch No. 008 now!

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The Nightcap: 14 August

We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker….

We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker.

Seeing as the UK enjoyed a week of Caribbean-esque weather I’d say that’s the perfect excuse to make some classic summer cocktails this weekend. Particularly given that it’s International Rum Day on Sunday (16 August). The only problem is narrowing down which serve to choose. Maybe the tropical delights of a Piña Colada? Or perhaps the zesty refreshment of a Mojito? All I know for sure is, if it’s got tasty rum and can be sipped while reading The Nightcap then it’s the right choice. 

This week we kicked things off on the blog with the news that our summer sale is very much still going before we welcomed the new arrival of a gin with a purpose to support the hospitality industry. Ian Buxton’s then turned his focus to maturation and whether it can ever be manipulated or accelerated as Annie distinguished the difference between Canadian and American rye whisk(e)y and gave us the first instalment of her two-part series on Icelandic spirits. Adam, meanwhile, made the most of the glorious weather by enjoying some gin with some weird and wonderful botanicals and then an indulgent, summery serve which we recommend you make up a glass (or pitcher, it’s the weekend!) of while viewing our fabulous new video tour of Kent’s own Anno Distillery.

Before we proceed to The Nightcap, don’t forget that Scotch and Sofa is just over a month away and tasting sets are available now! 

The Nightcap

Want to help pick the latest Glengoyne single cask bottling? Then take part in the interactive tasting!

Glengoyne invites fans to pick latest single cask

Glengoyne announced this week that it wants you to decide what whisky will become a part of the distillery’s latest ‘Cask of the Moment’ single cask bottling. As long as you tune in to its live stream event at 8pm on Friday 28 August. ‘Casks Unlocked’ features a panel of industry figures join distillery manager Robbie Hughes and global brand ambassador Gordon Dundas tasting and discussing four single casks samples that were chosen from Glengoyne’s Warehouse #8 – including a Port pipe, hogshead, bourbon barrel, and Madeira cask. The truly exciting part is that you can join in at home by purchasing a tasting kit filled with each sample. At the end of the event the panel, viewers, and Glengoyne community will cast a vote for their preferred cask and the winner and the eventual whisky will be available to purchase at the newly reopened distillery shop and online via the Glengoyne website. “At Glengoyne, we’re incredibly fortunate to have some of the most loyal fans in the whisky world. That’s why, to show our appreciation for their ongoing support, we decided to host ‘Casks Unlocked’ – a special opportunity for our community to select Glengoyne’s latest single cask whisky,” says Hughes. “Some of the liquid in the sample kits may have never been released for sale, so this truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that we’re excited to offer our community.” Click here to purchase your Glengoyne ‘Casks Unlocked’ tasting kits.

The Nightcap

Buffalo Trace should meet the high demand for its bourbon soon thanks to the $1.2 billion expansion.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Continues $1.2 Bil Expansion

Despite the pandemic, Buffalo Trace Distillery has made great strides in its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment over the past year. Four new 22-foot-tall cookers with 80,000 gallons of cooking capacity were installed, as were four new fermenters with 93,000-gallon capacity and a new cooling tower. A new $50 million, 110,000-square-feet high-speed bottling hall opened just in time to package essential hand sanitizer, while three more barrel warehouses each with the capacity to hold 58,800 barrels were recently built and three more are on the way. Also in the works at the 247-year-old distillery are eight more fermenters, a new dry house (the area where spent mash is dried and shipped out), a water treatment facility, a second stillhouse, more barrel warehouses, and in the future, another craft bottling hall. Another craft bottling hall will allow Buffalo Trace to produce more single barrel and small-batch bourbons. Since tours resumed on July 1, guests have also been able to see the expanded visitor centre which includes additional tasting rooms and more retail space. The work will be welcome news to fans of the brand, as demand for much of the whisky Buffalo Trace creates exceeds its supply. “We promise we are doing everything we can to make more, as evidenced by our progress we’ve made in the past year with our expansion,” said master distiller Harlen Wheatley. “But great bourbon does take time to age, and we won’t compromise age, taste, or proof just to fill more bottles. We’re just asking our fans to remain patient as we wait for our stocks to mature.” To see a video of the progress Buffalo Trace has made on its $1.2 billion expansion in the past year, click here.

The Nightcap

A rum can now only be labelled as ‘Dominican’ if it meets certain production criteria

‘Dominican rum’ registered as denomination of origin

Some really intriguing news this week that landed at the doorstep of MoM Towers was that the application for the ‘Dominican rum’ denomination of origin has finally been granted. While you may associate the beautiful island with golden beaches, fine cigars and Merengue music, the Caribbean island is also home to a number of delightful rum brands such as Ron Barceló, Brugal and Atlantico and thanks to its geographical location, the island has a vast fauna and flora and the most varied climate of the Antilles. The World Trademark Review revealed that it’s these particular characteristics – “quality, reputation and geographical, including natural and human factors” – that are the foundation of the denomination of origin. A rum can now only be labelled as ‘Dominican’, if producers harvest the sugarcane locally and ferment, distil and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the borders of the Dominican Republic territory. It’s been a long road for the Dominican Association of Producers of Rum to achieve this milestone as it applied for the denomination of origin way back in July 2014. Third parties had opposed the application on the ground that it contained technical deficiencies but all the oppositions filed were eventually rejected. However, this resolution is not final and an appeal has been lodged by certain parties. For now, Dominican rum has its denomination of origin. The Distinctive Signs Department of ONAPI, in Resolution No 00204 dated 29 May 2020, stated that: “the application for the ‘Dominican Rum’ denomination of origin fulfils all the technical requirements, as it clearly describes the human and environmental conditions required in the cultivation area, as well as the type of sugarcane from the Dominican Republic that must be used and the ageing process required”. And just in time for International Rum Day as well.

The Nightcap

Great drinks, friends and raising funds for a worthy cause. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon

Cocktails in the City returns with Community Spirit Edition

Cocktails in the City is back! On Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September 2020 an alfresco summer garden party at the Bedford Square Gardens will celebrate the city’s best bars that are now reopening, raising money and awareness for the industry. In total, 30 of the city’s most innovative bars will gather at the socially distanced event, including Callooh Callay, 68 & Boston, Nightjar, Trailer Happiness and more. Brands including Moët & Chandon, Belvedere Vodka, The London Essence Company, Campari, Hennessy, Glenmorangie and more will also be making an appearance and guests will be treated to live music from Nightjar and The Piano Works. There will be tasting sessions hosted by The Mixing Class, and complimentary interactive demonstrations throughout the weekend including the Art of the Aperitivo and cocktail making sessions hosted by TT Liquor. This year’s event partners are the wonderful folks at The Drinks Trust and all profits from tickets will be donated to further their outstanding work. Cocktails in the City is the brainchild of Sophie Bratt and Sly Augustin, who created the initiative in the wake of the Grenfell Towers fire in 2017 to raise funds for worthy causes and bring the hospitality industry together. “Boasting nearly two acres of wide-open space, Bedford Square Gardens is the perfect place to bring people together in a safe and socially distanced environment,” says Andrew Scutts, the organiser. “It is a unique opportunity to rediscover the venues that have been forced to close for so long, take part in a series of interactive experiences and enjoy great drinks with friends whilst raising money for a worthy cause”.

The Nightcap

The stunning Glenmorangie House is back open and ready for Highland whisky lovers to enjoy

Glenmorangie House reopens to the public

Highland whisky fans, you can visit Glenmorangie House once more! The 17th-century country house is back open for business as of today, so long as you’re a group of between six and 10 people. Groups of six will have to shell out £1,500 per night, though this gets you a private chef, waiting staff and concierge, and of course, the run of an absolutely breathtaking house. “Prior to our reopening we have introduced additional, rigorous health and safety procedures to ensure social distancing can be adhered to,” said Glenmorangie brand home manager Stuart Smith. “Our team are fully ready to host guests and deliver the very best luxury retreat, accompanied by the finest Highland hospitality all with the aim of restoring our guests’ tranquillity.” If lockdown all got a bit much and you fancy a Highland escape, then this could do the trick. The rest of us will just have to settle for a delicious dram instead.

The Nightcap

The Bekaa valley, home of Lebanon’s wonderful wines

Wine auction to raise money for Lebanon

Following what Anglo-Lebanese writer Michael Karam described as: “a perfect storm of revolution, financial crash, Covid-19 and now this terrible blast,” Lebanon faces a worrying future of food shortages, poverty and political turmoil. Many of us are asking what we can do to help. Madeleine Waters, who knows the country well from organising the award-winning Wines of Lebanon publicity campaign, is organising a charity auction to raise money. She commented: “Wine is pretty much Lebanon’s only export, and one which is bringing much-needed export dollars into a country in the midst of a financial crisis. I would love this to all be about Lebanese wine, but that will limit what we can achieve – so I want it to be a celebration of all wine-producing countries, acting in solidarity with Lebanon.” Expect rare vintages of Chateau Musar and Ksara as well all manner of boozy goodies. Proceeds will go to the re-building Kamal Mouzawak’s Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet, a farmers market and restaurant in Beirut where Lebanese of all religious denominations sell food side-by-side, and Impact Lebanon, which distributes funds to vetted NGOs. The online auction will take place over four days from 28-31 August. Click here if you want to get involved. Or just buy some of Lebanon’s wonderful wine or arak. You won’t regret it.

The Nightcap

It’s a relief that British gin has been excluded from the ongoing US trade tariff saga says Miles Beale

US trade tariffs will not extend to British gin

There’s a new development in the seemingly ongoing US/EU trade war saga! No, don’t scroll down, this time it’s good news: the US will not be extending the tariffs which apply to Scotch whisky, among other things, to British gin. With exports of £672 million, gin is a big money-spinner for the British economy. As you might expect, Miles Beale from drinks industry body WSTA had something to say: “The news that the US has decided not to escalate tariffs is encouraging. This will come as a huge relief to the growing UK British gin sector which has seen distilleries more than double in number in the last five years. Our innovative British distillers, particularly those working in the SME distilleries that the WSTA represents, can breathe easy and raise a glass to America. This is the first important step in what should prove to be a closer trading relationship, and should provide the necessary space for constructive discussions between the US and UK Governments, and for both administrations to work to remove the remaining tariffs against liqueurs, bourbon and Scotch products – and all wine products affected as well. Industry’s voice on both sides of the Atlantic for a free and fair trade agenda is being listened to and that is good for business and good for consumers.” See, we told you it was good news.

The Nightcap

How rebellious is Smokehead’s latest release? Imagine Billy Idol singing Rebel Yell x Bowie’s Rebel Rebel.

And finally… Drink whisky on International Rum Day?

As we are sure you are aware, it’s International Rum Day on the 16 August, so you have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the team at Smokehead who are using the day as an excuse to push their latest Islay single malt; almost as bold as the English whisky distillery who tried to muscle in on Burns Night earlier this year. A Sassenach whisky on the Bard’s own night? Is nothing sacred? At least there is a proper hook as this latest Smokehead is aged in an actual rum cask. Iain Weir, brand director, explained: “We are overwhelmed by the boldness of flavour in our new bottling and can’t wait to see our Smokeheads’ reaction. When our rich, smoky, salty Islay Smokehead collides with spicy, sweet Caribbean rum casks, carnage is inevitable.” We can confirm that not only is Rum Rebel delicious, the sweetness and smoke combining into an exquisite hell broth, but also that it’s coming soon to MoM. Furthermore, on International Rum Day itself, this coming Sunday, top bartender Mikey Sim will be showing you how to make a special Smokito on Facebook and Instagram, go to @smokeheadwhisky. So rebellious.

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The Nightcap: 1 May

Pinch, punch, it’s the first of the month! What better way to welcome its arrival than with a healthy helping of boozy news. It’s the Nightcap! Hey, it’s May! Everyone,…

Pinch, punch, it’s the first of the month! What better way to welcome its arrival than with a healthy helping of boozy news. It’s the Nightcap!

Hey, it’s May! Everyone, look! It’s May! Though it might be hard to keep track of the days of late, a new month is definitely here and we can bid farewell to what was perhaps the longest April. Or what felt like the longest April, at least. We are welcoming this new month in the best way we know how – a new edition of The Nightcap! Would we have done a new edition of The Nightcap today even if it wasn’t a new month? Totally, but sometimes things line up great like this.

On the MoM blog this week, Ian Buxton returned to discuss the often murky past and present of private casks sales, we counted down the best drink advertisements of all time and Adam reminded us that the cancellation of the Spirit of Speyside Festival shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the best Scotch whiskies the region has to offer. Our Cocktail of the Week was a fluffy, deliciously creamy and super simple creation that Annie turned our attention to before she grabbed a quick chat with the co-founder of James Eadie, Rupert Patrick. Elsewhere, Henry spent his week looking into the story behind delightful creations such as a very special dry vermouth from Piedmont and an ultra-premium gin from Kenya, although he did thankfully leave enough time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Casamigos Tequila. Oh, and best of luck to all who entered our new competition with our wonderful neighbours, Greensand Ridge Distillery.

Speaking of which, we’d like to say a big thanks again to all those who entered our virtual pub quiz last Friday and congratulations to our winner Moa Nilsson! That £25 gift voucher can be put to good use at MoM Towers on any number of delightful drinks, including that Jaffa Cake Gin everyone keeps talking about… The answers to last week’s quiz are listed below, while this week’s edition will launch at 5pm here, so fix yourself a tipple and keep your eyes peeled on the MoM Blog!

The Nightcap

Lockdown drams and jigsaw, the new Netflix and chill?

Glengoyne releases custom jigsaw puzzle

With many of us on the search for ways to spend all this new-found spare time, Glengoyne Distillery has come up with a potential solution: a limited-edition jigsaw puzzle. Created to be enjoyed as the perfect companion while savouring a good dram, the 500-piece puzzle features a special painting by John Lowrie Morrison (Jolomo), entitled ‘Spring Blossoms at Glengoyne Distillery’. The celebrated Scottish artist spent weekends painting at the distillery during his student years attending the Glasgow School of Art.  Glengoyne’s jigsaw, which is available through the brand’s online shop, is priced at £10 and £1 from each purchase will be donated to drinks charities The Drinks Trust and The Ben. “Many of us are obviously finding ourselves with more time on our hands right now, and time has always played such a big role in our whisky-making at Glengoyne,” says Katy Muggeridge, senior brand manager for Glengoyne. “We hope this limited-edition jigsaw will provide fans of our whisky with some special at-home entertainment during a difficult time, as well as offering a special keepsake from one of the nation’s leading artists.” The puzzle, which will be available, while stocks last, with any 70cl bottle of whisky purchased on Glengoyne.com, also features 10 Wonka-esque golden jigsaw pieces. Those lucky enough to stumble upon them will win a pair of tickets to a Glengoyne Wee Tasting Tour, redeemable once the distillery re-opens to visitors.

Woodford Reserve unveils homage to Kentucky Derby

Woodford Reserve embraced its sentimental side this week by releasing a music video as a homage to the delayed Kentucky Derby. The song, titled ‘My Old Kentucky Home’, features Kentucky cellist Ben Sollee playing solo in the Derby Winner’s Circle at a vacant Churchill Downs, where Derby 146 was scheduled to run this Saturday. The Kentucky Derby has been postponed for just the second time in its 146-year history (1945 was the first time, unsurprisingly) due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and is not set to run on the 5th of September. The Kentucky-based bourbon brand, who is the presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby, has also chosen to mark the history and tradition of the event by announcing its Kentucky Derby at Home celebration, which will take place tomorrow (2nd May). The programme features a live tasting and toast, as well as a demonstration on how to make the perfect Mint Juleps by Woodford Reserve master distiller Chris Morris. For those not from Kentucky or not really interested in horse racing, the images of the Twin Spires, vacant stands, track and starting gate may not move you, but it’s worth pointing out that for many in the state the Derby isn’t just a sporting event, but a celebration of Kentucky. “Now more than ever, we need to be connected to each other,” Morris explained. “This beautiful rendition of My Old Kentucky Home keeps the tradition and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby alive during these hard times.”

The Nightcap

The fantastic cause is worth donating to if you haven’t already.

The Drinks Trust fundraising reaches £1 million

The news these days appears to mostly be bad. Just this week it was announced that Imbibe Live 2020 has been postponed to 5-6 July 2021 (the full statement is here). However, we’d prefer to focus on the number of people and organisations who are working tremendously hard in the name of good causes. The Drinks Trust is one of those who are making a difference and the community organisation for the drinks industry has revealed it has raised just over £1 million to support individuals who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Your Round, Help Your Trade” campaign has raised this amount thanks to £650,000 in generous donations and numerous fundraising initiatives and a further £350,000 from business partners either renewing or renewing at a higher level. The Drinks Trust has been supporting over 350 ongoing beneficiaries since the beginning of March and has recently completed the COVID-19 Emergency Grant fund, enabling it to provide 1750 beneficiaries with a one-off financial grant of £250 primarily assisting those who are facing a loss of earnings. In the weeks ahead the organization will launch a new initiative which “will assist members of the drinks industry to live a constructive and healthy life in these times of uncertainty, isolation and distance from an otherwise social and community-orientated industry”. The Drinks Trust also thanked those who have supported its good work, allowing that none of this would have been possible without the generosity and support from all areas of the drinks industry. “We are so grateful to absolutely everyone who has responded so quickly at this difficult time,” said CEO, Ross Carter. “We hope to work with you all on an ongoing basis to ensure that we continue to provide support for all drinks industry professionals. The Drinks Trust supports drinks industry people”. You can donate to this superb cause here.

The Nightcap

Salcombe Gin’s online service allows you to create your own bespoke gin.

Salcombe Gin launches Virtual Gin Schooling programme

It’s another bank holiday weekend soon (yay!), and gin is a tipple on many people’s minds. You may have been one of the people planning to visit the beautiful waterside Salcombe Gin distillery and its awesome gin school. Well, clearly that’s not essential travel (as much as we would like to kid ourselves), but luckily the distillery has brought its experience to you! Dubbed the Home-Gin-Schooling programme, it’s a virtual gin school experience, with three options to choose from. Through a live video with a member of Salcombe Gin’s distilling team, you can either create your very own new gin recipe, or if you’ve visited the gin school before, you can recreate that. Your tasty creation will then be posted to you complete with personalised labels, a copy of the recipe and a serving suggestion. You can also get your pals (virtually) involved with the virtual gin school, with the full experience of a distiller guiding you through each step of the process. Up to four households can tune-in and co-create the gin, which will then be made into four 70cl bottles which are presented in wooden boxes. You can check it all out here, and get those creative juices flowing!

Russell Swallow, he’s spent some time in Berlin

And finally… Big Drop Brewing brings the pub gig to your living room

Here at Master of Malt the thing we miss about the before times is going to the pub: cold beer, warm friends and hot music, there’s nothing better. To help us through the pain of lockdown, Big Drop, the delicious (yes really, genuinely delicious) zero alcohol beer people, has come up with Big Drop Living Room Pub Gig. Every Sunday between 4-5pm (BST), a top musician will entertain you via the magic of electronic jiggery-pokery. Coming up this Sunday 3 May, it’s Russell Swallow who, as you can probably tell from his publicity photo melds “the British singer-songwriter tradition with ambient Berlin soundscapes”, according to the press bumf. Go to Facebook or youtube to find out more. There’ll be a new act every Sunday from now until the pubs reopen. Please let that be soon.

The Nightcap

Pub quiz answers

1) Which brand of champagne do Rick and Ilsa (Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman) drink in Paris in the film Casablanca? 

Answer: Mumm

2) Typically, what kind of vessel is a Moscow Mule served in?

Answer: Copper mug

3) What’s the minimum number of ingredients need to make a cocktail?

Answer: Two

4) Which country does the grape variety Malbec originate from?

Answer: France

5) What does it mean to ‘dry shake’ a cocktail?

Answer: Shake without ice

6) What’s the only distillery within the town of Elgin?

Answer: Glen Moray

7) Aeneas Coffey, inventor of the eponymous still, was from which country?

Answer: Ireland.

8) What’s the only Scottish distillery to make both single malt and single grain whisky?

Answer: Loch Lomond

9) In the production of Port, you would add aguardiente. . . 

Answer: Before fermentation, during fermentation, after fermentation

10) A member of which band described their 1972 American tour as the “cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour”? 

Answer: The Rolling Stones

 

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Five minutes. . . with Kerri Watt

We talk to Scottish singer Kerri Watt ahead of her gig at Glengoyne Distillery on 20 March about music, meeting your heroes and the best ever song about whisky.  Whisky…

We talk to Scottish singer Kerri Watt ahead of her gig at Glengoyne Distillery on 20 March about music, meeting your heroes and the best ever song about whisky. 

Whisky and music have a long history together. Dave Broom’s recent film, The Amber Light, is as much about his love of music as it is about whisky. Continuing in this grand tradition is Glasgow-born singer-songwriter Kerri Watt. She shot to fame with her single ‘Long Way Home’ which was all over the radio in 2015. Since then she has played Glastonbury, opened for Coldplay, and played with legendary Latin smoothie Julio Iglesias at the Royal Albert Hall. Her latest track is the excellent ‘Kissing Fools’.

On Friday 20 March she will be playing a special gig at the Glengoyne Distillery near Glasgow aptly-called ‘The Spirit of the Song’ (tickets available here).  It will be a special all female line-up with Liv Dawn (runner up of the BBC Scottish Songwriter Award) and Beth Keeping (founder of movement ‘Write Like A Girl’). When we discovered what an enormous whisky fan she is, we jumped at the chance to talk to her: 

Master of Malt: How did this event at Glengoyne come about? 

Kerri Watt: I had the idea after touring round Scotland last year. There was such incredible history and things to discover during the day but most of the little towns went quiet at night. I thought it would be so cool if there was something happening in the evenings. Some of the distilleries I visited had great entertaining spaces where you’d start off the tour. It got me thinking they could be perfect for a small intimate gig. I think music and whisky often go hand in hand and when I started floating the idea to a few people they thought it was great! Ultimately, I’d like to take ‘The Spirit of Song’ on a tour of Scotland hitting as many distilleries as possible. But I thought Glengoyne was a good place to start. When I approached them, they loved the idea! I’m so excited it’s finally happening.

MoM: Can you remember the dram that made you fall in love with whisky?

KW: I think it was Laphroaig when I was 25. Definitely a late starter, but I used to really not get the fascination. I met my partner in 2015, and every time he’d have a whisky in the evening, he’d go through the ritual of offering me one. I eventually gave in and the rest is history. I love that it’s something we can enjoy together especially when we’re travelling. He’s English so it’s been so much fun visiting places like Laphroaig since we moved up to Scotland together.

Anyone for tennis?

MoM: What’s your favourite everyday whisky?

KW: The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old. It’s accessible and affordable no matter where I am, which makes it great for an everyday whisky.

MoM: And what’s your dream dram?

KW: Hmm tough one! Anything rare that I might otherwise not get to taste. But if I had to name one that I’ve had my eye on, it would be Dalmore Constellation 1973.

MoM: Do you have a favourite distillery that you have visited?

KW: Last year, I had some American friends come to visit, so I took advantage of a holiday in my own country and took them to Islay. It’s crazy because I grew up here, but it really was such an adventure driving down to Kennacraig and getting the ferry across. We visited Laphroaig, Bowmore and Lagavulin. It was amazing to walk through the whole process. The guides are so knowledgeable and passionate about whisky and many of them have been associated with the distilleries for generations. Despite growing up five minutes down the road, I’d never actually visited Glengoyne until recently. My uncle was a tour guide there for years, so that has to be my favourite! They also sell incredible Glengoyne whisky-infused tablet which is to die for. If you haven’t been to Scotland you might not be familiar with tablet it’s much like fudge but less soft and a bit grainier.

MoM: How important are whisky and music in Scottish culture?

KW: Stories of music and whisky are woven into the fabric of our history and both have been enjoyed on Scottish soil for generations. It’s the reason so many people from around the world come to visit us. So many cultures can relate to enjoying music while sharing a drink and Scotland is one of the best places to do it!

MoM: What’s your favourite song about whisky?

KW: There are so many! Especially if you’re into country music like me. But when Chris Stapleton’s album ‘Traveller’ came out in 2015, ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ was the track that made me fall in love with him. If you’ve never heard the song, check it out. Or even better, look up the duet he did of it with Justin Timberlake at the Country Music Awards a few years ago… amazing!

MoM: What did you miss most about Scotland when you were in California?

KW: Well I definitely missed my family. We’re really close so moving to the other side of the world at 16 years old was definitely a bit of a shock. But they came to visit and Skype had just come about around that time. Although i’d never complain about the sunshine, at times i did miss the rain! I’m big into hiking and you can’t wait for a sunny day here in Glasgow, so I’m used to braving the stormy skies for some exercise. There’s no feeling like it!

MoM: And what do you miss most about California?

KW: So many things. The people for a start. I think the sunshine just puts people in a good mood. Everybody was so friendly where I lived a little beach community called Dana Point in Southern California. I miss that you could get up at 5am to go down and watch the surfers catch the first waves (no I wasn’t one of them!) The tacos, the frozen yoghurt and the sunsets. 

MoM: Who is the biggest influence on you musically?

KW: Sheryl Crow. I loved her growing up and she has stood the test of time. 30 years in the business and she’s still a total rockstar. Amazing lyrics, incredible stage presence and she’s just the definition of cool. After being a superfan much of my life, I finally saw her play live a few years ago and was totally blown away and very inspired. Her classic songs from the 90’s still regularly feature on my playlists and I always play her ‘C’mon, C’mon’ album on a roadtrip.

MoM: Do you ever get nervous playing with or meeting your musical heroes?

KW: Luckily, most of them are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met so I’ve always felt welcomed. Chris Martin must be the biggest super star I’ve rubbed shoulders with backstage he was really kind! And getting to share the stage with Keith Urban last year was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. His stage presence is second to none. Funnily enough, I was at a music event recently and got talking to this American guy. About half way through our conversation it clicked with me that he’s the dude who co-wrote all of Sheryl Crow’s biggest hits! Suddenly he was a totally different person to me and admittedly I did feel a bit star struck but I had to tell him I was a fan.

MoM: Finally, do you have a favourite whisky cocktail and if so what is it?

KW: You can never go wrong with an Old Fashioned. It’s a timeless classic that’s relatively simple and I love it with Woodford Reserve after coming off stage. But I’m always up for trying exciting new brands!

 

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Fantastic Father’s Day Gifts

Father’s Day is coming; you need a gift. But there’s no need to panic. We’ve got all kinds of fantastic booze-based presents right here! On 16 June we have a…

Father’s Day is coming; you need a gift. But there’s no need to panic. We’ve got all kinds of fantastic booze-based presents right here!

On 16 June we have a welcome opportunity to show our dads how much we appreciate them. Father’s Day is when we say thanks and give a little bit of love to the father figures in our life. But man can they be hard to buy for.

That’s why we’re here to make it easier. From tasting sets to gift vouchers, our snazzy Father’s Day gift ideas page complete with our shiny new gift finder – we’ve got it all. It’s so simple you’ll be wondering why you ever thought you’d need to leave the house. You should never want to leave the house. Inside is warm and has Netflix.

We’ve also rounded-up a spectacular range of drinks in one handy little blog post just to give you an idea of the kind of treats you can buy for your old man. It beats socks, right?

Happy Father’s Day, all!

The Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Set 2019

Yer da loves whisky, right? But which whisky? What style does he like? Do they have a preference of distillery? What if you get it wrong? These are all questions that can go through the mind of someone trying to buy their dad whisky. But in the The Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Set 2019 (an exclusive made for us by our good friends Drinks by the Dram), none of this matters. That’s because each set contains five different 30ml drams of terrific whisky from world-class producers, so there’s bound to be something he loves inside.

What’s inside?:

The contents of the The Father’s Day Whisky Tasting Set 2019 includes: Tamdhu 10 Year Old, Lagavulin 8 Year Old, 1792 Small Batch, Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky and Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year Old.

The Father’s Day Gin Tasting Set 2019

Drinks by the Dram have created, just for us, the perfect Father’s Day gift for any gin lover. This tasting set features five different 30ml drams of delicious gin from a range of superb producers, exactly the kind of thing you’d want if you were looking to find a new favourite juniper-based libation…

What’s inside?:

The contents of the The Father’s Day Gin Tasting Set 2019 includes: Hernö Gin, Salcombe Gin – Start Point, Elephant Gin – Elephant Strength, Japanese Gin and Rhubarb Triangle Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company).

Glengoyne 12 Year Old

An especially approachable bottling for newcomers and a welcome dram for experienced whisky drinkers alike, Glengoyne 12 Year Old is a wonderfully-made whisky with a clean, fresh profile and plenty of depth of flavour. You just can’t go wrong with this one.

What does it taste like?:

Toffee apples, a little acacia honey, nectarine in syrup and spice, over-ripe grapes, coconut milk, oak spice and coffee supported by toasted barley and chocolate ice-cream in the background. Yum!

Peaky Blinder Spiced Dry Gin

One for the Tommy Shelby fans out there. For those not in the know, the Peaky Blinders were a street gang from the late 19th/early 20th Century that became the basis for a very popular TV show. This spicy gin is no gimmick, however, as its medals at both the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the International Spirits Challenge in 2018 demonstrate.

What does it taste like?:

Ginger and black pepper make for a spicy opening, though well balanced by ample helpings of ripe orange, oaky cassia, oily juniper, and hints of eucalyptus and coffee bean.

Rumbullion!

If rich, full-bodied rums are what you’re looking for this Father’s Day, then look no further than the proudly maritime Rumbullion! Part of the fantastic Abelforth’s range, this spiced rum was created using a blend of high proof Caribbean rum, creamy Madagascan vanilla, zesty orange peel, a handful of cassia and cloves and just a hint of cardamom.

What does it taste like?:

Intense, sweet vanilla, flamed orange zest, cardamom, old-fashioned cola, Manuka honey, molasses, candy floss, toffee apples, crème brûlée and a fabulous mix of thick cut bitter orange marmalade and tingling, zinging spices from cloves and cinnamon.

Forest Gin

A family-made small-batch gin, Forest Gin is a real labour of love. Karl and Lindsay Bond made it using their own copper condenser with local spring water as well as a blend of classic gin botanicals (think organic juniper berries and coriander seeds) and bundles of foraged botanicals (wild bilberries, gorse flowers, raspberries and local moss) from Macclesfield Forest which were processed using a pestle and mortar. That’s dedication.

What does it taste like?:

Plenty of earthy forest floor notes, sweet berries, moss, rooty liquorice and spice from cassia and cinnamon.

WhistlePig 12 Year Old Oloroso Cask – Old World (Master of Malt)

Why not make your father feel really special this year by getting him a gift he can’t find anywhere else, like this Master of Malt exclusive bottling of 12-year-old rye whiskey from WhistlePig! Finished exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks and released as part of the Old World series, this is a sublime sherried rye whiskey.

What does it taste like?:

Bucketfuls of dried fruit, with sweet caramel and vanilla, new leather, wonderful rich sherry notes and a pinch of tobacco alongside prominent warming spicy notes and orange oil.

Manchester Gin

Emblazoned with the bee from Manchester’s coat of arms and featuring the dandelion and burdock root, Manchester Gin is a delightful celebration of the North. It was created with 12 botanicals in total, including juniper, ground almond, coriander, angelica and citrus peels, all of which were distilled in Wendy (a copper pot still, just to be clear) by couple Jen Wiggins and Seb Heeley (who aren’t copper pot stills, just to be even clearer). A string of awards has followed since its release, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s tasted it.

What does it taste like?:

Earthy and creamy with a pleasant sweetness and balancing juniper and citrus.

Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Gift Pack with x2 Glasses

If you want to really spoil the father in your life this year, then why not get him a delightful gift pack? This particular edition features a beautiful pair of glasses perfect for enjoying a 70cl bottle of Rémy Martin’s stunning 1738 Accord Royal, a Cognac created to celebrate Louis XV’s decision to grant a young Rémy Martin the right to plant new vines on his land (banned in France at the time) with the Accord Royal in, yes, you’ve guessed it, 1738.

What does it taste like?:

Ripe fruit and vanilla with a slightly herbal vinous note and pronounced, but not overpowering, oak finish.

Fortaleza Añejo

A family occasion should be celebrated with a good bottle of booze created using generations of knowledge passed down through a rich family history. That’s exactly what Guillermo Sauza had on his side when he launched Fortaleza in 2005, bringing back the traditions of previous generations at the family distillery to make expressions like this delicious añejo, which was aged for 18 months in American oak casks.

What does it taste like?:

A beautiful combination of agave and butterscotch, sultanas and mixed peels. Oily, complex, outstanding.

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Top-notch new releases!

Love being in the loop with all things new and delightful in the drinks world? We’re here to help! Eagle-eyed MoM users may have noticed that on our site we…

Love being in the loop with all things new and delightful in the drinks world? We’re here to help!

Eagle-eyed MoM users may have noticed that on our site we have a New Arrivals page, where we list all the shiny new booze that comes to MoM Towers. From beer, Cognac, gin, rum, Tequila, vodka, whisky and more, it’s the place to be to find the latest and greatest drinks.

Fans of our blog will also have seen that we’ve started a weekly series: New Arrival of the Week, where we take an in-depth look at an interesting and tasty new products from the previous week that caught our eye. On Monday we talked all things HYKE Gin, for example.

But we decided that this week, just to make things even easier on you, we’d round-up some of the most intriguing, original and downright delicious drinks to be released recently. So whether you want to see what’s new in the world of gin, whisky, liqueur or rum, we’re sure you’ll find something in this list to suit your needs. Enjoy!

Listoke 1777 Gin

Irish whiskey isn’t the only spirit category on the Emerald Isle that’s enjoying a boom in popularity, Irish gin is making its mark also. Listoke 1777 Gin, one of the most recent additions to the bourgeing scene, was distilled at what is said to be Ireland’s largest gin distillery with a botanical selection including juniper, rowan berries, cardamom and orange. Try this in a G&T with a sprig of rosemary and you’ll soon see what all the fuss is about.

What does it taste like?:

Pronounced piney juniper, bursts of citrus throughout and herbaceous notes, with warming spice lingering on the finish.

Nikka Days

It would appear that legendary Japanese whisky producer Nikka has created another winner here in Nikka Days. A blended whisky featuring spirits from the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, this dram is fruity, bright, slightly peated and thoroughly tasty.

What does it taste like?:

Fresh and fruity apples, pears, honeydew melon and strawberry, orange oil, malt sweetness, roasted nuts, toffee apple, vanilla fudge alongside a hint of barrel char.

Big Peat 10 Year Old

A celebration of Big Peat’s 10th birthday, this limited 10-year-old expression of Douglas Laing’s tribute to the feisty Ileach fisherman is a very welcome new addition to MoM Towers. Bottled at 46% ABV without chill filtration or colouring, this popular Islay blended malt Scotch whisky packs plenty of those classic smoky flavours the brand’s followers love. It’s the perfect way to toast the familiar face on the bottle’s label.

What does it taste like?:

Roasted peanuts, petrichor, fresh pear, meaty malt, BBQ char, toffee, new leather, tobacco, honey on toast and plenty of peat smoke.

Milk & Honey Levantine Gin

Milk & Honey may have stolen the headlines as Israel’s first whisky distillery, but the brand has certainly demonstrated it knows its way around all things juniper. Milk & Honey Levantine Gin was distilled with a base spirit made from 100% malted barley and locally-sourced botanicals such as cinnamon, chamomile, black pepper, lemon peel, verbena, coriander and hyssop. The botanicals were macerated for 24 hours before a third distillation in order to create a smooth profile. Anyone for Martinis?

What does it taste like?:

Prominent juniper and lemon citrus, with herbaceous notes and soft spices in the background.

Tamdhu 15 Year Old

Anybody who has followed Tamdhu since its welcome comeback knows that the Speyside distillery is all about sublime sherried whisky. The limited edition 15 Year Old is no exception. Matured in American and European oloroso-seasoned casks and bottled at 46% ABV without any chill-filtration or additional colouring, Tamdhu 15 Year Old makes for an intense, rich and rewarding dram.

What does it taste like?:

Strawberry boiled sweeties, heavy dried fruit notes, a hearty slice of dense fruitcake, toasty oak warmth, orange oil, earthy vanilla, waxy peels, clove, chocolate ice-cream and walnut.

Bimber Classic Rum

Making delicious rum that’s value for money is not an easy balance to strike, but that’s exactly what west London distillery Bimber has achieved here. Crafted using local ingredients, Bimber Classic Rum was distilled from molasses in both copper pot and column stills before it was also bottled and labelled on site. We recommend you put the fruits of Bimber’s labour to good use in a nice Daiquiri.

What does it taste like?:

Dried grass, caramel, vanilla, soft stone fruit, cracked black pepper, dark chocolate, banana foam sweets, more grassy malt and dark Muscovado sugar.

Cambridge Elderflower Liqueur

If you’re going to make a gin-based liqueur, you’ll want to make sure you at least start with a quality gin. That’s exactly what Cambridge Distillery did with this Elderflower Liqueur, which was distilled using its award-winning Cambridge Dry Gin. Made to be enjoyed over ice, splashed in a glass of fizz or in any number of cocktails, this liqueur should prove as versatile as it is terrifically tasty.

What does it taste like?:

Heady floral notes, wonderfully fragrant elderflower against a backdrop of juniper and herby botanicals.

Glengoyne The Legacy Series Chapter One

An expression that celebrates Cochrane Cartwright, the distillery manager in 1869 who famously introduced sherry casks to Glengoyne, Chapter One of The Legacy Series was fittingly matured in first fill European oak Oloroso sherry casks as well as refill casks. For those who enjoy the sherried and the sublime, this is one for you.

What does it taste like?:

Luxurious sticky toffee pudding, dried fruit, Christmas spices, vanilla custard, gentle oak, stewed pear and cinnamon spice.

Smoked Rosemary Gin (That Boutique-y Gin Company)

Smoked rosemary is no longer just a fixture in distinctively delicious cocktails thanks to That Boutique-y Gin Company and its latest release: Smoked Rosemary Gin. Evocative, intriguing and bold, I can only imagine the raucously good Red Snappers you could make with this gin.

What does it taste like?:

Strong herbal notes, plenty of juniper, saline seashore smells, smoked bacon, lemon, a big hit of rosemary and cracked black pepper.

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The Return of Ask #WhiskySanta… He’ll grant one wish per day!

[Update: He’s now giving gifts away at the checkout too!] Guess who is back… Back once again… #WhiskySanta is back! Tell all your friends and loved ones. Ho ho ho!…

Whisky Santa

[Update: He’s now giving gifts away at the checkout too!]

Guess who is back… Back once again… #WhiskySanta is back! Tell all your friends and loved ones. Ho ho ho! A bit of the M&M-style wrap for you there. I like to stay current.

That’s right, your favourite festive, omniscient, supernatural, heavily-bearded being is back from his holibobs. I may have only had ten months off after last year’s festivities (during which I even received a shiny ISC award) but a tinsel-covered alarm clock has gone off somewhere and I’m feeling extremely generous once again! Time to make some lists and check them twice – lists of people using #WhiskySanta, that is – before granting one wish per day for you lucky people for a second year running!

30 Comments on The Return of Ask #WhiskySanta… He’ll grant one wish per day!

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