Venture with us using the magic of digital technology to the heart of Speyside to visit one of the region’s finest distilleries: Glenrothes! Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown,…
Venture with us using the magic of digital technology to the heart of Speyside to visit one of the region’s finest distilleries: Glenrothes!
Just because you’re self-isolating or on lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good distillery tour. How is this possible? Thanks to the power of VR, of course. In this series we’re going to take you around some of the finest distilleries across England, Wales and Scotland from the comfort of your own home. This week, take in the sights at a Speyside powerhouse. Enjoy!
Today Glenrothes may be a giant in the Scotch whisky industry, but its construction very nearly didn’t happen. It was founded in 1878 by James Stuart and Co., the group that licensed Macallan a decade prior. When Stuart left to focus his efforts on the Macallan distillery, the three remaining members of the syndicate; William Grant (not that one), Robert Dick and John Cruickshank were only able to build the distillery thanks to a timely loan. In 1897 and 1922 the distillery experienced disastrous fires, with the latter destroying the No 1 bonded warehouse and with it, 2,500 casks of Scotch whisky. Fortunately, the distillery was able to make it through the tough times and increased its capacity during the 1960s boom from four to six stills. Another pair was added in 1980 and by 1989 the distillery had ten distinctive stills. The very tall stills equipped with boil bulbs help create the signature Glenrothes style as they maximise reflux which results in a bold, complex spirit that matures beautifully in sherry casks. Glenrothes Distillery is well known for its ties with Berry Bros & Rudd which began during the 1920s with the release of Cutty Sark. Its a major component in the number one top-selling blended Scotch in America.
A perfect way to learn more about Glenrothes would be to taste some of its delightful whisky! We’d recommend getting stuck into the recently revamped range with The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection, which is packed full of all kinds of sherried deliciousness. As always, we can deliver to your doorstep, so lockdown is not a problem.
The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection Tasting Note:
Nose: Gingerbread, stewed apple and earthy vanilla, then soft tropical fruit notes and a hint of sherried funk.
Palate: Creamy hazelnut, dried fruit and a hint of cinnamon. Hints of chocolate, old leather, dried herbs and tobacco add depth among Galia melon and honeyed oak.
Finish: Long and sweet with a touch of baking spice and more stewed fruits.
We recently sat down with Jake Sharpe, founder of The Whisky Baron, to talk through his first year as an independent bottler. Here’s what he had to say. Last year…
We recently sat down with Jake Sharpe, founder of The Whisky Baron, to talk through his first year as an independent bottler. Here’s what he had to say.
Last year a new independent bottler emerged on the scene: The Whisky Baron launched in April 2019 with single cask expressions from Fettercairn, Glenrothes and Bunnahabhain. The Infinite bottle has followed, while an upcoming premium line called Renaissance is on the cards, along with an exclusive bottling made in collaboration with The Summerton Whisky Club. Founder Jake Sharpe, who bears a resemblance to the ‘baron’ on the labels of the bottles, has always had a keen interest in whisky. His love of the good stuff started as most people do, with classics such as Johnnie Walker and Highland Park.
He got involved in the whisky industry in 2015 by selling casks and eventually he helped set up an independent bottling company. “I started learning a lot more about the number of distilleries out there and came across people who would say they didn’t like whisky. I would think ‘what do you mean you don’t like whisky, there are so many different types of whisky out there!” Sharpe explains. “I was learning so much that it became a passion of mine to champion a style of drinking that was about searching for different experiences. Whisky seemed to fit that approach, and I’ve never looked back!”
Say hello to Jake Sharpe, founder of The Whisky Baron!
A drive to take his passion to the next level meant that Sharpe soon decided to step out and do his own thing. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I was that guy who at nine years old would sell sweets at school, I’ve always had little side hustles,” he says. “I had built up a network of clientele who were very supportive and who trusted me. The opportunity arose and I had the idea for the brand, The Whisky Baron, and I had almost an epiphany moment, this very clear idea in my mind where I knew I needed to create this thing”.
The inspiration for his brand, the ‘whisky barons’ were a group of men, including James Buchanan, John and Tommy Dewar, Sir Alexander Walker, James Baron Stevenson, Sir Peter Mackie, Douglas Haig, Captain William McCoy, Francis Berry, Walter Berry and Hugh Rudd. They were innovators and entrepreneurs whose expertise and vision helped lay down the foundations for what the Scotch industry is today. “They were fascinating gents who essentially revolutionised the spirit. They made so that if you were anyone, you should be drinking whisky. They brought in a lot of marketing techniques that are still used today,” Sharpe explains. “They sold whisky in America during Prohibition, they created brands that we know and love, that we see in supermarkets and that are still around today. I was really motivated to base a brand around them and their contribution”.
Starting your own drinks brand appeals to lots of us who love this industry, but the actual process of turning that idea into a reality is one fraught with difficulty. “It’s not easy, I’ll tell you that. It took me 13 months to get fully licensed. Ultimately it also comes down to who you know. It’s all very well and good to want to start a brand but if you can’t have access to spirit you’ve obviously got to make your own which is a huge investment and a big old wait,” Share explains. “As an independent bottler, it’s about figuring out the market, learning the best place to buy casks from and being able to lay down stock for the future. You need investment. I’m lucky enough to have some fantastic private clientele who invest in casks with me. Ultimately it is self-funded, so to have private clientele help me invest in casks and build up that stock has been a big part of it”.
The inspiration behind the brand was innovators like Tommy Dewar
The Whisky Baron launched with a core range, The Founders Collection, comprised of single-cask, unchill-filtered bottlings from Fettercairn, Glenrothes, Bunnahabhain. They’re not at cask strength because Sharpe added a splash of water to open up the spirit to what he considered was the best the spirit has to offer. “I called it The Founder’s Collection because they were casks that essentially allowed me to set up the business. The Founder’s Collection was really about presenting what the distilleries have done and the best of what they offer. What I also wanted to do was to present three different styles of whisky with as many different elements in there as possible,” says Sharpe. “We’ve got three different regions: Islay, Speyside and Highland. We’ve got three different casks: bourbon barrel, hogshead, sherry butt. Ultimately it was focused around the quality of the spirit but that variety helps with that conversation and helps expand people’s vocabulary. The Fettercairn is light, it’s easy, it’s a great entry-level dram so somebody who maybe wouldn’t drink whisky can get involved. The Glenrothes is rich, it’s bold, it’s everything I love about sherry cask expressions. The Bunnahabhain is a very classic expression that showed the distillate’s real character and everything that’s so elegant about the distillery”.
The most recent launch is the new Infinite bottle, a 200ml foundation blend that consists of 35 different expressions including family favourites such Jameson and limited edition releases such as The Macallan Easter Elchies Black 2018 and Springbank’s 12 Year Old Burgundy which you then top up with anything you fancy to create your own unique blend. Sharpe explains: “What we wanted to do was really create the first ever truly infinite infinity bottle. Each bottle is individually hand-numbered and has a unique code. You log into our database through our app or online and type in your code. It gives you all of the whiskies that we started with as a foundation. Then you can add your whiskies, their age, how much you’ve added, when you’ve added it and keep a log. Provided you never finish it, there’s always a little bit of that first whisky that you added. I’m a bit of a romantic when it comes to whisky and I love the chemistry of it and the idea that you get to become a blender and have your own bottle that nobody else has in the whole world”.
As much as he enjoys acting as a blender, Sharpe is first and foremost an independent bottler, a role that he believes is fundamentally about educating consumers and championing the range of delightful distilleries. “It’s also about starting a conversation and helping people to understand and to learn a little bit more about what they’re drinking. When it comes to the point that you’re buying an independently-bottled whisky, you’re probably interested and want to know more,” says Sharpe. “An independent bottler to me is somebody who humbly presents other people’s spirits, in the best form that they can for the market. We love the distilleries we’re paying homage to them. I make no bones about it, I’m not making my own whisky. I don’t pretend that I do this alone, I’ve got a fantastic team, I work alongside some very highly educated, highly revered people in the industry who help me taste my samples, who give me advice. I’m still very much learning about whisky and I’m at the foot of the mountain.”
Sharpe has also embraced technology as a tool to inform consumers and offer insights into their whisky with distillery information, cocktail recipes, food pairings and more through an AR app that brings labels to life. “The way it works is that you can download the Whisky Baron app for free whether you’re on Android, iPhone etc and it essentially reads the bottle as the marker. You do need a bottle to make it work, people have said that they’ve printed off a picture of your bottle and it doesn’t work, but that’s not what it’s made for!’ You need to have your camera pointed at the bottle and the Whisky Baron figure on the bottle will jump off the bottle, onto the table in front of you and he will give you a guided tour of the whisky, the distillery and the tasting notes,” Sharpe explains. “It’s very futuristic and quite techy, which I love. A problem with whisky is that people will often look at a well-stocked shelf and if you’re not a whisky drinker it’s very intimidating, it’s hard to know where to begin. Why is that bottle £20 and this one £100? What are all these Scottish names and what do they mean? I wanted to give people a way to interact with the bottle so you’re not trying to go through Google and find the information that’s actually relevant. We give you all the information. It’s all at your fingertips”.
One of the key aspects of this AR app is the cocktail recipe and food pairing stations. Sharpe is someone who has embraced the culture of enjoying whisky in numerous ways and rejecting the more traditional approach. “It’s a big part of what we’re about. I don’t tell people how to enjoy their whisky. I would ask that they try it neat just to understand what it’s about. But not everybody wants to drink neat whisky, certainly not all the time. So if you want to make a nice cocktail, we have got a bespoke cocktail made for each one of our expressions, to bring out the best of the character but to offer you a different experience,” Sharpe explains. “For the food pairings, I compare it to wine. We drink wine with food all the time and it brings the character of the wine and the food out and becomes a whole experience. Why can’t whisky be that? That’s the thing with the AR app. It’s really about getting people to learn a little bit more and enjoy it how they want and offer as many different opportunities and experiences as we can, to give you the most. It’s not just a bottle of whisky, it’s a whole experience”.
The Whisky Baron also offers investment opportunities for those fancy having a barrel of whisky to call their own. Sharpe has seen a rise in investments since he began in the industry and feels this trend is only going one way. “ Since I started, five years ago, a lot of people are becoming more involved and we’re going to continue to see large amounts of investment, particularly in markets like Germany and Poland which are already heavily saturated,” says Sharpe. “Towards the end of last year, it became a more accepted alternative investment. What are the banks offering? The markets, because of Brexit and all sorts of factors, are in flux. People don’t know where to put their money so they turn to real assets like gold, property and wine. Whisky shows strong returns and there is a tax efficiency to it for private individuals. We’re going to see that grow a large amount in 2020”.
Investments in casks look set to increase
Sharpe has had a lot of interest, but it’s a market of risk and being informed and methodological in your approach is key. “Do your homework. You need to work with companies that are licensed to do cask sales and cask investments. You need to be advised by somebody who knows what they’re talking about, not somebody who’s just trying to make a sale and a quick buck. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the industry, with the boom, with all this media attention, that have come in to make that quick buck,” says Sharpe. “We’ve seen in the bottle market that it can become oversaturated and people that don’t know what they’re buying into are now left with a lot of rotten eggs. Get secondary independent consultation. I’ve been talking to the Scotch Whisky Association recently. They will be releasing information about cask investment and the things to take into consideration, so I’d urge people to look out for that. If you buy a cask you’ve got to consider that the intrinsic value of that is only as good as the bottles you’re going to get out of it. There’s duty to be paid, bottling costs to be paid, distribution costs. You’ve got to create a brand which has to be sustained. I can tell you as somebody who’s started a brand, it’s not cheap!”
As well as an increased investment market, Sharpe also believes that 2020 will see people move from gin to become new whisky drinkers. “Ultimately, the old school whisky drinkers need to learn to embrace it, otherwise they’re going to be left behind. To say you can’t enjoy it the way you want to enjoy it is ludicrous and it’s just going to drive people away! We need to be welcoming,” he explains. “We need to get people into the category and find out what they like and what they don’t like and how we can grow as a whole. So I think in the UK, in particular, we’re going to see that wave of non-whisky drinkers come over”.
The Whisky Baron’s bottlings are available at Master of Malt
As for The Whisky Baron brand, its 2020 will entail continuing launching the Renaissance line (I can’t reveal much at this stage other than they’re delicious) and embarking upon various collaborations. “We’ll hope to do some collaborations with Milroy’s new bar The Dram House in Spitalfields, which is kind of like my second office. They’re exactly like me as they want to teach people about whisky. We’ve already done a collaboration with the Summerton Club, a subscription box run by a very good friend of mine, Dan which again is about getting people to try different things and learn about whisky and so as soon as met Dan we just hit it off. We did their December bottling and will hope to do another bottling later this year,” Sharpe says. “We’re working on a lot of different things in the background. I’m currently trying to get our bottles over to China and America. I’m confident with what we’ve bottled, the quality of our product, the experience that we provide, that we are very unique. We just want to keep growing on that and the more people we can get involved the better”.
The Nightcap this week features whisky cask bass drums, very old single malt and bubbles. What, you want more? OK, how about vodka made of bones? How about that, huh?!…
The Nightcap this week features whisky cask bass drums, very old single malt and bubbles. What, you want more? OK, how about vodka made of bones? How about that, huh?! Happy?!
It’s getting to the point of the year where we can almost start putting together preliminary lists about the best things of 2019. A wonderful time, where you can look back at the best albums and books you’ve enjoyed in the past months, while still taking the time to find some surprises. There are quite a few contenders for the title of ‘Best Sandwich of 2019’, but we’re pretty sure no one is going to be able to top the one Sam made in June which had three different types of crisp in it (Wotsits, Pickled Onion Monster Munch and Skips). You’ll have to think long and hard about what your favourite edition of The Nightcap was this year – it could be this one…
On the blog this week we welcomed a new guest writer to MoM Towers, Ian Wisniewski, author of The Whisky Dictionary, who never drams without the right accessories, while in-house bartender Nate Brown returned to take issue with those who think they know best. Annie, meanwhile, caught up with Cape Byron Distillery’s Eddie Brook and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Philip ‘Pip’ Hills, before Adam had a chat himself regarding Irish peated whiskey and the upcoming Ardara Distillery with James Doherty of Sliabh Liag Distillers and then found time to pick the 1796 Spritz to be our Cocktail of the Week. Elsewhere, Henry made the pun-tastic East London Liquor Company Bacchus to the Future Grape Scott Part 1 our New Arrival of the Week.
But we can’t sit around all day making Back to the Future puns, there’s too much boozy news to cover. It’s The Nightcap!
Glenrothes 40 Year Old, a truly rare bottling that a few lucky winners will taste for free…
Glenrothes launches first-ever 40 Year Old whisky
The Glenrothes distillery has announced that it will release its first-ever 40 year old single malt. The heavily-anticipated dram has been maturing in a combination of selected sherry-seasoned and ex-bourbon oak casks since December 1978, and was distilled in copper stills that were retired soon after. That means this particular whisky will never exist again. The Glenrothes 40 Year Old is the sixth whisky to joins the Soleo Collection, which was launched in 2018. Only 594 bottles will ever be released, individually numbered and presented in a crafted oak box, and they will be made available from 1st October exclusively at Berry Bros & Rudd, RRP of £2,900. “Forty years ago The Glenrothes distillery was different in many ways, yet our whisky character has remained unchanged. To be able to release some of the last remaining spirit from the original still feels like we’re celebrating the end of an era and is incredibly rewarding,” says Gordon Motion, master whisky maker at The Glenrothes. “This whisky will never exist again and that’s what makes the release of our 40 year old so special and highlights the true rarity of this expression.” To celebrate the launch, The Glenrothes is giving away 20 pairs of tickets to an exclusive tasting of the 40 Year Old at No. 3 St James’s Street in which whisky-lovers will also be able to taste The Glenrothes full Soleo collection. Entries close on Wednesday 18 September and can be made here, with the winners be notified on the 19th September.
World’s first Scotch whisky cask bass drum created
It’s all well and good maturing whisky in a cask, but have you ever felt like all that wood could be something more? If yes, then you’ll appreciate the groundbreaking work done by The Rhythm and Booze Project, who have built the world’s first bass drum made from an entire Scotch whisky cask. The musical duo of Felipe Schrieberg (vocals/dobro) and Paul Archibald (drums/percussion), who have specialised in events and videos that combine live music with whisky tastings since 2018, collaborated with Islay’s Lagavulin Distillery and vintage drum specialist Majetone Industries to create the instrument, which had previously only served the trivial purpose of housing bourbon and then Lagavulin single malt Scotch whisky. The drum itself is built like a Viennese timpani (I’m sure you’re all nodding knowingly at this reference), with the skins on either side of the drum stretched over the top of chime hoops, metal hoops normally used to help hold the cask together. The heads are then attached via a specially designed system of lugs, bolts, and hooks. To showcase their creation, the band have chronicled the drum’s construction in the video above, which also includes a cover version of John Lee Hooker’s classic blues tune ‘Boom Boom’. “The idea for the drum began as a light-hearted chat that we didn’t think would actually happen, but when we asked Colin Gordon (Lagavulin’s distillery manager) about it, he was on board,” explains Schrieberg. “We’re delighted and proud of the result. It sounds like thunder.” “Our first visit together to Lagavulin in 2012 is one of our most memorable whisky experiences,” added Archibald. “Because of that trip, we now play at the distillery every year during the Feis Ile. This drum is the representation of that personal connection, our passion for Lagavulin, and for Scotch whisky in general.” The drum is currently on display at the Lagavulin distillery on Islay so visitors can appreciate it in all its majesty.
Ki No Jyu gin, an elegant delight that will cost a pretty penny…
The Kyoto Distillery releases Ki No Jyu gin
The Kyoto Distillery has announced the launch of a new expression Ki No Jyu, the first in a new collection from Japan’s first dedicated gin distillery. The gin was made in collaboration with Horii Shichimeien, a historic tea farmer in Uji, Kyoto, whose teas are also used for the distillery’s other expressions, including the multi-award-winning Ki No Bi. Ki No Jyu features a type of Gyokuro (a green tea known for its distinctive method of cultivation; being grown in shade under nets rather than the full sun) called Okuno Yama (meaning ‘deep mountain’). It was grown in Uji’s oldest tea garden which dates back to the 15th century. In order to extract the essence of the tea, the distilling team, led by head distiller Alex Davies, used a small copper pot for distillation and spent nearly 12 months blending and experimenting to complete the final product, which is said to possess notes of rich green tea and fresh citrus. Interestingly, The Kyoto Distillery recommends that you serve Ki No Jyu, which was bottled at 47% ABV, neat to experience “the floral aromas and the hints of sweetness”. Typical from the Japanese gin producers, the spirit is housed in an elegant bottle featuring an intricate label design hand-printed on Kyoto-made washi paper from a hand-carved woodblock created in collaboration with Kira Karacho, part of the Karacho karakami atelier founded in Kyoto in 1624. The velvet cloth and tung wood box are also made by Kyoto craftsmen. “Ki No Jyu is an expression of the very finest craftsmanship of Kyoto, underpinned by the attention to detail which passes through generations,” commented founding partner Noriko Kakuda Croll. It has been initially launched in Japan in very limited quantities at ¥50,000, which is approximately £350, a seriously hefty price for a gin. If you’re still interested regardless, unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to get your hands on it elsewhere. The international release is planned for 2020.
The new menu is called ‘Bubbles’ and features of, well, you can probably figure that out…
640East launches new Bubbles Menu
Everyone likes bubbles, right? We’re not talking about the kind you make with washing up liquid (though they are a lot of fun too), we’re talking about the delicious kind made out of grapes. 640East, a cool day-to-night coffee shop-cum-bar in Bethnal Green clearly agrees, having just released its new menu named… Bubbles! We’re sure you can guess what’s on it. Expect fabulous fizzes from France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Australia and England. We sipped our way through four different bubblies from Italy, Spain and France. All were very different, though equally delicious, with a tasty sparkling rosé saved until last. Contrary to popular belief, a bottle of fizz in London doesn’t have to break the bank. The menu boasts a Sparkling of the Month as well as 2 for 1 happy hours on selected bottles throughout the week. The site is based under Victorian railway arches where (not-so-coincidentally) the Bubbles car wash previously resided, with some of the original car wash installations still remaining in the venue. Okay, maybe there’s more to do with soapy bubbles than we first thought… In true East London style, there’s also exposed brick and neon lights, with a cosy back garden filled with plants, graffiti and filament bulb fairy lights. A very cool and friendly spot to get your fizz fix. Soap bubbles not included.
The Industry Summit intends to provide insights into the future of the industry and spur fresh ideas.
WSTA announces full line up for 2019 Industry Summit
A full line up of booze boffins will take the stage at the 2019 Industry Summit on Wednesday 18th September thanks to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).The theme of this year’s summit is Reinventing the Wheel. The likes of Michelle Brampton, managing director of Europe at Treasury Wine Estates, Pierpaolo Petrasssi, head of trading at Waitrose, Tamara Roberts, CEO of Ridgeview Wine Estate and Brad Madigan, managing director for Campari Group UK will discuss opportunities for the trade, as well as the complex current landscape (maybe they’ll discuss Brexit, it doesn’t feel like anybody does that anymore). This will be followed by two keynote speakers, Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon Restaurants looking at sustainability, and Kathleen Murphy, vice president of innovation and new business for Family Coppola, who will address how new and traditional products are being delivered or produced differently. Putting the pair to the test and having the unenviable job reading out those job titles will be conference chair and former ITV political correspondent Alex Forrest Whiting, as well as any members of the audience who fancy getting stuck in. “We are delighted to announce another interesting, experienced and inspiring line up for this year’s revamped annual events for our members. The WSTA Industry Summit promises to provide guests with topical and forward-thinking debate, as well as giving everyone a chance to come together and discuss one of the toughest trading landscapes our industry has ever faced,” commented WSTA chief executive and Nightcap regular Miles Beale. “Our summit comes at a time when we are teetering dangerously close to a no-deal Brexit, something we have been campaigning against since the 2016 Referendum. If ever there was a time to unite the UK wine and spirit industry and to think differently about the future, it’s now.” Tickets are on sale now for the conference which is taking place between 2- 6pm at The British Library Knowledge Centre in Kings Cross.
This is all we see in our heads right now. Did we mention there’s free Guinness?
Guinness and nightlife app DUSK offer free pints in London
Attention everyone: there is the potential of free pints in London. Free pints of Guinness. For nothing. Nil. Nada. This is not a drill. The reason? A collaboration between nightlife app DUSK and Guinness, which will encourage Londoners to make the most of the last days of summer and head to the pub for a refreshing pint after work. DUSK was created to showcase the best bars and newest openings and claims to be the UK’s ‘leading bar discovery platform’ (Google works fine for me). To claim this offer you’ll need to download the app, but c’mon people, it’s for free pints. For those of you who are DUSK users, you can claim your prize weeknights from 5-9pm until the 1st October at Laine’s pubs across London. Which pubs, you say? The full list of the 23 venues is as follows: The Joker, The Black Lion, Owl & Hitchhiker, Ninth Life, The Charles Holden, Rook’s Nest, The Honour Oak Pub, The Birds, The Four Thieves, The Griffin, The Adam & Eve, The Ladywell Tavern, The Aeronaut, The Old Nun’s Head, The Camden Eye, People’s Park Tavern, Prince Albert, The Hare & Hounds, The Griffin, The Great Exhibition, The Glasshouse, Three Compasses and The Candlemaker. So, there you have it. An after-work drink in London that doesn’t require remortgaging your house. What a world. We’ll get the first round.
The brothers gonna work it out
Asterley Bros crowdfunds expansion
Booze alchemists, Asterley Bros, is looking to take its business to the next level through the magic of crowd-funding. The company was founded in 2014 by Rob and James Berry (they chose their mother’s maiden name, Asterley, because Berry Bros was already taken) currently make a small range of utterly delicious liquids: London Fernet, Dispense Amaro and a English vermouth made in conjunction with Gusbourne vineyards in Kent. Now the brothers are looking to raise £100,000 through Crowdcube to expand production and develop a range of everyday vermouths wines as well as RTD vermouth cocktails. Rob Berry told us: “Making British versions of classic Italian liqueurs has long been a labour of love for us. We’ve come a long way since the days of making amaro in jam jars in our kitchen, but we still have a long way to go.” All investors will receive a share in the business as well as 20% off all products, now and in the future. Investors over £2500 will receive pre-emption and voting rights also. At the time of writing the dynamic duo have already raised 62% of the required total. The next product in the pipeline is an English vermouth made in conjunction with another sibling outfit, the Schofield Brothers bartenders. Berry went on to say: “English Vermouth has the potential to rival the Spanish and Italians in terms of its quality.” That sounds like fighting talk.
Each one of the 14 drinks is presented on it’s very own tarot card
Bloomsbury Club Bar launches occult cocktail menu
Open-minded drinkers can explore an evening of divination, telepathy and all things mystical within the enchanting walls of The Bloomsbury Club Bar in London this September. Its new cocktail menu takes influence from the 1920s and ‘30s, a time which saw an increased interest in the occult due to the aftermath of the First World War. Designed by UK World Class finalist Scott Gavin, the new menu is an immersive experience, each one of the 14 drinks is designed to evoke a certain state of mind or being and is presented on it’s very own tarot card. Upon entry, the bar’s own cocktail diviner (think Zoltar from Big) will select a card to reflect your innermost desires. Set against the Bloomsbury Club Bar’s moody and decadent interior, you really feel like you’ve been transported through time to the golden age of cocktails, ready for a night of prophecy and premonition. As for the drinks, we can highly recommend the Persian Mist, a heady mix of Luksusowa vodka, Cognac and Indonesian coffee, though who can predict what the Diviner will assign you?
Bartenders make music in new Bacardi video
The best bartenders bring grace and rhythm to the important job of making you a drink. Now Bacardi has captured the music of bottles clinking and shakers shaking in a new film with music from Swizz Beatz called the Sound of Rum. Directed by Tucker Bliss, the video features bartenders from around the world: Lawrence Gregory (UK); Julia Rahn (Germany); Raysa Straal (Netherlands); Adrian Nino (France); and Nicole Fas (Puerto Rico). But you can’t just watch the video, you can drink it too (sort of) as each of the featured bartenders has created a special cocktail. For example, Lawrence Gregory from the Curtain Hotel in London has created the Flamingo Domingo with Bacardi Añejo Cuatro and Carta Blanca, Cognac, falernum rosé and chocolate bitters. He commented: “I’ve created is a good fierce cocktail with floral notes and a smooth finish – a light calypso dance on the palate!” Sounds delicious, and the best thing is that you can try it because all these special cocktails will be available this month at each of the bartender’s home venues.
Bone Vodka will be available before Doom’s launch in November. Did we mention it has roast bone marrow in it?
And finally… Doom vodka is here and it’s flavoured with marrow, bone marrow
You remember terrifying 1990s computer game Doom, don’t you? The one where you blast demons from hell. Well now Bethesda Softworks is launching a new version called Doom Eternal, and there’s an official vodka to drink alongside it. Called Bone Vodka, it’s made by Rebel Distillers, a company who we have written about before on the MoM blog. A limited amount will be produced before the game’s launch in November. The bone moniker isn’t just for laughs either because it’s made with real bones! *Throws head back and laughs maniacally* Not human or demon bones (if demons have bones), we hasten to add, but leftover bones from top butchers The Ginger Pig. The vodka is made from organic wheat spirit flavoured with roast bone marrow. Matt McGivern from Rebel Distillers filled us in: “They’re one of the best butchers in the country where animal welfare is unparalleled, and a product often wasted can be put to good use.” Doesn’t sound quite so diabolical now, does it?
This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way… I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone…
This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way…
I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone by now that we do enjoy a dram or two of Scotch whisky here at MoM Towers. Some who share our passion may prefer to indulge in expressions from the same region, be it the Lowlands, the Highlands, Campbeltown, Islay, the Islands or Speyside. We, however, love all of them like children and, just like every parent you’ve ever met, we can’t wait to talk your ear off about how much we do.
So, whether you prefer the peaty powerhouses typically found on Islay, the sherried and sweet often associated with Speyside, the malty, fruity whiskies you’ll regularly see in the Highlands or all the above and more, then you’ll be happy to join us on a journey that marvels at the huge range of different styles of whisky that are produced all over Scotland.
Before we start, it’s worth checking out this Drinks by the Dram Tasting Set, which contains five 30ml samples that showcase the Regions of Scotland. Now, on with our adventure!
We start our journey at the fabulous Bladnoch Distillery, which started up production once again in 2017 following some periods of difficulty. Since its return, the brand has created some delicious and intriguing drams, such as the 17 Year Old California Red Wine Cask Finish. Originally matured into ex-bourbon barrels, this 17 year old single malt was then finished in Californian red wine casks to create a rich, rewarding and wonderfully fruity profile.
What does it taste like?:
Dried fruit, orange marmalade, coffee, cherries, toffee, vanilla, liquorice, shortbread, black pepper and sweet oak.
Glenkinchie 12 Year Old is not only the flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery, but it makes for a fine introduction to all things Lowland Scotch. A creamy, sweet and smooth expression that’s ever-popular and incredibly versatile, it’s no surprise this expression was named the winner of the Best Lowland Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards in 2016.
What does it taste like?:
Light and aromatic with hints of barley malt, almonds, hazelnuts, stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels and manuka honey/beeswax.
We journey now to Campbeltown and its famed Springbank distillery, which is known for its distinctive, powerful whiskies and loyal following of enthusiastic, passionate fans. The brand’s 10 Year Old expression, a blend of both bourbon and sherry matured whiskies, is the kind of dram that makes you understand why. Quite simply a sublime introduction for those not familiar with the distillery or the Campbeltown region in general.
What does it taste like?:
Oaked aridity, rich peat, earthen rootiness, exotic fruits, salinity, cereal sweetness, dark nuttiness and whirling smoke.
We venture now to arguably the most famous and certainly most productive of all Scotch whisky regions: Speyside! Glenrothes has been providing great whisky in this part of the world since 1878, but it’s only recently eschewed its famous vintages to make for age statements. This 12 year old single malt, released as part of the Soleo Collection, is one such example and you’ll find that this teaming with the kind of sherried deliciousness people love from a Speyside Scotch.
What does it taste like?:
Floral vanilla, galia melon, shortbread cookies, honey, banana, white chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon.
This fruity, floral and sherry-rich single malt was distilled at Strathisla, which is not only the oldest continuously operating distillery in Scotland, but also one of the most beautiful. It’s currently owned by Chivas Brothers and much of the whisky is used for its blends, however, given its significance to Scotch whisky and the brand, it’s little surprise Chivas Brothers decided to honour the distillery with its own expression.
We now find ourselves on the Isle of Islay, which is pretty much the closest we’ve got to a holy land for us Scotch whisky fans (don’t forget to make your pilgrimage for Feis Ile 2019 from 24 May-1 June). We know that some of you will have immediately scrolled when you saw this blog for the first thing that could be classed as Islay awesomeness in a bottle. Good thing you did, as the Caol Ila Distillers Edition bottlings are not to be missed. This edition is the 2004 vintage Distillers Edition, which was bottled in 2016 after it was finished for a period in a Moscatel cask. Expect smoke, expect sweetness and most of all, expect a truly sublime Scotch.
What does it taste like?:
Honey, subtly floral malt, a crash of sea spray, peat smoke, golden syrup, orange oil, jasmine tea, brown sugar, red grapes, cinnamon, cassia and a few touches of spearmint.
We’re now at Islay’s farm distillery Kilchoman for a delicious dram of Machir Bay, the flagship of the Kilchoman range. Named after the scenic beach on Islay, this excellent single malt Scotch whisky that was matured in both bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and boasts a wonderful balance of peat, sweetness and zesty citrus. One to savour.
What does it taste like?:
Citrus zests, crumbly vanilla biscuits, elegant peat smoke, tropical fruit, dried raisin and cracked black pepper.
Our next stop is the wonderful Highland region for a delightful dram of Deanston. All of the distillery’s whisky is distilled with Scottish-grown barley and the 18 Year Old expression served its finishing period in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks. With just a hint of drying smoke and plenty of creamy, sweet characteristics, Deanston 18 Year Old is a fine expression that should not be overlooked.
What does it taste like?:
Earthy vanilla, Golden Grahams, honeydew melon, flint, lemon cheesecake, orange boiled sweets, oily walnut, stem ginger and beeswax.
The Islands, which are often classed as being part of the Highlands, are home to some classic names like Talisker, Tobermory and, of course, Highland Park, the latter of which is our final stop. It’s located on the island of Orkney, where you’ll find puffins, plenty of great Scotch and also puffins (did I mention Orkney has puffins, guys?). The brand’s expression Valknut is part of the Viking Legend series and features a small portion of Orkney-grown Tartan barley. This is a more smoky customer than you may be used to from Highland Park, but it’s still got plenty of that typical rich, succulent profile you’ve come to love from Scotland’s most northerly distillery.
Phew. It’s the weekend people. We made it. If you don’t have too much Christmas shopping left to do, you may get a chance to put your feet up. You know what would go nicely with that? A dram. A delicious dram of Scotch whisky. Good thing you’ve got your Whisky Advent Calendar, because behind window #8 you’ll find…
Join us as well celebrate all things autumn with a round-up of sensational seasonal spirits! Autumn is a season loved by many. It’s all about comfort food and drink. It’s…
Join us as well celebrate all things autumn with a round-up of sensational seasonal spirits!
Autumn is a season loved by many. It’s all about comfort food and drink. It’s a chance to make the most of the produce from the seasonal harvest. It’s the time to attend bonfire nights and Halloween parties. It’s the season when we welcome the darkening nights and browning leaves with a hearty tipple and, let’s face it, heaps of bloody pumpkin spice.
But what makes the perfect autumn drink? Summer refreshers and cocktails are now out of the question. But winter warmers aren’t the required tonic just yet. In autumn, or ‘fall’, for our exceptionally literal friends in the United States, it only seems right to celebrate brown spirits: whisky, Armagnac, Cognac, Calvados and darker or spiced rums, as well as liqueurs and cocktails packed with seasonal fruits and colours.
In this spirit, we’ve produced a list of appropriately autumnal boozes. Each comes with a seasonal serve if you want to get creative. These ought to keep you going until the snow starts to fall.
Friday has arrived, meaning another edition of The Nightcap is in order, complete with all the booze news from the week that was. Surf’s up, folks. Look at a calendar….
Friday has arrived, meaning another edition of The Nightcap is in order, complete with all the booze news from the week that was. Surf’s up, folks.
Look at a calendar. Whether that calendar is made of paper or pixels, it’ll tell you that today is Friday. Unless you’re reading this on a day that isn’t Friday – then the calendar will tell you that it was once Friday. That’s generally how calendars work. Sometimes they give you the definition of interesting words or a picture of a small dog hanging around in a fishing village, but mostly they exist to tell you when Friday is. It’s today. Therefore, The Nightcap is a thing.
Say hello to Friday with this week’s Nightcap, packed with the biggest booze news stories from the past seven days in one handy digest. Enjoy! Happy Friday, folks! The weekend…
Say hello to Friday with this week’s Nightcap, packed with the biggest booze news stories from the past seven days in one handy digest. Enjoy!
Happy Friday, folks! The weekend is here and we’re excited. For this is not just any weekend. Here in the UK it’s the super-duper mega-fantastic bumper three-day August Bank Holiday weekend (if you need to stock up, we’ve got everything you need booze-wise to celebrate. There’s just about still time to order!).
But before we get toooo carried away, let’s recap the week that was. On Monday, Annie came to rescue unloved drinks cabinets and cocktail kits the world over with her must-haves for a dynamite home bar. Then on Tuesday Henry took a trip down the road to Greensand Ridge, discovering a world of local rums and well as gins.
Calculators at the ready, folks – Edrington, the company that makes The Macallan, Highland Park and Famous Grouse, among others, has just released its financial results for the year to…
Calculators at the ready, folks – Edrington, the company that makes The Macallan, Highland Park and Famous Grouse, among others, has just released its financial results for the year to March 2018. And in the document the company announced it’s looking to sell the Cutty Sark and GlenturretScotch whiskies! We investigate what’s going on and crunch the sums after sales climbed 7%* to £706.7 million.
It’s all change for spirits-maker Edrington. It’s a case of out with the old for Cutty Sark and Glenturret, and in with the new (THAT new Macallan distillery) as sales climb and stats are bolstered.
This isn’t a fancypants-for-the-sake-of-it Scotch. This single cask whisky was distilled more than 30 years ago and bottled in 2015 after spending its time in a second-fill American oak hogshead (number 2677, if you’re curious). Just 238 bottles were ever released – and I’ve got one of them right here.