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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Highland Whisky

The Nightcap: 9 October

If news about new Scotch whisky distilleries, Hendrick’s Gin’s surreal celebratory film and heavy metal giants KISS entering the spirits game sounds like a great read to you, then you’re…

If news about new Scotch whisky distilleries, Hendrick’s Gin’s surreal celebratory film and heavy metal giants KISS entering the spirits game sounds like a great read to you, then you’re in the right place. It’s The Nightcap!

I don’t know about you, but the lack of real parties or trick-or-treating has really hampered my costume ideas for Halloween. How much effort is required for a virtual get-together? More than usual? Less? Assuming you want to do better than just go as COVID or Donald Trump or the Joker/Harley Quinn, again. This year it falls on a Saturday, which would usually mean all sorts of mayhem, but now our biggest fear is probably a broadband outage. And that would make a rubbish costume. Makes you appreciate the things that don’t change: like the climate in the UK making a mockery of whatever weather you try to dress for, or neat little round-ups of all the happenings in the world of booze. Ah, The Nightcap. What would we do without you?

What a week we had on the blog. First thing’s first, we’ve got a new competition for you to enter and this one’s a knockout: a VIP Trip to Dublin to visit Slane Distillery is up for grabs. Excited? You should be. Click the link to find out how to enter. Elsewhere, Ian Buxton penned a beautiful tribute to the late, great Dr Jim Swan, Annie tasted some super-premium aged Venezuelan rum and shared the secret to making great low-to-no alcohol cocktails and Henry spoke to Mark Ward about his wonderfully intriguing vermouth brand, Regal Rogue. A 20-year-old gin was also on the menu, as was the new Highland Park Cask Strength bottling and the most relaxed cocktail ever, The Boulevardier.

The Nightcap

Will they make whiskey? Rum? Or perhaps Cold Gin…

KISS becomes latest rock band to release spirits 

Heavy metal band KISS (the ones who use all elaborate face paint) has announced that it has partnered with Swedish drinks company Brands for Fans to create a new line of booze. The American group, which is made up of Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, already has two products in the pipeline to be released in Europe, Japan and Australia before the end of 2020, with more info due to be “revealed shortly”. It’s not the first time KISS has ventured into the world of booze, back in 2011 they partnered with wine distributor Rewine to release KISS-themed Zin Fire wine and Destroyer beer. Brands for Fans should be up to the task of delivering whatever the band desires as it’s no stranger to working with rock giants, following collaborations with Motörhead, Slayer, Ghost, Judas Priest and Scorpions. “The first money I earned was spent on a Kiss record. To find myself 40 years later having them as Brands for Fans clients, I don’t even know where to begin,” said Sari H Wilholm, marketing director and co-founder of Brands for Fans. “It feels so fun and exciting to finally take KISS into the premium alcohol beverage segment, and they have chosen the right partner for this.”

The Nightcap

I can picture us doing a VR tour and tasting already…

Plans revealed for £15 million Wolfcraig distillery

Sound the ‘new distillery’ siren folks, because Scotland could be about to welcome a new whisky maker! A proposal from Wolfcraig Whisky was submitted this week to create a whisky experience near Stirling that will incorporate a distillery, interactive visitor attraction, tasting room and bistro restaurant and bar. Subject to planning approval, construction of the £15 million project will kick off in the spring of 2021 and the doors are tipped to open in the summer of 2022. The distillery will have the capacity to produce up to 1.5 million litres of spirit per year and produce Wolfcraig Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky in addition to a range of other spirits, while a Founder Membership package will allow fans to become a part of the Wolfpack from the outset. The project was founded by Michael Lunn, former chairman and chief executive of Whyte and Mackay Group and co-directors John Moore and Jamie Lunn, who will work alongside a team including Dr Alan Rutherford OBE, former production director at Diageo, and renowned master distiller Ian Macmillan. The investment will seek to tap into Stirling’s heritage by showcasing the stunning vista across to the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle, and will also ensure production is sustainable.

The Nightcap

Kerry and Derek Campbell have big ambitions for 8 Doors

Introducing 8 Doors, mainland Scotland’s most northerly distillery

The new Scotch whisky micro-distillery set to open in John O’Groats in 2021 has now revealed its name: 8 Doors Distillery! The brand, whose founders, local husband and wife team Kerry and Derek Campbell, were granted planning permission for its £1 million project in March this year, will be the first whisky producer in the Caithness village since 1837. When it opens, it will be Scotland’s most northerly mainland distillery, so spare a thought for poor Wolfburn which is about to be knocked off the top spot. The new distillery will have the capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of whisky each year and it will all be matured in an on-site bonded warehouse. Whisky master John Ramsay, who has created whisky for The Famous Grouse, The Macallan and more, will help create the Highland single malt, which will be produced using water extracted from a borehole on the distillery site. 8 Doors Distillery has also announced the launch of the 874 Founders Club and the 874 Club. The former offers members the chance to buy a limited number of 50-litre and 250-litre Founders Casks, while those who join the 874 Club will receive a collection of three bottles from some of the first casks laid down and can purchase these packages directly from the distillery. Anyone interested should click here. “The creation of our 8 Doors Distillery in John O’Groats and our limited edition launch is part of a dream come true for Derek and me,” Kerry Campbell said. “We love whisky, and for us it’s more than just having an exceptional liquid in the glass. It’s the stories that go alongside it, the memories of special occasions and get-togethers with family and friends. If we can be part of creating not only a fantastic whisky but also great memories for people who drink our whisky that would be amazing”. Oh and the name? According to the press bumf, it comes from Jan de Groot ie. John O’ Groats, a Dutchman who ran the ferry to the Orkneys, whose “seven descendants quarrelled about succession, so he decided to build an octagonal house with eight doors – one for him and each of his seven sons – and an eight-sided table so that nobody could sit at the ‘head of the table’”. So now you know.

The Nightcap

The Milagro Tequila Distillery is now part of the Grant family

William Grant buys Tequila distillery 

William Grant & Sons has been working on acquiring its own Tequila distillery in Mexico for the last two years and this week the family firm revealed it has succeeded. The Milagro Tequila Distillery, which was founded in 1998, was acquired as part of William Grant & Sons’ “multi-million-pound investment plan to build its brands globally and upgrade its infrastructure to support the company’s growth ambitions”. Milagro Tequila is produced using 100% blue agave from the Jalisco highlands in both pot and column stills and the brand employs a 36-hour slow roasting process in traditional brick ovens. The range, which consists of six expressions: silver, reposado and añejo bottlings across the Core collection and the Select Barrel Reserve lines has helped it become the fifth largest premium Tequila brand in the US, according to William Grant & Sons. “Milagro has always been an exciting brand within our award-winning portfolio, and with this distillery, it is now a clear long-term priority for our global business, alongside such iconic premium brands as Glenfiddich single malt Scotch, Hendrick’s Gin and Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey,” said Jonathan Yusen, William Grant & Sons’ president and managing director, Americas. “This acquisition allows us to manage our production more closely, ensuring the long-term quality and consistency of our silver, reposado and añejo offerings, while bringing our innovation expertise to agave-based spirits.”

The Nightcap

Balvenie Tun 1509 – Batch 7 is available now, right here!

New whisky round-up: Bowmore, The Balvenie and Gordon & MacPhail

It’s certainly been a busy week of whisky releases, which we’re always delighted to see. First, we learned that The Balvenie has unveiled the latest release in its Tun 1509 series – because we have some! Behold, Balvenie Tun 1509 – Batch 7! This particular edition was made using whisky drawn from 21 hand-picked casks, including ten sherry butts, seven sherry hogsheads and four American oak barrels before it was bottled at 52.4% ABV. Islay distillery Bowmore wasn’t going to be left out, however, and also launched a limited edition single malt: Bowmore 30 Year Old. Distilled in 1989, the whisky was matured in Sherry hogsheads and bourbon barrels before it was bottled at a cask strength of 45.3% ABV. The brand has said it will release a new edition of the 30-year-old bottling every year in limited quantities and that the liquid used to make the single malt will be selected from just two casks each year. Gordon & MacPhail rounded-off the good news by launching the second of four commemorative whiskies to celebrate its 125th anniversary. The 35-year-old Gordon & MacPhail 1984 from Glenury Royal is another ultra-rare delight made with spirit from the closed distillery in Stonehaven in the eastern Highlands and was matured in cask number 2335, a first-fill sherry butt before it was bottled at 49.1% ABV. Just 397 bottles are available worldwide of this elegant 35-year-old whisky, which joins the 1972 Coleburn whisky launched in September. Quite the line-up, wouldn’t you say folks? And did we mention we’ve got the Balvenie bottling here at MoM Towers now

Hendrick’s Gin Palace marks two years with new film

Hendrick’s Gin is never one to shy away from the weird and the wonderful, as regular readers of The Nightcap will attest to. So it should be no surprise to learn the gin giants plan to celebrate the second anniversary of the opening of the Hendrick’s Gin Palace with the release of a 4-minute film that takes viewers on a “whirlwind tour of the unlikely sights, people and tastes within the Hendrick’s Gin Palace distillery”. With COVID-19 preventing guests visiting the distillery, the brand decided to create a cinematic tour of the distillery with Saturday Studios, which is intended to educate and entertain and stars The Gazebo Effect’s Max Berendt and Hendrick’s global brand ambassador, Mr. Ally Martin. “When I first joined Hendrick’s Gin, acting was nowhere to be seen on the job spec but given the highly theatrical nature of how we bring Hendrick’s Gin to life, it now seems to be an essential part of my day job,” said Martin. The film, which will be released to coincide with International Gin & Tonic Day on October 19, sees a fictional reporter jump down from a hot air balloon into the walled garden in front of the Gin Palace and then whisked away on a tour of the palace. Scenes include “fights with foliage in one of the distillery’s hothouses” and a “surreal dream scene reminiscent of American Beauty”. We didn’t expect any less.

The Nightcap

Congratulations, Chris!

Jack Daniel’s announces new master distiller

One of the biggest drinks brands on the planet has announced who will produce its world-famous Tennessee whiskey this week. Jack Daniel’s has revealed that it’s keeping it in the family, appointing Chris Fletcher to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to lead the production of whiskey at the distillery. Frank Bobo served in the role for more than two decades until retiring in 1989 and Fletcher’s boyhood home was about three miles from the distillery in Lynchburg. Fletcher said Bobo “will always be my vision of a true distiller” and that “I couldn’t be more excited to be in this role. It’s such a special place from a distilling and whiskey-making standpoint.” Jack Daniel’s sells more than 17 million cases globally of its spirits lineup, which includes its best-selling core bottling as well as flavoured expressions and limited-edition offerings, so it’s a considerable task to oversee the production process. However, Fletcher has been with the distillery since 2001 when he worked as a part-time tour guide while attending college and has previously held roles as a Brown-Forman chemist in research and development for eight years before finally spending six years as an assistant master distiller to Jeff Arnett, who recently departed after 12 years leading the distillery. It seems Jack Daniel’s is in safe hands, folks.

The Nightcap

It’s here and it tastes every bit as good as it looks!

Peatheart Batch 2 from anCnoc is here

The second peated batch from the whisky formerly known as Knockdhu has just arrived at MoM towers. We were treated to special tasting with no-nonsense distillery manager Gordon Bruce. Peatheart Batch 2 is quite heavily smoky using peat with 40ppm but what we loved about it is that the sweet fruity new make shines through with bright lemon and pineapple notes. It’s a NAS expression, aged in ex-bourbon casks and bottled at 46% ABV with no chill-filtering. Bruce commented: “Despite having the same ppm as Batch 1, slight variations in maturation mean that our second Peatheart bottling offers something a little bit different, with a more refined smoky character. The combination of fresh, fruity anCnoc notes with these more mellow peat flavours creates a wonderful modern whisky that will be enjoyed by whisky fans across the spectrum. The peaty range now sits alongside our signature anCnoc whiskies to give drinkers two very distinctive sides to our whisky. Whether it’s a dram from our ‘dark’ or ‘light’ side, both represent our commitment to using the best traditional techniques and craftsmanship to make a very modern single malt whisky”. And did we mention that the Batch 2 is now in the warehouse?

The Nightcap

¿Quien es un buen chico?

And finally…. Jerez honours its bodega dogs

In Jerez in southern Spain, there is a special breed of dog called a Ratonero Bodeguero Andaluz, meaning, roughly, Andalucian rat-catching bodega dog. As you might be able to deduce from its name, it’s a working dog whose job is to hunt rats and mice that plague the city’s enormous wine warehouses. Now, according to news site The Local, the city has decided to honour its most loyal workers. An announcement on 30 September from Jerez’s town hall said: “In Jerez, we have declared to the rat-catching bodega dog as part of the fundamental cultural heritage of the city” (or something like that, translation by MoM buyer and top linguist Guy Hodcroft.)” The breed was created when fox terriers brought to the city by English wine merchants in the 18th and 19th century crossed with local dogs known as Raterillo Andaluz. But they were only formally recognised as a distinct breed in 2000. Apparently, they are extremely brave and fierce but also good with the children. So next time you open a bottle of sherry, raise a glass to the magnificent rat-catching dogs of Jerez. ¡Salud!

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Master of Malt tastes… Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 1996

We’ve got a very fancy whisky on the tasting counter today. A Glenmorangie laid down in 1996 in special casks cut from oak trees growing in the Ozark mountains. Was…

We’ve got a very fancy whisky on the tasting counter today. A Glenmorangie laid down in 1996 in special casks cut from oak trees growing in the Ozark mountains. Was it worth the wait? Read on…

When people get into whisky, they often go for the big flavours. Which is why Islay has such a cult appeal, with peatheads in search of bigger and bigger hits of smoke, measuring out their obsession in PPM. For me, however, it was all about sherry. If it didn’t smell like old Cognac, then I wasn’t interested. I wanted heavy oily new make, fruit cake and tannins from European oak. It was rich Speysiders like Glenfarclas, Macallan and Mortlach that got me all hot and bothered. 

Which is why it took me a long time to come round to Glenmorangie. My sherried palate didn’t quite get the flavours, the sweet peachy fruit, the cream, the all-bourbon cask smoothness of the 10 year old Original. Initially it seemed a bit, well, vanilla. But slowly I came to appreciate what a superbly-made whisky it is: no rough edges, so creamy and fruity but with great depth of flavour. It’s not shouty or showy, it’s a grown-up dram.

The rest of the Glenmorangie range takes things in different directions adding Port or sherry, or, to my mind perfect marriage, Sauternes barrels. Then there’s the ‘and now for something completely different’ Signet – that’s a whisky with more than a touch of old Cognac about it. Now, however, there’s an expression that takes all the elements of the Original, and lifts them into something sublime.

It’s the sixth release from Bond House No. 1 Collection, a series of Glenmorangie’s most prized whiskies: a limited edition 23 year old bourbon-cask whisky. The barrels have an interesting story. Rather than just buying used casks from American whiskey producers, each tree was especially by the team at Glenmorangie. They come from the Ozark mountains in Missouri, the oak trees grow slower here producing a tighter grain to the wood. These first chosen trees were made into casks to precise specifications, seasoned with bourbon and filled with new make in 1996.

These casks are now made every year in small numbers; they are used to age the small batch Astar expression and form the heart of the 10 year old. The original casks were tasted every year by Dr Bill Lumsden until they were pronounced ready and bottled in 2019 at 43% ABV. He commented: “Glenmorangie Grand Vintage Malt 1996 wonderfully demonstrates how we can bring our most extraordinary dreams to life. The oldest whisky we have ever aged in our bespoke casks, its fresh, floral aromas and luxuriously creamy tastes are gloriously enhanced by age. A delicious step on from Glenmorangie Astar, this limited edition will be adored by whisky lovers old and new.”

We can’t argue with Dr Bill, we absolutely loved it. You can really taste the DNA running through from the 10 Year Old but it’s so much richer, more intense and complex. The apotheosis of the Glenmorangie style with the classic fruity, creamy flavours joined by more aromatic notes like tobacco. Not cheap but it is absolutely stunning.

Tasting notes from the Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Warm baking spices, cinnamon, custard, toffee, vanilla, so opulent. Custard tarts and a hint of espresso – it’s like a Portuguese breakfast here. 

Palate: Super creamy, very smooth, dark chocolate, coffee, and salted caramel with fresh peach and pear fruit, it’s like a super-charged Ten Year Old. But it’s not all sweet and smooth, there’s aromatic tobacco and menthol notes lurking in the background.  

Finish: It’s back to custard, long and lingering with vanilla, cinnamon and almond plus that faint aromatic herbal note.  

Glenmorangie Bond House No.1 Grand Vintage 1996 is now available from Master of Malt.

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2019 Diageo Special Releases masterclass videos

Earlier this year when the sun was shining, we spent a very jolly day tasting through the 2019 Diageo Special Releases with brand ambassadors TJ Littlejohn and Colin Dunn, with…

Earlier this year when the sun was shining, we spent a very jolly day tasting through the 2019 Diageo Special Releases with brand ambassadors TJ Littlejohn and Colin Dunn, with the MoM film crew there to record everything for posterity.

The arrival of the Diageo Special Releases is one of the highlights of the whisky lover’s calendar. Every year we are knocked out by this series of rare and unusual single malts (and sometimes grains) from some of Scotland’s greatest distilleries. We think this year’s crop, titled ‘Rare by Nature’ and bottled at cask strength, tasted superb, but we have to admit that they tasted even better in the company of a couple of Diageo’s finest brand ambassadors. Newcomer TJ and veteran Colin Dunn have their own unique way of talking about whisky, and both really brought these expressions to life.

Diageo Special Releases 2019

The full line-up of the Diageo Special Releases 2019

 

Without any further ado, here are our 2019 Diageo Special Releases videos:

Cardhu 14 Years Old:

Cragganmore 12 Years Old:

Dalwhinnie 30 Years Old:

Lagavulin 8 Years Old:

Mortlach 26 Years Old:

Pittyvaich 29 Years Old:

The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Years Old:

Talisker 15 Years Old:

 

 

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The Nightcap: 22 March

Looking for bite-sized bits of booze news? That’s exactly what The Nightcap is all about! This week we’ve got stories about distillery facelifts, trees and 47 year old whisky… It’s…

Looking for bite-sized bits of booze news? That’s exactly what The Nightcap is all about! This week we’ve got stories about distillery facelifts, trees and 47 year old whisky…

It’s time once again for the MoM editorial team to remove the selection of stylish toppers from our heads and don our snazzy newsy caps with the little bit of paper saying “PRESS” or “NEWS” sticking out of them. The Nightcap is back for another round of news stories from the booze world. You can wear whatever variety of hat you want as you read it. Perhaps a pillbox hat? A Stetson? A whoopee cap?! All headwear is allowed.

So what’s been going on here on the MoM Blog? Well, it kicked off with Henry looking at Graham’s Blend No. 5 Port, which he followed up with the Cocktail of the Week (it’s a Manhattan) and an overview of the last 20 years of the London cocktail scene. Annie explored the world of terroir and how it relates to vodka. Kristy took a look around the home of American craft distilling pioneer St. George Spirits in San Francisco. Adam collected together a bunch of suitable springtime treats that would make excellent Mother’s Day pressies. We also had a nose around Aberfeldy, and made it so you can use Apple Pay at the checkout!

That’s all well and good, but what about the rest of the news? Read on…

Clynelish

Clynelish, the Highland ‘home’ of Johnnie Walker, is set for a radical revamp

Clynelish and Cardhu set for fancy facelifts

Diageo has revealed the latest recipients as part of its £150 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism – Highland distillery Clynelish, and Speyside’s Cardhu! Local residents have been invited to check out yet-to-be-submitted plans for both sites, which will become outposts for blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker. Clynelish, situated about an hour north of Inverness, will get a visitor centre on the upper floor, along with a new bar and tasting area, boasting stunning views of the Sutherland coast. As the Highland ‘home’ of Johnnie Walker, the distillery will share design cues with the major new visitor attraction in Edinburgh. Clynelish shares its site with Brora, a long-closed distillery that’s being brought back into production in a separate project. Meanwhile, over in Speyside, Cardhu is also set for a refurb. The distillery, just north of the River Spey near Knockando, will become Johnnie Walker’s Speyside home. It’s association with the brand dates back to 1893 when it became John Walker & Sons’ first distillery. The investment will see a visitor experience dedicated to Helen and Elizabeth Cumming, the two women who set up and ran the distillery in the 19th century, plus a new orchard space for people to enjoy. “Tourism is an increasingly important part of the Speyside economy, alongside distilling,” said Laura Sharp, Cardhu Distillery brand home manager. “The investment we are making here at Cardhu will add another jewel to Speyside’s whisky tourism crown and we look forward to working with the local community and stakeholders as we progress our plans.” Jacqueline James-Bow, her Clynelish counterpart, added: “Scotch whisky tourism is one of the major attractions driving economic growth in rural communities such as Brora. With the work we are already doing at Brora Distillery, and that we plan to do at Clynelish, we are bringing major investment and creating exciting new economic opportunities for the community.” Subject to planning permission, work is expected to get underway at both sites later this year.

Tres Agaves

Feast your eyes on the new Tres Agaves Distillery!

Tres Agaves opens new Tequila distillery

We’ve heard a lot about new distilleries across Scotland and Ireland recently, but this week we bring you news of a pristine Tequila distillery! San Francisco-based Tres Agaves has opened its first production site in Amatitán, Mexico, with Iliana Partida at the helm as its founding master distiller. Tequilera TAP has been custom-built and will continue to make Tres Agaves’ Blanco, Reposado and Añejo 100% agave range, only now with full organic certification. The set-up includes a 20-ton autoclave, a four-stage roller mill, shallow stainless-steel fermentation tanks, and copper coiled alembic distillation stills. As well as the shiny new kit, there’s also a traditional brick horno, a tahona wheel and shallow pine fermentation tanks, to provide time-honoured production options, too. Capacity will reach more than 600,000 litres of spirit per year. Visitors are welcome, and can take advantage of tours and private tastings, including single-barrel releases. The Tres Agaves team seem delighted with the developments. “Tres Agaves has always been about family, the local community and producing the finest quality authentic Tequila,” said Barry Augus, founder and CEO of Tres Agaves Tequila. “I’ve known Iliana’s family for twenty years and even purchased the land for the new distillery from her father, David. The opening of our state-of-the-art distillery with Iliana, whose family I have known since my start in the Tequila industry, marks a major milestone for us.” Congrats to all!

It seems appropriate to celebrate Cotswolds Dry Gin victory with a quick tipple…

ADI names Best of Class craft spirits

Remember when we headed out to San Francisco for the American Distilling Institute’s Judging of Craft Spirits? Well, the winners have been announced! And they are a diverse bunch indeed. Those named Best in Class were deemed outstanding by the individual panels, and then re-tasted by the entire judging contingent – so you know they’re good. And leading the gin charge was England’s very own Cotswolds Distillery, which won the International Gin category with its Dry Gin! Other top tipples were NAUD’s VS Cognac, which won International Brandy; and Casa D’Aristi, which scooped International Liqueur with its Kalani Coconut offering. Kudos also goes to The Heart Distillery which won in the US gin category, Solar Spirits, which snapped up US vodka for its Eclipse Vodka, and Cutwater Spirits, which triumphed in the US Whiskey section with Devil’s Share American Whiskey. Overall, there were hundreds of medals awarded to all kinds of spirits across the category spectrum. Congratulations to all the winners!

Mortlach

Just look at this beauty. Wow

Mortlach releases 47 year old ‘Singing Still’ bottling

We love the meaty taste of Mortlach. It’s not known as the beast of Dufftown for nothing. So, we were particularly excited to learn about a new 47 year old expression from the single malt Scotch distillery. 47 years! Imagine the beastiness. This is the oldest expression ever released by the distillery. It’s the first to hit the market in a new series of single cask whiskies called The Singing Stills Series (can now picture Disney-esque stills actually singing) after Mortlach’s famously vocal distillation equipment. This one is from a refill American oak hogshead that was filled in 1971. “This bottling is exquisite for its age and is unmistakably Mortlach, with its intensely complex character and well-balanced flavour profile,” said master blender Dr. Craig Wilson. Global Scotch ambassador Ewan Gunn added: “The sound of the stills is as distinctive to the distillery as the taste of the whisky. Mortlach’s exceptionally bold and complex flavours effortlessly bridge the gap between mellow and smoky.” Mmmmmm, mellow and smoky. On 25 March one bottle will be auctioned by Bonhams of Singapore with the money going to Daughters of Tomorrow, a charity that supports underprivileged women. A further 94 will go on sale on 9 April for £10,000 apiece. Master of Malt will be given a wee taste soon; we will let you know ASAP whether it’s worth dipping into your wallet.

Barton 1792

You can enjoy bourbon and the Kentucky sunshine with Barreled And Bold

Kentucky distillers team up for free tours!

Great news if you’re Kentucky-bound – Buffalo Trace, Copper & Kings and Barton 1792 have partnered to offer complimentary (yes – free!) distillery tours! Known as Barreled And Bold, the experience takes in each of the three distilleries, based in Frankfort, Louisville and Bardstown respectively. To take part, visitors need to register at BarreledAndBold.com, and then collect their B&B pass at the first stop. The pass gives bearers access to a free tour at each site, and progressive discounts along the journey (10% at the first distillery, 15% at the second, 20% at the third). Visit all three, and get a commemorative gift! “This is not just serendipity, this is allowing for a partnership that can provide an exciting, adventurous window to the past, present and future of distilling in America, well beyond the borders of Kentucky,” said Mark Brown, Buffalo Trace Distillery and Barton 1792 Distillery president and chief executive officer. Copper & Kings founder Joe Heron added: “What a proposition! Bourbon Pompeii to Rock & Roll Brandy, Warehouse X, maybe not SpaceX, but it does feel like a rocket about to take off. Three completely unique perspectives of adventurous Kentucky spirits, Bourbon, American Brandy, Gins and Absinthe. From the barrel for the bold, bold from the barrel. It’s Kentucky hospitality distilled.” We’ve got it on the travel bucket list.

Cooper King Distillery

Cooper King Distillery, doing its bit for the environment

Cooper King marks International Day of Forests by planting hundreds of trees

Over in North Yorkshire, Cooper King Distillery has donated over £1,000 to the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) to mark International Day of Forests on 21 March. The donation will enable it to plant 115 trees! It comes as part of a wider distillery vision to plant 400 trees in its first year of operation. 335 are already in the ground, offsetting 167.5 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 50kg of carbon dioxide for every bottle of Cooper King gin sold. Imagine if every distillery did that! It’s one of just a handful of distilleries in the UK to run on 100% green energy, and instead of relying on fresh water to supply the cooling system, the team uses a nifty closed loop system, saving an eye-watering 13 tonnes of fresh water every year. Cooper King is also the first distillery in England to launch a scheme encouraging people to bring their empty gin bottles back to be refilled. You’ll get 15% off if you do! Think of it as a much more rewarding supermarket plastic bag scheme. If a small distillery that’s been up and running for less than a year can do this, why aren’t others stepping up? As Michael Delvin, development manager at YDMT, commented: “Big businesses can learn a lot from passionate start-ups such as Cooper King Distillery.” Hopefully it will inspire many more to follow suit.

Near & Far

Near & Far comes to Camden!

Get a taste of California in Camden at the latest Near & Far

The Near & Far family of bars is growing once again! With locations already in Peckham and Angel, another bar has just opened in Camden. The third instalment spans four floors of Californian-inspired decor, with room for 180 happy guests. Prepare yourself for palm trees, pastel hues and a copious number of cacti. There’s even a roof terrace which, being in England and all that, is sure to get its fair share of use all year round. With a cocktail menu inspired global tastes and Mexican street food from Elote, there’s literally something for everyone. A few of the cocktails are old favourites from other bar locations, as well as some new blood on the scene (not literally). We’re sure a favourite is going to be The Benedict Cucumberbatch – though isn’t that just his regular name..? There’s also a fabulous range of non-alcoholic cocktails and beers. In even more good news, it’s open seven days a week! Now, near or far, you’ve no excuse not to go…

P(our) Symposium

P(our) Symposium will come to the English capital for the first time

P(our) Symposium heads to London

Listen up, bartenders and other booze folk: thought-provoking non-profit convention P(our) is coming to London for the first time! As well as revealing the location for the proceedings (Village Underground, 24 June), the team has also unveiled this year’s topic: Understanding. Speakers unpacking the theme through a variety of talks and collaborations include Isabella Dalla Ragione, and agronomist and expert on biodiversity; Brigitte Sossou Perenyi, a documentary producer and author; and bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler. More names will be announced in due course. “We’re excited to bring to the fore this year’s theme of ‘Understanding’, looking at it from different perspectives – where it comes from, why it’s important, where more is needed and how it can be built,” said co-founder Monica Berg. Other P(our) founding members include Alex Kratena, Simone Caporale, Ryan Chetiyawardana, Jim Meehan, Joerg Meyer and Xavier Padovani, who united to bring and embrace change in drinks through discovering new ideas, sharing information, and exchanging inspiration. Tickets for P(our) are free, will be released in April through an application process. Fancy going along? keep your eyes peeled.

Highland Whisky Festival

Fancy Glen Ord? It will offer visitors a chance to operate the distillery themselves

Highland Whisky Festival reveals programme, complete with Game of Thrones tasting

The Highland Whisky Festival, Scotland’s newest whisky event, is really taking shape! Set to run from 10-17 May, the celebration takes in distilleries across one of Scotland’s most beautiful and varied, though often overlooked, regions. Programme highlights include a special Game of Thrones tasting at Clynelish on 12 May, and a peek inside the soon-to-be reborn Brora distillery. Balblair will screen Ken Loach’s film The Angel’s Share among the casks of Dunnage no. 3, while on 14 May Glenmorangie will host a special single cask dinner. Meanwhile, the brave team at Glen Ord will offer visitors a chance to operate the distillery themselves on 16 May (sounds potentially dangerous.) To round things off on 17 May, Tomatin will roll out the barrel with live coopering demonstrations and a dinner, just in case you need more feasting after a week of festivities. It all sounds brilliant!

Bacardi

Look at its little face. This is vitally important work

And Finally… Bacardi backs the bats in Puerto Rico

We are a bunch of animal lovers here at MoM Towers. From cat pictures to office dogs, we are fans of all things fluffy. And the not so fluffy too, it turns out. News reached us this week that Bacardi Limited, owner of Bacardi rum (makes sense), has been rewarded for its efforts to protect bats at its rum distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, and our hearts soared. Like a bat in flight. Bacardi picked up WHC Conservation Certification, becoming the first site on the island to do so. What’s all the fuss about? Well, the bat programme offers education to employees and locals alike, stressing the creature’s importance to the island’s ecosystem. The company is also working to restore the natural forest area near its campus, creating a better habitat for the local bats. “Bacardi is an environmental leader, voluntarily managing its lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them,” said Margaret O’Gorman, president, Wildlife Habitat Council. “Achieving certification at the Bacardi Corporation facility in Puerto Rico demonstrates the company’s commitment to the environment, employee engagement and community relations.” Hurrah for Bacardi! And actually, looking at that little dude above, we reckon bats fall into the fluffy animal category, after all…

That’s it for The Nightcap for this week, folks. Have a marvellous weekend!

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The Nightcap: 21 December

It’s so nearly Christmas! Have you bought all your presents? Ordered a turkey? Thought up a list of safe topics for the dinner table? No? Nor have we! It’s going…

It’s so nearly Christmas! Have you bought all your presents? Ordered a turkey? Thought up a list of safe topics for the dinner table? No? Nor have we! It’s going to be chaos this weekend. But before we panic, it’s time for the final Nightcap of 2018. Where did the year go?!

This week, the wise Annie Hayes said ‘forget the eggnog, there’s a new wave of Christmas cocktails to try’; we had news of Glenturret’s new owner, a Swiss gentleman who also owns crystal house Lalique; we took an Ardbeg masterclass with Brendan McCarron; and our very own features editor, Henry Jeffreys, talked about his new book, The Home Bar.

But that’s not all! We also counted down the days with a Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar which has yielded some mighty whiskies: Glenfarclas 105, Peat’s Beast, Jim Beam Rye, Aberfeldy 12 Year Old, an an Irish single malt from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Rock Oyster and GlenDronach 12 Year Old. And there’s still three more doors to open before the big day. We’ve also had an amazing ##WhiskySanta Super Wish, a Glenfarclas 1956, and the return of Master of Malt Auctions! Phew.

Right, let’s hear the final booze-filled news of 2018. Who can even imagine what 2019 will bring?

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Whisky Advent Day #15: The GlenDronach 12 Year Old

We’ve reached day 15 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, so what’s in store for us today? I think I can smell something sherried behind the window……

We’ve reached day 15 of the Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, so what’s in store for us today? I think I can smell something sherried behind the window…

After checking the calendar (the one which isn’t filled with delicious whiskies – the paper one that has a different picture of a pug for each month and is covered in birthday reminders), I discovered that we’ve only got 10 days left until Christmas. You can count that on your fingers. I promised myself that I wouldn’t get surprised by how quickly December is going, but gosh dang it I am shook. Let’s take some time now to look at what dram is behind window #15 of the Whisky Advent Calendar and later make a plan to get back to panic-buying gifts for… Well, for everyone.

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Free Shipping on Glenmorangie!

Purchase any bottle of Glenmorangie before the end of June and get Free Shipping on your *entire* order. “Well, this does exactly what it says on the tin,” is what…

Glenmorangie Free Shipping

Purchase any bottle of Glenmorangie before the end of June and get Free Shipping on your *entire* order.

“Well, this does exactly what it says on the tin,” is what we’d be able to say if we let you know about all the cool things that happen on Master of Malt via the medium of tins rather than blogs. However, we don’t. We use blogs. As such, we’d never dream of saying that. However, the simple sentiment of the sentence remains – if you purchase any bottle of Glenmorangie before the end of June, you will get Free Shipping on your entire order (or £5 off shipping if you’re outside the UK).

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World Whiskies Awards and World Drinks Awards Winners

Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards. Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks…

World Drinks Awards World Whiskies Awards 2016

Yesterday saw the World’s Best whiskies and spirits crowned at the World Drinks Awards, including the World Whiskies Awards.

Before we get into the results though, some good news! Drinks by the Dram have once again teamed up with the World Drinks Awards to create an easy way to taste a whole bunch of these award winners! Head over to our World Drinks Awards 2016 page to browse their selection of 8 different World Whiskies Awards and World Drinks Awards Winners Tasting Sets.

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Whisky Advent Day 15: Fettercairn Fior

In your best Stevie voice: “Yesterday Superstition, today Fettercairn Fior.” That’s right, there’s another wonderful highland whisky dram from White & MacKay behind window 15 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent…

Whisky Advent Calendar

In your best Stevie voice: “Yesterday Superstition, today Fettercairn Fior.” That’s right, there’s another wonderful highland whisky dram from White & MacKay behind window 15 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar!

Fior, like Superstition, has no age statement, but is made up primarily of 14-15 year old single malt whiskies, which are blended with some 5 year old peated malt (and age statement of 5 years old would therefore be somewhat misleading). Fettercairn, meaning ‘foot of the mountain’, is named after the town in which the distillery is located and carries the emblem of a unicorn! If you didn’t know, despite being supernatural (like Whisky Santa), the unicorn is in fact the national animal of Scotland too! They’re said to be have legendary magical qualities that people have long sought to use for personal gain. People (and wizards) have been known to try and acquire unicorn hair, blood, or even tears. That’s why Firebox spend so much time getting unicorns to cry, the fiends! They say Chuck Norris’* tears have special qualities too. Apparently they can cure all known diseases! Too bad he never cries.

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Whisky Advent Day 13: The GlenDronach 12 Year Old

Away from Islay peat and back into the warm embrace of some truly top notch Sherry now, as we open window 13 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar……

Whisky Advent Calendar

Away from Islay peat and back into the warm embrace of some truly top notch Sherry now, as we open window 13 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar

A change of theme, perhaps, but another 12 year old expression today, this time from Glendronach! Interesting, up until 2005 (with this whisky having been distilled before that date) Glendronach were operating direct-fired stills, a tradition some distilleries in Scotland have maintained to this day (Glenfarclas, for example). Glendronach, however, were still using coal and were in fact the final distillery in Scotland to do so. The uneven heating provided by direct-firing creates hotspots in the stills and is thought to lead to different notes in the spirit produced and in the finished whisky, some of which you’ll be able to taste in today’s dram.

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