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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Glengoyne

The Nightcap: 27 May

Glengoyne goes offline with new whisky, Glenlivet goes online to change perceptions, and a football manager goes to his vineyard to show some gratitude. It’s The Nightcap! Before we get…

Glengoyne goes offline with new whisky, Glenlivet goes online to change perceptions, and a football manager goes to his vineyard to show some gratitude. It’s The Nightcap!

Before we get into this week’s round-up, we thought we’d let you know about some recent changes. You may have noticed our home page has become all fancy thanks to a bit of refurbishment, and there’s some hot new additions like The Vault. There’s also a page where you can register your interest in the truly top-tier releases. This week, for example, it’s the oldest ever whisky from The Macallan. An 81-year-old single malt Scotch whisky, drawn from a single sherry-seasoned cask that was laid down in 1940, called The Reach. You can register here, and admire the new-look-MoM (Master of Malt, not your actual mother) whenever you feel like it.

Things might be all change on the front page, but on the blog, it was business as usual as we churned lots of cracking content. There was our preview of all the delicious independent bottlings launched in That Boutique-y Records, as well as our look at the simple but sublime Americano cocktail. We also welcomed a Platinum Jubilee Edition of Taylor’s Very Very Old Tawny Port and put together a new competition with Mermaid Gin to offer you the chance to win all kinds of gin-based treats. Father’s Day prep also began, with our pick of presents, expert advice on how to become more original in your gift-giving, and our own testimony on what we’ll be getting our own dads here at MoM Towers. There was still time to preview the upcoming Fèis Ìle, with our round-up of what to expect, and Dr. Nick Morgan’s explosive story of a festival corrupted by greed.

Phew, what a week! And there’s still more to come. It’s The Nightcap: 27 May edition.

worlds-largest-whisky

Hey, look. It’s that massive bottle of whisky again!

World’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky sells for £1.1 million

Remember that story we covered about the massive bottle of whisky? Well, somebody stumped up over £1m for it. The Intrepid, which stands at 5ft 11 inches tall and is filled with 311 litres of 32-year-old Macallan single-malt whisky, went under the hammer on Tuesday (25 May) at international auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull and fetched £1.1m (it’s hard not to say that in Dr. Evil’s voice). The project is supporting various environmental, physical, and mental well-being charities such as Marie Curie and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), chosen by the 11 explorers honoured by the expression, including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and Karen Darke MBE. The Glenfiddich was also in a fundraising mood, raising £150,000 to help with the long-term support of the people of Ukraine. It auctioned 460 bottles of its 2022 edition (The Cooper’s Cask) on Whisky Auctioneer, with proceeds from the auction going to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, www.dec.org.uk. Look at all this expensive whisky doing good for the world. We’ll overlook the driving of crazy auction prices for this week…

Glengoyne

Put your phones away and enjoy. Or don’t. It’s your life.

Glengyone launches ‘world’s first offline whisky’

Did you know that over a third of Brits admit to checking their phones frequently when spending quality time with friends and family? Surely, it’s nearer 100%. If you had the urge to use your phone to Google that, then you’re part of the problem. It’s this fact, and an overactive marketing department who presumably used their phones incessantly in the creation of this expression, that has led to Glengoyne releasing The Offline Edition. Billed as the “world’s first offline whisky”, the key thing here isn’t so much the liquid as the packaging, which contains aluminium inner cylinder to turn the whisky box into a digital black spot, blocking out electromagnetic signals for up to four smartphones. The packaging was inspired by the original Faraday cage, invented just three years after Glengoyne began making its whisky in 1833. “No matter where we are, or how hard we try, there’s a temptation to check our phones, or be distracted by someone else’s screen lighting up at the table. It’s no surprise that time away from our tech has become one of the greatest luxuries of all”, Barbara Turing, brand manager at Glengoyne, said. “As Scotland’s slowest distilled malt, we’ve always celebrated being unhurried. The Offline Edition gives a new meaning to the term ‘second use’ – a special box that gives us all some time back for our own special moments with others and to savour a great-tasting dram.” It’s the same kind of obnoxious as those signs in cafes and bars that say “there’s no wifi password, talk to each other”, but this will still probably sell out in about 15 minutes. If the actual whisky means anything to you, the box includes a 700ml bottle of Glengoyne Legacy Series: Chapter Three, the final bottle in the Legacy collection. 

The Glenlivet

The Glenlivet is trying to paint a more accurate picture

The Glenlivet aims to challenge whisky stereotypes

Changing the outdated stereotype of the whisky drinker is a fight many of us have subscribed to in recent years, and The Glenlivet is taking the fight on with its #BreakTheStereotype initiative. It kicks off with a scheme to infiltrate search engine algorithms and purposefully plant images so that when you search ‘whisky drinker’ using Google Images (not sure who actually does this, but ok) you are greeted with unique and diverse depictions of real whisky drinkers in 2022. This means it won’t be all middle-aged, white men, basically. Research conducted by Pernod Ricard shows that the modern whisky drinker has evolved, with a third of whisky drinkers globally being women, so that search really shouldn’t return such one-dimensional results. It is great to see the industry finally challenging these kinds of stereotypes, even if it cultivated them for decades. As part of the initiative, The Glenlivet has partnered with the excellent Equal Measures through its Education and Mentorship Scheme by providing up to 30 participants from marginalised communities with access to qualifications, one-on-one mentorship, and opportunities. The brand is also inviting whisky drinkers to the #BreakTheStereotype pop-up bar taking place at Coupette in London from 13–19 June, where guests who post a photo of themselves with a cocktail with the hashtag will enjoy a free drink. Talk about infiltrating the algorithm. A portion of proceeds from each cocktail purchased from the menu beyond the complimentary drink will be donated to Equal Measures too. We’re not quite convinced the Google Images route will have any real impact, but Glenlivet does seem awfully committed to moving the dial to make the drinks and spirit industry a more welcoming and inclusive place, and we’re all for that.

Queer Britian

We’re a big fan of a brand this huge visibly supporting this cause. Image credit: John Sturrock, Kings Cross

Diageo partners with LGBTQ+ museum 

Expect joy, celebration, and Pride in abundance from Diageo in the coming months as the drinks giant celebrates 50 years of the UK Pride Movement. To kick things off, it’s announced a new two-year partnership with Queer Britain in London, the UK’s first national LGBTQ+ museum. The first-of-its-kind partnership will provide funding to the site that aims to capture some of the lost LGBTQ+ contributions to history and culture in the UK, as well as resources to support the museum’s archivists in their mission to grow an archive of valuable stories and artifacts. Archivists for brands such as Guinness and Johnnie Walker will work with the recently opened museum in Granary Square at King’s Cross to upskill volunteers and create archive best practices that will enable the museum to preserve LGBTQ+ history. Diageo’s own global archive covers the equivalent of 55 football pitches, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. “We’re so proud to be supporting Queer Britain in their mission to celebrate queer culture in the UK”, commented Conor Brown, chairman of Diageo’s Rainbow Network Group at Diageo GB, “As part of Diageo’s ongoing commitment to creating a fairer, more inclusive society, we’re honoured to support an archive that strives to reinforce that all-important sense of belonging and connection for the community.” Alongside Diageo’s support for the Queer Britain archive, Diageo will also be announcing a number of other exciting collaborative initiatives and events in the coming months, with vodka brand Cîroc hosting the stage for the first of the festivities. 

The Savoy

The Pocket Rocket, one of the new creations at The American Bar

Top London bars launch new menus

A whole host of swanky London bars have been launching new bar menus recently, so much so that we thought we’d do a little group round-up this week. Starting with The American Bar at the Savoy, which has revealed Re:Invented, which coincides with the bar reopening to the public for the first time since last year. As Shannon Tebay departed, drinks expert and former manager of the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar Anna Sebastian stepped in to create a menu that pays tribute to the bar’s fabled place in history, whilst transporting some of its most famous cocktails into the future. Expect cutting-edge techniques, the latest sustainable practices, seasonality, forgotten ingredients, and fascinating stories. Oh, and great drinks. It’s The American Bar after all. Elsewhere, St James Bar at Sofitel London St James hotel has created three cocktails in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, including serves like the Lilibet Fizz which features two of her best-loved beverages: Pimm’s Cup N.1 and Bollinger Champagne. Should be delicious, and fitting way to salute her Maj. It’s donating £1 of every Ray cocktail (which has the Pride colours) purchased at the bar to the estimable charity London Friend. Finally, the team behind innovative cocktail bar Eve, located beneath Michelin-starred Frog by Adam Handling, will launch a new cocktail menu inspired by Handling’s favourite drink, The Perfect Manhattan. It’s called ‘V’ as the ‘PM’ is made with five ingredients, and features five different spirit categories, stories, and tastes created by five bartenders. Serves include the Brusketta Martini, a combination of sourdough vodka, Ginepraio gin, tomato, rosemary, and brine. Now, go and check them out. You won’t regret it! 

Tamnavulin-Distillery

Exciting times ahead at Tamnavulin Distillery…

Tamnavulin appoints Leon Webb as new distillery manager

Tamnavulin has a new distillery manager: experienced whisky maker Leon Webb! He joined the team in early May, returning to his native Scotland following a period of five years in Canada where he worked as master distiller and blender to acclaim for Shelter Point Distillery on Vancouver Island. Originally from Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, Webb has an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and has produced award-winning drams in Scotland and Canada. He’ll now bring that experience to the Speyside distillery to work alongside distiller Sam Douglas and blender Kirsty Hodge. “Leon will be a fantastic addition to Tamnavulin and our distilling team,” says Shane Healey, distillery director at Whyte & Mackay, which owns the brand. “I am confident he will build on all the great work already done at the distillery and make a great contribution to the extraordinary growth of the Tamnavulin brand around the world. Leon joins Tamnavulin at an exciting time, fresh after the Spirit of Speyside Festival.” Best of luck, Leon, and congrats on the new role.

Balblair

John MacDonald, star of Precious Time. He also does whisky stuff

Balblair wants you to ‘embrace the unrushed’ 

More single malt Scotch whisky campaigning comes this way from Highland distillery Balblair, which has partnered with Scottish photographer and director David Eustace to encourage the nation to “embrace precious moments” with a new film. Entitled ‘Precious Time’, it explores the making of Balblair’s single malt with lots of picturesque shots of the Highlands that surround the distillery and stars distillery manager John MacDonald. He emphasizes how the Balblair’s slow distillation and lengthy maturation in the traditional, earthen-floored dunnage warehouses underpin its ‘unrushed approach’, explaining that “a respect for time is a must in whisky production and we never manipulate or control it”. He adds that the film ‘Precious Time’ is about “appreciation; the anticipation before the whisky touches your lips and savouring that moment in time.” Viewers can check out the film at www.balblair.com.  

Ardbeg

Our Jake and Phoebe, looking ‘Ardcore!

We rocked down to Ardbeg Day in London

Ahead of Fèis Ìle and Ardbeg Day ‘proper’ on Saturday 4 June, we spent World Whisky Day at the distillery’s punk rocking London bash. This year’s Ardcore release, and even the London celebration, won’t be news to regular Nightcap readers. So what’s the update here? Well, basically that it was really fun! We tasted the roasted black malt Ardcore – think Glenmorangie Signet chocolate malt vibes, with rich bran notes and ‘spiky’, peaty goodness – alongside the recent Ardbeg 8 Years Old Committee Release, and got into everything the day had to offer. The sun was out, they had Islay whisky slushies, there were games (the ‘welly-wanging’ was, of course, done with DM boots), and we caught up with friends (Matt from Whisky For Everyone, Simon and Franchi from Simply Whisky, and even Andy off of @londonwhiskyguy and our own Pour & Sip). For just a moment, on a glorious Saturday afternoon, it was like being back at Ardbeg’s festival day at the distillery itself. Just, you know, without the sea and scenery and stills… We did our best to make up for that by pogoing to some live Buzzcocks and Stooges tunes though. There were, we’re told, “as many as three” punks on Islay back in the ‘70s, after all.

Napoli wine

How come nobody ever gives us free booze?

And finally… Napoli manager thanks journalists with his own wine

Covering football for a living is a pretty sweet gig (yes, we know covering drink is too), but it’s even better when you’re given Tuscan wine as a bonus. That’s what happened to journalists attending the final press conference of the season for Napoli football club manager Luciano Spalletti, who thanked with a bottle of his own wine. His family has a 50-hectare estate called La Rimessa which sits just west of his hometown of Certaldo in Tuscany. The grounds boast farmhouses for tourists to stay in, as well as tennis courts, olive groves, a lake, and even an ostrich. Grape varieties Sangiovese, Merlot, Vermentino, and Trebbiano grapes are hand-picked from Spattetti’s vineyards, who is said to have become serious about winemaking after he was sacked by Internazionale in 2019. The Bordocampo he gave out is actually from the 2019 vintage and is made from 100% organically cultivated Sangiovese, and Antonio Petrazzuolo of Napoli Magazine posted his gratitude to the manager for the gift on Twitter this week, saying “Thanks to #LucianoSpalletti for the kind thought towards the press @napolimagazine @sscnapoli”. It’s a lovely gesture, but we can’t help but wonder what he’ll whip out if Napoli wins the Scudetto

No Comments on The Nightcap: 27 May

The Nightcap: 6 May

In the news this week we’ve got the world’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky, the “world’s first asparagus vodka”, and a possible definition for American single malt. It’s all in…

In the news this week we’ve got the world’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky, the “world’s first asparagus vodka”, and a possible definition for American single malt. It’s all in the Nightcap: 6 May edition. 

We’re off the back of another long weekend and hope you’re feeling nice and refreshed. This particular writer was attending the Spirit of Speyside Festival, and so I’m reinvigorated rather than rested. But even after a weekend of lovely whisky, I’ve still got room for a bit of boozy dessert in the form of The Nightcap. Presumably, you do too, which is why you’re here. Let’s get to it! 

The blog this week featured a fantastic beginners guide to Sake by the oracle himself, Richard Legg, an exploration of what makes Balblair whisky unique, and got our hands on Glen Scotia’s Campbeltown Malts Festival Release 2022. It was also Mexican week here at Master of Malt as we marked Cinco de Mayo by breaking down the difference between Tequila and mezcal, provided some top recommendations, and made the Tequila Sunrise.

But we’re not done yet. It’s The Nightcap: 6 May edition!

World’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky

It’s very big. Look.

World’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky to go under the hammer

Silly season is in full swing with news that the world’s largest bottle of whisky is due to shatter records at auction. Regular readers of The Nightcap might recall The Intrepid (which refers to eleven of the world’s leading explorers) back in September 2021, and its whopping 5ft 11 size. Holding 311 litres of 1989 Macallan single malt, it overtakes the previous record holders, The Famous Grouse, by 83 litres. Its size has been verified by the Guinness World Records and is the equivalent of 444 standard bottles. When Duncan Taylor bottled it last year it took more than an hour to fill. Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull will put it on sale on May 25 and expect to receive more than £1.5 million, a new record. Auctioneer Colin Fraser said bidders will have the chance to buy “a piece of Scotch whisky history,” while Charles MacLean provided some tasting notes to give the eventual winner an idea of what they’re buying (assuming they open it, which they obviously won’t). He says the whisky is full of “baked apple… supported by pear in syrup and a suggestion of flaked almond”. He adds that it has a “smooth texture, and a sweet overall taste with some white pepper in the lengthy, warming finish and a suggestion of French apple tart”. A shame he didn’t add “swanky” at the end. 

Midleton Very Rare releases 47 year old whiskey

We bet this tastes incredible. But we’ll never find out.

Midleton Very Rare releases 47 year old whiskey

Midleton Distillery has unveiled the third expression in its Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery collection ­­– a 47-year-old whiskey priced at $51,000. We were fortunate enough to taste the first expression in the range, a 45-year-old single malt unveiled in February 2020, which was then followed by a 46-year-old bottling last year. The plan is for there to be another three whiskies to follow every year until 2025, with each expression ranging in age from 45 to 50 years making it Ireland’s oldest whiskey collection. Chapter Three in the collection is a 47-year-old single pot still Irish whiskey matured in two casks, ex-sherry butt and ex-bourbon barrel, and is said to have notes of forest fruits, sugar-glazed cherries, muscovado sugar, dark roasted coffee with crushed pistachio and hazelnut. The latest bottling is inspired by fire, dating back to 1854 when the largest pot still in the world was assembled at the Old Midleton Distillery and managed by ‘fire men’ who controlled the temperature. The wooden cabinet the Waterford Crystal the decanter is housed in has markings of the flames that once warmed the old pot still. There are just 97 bottles of whiskey available, so it’s almost certainly another whiskey none of us will ever taste. Oh well.

definition for American single malt

A definition for American single malt could be agreed upon soon

Industry groups demand definition for American single malt

Two trade groups have come together to call on the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to establish a standard for American single malt whiskey. The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) and the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) have urged the government body to set a new standard, stating the growing category has reached a critical moment as more distillers than ever are labelling their products with this term while there are no formal requirements. The TTB was due to publish a definition for the category in December 2021, the ASMWC said in September after it and Discus submitted official comments to them in June 2019 in support of setting a standard for US-made single malt whiskey as part of TTB’s 2018 plan to modernise the labelling and advertising regulations for alcohol. Following the proposal, TTB added a rule-making for American single malts on its semi-annual regulatory agenda in 2021 but it has yet to issue the notice of the proposed rule. The definition put forth by the ASMWC states that American single malts must be made from 100% malted barley, distilled entirely at one distillery, mashed, distilled and matured in the US, matured in oak casks of no more than 700 litres, distilled to no more than 80% ABV, and bottled at 40% ABV or more. Taking more than a leaf from Scotch single malt, and why not? It works for them. We’ll keep you updated with any developments in this story.

brewdog

Brewdog creates the Bluedog Blueprint

Brewdog is doing some pr damage limitation marking its 15th anniversary as a business by launching The BrewDog Blueprint – a brand new business model defined by a couple of significant initiatives. One is the Hop Stock Employee Ownership Programme, in which 5% of the company previously belonging to James Watt worth just under £100m will be distributed among salaried team members. “This means BrewDog will be more than 25% owned by the people who matter most to us – our incredible team and you, our Equity Punk community, who have been with us every step of the way on this crazy ride,” he says. Based on current headcount and valuation, the shares each salaried team member will receive are worth around £120,000. The other initiative is the Bars 50% Profit Share programme, described by the brand as being a pioneering new business model for hospitality. “Our BrewDog Bars now share 50% of their profits evenly with the fantastic people who work in them. By sharing 50% of profits with our crew, we’re setting the bar higher for hospitality workers everywhere, and democratising the benefits of working for a successful business in our industry,” Watt explains. These are big moves, and we’re intrigued to see what kind of impact they have. To learn more about the Bluedog Blueprint, head here.

Glengyone Legacy

It will be sad to see this series end, it’s had some crackers

Glengoyne reveals final expression in the Legacy Series

The award-winning Legacy Series is sadly coming to a close, but before Glengoyne launches its third, and final, expression. The collection, which was made to tell the stories of people who have shaped the distillery over the last two centuries, concludes with  Glengoyne Legacy Series: Chapter Three,  created in honour of Sir Arthur John Tedder. Sir Tedder, a resident at the Customs House at the distillery between 1889 and 1893 (a beautiful two-story building that is now used for malt intake,) is said to have pioneered an ‘unhurried’ approach to whisky making, shaping the whisky as it’s known today. A worthy man to salute. Chapter Three was bottled un-chill-filtered at 48% ABV, and is said to deliver a pleasant waft of creamy vanilla, followed by spicy cinnamon aromas and notes of mixed berries, cutting through an indulgent base of apple strudel and juicy pears. Sounds delightful. Good thing it will be here at MoM Towers before you know it…

Heineken

Heineken is spreading the love. In its own pubs, of course.

Heineken to invest £42 million in UK pubs

Heineken is doing its good deed for the week and reaping some top publicity by injecting £42 million in pubs across the UK. The Dutch beer brand is supporting the hospitality industry as part of a plan to upgrade Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars estate. The investment, which will focus on high street pubs serving residential neighbourhoods as well as suburban venues, follows one during the Covid-19 pandemic which focused on the refurbishment of Heineken pubs. Combined, Heineken has now invested £115 million since the beginning of the pandemic, with a total of 660 pubs (more than a quarter of its Star Pubs & Bars business) being upgraded in this latest wave of investment. The group will focus on upgrading outdoor seating areas to mean rising demand for alfresco drinking and dining, while 137 venues will receive a makeover costing a minimum of £125,000. Arguably the best news is that a total of 700 new jobs will be created as a result of the investment, the firm has said. We welcome all the investment the industry can get at the moment, so kudos to Heineken. 

World Aperitivo Day

Tell me that doesn’t look incredible.

World Aperitivo Day to debut on 26 May

We don’t ever need an excuse to champion the delights of an aperitivo, or frankly think there’s much room left in the calendar for anything else to claim a day, but the humble Italian treat is getting one regardless. A global celebration of the Italian tradition of pre-meal drink has been marked in the calendar for Thursday 26 May, aiming to share a proud cultural touchstone with the world. An online campaign (under #WorldAperitivoDay) will be run in conjunction with a live event in Milan where the ‘Manifesto of the Aperitivo will be presented to the world. The document, developed by “leading drinks experts” (nobody asked us, but whatever), will define the original Italian aperitivo, and offer commandments concerning what sets the aperitivo apart from the apéritif. The critical factor? It can only be called an aperitivo if at least half of it has been made in Italy. Too right. Plenty of room for international influence and experimentation there, but if there’s one thing you don’t mess with it’s Italian recipes. They tend to have thoughts on the matter. The full criteria will be shared on social media to the @aperitivofestival page. Does anyone else really fancy an aperitivo now? We’re not waiting three weeks, if you don’t mind.

Portobello Road Distillery flavoured vodka

The world of flavoured vodka is going to start to look very different in the near future…

Portobello Road Distillery creates flavoured vodka range

Portobello Road Distillery has been busy in the world of vodka recently, which we predict will only flourish as taste, provenance, and heritage become more a focus for the category. The former is being ramped up in the Notting Hill-based brand’s latest collection, which is made up of vodkas created using natural ingredients. Eschewing the typical focus of purity, instead character takes centre stage in bottles distilled from 3kg of British potatoes, which create a rich texture enhanced by flavours such as Toasted Coffee Bean, Golden Madagascan Vanilla Vodka, Calabrian Bergamot Citrus, and – in a world first – Asparagus. The latter is the more recent creation, following an original range designed to amplify the nation’s favourite cocktails including the Espresso Martini, the Cosmopolitan & Porn Star Martini. The distillery intends to release the vodka annually, just after the  start of asparagus season, using asparagus grown on Portwood Farm in Norfolk. The vegetable is steeped for 24 hours in British Potato Vodka before being bottled in a limited run of 600 bottles each time. All the bottles will be available soon from our virtual shelves, and having tried the original base Potato Vodka and the Toasted Coffee Bean edition, we can understand why flavoured vodka sales are up 128% in two years. We’ll reserve judgement on the Asparagus edition for now, however… 

A good name, a better cause

And finally… American brewery creates ‘Putin is a d****head’ beer 

When Pravda launched its #BrewforUkraine campaign on the 8 March with a live-streamed brewing session watched by more than 140 breweries, it open-sourced its recipes so that brewers from around the world could make a brew to help raise money for the country. Naturally, a ‘Putin is a d****head’ beer has now emerged. Hot on the heels of an Australian collaboration that led to Puck Futin, a beer created to raise money for humanitarian aid and refugees fleeing the war, this new beer mocking Russia’s leader has been created by the Ornery Beer Company in the US. The brewery has done 3,000 brews using Pravda Brewery’s original labels in order to raise funds for the relief effort in Ukraine. “It’s obviously not a very flattering caricature of Putin…” Ornery Beer Company CEO Randy Barnett said. “Everyone loves this! Obviously, the whole world is uniting around Ukraine and the brewing community is a big community, they want to always be looking to help, we’re a very charitable group.” 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 6 May

The Nightcap: 18 February

The ‘Whisky War’, a distillery with a Michelin star, and a TV wine personality answers questions on Withnail and I on Mastermind. What a week on The Nightcap! Writing The Nightcap…

The ‘Whisky War’, a distillery with a Michelin star, and a TV wine personality answers questions on Withnail and I on Mastermind. What a week on The Nightcap!

Writing The Nightcap today we took a moment to realise we’re almost already two months through this year. Horrifying. We need to just sit back and appreciate what’s right in front of us. Which, if you’re in the UK right now, is probably a wheelie bin flying past your window.  So this seems like the opportune Friday to take a step back, find a comfy seat inside, and enjoy some light reading. Good thing we have a blog thingy full of stories to read.

Let’s recap this week. We delivered the news that, not one, but two new distilleries are coming to Campbeltown! We then asked you to explore the whisky flavour map with us, take a tasty trip to Tennessee, and enjoy a cocktail inspired by Groundhog Day. Lauren then dropped by to explain what the deal is with NFTs and whisky, Dr. Nick wrote a love letter to Dukes Bar, and the dynamic duo behind Spearhead proved that Pliny the Elder was right when he said ‘Semper aliquid novi Africam adferre’. Look it up! He knew what he was on about.

Anyway, we’re not done yet. It’s The Nightcap: 18 February edition!

The Nightcap: 18 February

Head chef Mark Donald is behind that coveted Michelin star. We’ve tasted his food. It earned it.

Glenturret the world’s first distillery to win Michelin star

Within just seven months of opening its doors, The Glenturret’s Lalique Restaurant has done something remarkable: become the world’s first distillery to win a Michelin star. Scotland’s oldest working distillery recently became home to the first in-distillery fine dining restaurants thanks to its owner Lalique, which has a history of supporting exceptional fine dining establishments. The portfolio also includes two Michelin-starred Villa René Lalique in Alsace, and one Michelin-starred Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey in the region of Bordeaux. Head chef Mark Donald, a Scot who previously held a star at Number One at The Balmoral in Edinburgh before joining, leads the show with a focus on exceptional Scottish produce, working with managing director John Laurie and the rest of the distillery team to take inspiration from the surrounding area. So, if you want to tour a Scotch whisky distillery and taste the likes of baerii platinum caviar; scallop kedgeree; Dover sole with white asparagus; sika deer, hay smoked celeriac, sour quince; and Maracaibo millefeuille – then you know where to go. Full disclosure: we’ve been and it’s every bit as good as it sounds.

Glengoyne 50 Year Old - Hildesheim (1)

Would you share a 50-year-old Glengoyne? Be honest…

German whisky club wins Glengoyne 50 Year Old

A group of German whisky fans will be celebrating after receiving a bottle of 50-year-old Glengoyne. It’s the oldest ever release from the distillery, with only 150 bottles filled and each one would set you back £22,500. At the launch in 2020, however, Glengoyne promised to give away one bottle to a family or friend group. Entry to this prize draw was via an online ballot and now, at last, the winner can be revealed – the delay was due to Covid restrictions. The winner was Christian Schüßler who, it appears from the pictures, opened the bottle and shared it with the lucky people at his whisky club in Hildesheim at their first meeting since the pandemic started. What a generous fellow. So nice to see people drinking an old whisky rather than squirrelling it away for investment. To make sure the whisky arrived safely, Glengoyne brand ambassador Gordon Dundas accompanied the bottle to the lucky German wine club. Let’s hope they offered him a dram when he turned up with the precious cargo.

The Nightcap: 18 February

Stauning just wants the fighting to stop

Stauning whisky wades in historical Whisky War

Did you know there’s a whisky war going on? An ongoing dispute that began in 1930 between the Canadian and Danish governments over an uninhabited island in the Arctic Sea, Hans Island, has been deemed ‘The Whisky War’ after an escalation in 1984. Canada decided the best way to mark its territory was to plant a flag with a bottle of Canadian whisky. Denmark responded with its own claim to the island, retaliation in the form of a bottle of schnapps, along with a Danish flag on the Island. The friendly yet provocative act started a historical exchange of alcohol that’s lasted nearly a century, with the Danish government even appointing a committee responsible for coming up with different solutions to solve the conflict over Hans Island in 2018. Now Stauning, the largest whisky producer in Denmark, has upped the ante by threatening to halt its production in an attempt to solve the ‘Whisky War’ by drawing the world’s attention to the dispute. The brand says it wants to resolve the matter once and for all and is encouraging fellow whisky distillers around the world to join them in halting the production of their whiskies and join them in the #whiskypeace initiative. The Canadian embassy in Denmark has been told. We await Canada’s response. 

Jose Cuervo creates washing machine cocktail mixer

We all know how to mix a cocktail, right? Get your ingredients and ice together and give it a good shake or stir. Simple. But have you ever asked yourself what would happen if you made your drink in a washing machine? Of course you haven’t, but Jose Cuervo did. Introducing the ‘Launderita’: the world’s first ‘washing machine’ designed specifically to mix, not clean. It took a team of engineers hundreds of hours to create the one-of-a-kind colourful contraption so it could take Tequila, lemon, lime, and agave nectar and turn into a Margarita. Just load your ingredients into the washing machine’s drawers, hit the start button and witness the magic. Launched to celebrate National Margarita Day (22 February), the madcap washer-cocktail hybrid is actually going on tour, hitting Leeds, Manchester and London. A limited-number of pre-mixed washing machine Margaritas (including a collectable Jose Cuervo margarita glass are also available online if you can’t make the dates, and if you want to see the machine in action then luckily Jose Cuervo made a video of all the fun that you can watch above.

Jameson launches ‘Widen the Circle’ campaign

Jameson was never likely to be quiet for St. Patrick’s Day and this year the Irish whiskey giants are celebrating the occasion with a major new international brand campaign starring Aisling Bea. The creator and star of the outstanding BAFTA award-winning show This Way Up features in a TV ad called ‘That Spark’. The campaign is all about “inviting people to reach out and invite others in for those moments of authentic human connection.” Emmy and Grammy-nominated director Jake Scott was tasked with creating a storyline of witty awkward social situations where people just click. “It’s a joy being part of Jameson’s new ‘Widen the Circle’ campaign. As not just an Irish person, but as a comic and in my writing, I’ve always been about searching for human connections, how people come together” says Aisling. “It’s the surprising thing we have so dearly missed the last two years. And the job comes with the added bonus of getting a visit to the Jameson distillery which is not a bad day at the office at all.” Agreed. After the ad, a series of St. Patrick’s Day events will follow around the world, culminating in a live-streamed performance by Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C. on 17th March. You can check it all out on the Jameson Connects platform by signing up for tickets via the Jameson website.

The Nightcap: 18 February

Junipalooza is back, baby!

Junipalooza and La Piñata back for 2022

One of the finest signs that life is returning to normality is getting news about big events that can finally take place again, and this week we’ve been spoiled by the news that, not one, but two events will return to the capital this year. Junipalooza and La Piñata are coming to London for 2022. The former is happening on 11 and 12 June, in celebration of World Gin Day at Tobacco Dock, London, while the only specialist Tequila and mezcal show in the UK will take place in celebration of Cinco de Mayo on 7 May. Both offer opportunities to taste a diverse range of booze, meet producers, attend masterclasses, drink cocktails, enjoy street food markets and witness live entertainment. Tickets for Junipalooza are available at EventBrite or Time Out, while La Piñata tickets can be found here or here. The booze industry could use all the support and celebration in the world right now, so we heartily encourage you to get those bookings in now.

The Nightcap: 18 February

Best of luck, Olly. We want the finest answers available to humanity!

And finally… The Drinks Trust to appear on Mastermind

This Saturday, Ollie Smith is going to be the envy of every man (and some women) of a certain age as he’s going to be answering questions on probably the most quotable film in history, Withnail and I. Yes, the wine man off the telly has picked the 1987 cult film as his chosen specialised subject on Celebrity Mastermind. We’re hoping for questions on Geoff Woade, Desmond Wolf, and how many times the word ‘sherry’ is uttered when the boys go to Uncle Monty’s house in Chelsea for a drink. Such is the devotion, some might say obsession of Withnail fans, that if Smith gets any wrong, his name will be mud in the drinks business. Still, it’s all for a good cause, The Drinks Trust. Tune in on BBC 1 on Saturday 19 February at 6:25pm with your Withnail and I-relevant drink of choice. Not the lighter fuel though, please.

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The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

New whiskies from Glengoyne and Glen Moray, Singleton turns a feast into art, and a man who pretended to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession. As you…

New whiskies from Glengoyne and Glen Moray, Singleton turns a feast into art, and a man who pretended to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession. As you do. They all feature in the penultimate Nightcap of 2021!

We had so much content on the blog last week that we worried it was going to buckle like the truck in that old advert for Castlemaine XXXX. But luckily thanks to IT boffins at MoM Towers it held firm, like that bit in Gladiator where Russell Crowe goes “AS ONE!” But there’s even more to come in the form of the Nightcap. Let’s hope it holds!

But first a recap of this week’s embarrassment of riches. We had not one but four competitions. One with Brown-Forman to win a trip to America, another to win a year’s whisky subscription with Pour & Sip, and a chance to get your hands on some delicious Bushmills Irish Whiskey. Then #WhiskySanta was back with a chance to win a bottle of 40-year-old Glenfiddich. Compmegeddon! 

We also had two visits to the Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendar to see what was behind this week’s doors. But that’s not all. We looked at a new single harvest, single field Tequila from Ocho, made a twist on a G&T with Fever-Tree tonic water, and rounded up our favourite Ports just in time for Christmas. Plus Adam visited Aber Falls in North Wales, Ian Buxton outlined his seven rules for investing in whisky casks, and our glorious leader Justin took over the blog to let us know that carrier choice is now a thing. Oh and the Connaught in London won the best bar in the world award. Again. I think that’s it. Phew, what a week!

But the blog still has the capacity for some more information, so let’s round up all the news from the world of booze. On with The Nightcap: 10 December edition!

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Sherry bomb lovers, rejoice!

Glengoyne releases sherry bomb Teapot Dram Batch 008

The latest batch of Glengoyne’s Teapot Dram is here! No, it isn’t distilled in a teapot, though wouldn’t that be brilliant? Instead it harks back to the time when workers were given a dram of whisky straight out of a sherry cask. When some younger workers couldn’t finish theirs, then they would pour them into a teapot for more seasoned employees to enjoy. Or so the story goes. Anyway, every year the distillery releases a limited-edition heavily-sherried young whisky in honour of this practice. The eighth release was aged exclusively in first-fill European and American oak ex-sherry casks and comes in at 59% ABV, so if you like sherry bombs, you’ll love the Teapot Dram. According to Barbara Turing, brand manager at Ian Macleod Distillers, the ageing process has given  it “a luscious dark copper colour and a rich, mouth-coating palate of cooked apple, subtle spice and soft oak.” Only 3,000 bottles have been filled and they are only available from the distillery or via its website. Yours for £120.

Turn your evening into art with The Singleton

Have you ever enjoyed an evening so much that you wish you could preserve it somehow? Well, thanks to The Singleton, this might now be possible. The single malt brand is offering to create bespoke dining experiences for (very wealthy, we imagine) customers. Then at the end of the evening, guests receive artwork inspired by their movements throughout dinner, in the form of a moving digital piece and a solid piece of actual art that you can hang on your wall. The first such event, entitled ‘The Course of a Feast’ took place recently and featured a five-course feast created by top chef Ollie Dabbous to celebrate the launch of The Singleton of Glen Ord 39-Year-Old. Master of malt (nothing to do with Master of Malt) Maureen Robinson explained: “The Course of a Feast was an unforgettable experience to be a part of. To see the flavour journey of The Singleton 39-Year-Old, some of my life’s work during my 40 years at Diageo, come to life and inspire the menu by Ollie Dabbous was incredible.” If you’re interested in having your own art feast go to Malts.com for more information. Bring your goldest credit card. Or it might be simpler to buy a bottle of The Singleton of Glen Ord 39-Year-Old and accept that pleasures are transitory. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

What a heart-warming festive story

Guinness supports pubs with £30m fund

More than 3 million Brits have already booked a reservation at a pub or restaurant over the Christmas period, because we all love a good festive celebration. Guinness obviously does too, because it has donated £30 million towards keeping pubs, bars, and restaurants open in 2021. The brand will be lighting up locals up and down the country with a dazzling Christmas light display, celebrating each pub’s role in bringing local communities together. 22 pubs nationwide have been selected as part of the display including The Lock Tavern in Camden, Queens Vault in Cardiff, and The Pickled Sprout in Harrogate. To help ease another challenging festive period ahead, Guinness will also provide financial support, staff training, and equipment to help operators weather the impact of cancellation rates, currently at 10% (UKHospitality) as well as other factors through owner Diageo’s Raising the Bar programme. The initiative has already supported over 30,000 publicans and the 500,000 bar staff throughout the UK to help weather the impact of the pandemic measures and ensure pubs are safe environments. Guinness says there will be further investment in the fund in 2022. Hopefully, there’s a pub near you taking part in the ‘Light Up the Local’ campaign, but if not, be sure to support your town’s watering holes this Christmas. It’s good for the economy, after all. And fun.

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Congratulations guys!

GlenWyvis Distillery launches first whisky

The world’s first 100% community-owned distillery, GlenWyvis Distillery, has launched its first-ever whisky. The first 3,600 individually numbered bottles of the three-year-old GlenWyvis Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky have been allocated to GlenWyvis Distillery shareholders as it was their investment that enabled the build and development of the distillery. There were a further 2,000 bottles that were available to pre-order in October 2020, but they unsurprisingly sold out almost immediately. There will also be 200 bottles available at selected local retailers, which again is a really nice idea. That does mean we don’t have a drop of it, but we’ll let them off this time because they seem very lovely. As for what those who have got the whisky can expect, it’s made from a batch of 18 casks, including 15 first-fill ex-Tennessee whiskey (80%), two first-fill ex-Moscatel (15%), and one refill hogshead (5%), and is described as a grain-forward whisky that showcases the unique fruitiness of extra-long fermentation. The whisky is 50% ABV, non-chill filtered, and no colouring added, which are all big ticks for us, and also has the distinction of being the first whisky to be produced in Dingwall in almost 100 years. The last whisky distillery in the region, Ben Wyvis, closed its doors in 1926. Congratulations, guys.

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Anyone think they can turn BA’s wine game around?

British Airways to recruit a Master of Wine

What do you do when your wine offering is described as “rock bottom”? Get a new Master of Wine, of course. At least, that’s the course of action British Airways is taking. A report in The Daily Mail stated that the airline is looking to recruit a Master of Wine to overhaul its drinks selection, which has come in for some flack. Until 2010, British Airways (BA) employed noted wine experts like Jancis Robinson MW to choose the wines that would be available on flights. However, the carrier opted to appoint a single exclusive supplier for each of its three classes, and Robinson subsequently resigned. Now it would appear BA is going back to the method that worked before. The airline is looking for a “passionate individual with a strong knowledge of all drinks categories – particularly wine”. So, if that sounds like you or someone you know and you’d like to be responsible for the wine you basically can’t taste at that altitude anyway, why not apply?

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Coming soon to Master of Malt, Glen Moray’s 2008 Warehouse 1 Manzanilla finish

Glen Moray releases new Waterhouse 1 Manzanilla bottling 

If you like a limited cask strength Speyside bottling at a reasonable price (and who doesn’t?) then the Warehouse 1 range from Glen Moray has long been a happy hunting ground. Now the latest release is here, or nearly here, it’ll be at Master of Malt soon, and it’s delicious. It was distilled in 2008, aged in ex-bourbon casks before finishing in Manzanilla sherry barrels. As you might expect if you know Manzanilla, the lightest crispest style of sherry, the result is very much not a sherry bomb. The Manzanilla provides a lick of salt at the end to go alongside the fresh orchard fruits, and subtle toffee and vanilla notes. Brand ambassador Iain Allan elaborated: “We started to wonder what would happen if we brought Glen Moray spirit and Manzanilla casks together? If Speyside met Cádiz in the barrel, what would the results be? Soft with salt? Citrus with herbaceous? Questions like these can get the team quite animated, to say the least, but only time can ever answer their restless curiosity – and these results have been worth waiting for.” Only 1,240 cask strength (54.6% ABV) bottles have been filled and as usual with this range the price is reasonable, £74.95. We’re hoping to get some in before Christmas. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

Stock up now!

Port and sherry prices set to rise

There’s no need to panic buy but…. Port and sherry are about to get much more expensive. Fortified wines have been undergoing a revival recently but this might be jeopardised by chancellor Rishi Sunak’s proposed changes to the tax system. Previously fortified wines had a set rate of duty, currently £2.98, now they, like others drinks, will be taxed on a sliding scale depending on their alcoholic strength. Under the new measures, the duty on a bottle of 20% ABV Port will be £3.88 and then you have to factor in 20% VAT on top of that. As you can imagine, fortified wine producers are not happy. Andrew Hawes from Mentzendorff, the agents for Taylor’s, Croft, and Fonseca Port described it as “the largest single alcohol tax rises in UK history” and went on to say: “Ultimately I fear it will be the consumers who will pay the price. which is a shame especially as we’ve invested so much to attract a new following to the joys of these fortified wines, which to date have offered incredible value.” We are sure Nightcap readers will be especially interested in what Miles Beale from the WSTA has to say. So here he is: “Government needs to ensure that we aren’t left with a new system that is demonstrably less fair and more administratively complex, which were the tests the Treasury set itself.” Unless the industry’s pleas are heeded, these changes will come in next year. It might be an idea to stock up now. 

The‌ ‌Nightcap:‌ ‌10‌ ‌December‌

We have so many questions. Mostly… why?

And finally… Man pretends to be a wine merchant to hide model train obsession

Well this is one of the strangest stories to appear on the Nightcap. This week, Simon George from Yorkshire unveiled an enormous 200ft (61m) miniature railway that he had been building in his basement for eight years. It’s a replica of the Calder Valley line at Heaton Lodge junction in Kirklees exactly as it was when George was a boy in the 1980s right down to period-specific cars. The model railway is currently on display in Wakefield Market. It took three lorries to transport it. A tremendous achievement no doubt but in the end just another story of a hobby getting a bit out of control. But where it gets peculiar is that George tried to hide this gigantic railway from his girlfriend. He commented: “She knew I leased a mill with a huge basement, but I kind of led her to believe I was a wine merchant because that sounded cooler than building a model railway.” Of all the excuses he came up with to hide a nerdy hobby, he came up with something even nerdier, wine. In fact, there are probably many wine merchants out there who have pretended to be into model trains to impress potential lovers.

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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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