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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Jack Daniels

A closer look at Tennessee whiskey

When you hear the words ‘Tennessee whiskey’, we’ll bet your mind jumps straight to Jack Daniel’s. But the state is home to a host of whiskey producers large and small…

When you hear the words ‘Tennessee whiskey’, we’ll bet your mind jumps straight to Jack Daniel’s. But the state is home to a host of whiskey producers large and small who pride themselves on doing things the Tennessee way. Speaking with Jim Massey, co-founder of Nashville-based Fugitives Spirits, we dig down into the DNA of Tennessee whiskey and reveal what sets it apart from bourbon…

The two largest Tennessee whiskey producers are Lynchburg-based Jack Daniel’s and  Cascade Hollow’s George Dickel, but there are a wealth of smaller producers throughout the state – Chattanooga Whiskey Company of, naturally, Chattanooga, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery of Nashville, and Tenn South of Lynnville to name just three – who are dedicated to making whiskey the Tennessee way.

The term ‘Tennessee whiskey’ doesn’t apply to all whiskeys produced in Tennessee, since the liquid has to undergo a certain production process before it can wear the term on its label, but it does have to be made in the state. When it comes to regulations, Tennessee whiskeys are held to the same legal definition as bourbon – at least 51% corn, aged in new, charred oak, etc – but they benefit from an additional filtering process through maple charcoal, known as the Lincoln County Process.

Just some of the Fugitive range

“The effect of these constraints has kept ‘paper tiger’ brands from hijacking and repackaging hundreds of variation brands on industrial bourbon and calling it ‘Tennessee Whiskey’,” says Jim Massey, co-founder of Nashville-based Fugitives Spirits, which uses sustainable heirloom grains to make its signature bottlings. “While the marketplace is flooded with repackaged bourbon brands all carrying the same juice, Tennessee Whiskey has held steadfast and true. There are only a handful on the market, so we’ve ended up being the true rare find.”

The process – which sees all new make distillate filtered through (or steeped in) charcoal chips prior to being aged in cask – is named for Lincoln County, Tennessee, which was the location of Jack Daniel’s when it was first established there. Interestingly, it’s no longer used in Lincoln County – the only remaining distillery is Kelso-based Benjamin Prichard’s, which is the only distillery exempt from using charcoal filtration.

For the rest – well, each distillery has its own method. Jack Daniel’s chars sugar maple staves with its own unaged distillate before grinding the remains into chunks, filtering its new make through a 10ft filter bed using gravity. George Dickel, meanwhile, chills its new make to around 5 degrees celsius before steeping it in 13ft of charcoal (as opposed to filtering it through). By contrast, Collier and McKeel pumps its whiskey through 10-13 feet of sugar maple charcoal made from trees cut by local sawmills.

While ‘filtering’ gives the impression that flavour is being removed as opposed to added, in reality the opposite is true. “Maple charcoal filtering certainly smooths the spirit, but it also adds dramatically to the flavour profile,” says Massey, who admits he was initially hesitant to introduce the process. “My heirloom grain distillate was so beautiful, I thought, ‘Why change this?’,” he explains. “But I was committed to making the best Tennessee Whiskey and that meant I had to do the maple charcoal filtering. The result overwhelmed me, it was indeed smoother and yet more complex.” 

Don’t mess with Jim Massey

This, Massey explains, is because of the additional congeners found in the charcoal, which he makes from storm-damaged sugar maple limbs at his family farm, which were planted by his great-grandfather more than 100 years ago. “I did this out of necessity – it’s not like you can go to the store and buy food-grade maple charcoal – but I realise this is probably the way it was originally done,” he says. “We get hints of smoke and certainly maple, but there is a wild fruit note that comes through as well.”

The spirit is certainly all the more compelling for it. I ask Massey for his opinion on existing practices regarding the production and labelling of Tennessee whiskey. Are there any changes he’d advocate for? “I’d like to see a designation for Tennessee Whiskey sourced from heirloom Tennessee-raised corn,” says Massey. “Other than that, it needs to be distilled and aged and bottled in Tennessee, and, of course, honour the Lincoln County Process. 

“With the varieties of soil types and heirloom corn and distillation methods and skills and charcoal production possibilities, there are thousands of flavours to be explored for Tennessee Whiskey as it is defined,” he continues. “Those who say it’s too limiting are simply ignorant, have ulterior motives, or they don’t want to do the work.”

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The Nightcap: 26 July

You know what Friday means by now, it can only be the Nightcap! This week we’ve got all the digs on The Macallan’s newest release, Coupette’s mouthwatering Summer menu, the…

You know what Friday means by now, it can only be the Nightcap! This week we’ve got all the digs on The Macallan’s newest release, Coupette’s mouthwatering Summer menu, the rise of the Tequila cocktail and even a Jack Daniel’s shoe.

Happy Friday, folks! But before we get into the thick of all the wonderful booze news of the week that was, we thought we’d have a quick chat about the weather. Because, we don’t know about you, but nobody has mentioned the weather this week. At all. Was it warm? Was there sun? We tried to enjoy a refreshing Spritz here at MoM Towers, but apparently the whole of the UK had run out of ice. All we know is that it’s now raining again and the quintessential British summer is back on. Thank goodness for that. It was a steamy few days. Step away from the SPF 50 and settle down with a drink, the Nightcap is here!

On the blog this week, we kicked off Monday with a recap of all the Fèis Ìle 2019 fun, while Kristy chose a sherry-tastic single malt for our New Arrival of the Week, took a peek at the mysterious 2019 Diageo Special Releases, and reported back on a magic trip to Tel Aviv’s Milk & Honey Distillery! Meanwhile, Henry mixed up a Tequila Sunrise for his Cocktail of the Week, chatted rum with Alexandre Gabriel from Plantation, and found out what on earth Uncle’s Day is with Uncle Nearest’s Fawn Weaver. Last but not least, Annie gave the 411 on where to grab a drink in Amsterdam, Nate Brown scooted over to Dublin’s Roe & Co, and our Jess carried on the Tequila and mezcal fun with a round up of agave spirits. Phew. But that’s not all – on with the news!

Beam Suntory

Behold, The Fred B. Noe Distillery!

Beam Suntory breaks ground James B. Beam distillery

In big American whiskey news, Beam Suntory announced this week that it’s investing a whopping $60 million to build a new craft distillery and bring back The James B. Beam Distilling Co. name to Clermont! The James B. Beam Distilling Co. was the company’s name immediately after Prohibition, and will now serve as the name of Beam Suntory’s Clermont operations, as well as encompassing the production operations for the Jim Beam brand and small-batch brands such as Booker’s and Knob Creek. This investment will also build the Fred B. Noe Craft Distillery on the Clermont site, named after seventh generation master distiller Fred Noe, which will house the exploration of exciting new fermentation and distillation techniques. “Beam Suntory is excited to honour our roots by investing in the James B. Beam Distilling Co., and setting ourselves up for a bright future in Kentucky and around the world,” commented Albert Baladi, President and CEO for Beam Suntory. “With nearly 225 years behind us, we are proud of our history of entrepreneurialism, craftsmanship and innovation. As the world leader in bourbon, we are thrilled to be laying the foundation for the next 225 years.” Goodbye Beam Suntory, hello The James B. Beam Distilling Co.!

Campari Rum

Campari takes on rum/rhum

Campari Group eyes up Rhum Agricole brands

Got a taste for the vegetal pronouncedness of Rhum Agricole? You are not alone. Campari Group, one of the world’s biggest drinks players, wants in, too. This week it was announced that the owner of the likes of Campari (obvs), Aperol, Wild Turkey and Bulldog Gin entered into “exclusive negotiations” with the parent company of Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny (and Duquesne rum, too) to acquire the Martinique-based brands. While no price was revealed, the deal would include the brands themselves, the land they sit on, the distilleries and visitor centres, plus the aged rhum stocks. Yes please. In the press release, Campari Group said that if the deal goes through, it will “enhance its exposure to rum, a premiumising category currently at the heart of the mixology trend and growing cocktail culture”. It already owns Appleton Estate and Wray & Nephew, so it would make Campari a significant force for all things rum (and rhum). Ready the Ti Punches, folks!

Diageo

Cheers to a bumper year for Diageo!

Tanqueray and Don Julio drive Diageo sales

It’s that time of year again – financial results are in! And for Diageo, they make for pretty buoyant reading. Sales for the full year to 30 June hit £12.9 billion, up 5.8%, with profits hitting £4bn, (+9.5%). Why such strong results? Two words: gin and Tequila. Gin as a whole grew by 23% in value, with Tequila soaring by a whopping 37%. Brand-wise, Don Julio was a total stand-out, with sales climbing by an incredible 30%, while Tanqueray posted 21% gains. Which brands didn’t do quite so well? The biggest name to see a drop was Cîroc Vodka (-5%), although vodka as a whole actually saw 4% growth, a big deal seeing as the category has fared pretty poorly in recent times. And Scotch? All-in-all, things are going well! The category grew by 6%, with Johnnie Walker seeing values climb 7% on the previous year, and the Scotch malts collectively making 12% gains. Winning!

The Macallan Estate

The Macallan Estate, delicious and super popular

The Macallan unleashes home-grown Estate to the world

We had a thoroughly lovely Wednesday this week. Not only did The Macallan get its new Estate edition ready to ship, the brand also treated us to an utterly delightful lunch! We gathered at the incredible Hide in Piccadilly with Sarah Burgess, The Macallan’s whisky maker, and David Sinclair, brand ambassador to learn about (and of course, taste) the new expression. Burgess told us all about the production process – one week a year, mashing, fermentation and distillation is given over to barley grown exclusively on The Macallan estate. And the sensibly-named The Macallan Estate is the result! It’s an addition to the core range, and more bottles will be released each year (although Burgess stressed to us that she’s working to keep the flavour profile consistent over time). So, what’s it like? Tremendously autumnal, filled to the brim with appley, orchard fruit notes, plus lashings of marmalade on burnt toast, and a wash of sweet spices. Tasty.

Coupette Shimmer

Coupette’s mesmerising Shimmer cocktail

Coupette launches new menu ‘Summer’

Ah, Coupette. Something of a hole in the wall, to the uninitiated the award-winning bar may seem rather unsuspecting from the outside. We excitedly made our way down as just this week, founder Chris Moore launched the new menu in collaboration with local sign writer, Ged Palmer, titled ‘Summer’! One such epitome of the season was Strawberries & Cream, taking inspiration from Wimbledon and seasonal picnics. With strawberry eau de vie, rosé vermouth, wine and a vanilla-scented, clarified milk punch finish, served with a brush of white chocolate around the rim of the glass, it’s totally delicious without being overly sweet. This serve was just flying out from behind the bar, and no wonder in 34-degree heat! There’s a story behind each serve, and an intriguing one was Shimmer, marrying 30&40 Eau de Vie, green apple and sage, wine, genepi and sage soda, served in a mesmerising blue ceramic vessel on a blue geode coaster. Designed to be reminiscent of holidays and blue oceans it certainly accomplishes that, in flavour and aesthetic. Other delicious serves included the Bloody Martini with vodka, vin jaune, a clear tomato consommé and chive oil, part of a series of cocktails which mashes together two iconic drinks. There’s also a take on a Kir Royale, which sees a fabulous serving of blackcurrant sorbet in the cocktail glass. Slightly heavier serves include Obsidian, channelling a Rum Old Fashioned with the addition of cocoa and tangy passion fruit. We’ll certainly be back to try out the rest. Leave any expectations at the door, and prepare to be absolutely blown away with this stunningly complex and yet unpretentious menu. Bravo, Coupette.

Dalloway Terrace

Dalloway Terrace has cocktails on tap… from a flower wall!

Dalloway Terrace unveils new look for summer ’19

On Wednesday, we got to visit what is described by Vogue as “one of London’s most Instagrammable restaurants”. The Dalloway Terrace is now offering a taste of summer with the launch of its Summer Estate, in partnership with Ramsbury Distillery. Master florist, Nikki Tibbles, recreated the English countryside, transforming the Terrace with wild meadow flowers, blending silk daisies, cosmos, larkspur, delphiniums and foliage with embellishments of coral quince blossom. Flower walls are massive right now, and she created possibly the best one ever for the occasion:  a flower wall complete with botanical cocktails on tap. There’s also a bar for G&T drinkers where they can garnish drinks themselves with produce fresh from Ramsbury Estate. The seasonal cocktail menu will offer a selection of summer serves priced at £13. No reservations allowed at the Terrace, so be sure to get in quick – it’s open from 08:00am to11:00pm every day until mid-September.

Slane Irish Whiskey

Delicious and sustainable Slane Whiskey

Slane Irish Whiskey announces trio of winners in sustainable cocktail comp

Earlier this summer, Slane Distillery’s UK brand ambassador, Michael Brown, set a challenge to bartenders to create the most ‘suSLANEable’ cocktails. And this week, not one, not two but THREE winners were selected! Slane is located in the heart of Boyne Valley in Ireland and, inspired by Earth Day, had tasked bartenders across the UK to follow in its green footsteps. And they are big shoes to fill:  the distillery has already installed a “catchment system” to collect rainwater off the roofs of the distillery buildings to reduce the volume of water needed for production drawn from the Boyne River. Cool stuff! Joint winner Jack Riley from Present Company, Liverpool, says, “We should all be taking small steps to help the impact on the environment.” He worked with local coffee shops to create his nameless ‘suSLANEable’ cocktail: 45ml Slane Irish Whiskey, 20ml Spent Coffee-infused Martini Bitter, 15ml Tropical Cordial and 2 dash Bitter. Fellow champ Tom Sutton from H.M.S.S challenged himself to find and use leftover produce to create his “Castaway”, from just 40ml Slane Irish Whiskey, 30ml reclaimed cordial and stir into a frozen embassy. Simples. Finally, we have Leon Back and his recipe for “Little Winner”; 50ml Slane Irish Whiskey, 40ml ghetto cold brew (spent coffee grinds), coconut syrup, 10ml Martini ambrato, 10ml P.X. Sherry and 2 dashes Angostura bitter with some tonic water over ice.  Delicious. Evolving and improving every year, Slane is working to become one of the most environmentally-friendly whiskey distilleries in Europe… Check out this video for more inspo to make eco-friendly drinks.

Patron Tequila

Goodbye Tequila shots, hello Paloma!

Shots are out: Brits now prefer Tequila cocktails, according to Patrón

Step away from the salt and lime: Tequila is now officially preferred in cocktail form, rather than as a shot, in new research from Patrón. In a study that suggests Tequila has finally shaken off its hard-partying image, more than 65% of drinkers said they enjoy Tequila cocktails on a night out, over slammers. It makes sense: Tequila is the fastest growing spirit in the UK, according to Euromonitor. Despite the upgraded drinking habits, Tequila knowledge is at a bit of a low. Only 23% of those questioned knew Tequila was made from agave, while just 10% showed knowledge of aged Tequilas. One response? To get tasting! You can find an array of Tequila drams for that purpose right here. What’s your Tequila of choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Nelsons distillery

Nelson’s carbon neutral distillery from the skies

Nelson’s Distillery bags eco award

More green news! Word reached us this week that Nelson’s Distillery & School in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, won a Green Impact Award for its eye-popping efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. The award itself is the Signal 1 Radio Green Award, given out to recognise and celebrate local businesses making great strides in sustainability. Striving to be totally “off-grid” since 2016, Nelson’s is based at a flashy, futuristic and carbon neutral site with numerous green energy sources, including a wind turbine and super-snazzy anaerobic digester power plants. The site sells energy back to the grid, the team live in the local village to reduce traffic and pollution, they have their own natural water source, and use the reed beds to filter the water used in gin and rum. If this doesn’t sound amazeballs enough, then what about the 10% customer discount you get if you returning or repurposing the bottles?! More distilleries take note.  

Flor de Caña

No lunch, but lots of Flor de Caña!

Boisdale celebrates Nicaraguan rum

Last Friday, we were invited by Ranald MacDonald from Boisdale for an intimate lunch at his Belgravia restaurant with her excellency Guisell Morales-Echaverry, Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United Kingdom, in honour of Ron Flor de Caña. How could we refuse? When we arrived, the intimate lunch was a room heaving with dignitaries including the Bulgarian ambassador. So many ambassadors. It was like a Ferraro Roche advert. Only with less to eat. Of lunch there was no sign. We were whisked upstairs by Matro Ortiz Lima, the Chilean brand ambassador with a strong Scottish accent, to sample three rums, a 12 year old, 18 year old and a 25 year old. According to Lima, Flor de Caña these are minimum ages, as with Scotch whisky and indeed Jamaican rum. Apparently, the company has unparalleled stocks of mature spirit because during the revolutionary period from 1970 to 1990, the family who own the brand hid rum all over the country. We finished with the coffee and tobacco-scented 25 year old, which went beautifully with a big cigar. Something else this country does superbly. But of the promised lunch, there was no sign. 

Jack Daniel's Shoes

Jack Daniel’s takes on footwear

And finally… Jack Daniel’s-inspired… shoes?

Jack Daniel’s has made its first foray into the world of footwear! The whiskey giant has teamed up with the awesomely-named Shoe Surgeon, aka Dominic Chambrone, and together they’ve created seven Jack Daniel’s-inspired trainers (or rather, ‘sneakers’, as they’re calling them across the pond). “Craftsmanship is the ultimate common detonator between what I do and those who make Jack Daniel’s,” Chambrone commented. Each of the seven shoe designs was inspired by an iconic element of the Jack Daniel’s brand. These are grain, Cave Springs, the distillery, charcoal, the barrel, honey, and the Jack Daniel’s bottle. If you want in, then you’ll have to vote online in August, with only 10 lucky voters in to win a pair. We don’t like those odds… Our only question is, can you drink out of them?

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The Nightcap: 31 August

Happy Friday, folks! Here’s The Nightcap to help you roll on into the weekend armed with a plethora of booze news. Always handy if you’re looking to impress down the…

Happy Friday, folks! Here’s The Nightcap to help you roll on into the weekend armed with a plethora of booze news. Always handy if you’re looking to impress down the pub/on a hot date/out in a bar*…

Welcome to the weekend, team! Step away from the workload and pick up a dram. You deserve it. Friday evening is here! (Apologies as always if you’re a non-nine-to-fiver and are indeed working at the weekend… join the vibe when you can.)

It’s been a short week here at MoM Towers thanks to the summer bank holiday Monday. But that hasn’t stopped us bringing you all manner of news over on the blog this week.

On Tuesday we unveiled our latest competition of much excitement – win a VIP trip to Speyside and discover The BenRiach Distillery! Then on Wednesday we got hold of Pernod Ricard’s annual report and crunched the numbers to see how the likes of Jameson, The Glenlivet and Chivas Regal performed over the last year.

Yesterday we had a blog double whammy: Annie talked us through all things aquavit in her beginner’s guide, before we shed a little bit more light onto Diageo’s Special Releases 2018 line-up. Not long until the full reveal: check back on 12 September for details of all 10 bottlings in full.

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The Nightcap: 8 June

Jack Daniel’s-maker Brown-Forman lines up a new CEO, World Gin Day hype aplenty, and fizz in space? It can only be The Nightcap! It’s Friday and the world’s most eclectic…

Jack Daniel’s-maker Brown-Forman lines up a new CEO, World Gin Day hype aplenty, and fizz in space? It can only be The Nightcap!

It’s Friday and the world’s most eclectic round-up of booze newses is back for another week! We’ve got a whole host of hot-off-the-press product launches, bar happenings galore and incoming CEOs up our sleeves. But first, let’s look back on the week that was…

While we were all recovering from the mega week-and-a-bit of Fèis Ìle 2018, Annie was bar flying-it-up at Artesian as the renowned bar team unveiled a new menu. Then, on Tuesday, she hightailed it over to The Zetter Townhouse to check out its partnership with cocktail maestro Tony Conigliaro… It’s a hard life.

On Wednesday, we had a look at your top 10 gins across Master of Malt to make what we think is a cracking list of must-tries ahead of World Gin Day (it’s tomorrow, team! Perhaps there’s just enough time to sneak in a next-day delivery…). Sticking with a theme, yesterday Adam caught up with Alex Kammerling, who just happens to have released a Kamm & Sons gin! Good timing, right?!

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

Greetings, chums. It’s your favourite festive, omniscient, supernatural, heavily-bearded being here, Whisky Santa! Around this time of year, I always start feeling particularly generous. Usually I just give the reindeer…

Whisky Santa Pug

Greetings, chums. It’s your favourite festive, omniscient, supernatural, heavily-bearded being here, Whisky Santa! Around this time of year, I always start feeling particularly generous. Usually I just give the reindeer some extra carrots and be done with it, but this year, I’m going all out with the presents for drinks fans. I’ve already upgraded 1 in 10 Whisky Advent Calendars to Premium Whisky Advent Calendars, and now, I’m going to grant one wish per day for you lucky people!

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Ron Abuelo Centuria

Ben came into the office excitedly today, clutching a bottle of rum. He thrust it at me declaring Nick Masters (a chap from Ron Abuelo’s UK distributor Hi-Spirits) had heralded…

Ben came into the office excitedly today, clutching a bottle of rum. He thrust it at me declaring Nick Masters (a chap from Ron Abuelo’s UK distributor Hi-Spirits) had heralded it as “one of the best liquids ever”. I dutifully cracked it open for a tasting and, as everyone knows, nothing beats the early morning blues better than a 9am rum tasting (#DrinkAware).

 

Centuria is the flagship from Ron Abuelo, and they age it for as much as 30 years in the solera system, using Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels. The mix of JD’s signature foam banana flavour, vanilla, and some serious old Panama rum is a very exciting prospect…

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Welcome to the Master of Malt Blog

Crikey. The internet then – blogs and twittering, My-face, spacebook and so on… It seems to be the future doesn’t it? We decided we’d better get on-board, so I thought…

Crikey.

The internet then – blogs and twittering, My-face, spacebook and so on… It seems to be the future doesn’t it? We decided we’d better get on-board, so I thought I’d use this inaugural post to tell you a bit about what makes us tick.

To start, a bit about the team ethos – we’re all passionate about Whisky here, Scotch, Japanese, bourbon, rye, Irish, European, we love it all – you’ll find no xenophobia here, just a healthy dose of whiskyphilia.

We’re on a mission to search out the most interesting, exciting, innovative and surprising drams from around the world, whilst maintaining a healthy respect for the traditional crowd-pleasing whiskies we first enjoyed so many years ago, and that have set us all on the path to spiritous Nirvana.

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