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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Lagavulin

The Nightcap: 18 October

Nick Offerman’s own whisky, pricey Macallans, new distilleries, rums, cocktail menus and more – there’s only place you’ll find all of this boozy news: The Nightcap! If you think about…

Nick Offerman’s own whisky, pricey Macallans, new distilleries, rums, cocktail menus and more – there’s only place you’ll find all of this boozy news: The Nightcap!

If you think about it, our round-up of the booze news from the week that was (which was so cleverly named The Nightcap, many moons ago) is kind of like a gin. The botanicals for most gins are different from each other, but the core of juniper remains the same. Just like the stories within each edition of The Nightcap are different, but the core of “All these tales are about the world of drinks” remains constant. We are the distillers. Our computers are our stills. The words are… I guess maybe the heat that distils the spirit? Is your computer or phone screen the glass from which you enjoy the gin? The somewhat off-the-wall story we usually include right at the end of The Nightcap each week is that botanical you look at and wonder “Does that really count as a botanical? How can ‘a book that Mary Shelley once looked at’ count as a botanical? Am I going to have to phone up the producers of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus Gin and question their integrity?” This simile/metaphor has gone on far too long.

It’s been quite the week on the MoM Blog once again. We announced the details of Diageo Special Releases 2019 and Jim Murray’s World Whisky of the Year 2020, before Henry talked to gin legend Christopher Hayman, and then united two of Italy’s great aperitifs in one glass for our Cocktail of the Week, the Americano. Annie was busy exploring spirits both innovative and unusual, but managed to find time to make Teeling Single Pot Still our New Arrival of the Week. Adam, meanwhile, rounded-up some of the best new booze around and then ventured to Penderyn, where we got some incredible (and exclusive!) video footage.

Now, on to The Nightcap!

The Nightcap

Gordon & MacPhail may begin work on building its new distillery by the end of the year.

Gordon & MacPhail’s new Speyside distillery moves one step closer

Attempts to build another new distillery in Speyside have made a major breakthrough! Scotch whisky bottler Gordon & MacPhail has secured planning approval to build a distillery and visitor centre in Craggan, near Grantown-on-Spey in Cairngorms National Park. Gordon & MacPhail first announced its plans back, in May 2018, but it wasn’t until 11 October that the site was given the green light by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). The new distillery will be the company’s second following the purchase and refurbishment of Benromach Distillery. It’s been designed to take advantage of its views across the River Spey, and has a circular shape to disguise much of the day-to-day workings of the distillery. The multi-million-pound facility will have an annual maximum capacity of two million litres of spirits, equivalent to 100,000 cases of whisky. “This is a major development for the area and this will be the first malt whisky distillery to be approved by the Cairngorms National Park Authority since it was established in 2003,” said Eleanor Mackintosh, CNPA planning committee convener. “The food and drink sector and the tourism industry are both extremely important to the National Park economy – often going hand in hand as is the case here”. It caps a great week for Gordon & MacPhail, as the brand’s director of prestige and fourth-generation member of the owning family, Stephen Rankin, was announced as a Master of the Quaich at the biannual Keepers of the Quaich ceremony at Blair Castle.

The Nightcap

It’s about goddamn time. Look at that facial hair. Magnificent stuff all round.

Nick Offerman gets his own Lagavulin Scotch whisky

You might be familiar with the fact that actor Nick Offerman likes Lagavulin whisky. A lot. Maybe it’s because you’ve watched him as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, where his character extols the many virtues of the Islay distillery. Or perhaps it’s the five years of work he’s done with Lagavulin, which includes the My Tales of Whiskey YouTube channel, complete with videos such as ‘Nick Offerman’s ‘Yule Log’ a 45 minute epic where he simply sits in front of a fire drinking Scotch (which now has over 3.6 million views. Not bad). Now he has a new connection, surely his finest yet: his own limited-edition Lagavulin whisky. Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Years is a single malt created by the man himself in collaboration with distillery manager Colin Gordon. The brand says that the expression, which was bottled at 46% ABV bottling, “carries the signature Lagavulin peatiness but with extra spices and notes of dried fruit to carry the smoke”. Offerman’s involvement also extends to the design the packing, which features a rather glorious portrait of himself with typically sublime facial hair, as well as his signature and a quote: “I have travelled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay, a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yea, and my heart into the bargain”. To help promote Lagavulin Offerman Edition Aged 11 Year, new Offerman Edition content will be added to the My Tales of Whiskey channel later this month. We could end on a typical Ron Swanson quote here, but he was a man of very few words. So we won’t. Cheers to you, Nick.

The Nightcap

If you have a spare £100k laying around, then you can grab one of these for yourself as well

Two rare Macallan Lalique 50-year-olds fetch over £100,000 each

A Macallan whisky has made an awful lot of money at auction. Which probably doesn’t shock you. It tends to happen a lot. However, the two bottles of The Macallan Lalique 50-year-old Scotch whisky that were sold recently did actually raise a few eyebrows as the price paid exceeded the estimated value. At Bonhams Fine Whisky sale in Edinburgh last week, the impressive expressions fetched a whopping £100,062 (US$126,515) each, when they were expected to set some lucky wealthy whisky lover back somewhere around £67,000-£93,000 (US$84,712 – US$117,586). The Macallan Lalique 50-year-old is the first release from The Lalique Six Pillars collection, which was launched between 2006 and 2016, and is said to have aromas of cumin, cardamom and maraschino, and flavours of dark prunes and plain chocolate. But none of us will ever know for sure. Because life is unfair. At the same auction, a bottle of 50-year-old Karuizawa 1965 sold for £27,562 (US$34,848), also breaking its estimated sale price of between £23,000-£25,000 (US$29,080-US$31,609), and the bottle was part of a collection of Japanese whisky that eventually sold for a total of £200,000 (US$252,874). It would appear the appetite for rare and expensive whisky is relentless.

The Nightcap

How do you like them apples? Quite a lot, to be honest. They’re very tasty.

New eau-de-vie made from a thousand different apple varieties

Tiny Cotswolds distillery Capreolus has made quite a name for itself with its superb eaux-de-vie and innovative Garden Swift Gin, but the latest release might just take the biscuit. It’s called 1,000 Trees Apple EDV and it’s made from fruit from 1,000 different varieties of apples. Did you know there were a thousand different varieties of apple? This treasure trove is on Prince Charles’ estate – don’t worry Capreolus’ founder and distiller Barney Wilczak actually bought the apples. What’s more, £5 from every bottle sold goes to The Prince’s Countryside Fund to help develop sustainable farming. Wilczak told us more about this very special orchard and spirit: “It’s an incredible resource, textures, aromas, and flavours [of apple], that would never be available in the shops and, of course, important for future breeding and the preservation of historic varieties. We are doing an annual field blend, and with the varying performance of each variety, this will always be unique. Totally organic, zero additions and wild fermented, we are very happy with the outcome.”

The Nightcap

This is the kind of refuge for weary shoppers that we can get behind!

Blend your own gin while you shop

We all know that some people (hi Dad!) really don’t enjoy shopping, especially at Christmas. But we think even the grumpiest of grandpas will want to visit Bluewater this autumn because from October until the end of December, you can blend your own gin. How good is that? The team at Anno Distillers are the people behind this brilliant idea. They have also just released a Honey & Orange Gin as well as earlier this year Kent’s first single malt whisky. Back at Bluewater, weary shoppers can select different flavours and meld them together to create their own unique gin or vodka. Then while their creations are bottled and labelled, they can enjoy a Gin and Tonic made using their own gin. The experience costs £75 and takes two hours. Then there’s just enough time to glide into Oliver Bonas, grab the nearest thing to hand. Job done. Shopping will never be the same again.

The Nightcap

The new cocktail menu is a tasty journey around England

Coral room launches England-inspired cocktail menu

The Coral Room manages to transport drinkers within into a chic, coral-coloured country house in the midst of all the London madness. Now, whereabouts in the country that house is up to you, as with its new cocktail menu you can take your taste buds on a journey around England! From Newquay to Ascot to Windermere, the 14 different serves are inspired by 14 different spots. In the ornate menu, each serve is accompanied by a bespoke Art Deco-style drawing. ‘London Calling’ (we bet you can’t guess where inspired that one), a Tequila-based tipple, depicts a couple of punks wandering around Camden Lock, an obvious nod The Clash. Pop over to Glastonbury and try ‘Play the Pyramid’, a Roe & Co. Irish whiskey-based serve with ginger, honey and, of course, pear cider. Well, it is Somerset! If you venture to Sussex, there’s the ‘Garden Party’, and general manager Giovanni Spezziga tells us they wanted to pay homage to the invention of banoffee pie (which was indeed in Sussex!) with this cocktail. There’s Diplomático rum, vodka, crème de banana, cream caramel and tonka bean bitters, so it’s totally reminiscent of an indulgent dessert. Then, there’s ‘The Full Bloomer’ from Kent, with strawberries and rose from the Garden of England, topped with an awesome smoke-filled bubble, which is way more fun to burst than it should be. The whole menu is an experience, from flicking through to brightly-coloured book, discussing the beautiful illustrations and then picking which location to venture to through the art of the cocktail. And if your home town is on there, then, of course, you’ve got to try it!

The Nightcap

Introducing: Livener and Nightcap!

Three Spirit to launch two new no-ABV expressions

Three Spirit has announced the release of two new no-ABV bottlings to join its first release, Social Elixir, which the brand described as ‘the world’s first plant-powered social spirit’. The two new additions are Livener and Nightcap, which were created to serve different functions that mirror the ways in which we enjoy alcohol. The first is a “pick-me-up and party starter” and the latter is a blend to “help you relax and unwind”. Livener was made with ingredients including Guayusa, Schisandra berries and energising plants and is best enjoyed in Margaritas, Daiquiris and Bellinis, while Nightcap features ingredients such as Valerian, turmeric, ashwagandha, lemon balm and hops that’s delicious in Old Fashioneds and Penicillins (the latter we can say from experience). ‘For this new breed of Conscious Hedonists – people who love to go out, let their hair down and have fun but who still want to be on form the next day – we offer the dream,’ said co-founder Tatiana Mercer. ‘Great flavour, new function and unique drinking experience.’ Three Spirit was launched in January 2019 and its expressions are created from a collaboration between Mercer and co-founders Dash Lilley and Meeta Gournay, as well as ex-Dandelyan bartender Robin Honhold, Tristan Stephenson and Thomas Aske, of Fluid Movement, Black Rock and Worship Street fame, and Professor Michael Heinrich, head of the Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy at UCL School of Pharmacy. Livener and Nightcap will arrive at MoM Towers soon.

The Nightcap

The God Save The Queen cocktail, which we can confirm is very delicious.

100 Wardour Street debuts satirical cocktail menu ‘The Politicians’

Of late, it may feel like the state of the current political climate can get a bit too much. Perhaps you’d like to go for a drink or two, to take your mind off it. Or, conversely, pop down to 100 Wardour Street to try out their new satirical cocktail menu, ‘The Politicians’! We popped down for a taste and certainly weren’t disappointed. Caricature sketches of each politician accompany their cocktail in the book-like menu, and the vodka-based ‘Pride’ sees Vladimir Putin vandalised with a full face of makeup. Perhaps one of the most tongue-in-cheek is ‘The Wall’, a mezcal-based cocktail accompanied by a sketch of Donald Trump with Day of the Dead face paint on, served in a terracotta vessel to top it all off. Even Pope Francis gets his own serve titled ‘Amen’, an aptly alcohol-free kombucha-based serve. It’s not all surface, and the cocktails are genuinely tasty. Alongside the smoky-sweet ‘The Wall’, one of our favourites was ‘Le Roi’, inspired by Emmanuel Macron, a floral serve with Tanqueray Gin, chamomile, elderflower and bergamot, topped with fizz. Of the new menu, head bartender Federico Pasian noted that, “Being able to tease out the humour and satire surrounding the reputations of these political individuals has resulted in a daring and experimental cocktail menu which I hope makes people laugh, especially in the current climate of uncertainty”. It’s a menu that’s set to divide opinion, but also provide a lot of laughs. So go on and raise a glass to your favourite (or, perhaps least favourite) politician.

The Nightcap

Historic rums are some of our favourite rums!

Mount Gay launches first single pot still rum since the 19th century

Mount Gay’s newest master blender Trudiann Branker, she took over in April of this year, was in town this week with a very special rum. It’s a single pot still spirit, probably the first such rum released since the 19th century when column distillation came to Barbados. Mount Gay dates back to 1703 and Branker described this new release as: “a celebration of how we made rum.” It’s the second in the distillery’s Master Blender range, product of a single distillation run from 2009 filled into American whiskey barrels. 10 years in the heat of Barbados is a long time. Branker said, “our angel’s share is ridiculous, we have very happy angels.” Only 4920 bottles have been filled at 48% ABV. The UK allocation will be tiny and should be arriving with us in early November with an RRP of around £140. We tried it next to the always wonderful XO, and though both shared a ripe banana note, the pot still was very different, winey and fruity on the nose, and intensely aromatic, almost menthol, in the mouth with dark chocolate and vanilla on the finish. It’s a very special taste of history.

The Nightcap

At $23 (£17-ish) a night, this stay will set you back less than a bottle of White Label!

And Finally… Stay in Jim Beam’s distillery cottage for just $23!

Whiskey-loving AirBnB users, listen up. You can now add the stay of dreams to your US itinerary! This week, Jim Beam’s 1919 three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom (what does a half-bathroom look like?) distillery cottage popped up in eagle-eyed AirBnB users’ searches. It comes with a fully-stocked bar, a fireplace, a back garden with cowboy cauldrons (basically a fancy fire pit) and there’s even a fishing dock. And Jim Beam will even throw in a distillery tour and bourbon tasting. The best part? Each one-night stay costs at just $23! “We like to say that anyone who visits us comes as friends and leaves as family, so we’re thrilled to welcome our extended family for some bourbon and Kentucky hospitality,” said Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s seventh-generation master distiller and now AirBnB property host. The only snag? Availability is SUPER limited (we gather just 23-24 November and 7-8 December) with bookings opening on 21 October. Laptops at the ready – this could prove trickier than nabbing Glastonbury tickets…

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Team MoM tastes Diageo Special Releases 2019!

MoM Towers received a very important delivery yesterday: The Diageo Special Releases 2019! Naturally, we had a taste of the Rare by Nature-themed collection… There are certain annual releases of…

MoM Towers received a very important delivery yesterday: The Diageo Special Releases 2019! Naturally, we had a taste of the Rare by Nature-themed collection…

There are certain annual releases of whisky that makes everybody stand up and pay attention, like a dram-thirsty meerkat. The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. The Midleton Very Rare series. The Master of Malt Single Cask Series (ahem). The Diageo Special Releases is certainly one of those stellar collections.

This year, the theme is ‘Rare by Nature’, a concept inspired by the surroundings of each distillery, the distillers and blenders who made them, and “the whisky lovers who will enjoy them.” The line-up includes bottlings from Mortlach, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Cragganmore, Cardhu, Lagavulin, Talisker, Pittyvaich and Dalwhinnie. Noticeably, there’s no Port Ellen, no Brora, no single grain of any kind, and no new creation like Cladach or Collectivum XXVIII. There is, however, eight different, but delicious cask-strength Scotch whiskies to enjoy.

And in that spirit of sharing, we decided to divvy up the drams among Team MoM. That means there’s eight different reviews from a variety of people within our office badass tower. Now, let’s see what the Diageo Special Releases 2019 has to offer!

The dram: Cardhu 14 Years Old

ABV 55.0%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Double matured in ex-Amontillado hogsheads
No of bottles: 4,860
RRSP £120

Diageo Special Releases 2019

Look, it’s Mariella!

Tasted by: Mariella Salerno, PR Manager

When I first nosed it, it seemed very mild and sweet, but then it started to open up, becoming floral and somehow crisp. Its deep golden appearance brings some richness, which adds to the elegant experience. It feels autumnal with the softly spiced orchard fruits. A treat!

Appearance: Clear and deep gold

Nose: Clean – initially sweet fruity aromas – after adding water it becomes more flowery

Palate: Medium – smooth – pear orchard – hint of vanilla

Finish: Medium with some complexity – very good to outstanding

The dram: Cragganmore 12 Years Old

ABV 58.4%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From medium peated, refill American oak casks
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £85

Diageo Special Releases 2019

Say hi to Adam!

Tasted by: Adam O’Connell, Writer

Cragganmore is often regrettably overlooked but there’s simply no excuse not to indulge in this expression. There’s heaps of distillery character here, from the lightly peated malt to the complex blend of citrus, orchard fruit and dry spice. It’s quintessentially Cragganmore, and all the better for it.

Appearance: Light gold.

Nose: Lemon peel, Conference pear and rhubarb and custard sweets lead, with tanned leather, sandalwood and a hint of earthy peat in support. With water, there’s grilled pineapple, marmalade, soft toffee and a hint of green cardamom add depth.

Palate: More orchard fruit, some drying spice and a little honey initially, then water reveals a savory hint of gamey meat is followed by a note of peppery oak and then a sweet layer of vanilla sugar.

Finish: A beautiful balance of sweetness, smokiness and spice lingers, with a faintly tart citrus element underneath.

The dram: Dalwhinnie 30 Years Old

ABV 54.7%
Region: Highland
Cask: From refill hogsheads and butts
No of bottles: 7,586
RRSP £500

Diageo Special Releases 2019

Here’s Jess!

Tasted by: Jess Williamson, Content Assistant

At first nosing, I thought it would be creamier and slightly sweeter than it was on the palate! Then, taking the first sip, the hit of spice just gets you right on the tongue, and it just builds and builds. It’s creamy, mouth-filling and subtly fruity, with a really interesting smoky hint. My tongue was literally left tingling for minutes after the last sip. A fresh, sweet and thoroughly warming dram!

Appearance: Golden, like clear honey, with a very subtle amber tint.

Nose: Fairly spicy, with root ginger, clover honey, a slight mineral hint and subtle smoky, ashy notes, a touch of Lotus biscuits and a buttery caramel undertone. With water, it’s much more creamy, with sweet malt, condensed milk, vanilla cheesecake and prominent floral honey this time, and a very subtle grassy note.

Palate: A huge hit of spice straight off, with peppery oak, a continued flinty mineral note, set honey and just a hint of tinned pear. With water, it’s all cream soda, fresh hay and just a hint of sea salt, with the spice more tempered this time, and dried apple.

Finish: A mineral finish, with white pepper, dried apricot, waxy vanilla and a gentle lingering smoke…

The dram: Lagavulin 12 Years Old

ABV 56.5%
Region: Islay
Cask: From refill American oak casks of high peating levels
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £110

Diageo Special Releases 2019

Chris enjoyed a warming dram

Tasted by: Chris Wood, Spirit Buyer

A classic in the line-up, and much loved every year. And I was not disappointed at all! If you like Lagavulin, you’ll love this expression.

Appearance: Light gold.

Nose: Everything you would expect from the annual Lagavulin 12 Year Old. Sweet peat smoke like a recently extinguished bonfire accompanied by memories of sparklers on 5th November. Salty sea breeze, shellfish and seaweed. Tangy fruity aroma, like Bramley Apples ready for a homemade apple pie. Add a little water and you get freshly cut wet grass and autumn leaves after a downpour.

Palate: Citrusy, spicy and smoky. Like taking a drag on your Grandad’s cigar. Intense ashes to start, smooth in texture with a warm finish. Being at natural strength allows the water to not diminish the character.

Finish: A nice warming sweet smoke with lemony tones. A dash of salt through the smoke.

The dram: Mortlach 26 Years Old

ABV 53.3%
Region: Speyside
Cask: From fresh-toasted first-fill Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso Sherry seasoned casks
No. of bottles: 3,883
RRSP £1,500

Diageo Special Releases 2019

That’s Henry and a hint of office!

Tasted by: Henry Jeffreys, Features Editor

One look at the colour and you know you’re in for a treat. And it doesn’t disappoint on the nose. Pow! Chocolate, walnuts, tobacco, they’re all here but there’s also more delicate notes of apple and orange peel. In the mouth, it’s absolutely sumptuous, full and creamy, lovely texture full of sweet sherried notes with classic clubland aromas of cigars and leather. Sweet fudge and chocolate finish goes on for a good 15 minutes

Appearance: Look at the deep copper colour on that! They don’t call it the Beast of Dufftown for nothing. What a beast!

Nose: Leather, polished wood and furniture polish, it’s like an antique shop in here. There’s also walnuts, cooked peaches, dried apricots and dates. Water brings out more aromatic notes like tobacco as well as cooked and fresh apple notes.

Palate: Full creamy texture, oily even, with savoury notes of leather and tobacco, joined after some time with sweeter fudge, chocolate and vanilla with a touch of wood tannin and some dark cherry fruit. Water does tame the beast to some extent, highlighting the fruit and sweeter elements.

Finish: Very long; to begin with its pepper and orange peel but the lingering taste is sweeter, chocolate and salted caramel note that goes on and on.

The dram: Pittyvaich 29 Years Old

ABV 51.4%
Region: Speyside
Cask: Double matured in Pedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry seasoned bodega casks
No of bottles: 4,976
RRP £330

Diageo Special Releases 2019

Say hello to Avi!

Tasted by: Avi Karia, PPC Executive

This is a beaut of a whisky from a closed distillery! When first nosing all I could pick up was baked apples, after a brief moment I found myself discovering more tannic notes of tea along with dried flowers. The palate is sweet, but not cloying, dried fruits first with potpourri at the back. The finish is wonderful and spicy; it just goes on and on. A whisky I could sit and drink over hours. Truly wonderful!

Appearance: Clear – golden amber.

Nose: Clean, light-medium intensity. wonderful fresh malt, followed by cooked apples, hints of sultanas, light fruit, a little spicy ginger, dried flowers, searching further I find buttered sponge. With water, the flowers are very apparent, more toffee.

Palate: Dry, warm and mouth-filling, very smooth, more sultanas on the palate, a little toffee, followed by a hint of black tea. With water, a little more delicate now, more toffee notes

Finish: Long and smooth, quiet complex now with woody notes more apparent, more spicy ginger, baked apple in a puff pastry with a dusting of powdered sugar. With water, it’s still long and complex, but perhaps a little smoother.

The dram: Talisker 15 Years Old

ABV 57.3%
Region: Skye
Cask: From freshly charred American oak hogsheads
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £110

Diageo Special Releases 2019

It’s Kristiane, everyone!

Tasted by: Kristiane Sherry, Editor

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! And this dram is the embodiment of that. It’s got sea-breeze freshness, but also a depth and warmth that comes with a sunny day on the coast. It’s richly textured too, with lovely sweet spice notes adding interest throughout. And don’t forget that signature Talisker smoke! A treat indeed.

Appearance: Bright gold

Nose: A seaweed iodine note is the first to spring from the glass – but it’s sunny and inviting, not industrial and heavy. Kelloggs Cornflakes, honey-roasted cashews, tangy cinnamon, warm nutmeg, and caramel notes build on the sense of sunshine, while an undercurrent of peat smoke brings depth. Water rounds it all out a bit and gives more of a velvety impression.

Palate: The rush of sweetness is a real surprise – on the front of the palate there are peach notes, raisin and perhaps red cherry. Then it’s all about that rich spice, along with the peat – a delicious abutment of pepper heat, bright allspice and rolling smoke. With water, it gets even sweeter and a little quieter, but still really tasty and mouth-filling.

Finish: Long and rich, but with a happy lightness, too.

The dram: The Singleton of Glen Ord 18 Years Old

ABV 55.0%
Region: Highlands
Cask: From fresh charred American oak hogsheads
Limited quantities worldwide
RRSP £130

Diageo Special Releases 2019

And last, but not least, Charlotte!

Tasted by: Charlotte Gorzelak, Email and Social Marketing Assistant

The Singleton of Glen Ord has a nice gold colour, and it is perfect for sipping. Pretty smooth but still warming which is good for autumn. Adding a bit of water brings out the underlying flavours and gives it more body.

Appearance: Bright gold.

Nose: orange peel and berry fruits. Post water is more fruity with more orange coming through.

Palate: warming orange with a prickle of spice. Smooth mouthfeel and long finish. Chocolate and caramel notes. Post water is sweeter and smoother and first dip is still quite warming. Still spice but more orange and berry fruits.

Finish: long finish, warming taste. Drying mouth feel. But in a good way. Post water still a long finish, smooth and spicy on the tongue.

The Diageo Special Releases 2019 will be available from MoM Towers soon…

Which dram appeals most to you? Let us know in the comments below or on social!

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The Nightcap: 13 September

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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The Nightcap: 16 August

Another busy week of booze news has occurred, and we’ve corralled it up into one handy blog for you to take into the weekend – it’s The Nightcap! The weekend…

Another busy week of booze news has occurred, and we’ve corralled it up into one handy blog for you to take into the weekend – it’s The Nightcap!

The weekend is fast approaching (or perhaps it is already here by the time you read this), and we wouldn’t dare step out of the house on a Saturday not armed with the booze news from the week that was. It would be like heading to the beach without a ridiculous hat, or heading to a bowling alley without grossly underestimating the difficulty of chucking a heavy ball at some wooden sticks. It’s just not the done thing. Luckily, you can acquire all the weekly news from the world of drinks right here in The Nightcap! We cannot, however, provide floppy sun hats or any good tips for bowling. You’re on your own for those things.

On the blog this week, our friend Ian Buxton popped by to champion the overlooked stars of the blended Scotch whisky world, blends, while Annie found out what botanical rum is and what the lovely people at CBD-infused spirits company Top Beverages are up to (infusing spirits with CBD, mostly). Kristy, meanwhile, shared the news of how Brora celebrated its 200th Anniversary (did someone say 40-year-old whisky?), before Henry sat down for a lovely chat with Dr. Don Livermore from Hiram Walker, made a spin on the classic Negroni his Cocktail of the Week and even found time to make a charming bottle of poítin Irish moonshine our New Arrival of the Week. Oh, and don’t forget we have still a competition going on and there’s a VIP trip to Salcombe Gin distillery up for grabs!

A busy week, but there’s more to come. In our best Huw Edwards voice, here is the news!

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We’re sure Port of Leith whisky will be worth the wait!

Port of Leith Distillery secures whisky production site

It’s all go for whisky-making in Edinburgh at the moment – and now Port of Leith Distillery has announced it has secured the site for its whisky production! Situated in Leith (as the name suggests), the distillery will be built next to the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Ocean Terminal centre. “The acquisition of our site took slightly longer than we anticipated. In fact, from start to finish, it’s taken us three years to get this incredibly complex land deal over the line,” the team wrote in an email on Monday, “We’re outrageously excited to announce the deal was completed at the end of July, which means we should be on site very shortly.” If all now continues on schedule, we should see Port of Leith spirit flow from the stills as soon as the first quarter of 2021! The news comes hot on the heels of The Holyrood Distillery kicking off whisky production in Edinburgh earlier this month. Can’t wait for a taste of Port of Leith? The team’s Lind & Lime Gin is available now!

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It’s good news for Irish whiskey, and we can raise a glass (or two) to that!

IWA gains protection for Irish whiskey in South Africa and Australia

Legal gubbins now – but of the good kind. Because this week, the Irish Whiskey Association (IWA) secured certified trade mark status for Irish whiskey in both South Africa and Australia! The news means that only whiskey actually distilled and matured on the island of Ireland (Northern and the Republic) can be sold as ‘Irish whiskey’ in those markets. It’s a big deal, especially as Irish whiskey grows in both volume and reputation – it stops rogues and scoundrels using its name in vain on lesser spirit. It’s also important because more than two million bottles of Irish whiskey were sold in Australia in 2018, up 9.1%, while South Africa collectively shifted 4.4 million bottles, growth of 4.5%. What more reason do you need to sip on a celebratory measure of Irish whiskey this Friday?!

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Roushanna Gray, founder of Veld and Sea, in Cape Town, will star in the film

The Botanist gets wild with new film mini-series

Islay gin The Botanist has unveiled a series of films to shine a light on wild foragers, chefs and bartenders around the world. Wild – A State of Mind depicts these “like-minded souls” as they explore their native landscapes on the hunt for food and flavour. Each five-minute film focuses on a different person: Nick Weston, director of Hunter Gather Cook, along the River Itchen; Philip Stark, professor and director of the Berkeley Open Source Food project, in downtown San Francisco; Roushanna Gray, founder of Veld and Sea, in Cape Town; Nick Liu, executive chef and partner at DaiLo and Little DaiLo Restaurant in Toronto; and Vijay Mudaliar, founder of Native, a foraged mixology bar in Singapore. “In creating The Botanist, we explored the flavours of our own backyard, the Isle of Islay,” said Douglas Taylor, CEO of Bruichladdich Distillery, which makes The Botanist. “The Botanist has its own full-time professional forager, James Donaldson, who sustainably hand-picks 22 local island botanicals to be used in the distillation of our Islay dry gin. Through our involvement in the foraging movement, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most exciting foragers, chefs and bartenders from all over the world. Through these films, we hope to show people that there’s a world of flavour out there.” The films will be released one by one, so keep your eyes peeled and in the direction of The Botanist website.

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It’s about time somebody celebrated Eddie Murphy’s role in the animated Mulan film

Bowmore unveils China-exclusive 36yo Dragon Edition

Islay single malt distillery Bowmore has launched a shiny new 36-year-old expression exclusively in China, the first in a series of four releases. Initially unveiled at Whisky Live Shanghai, Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition “pays homage” to Bowmore 30 Year Old Sea Dragon Decanter, an expression that celebrates an Islay myth and picked up quite the following when it launched. The new bottling builds on this, lauding the dragons that live on in Chinese culture. The liquid comes from Bowmore’s famous No.1 Vaults warehouse, selected from the same parcels of sherry casks used to create the 30 year old, and has been bottled at 51.8% ABV. Nosing and tasting notes include tropical fruit, toffee apple, caramelised orange, hints of pine needles, and a peppery tinge on the finish. “This new expression is a homage to the 30-Year-Old Sea Dragon that’s been much loved and collected by Bowmore fans across China,” said David Turner, Bowmore distillery manager. “Born from an island that is rich with heritage and legends, Bowmore is celebrating the legendary creatures of Chinese mythology that are the protectors of people – just as Bowmore has protected and matured this precious liquid for 36 years. We’ve taken this amazing legacy and renewed it for the next generation of whisky drinkers.” There are just 888 bottles of Bowmore 36-Year-Old Dragon Edition available, each priced at US$2,000. Keep an eye out if you’re in China!

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Grant’s 12 Year Old was a standout performer.

Grant’s blended Scotch boasts growth as others decline

Time to get the calculators out. An interesting press release crossed our desks this week, claiming that blended Scotch sales fell by 0.4% from 2013 to 2018. What’s more, the declines are set to continue by another 4% to 2022 (Edrington-Beam Suntory Distribution UK stats). Are we all turning to single malts? Shopping from countries further afield instead? It’s kind of irrelevant to Grant’s, which boasted 1.2% global growth over the period, and “double digit” gains across Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and India. And the team seems particularly excited about Grant’s 12 Year Old. What sets it apart? “Our master blender Brian Kinsman, his unique expertise in choosing the malts that go into the blend, and the quality of the fresh bourbon cask finish,” said Danny Dyer, Grant’s global brand ambassador. “Grant’s 12 is a smooth whisky making it ideal to share with friends whether they are aficionados or newcomers to whisky.” Why do we care about all this? It’s always intriguing to see a brand doing well against the grain of a trend. Do you still love blended Scotch? Or why do you not drink it? Let us know on social or in the comments below!

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Look! It’s brand new Lagavulin whisky!

Lagavulin 10 Year Old makes travel retail debut

Spent all summer dealing with smug colleagues breezing off on their holidays, leaving you to do all the work and regretting your seemingly smart decision to avoid all children and jet off later in the year outside the school break? Well, we have some news to make that delayed gratification even sweeter. Lagavulin (yes, the very same Islay distillery that makes the iconic 16 year old expression) has launched a new 10 year old whisky exclusively in travel retail! Which means all those annoying, chilled, sunkissed people would have missed it, but you can bag a bottle when it’s your turn to head through the airport. “What makes this single malt unique is the combination of refill, bourbon and freshly-charred casks that we used in its creation,” said Dr Craig Wilson, master of malts (nothing to do with us) at Diageo. “The bourbon casks add a sweetness to the flavour and the freshly-charred casks add spicy and woody notes. The different wood types used have helped create a whisky with a fiery yet light and smoky yet smooth character – one that is filled with surprising contrasts.” It’s available now in UK Duty travel retail stores priced at £50, but will be available more widely later in the year. Now that really IS a reason to get to the airport early…

Tequila Avión teams up with 21 Savage for ‘borderless’ campaign

Agave fans and rap aficionados, listen up. Tequila Avión has signed Grammy-nominated artist and aspiring pilot 21 Savage to be the face of its new Mexico City-inspired ‘Depart. Elevate. Arrive’ campaign. It brings together a fancy new look for the brand, while highlighting its passion for aviation. The aim is to inspire adventurous sorts by highlighting “those who have forged their own paths by having a borderless mindset”, and it all kicks off with the Atlanta-based rapper. “I grew up wanting to fly and pursued my pilot’s license as soon as I was able,” he said. “When I’m in the air flying, there’s nothing like it. No traffic, no borders. With a borderless mindset, I’m able to bring everything I’ve seen, a worldly point of view, into my creative process. Into my art. It brings my art to an elevated space and that’s the heart of this partnership. Elevating creativity through being borderless.” We’ll take the Tequila over trying to fly… less alarming.

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A sight the UK wine drinker and tax officials both appear to enjoy…

‘Crisp white’ named as UK’s top wine

Wine Drinkers UK (a collection of wine lovers, makers and sellers, who, in their own words, are ‘fed up with being unfairly taxed’) have revealed the UK’s top wine preferences. Leading the pack? ‘Crisp white’ (Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio), with 41% of those questioned saying they enjoy the selection. Full-bodied red (Malbec or Shiraz) ranked second with 38%, followed closely by Prosecco, at 34%. The least popular? In equal ninth, English sparkling wine and dry rosé (Southern French rosé or Pinot Grigio rosé), which, quite frankly, has caused uproar in the office as they are both bloody delicious. Are we Brits a tad ridiculous? We could just be blinded by the tax levied on wine, reckons Wine Drinkers UK. Despite wine’s status as being the most widely drunk and most popular alcoholic beverages, tax rises in the last 10 years (39%) have far outpaced those on beer (16%) and spirits (27%). Plus, only 5% of UK drinkers were aware of the tax they pay on wine. “As the number of people enjoying wine grows, so does their tax bill. Duty on wine has risen over twice as fast as beer over the past ten years,” said The Three Drinkers presenter, Helena Nicklin. “As a result, on average, the majority of wine drinkers are handing over more than 50 pence in every pound they spend to the taxman. After a decade of unfair increases, it is time to cut them a break and cut back wine tax.” As such, there’s a new campaign which kicked off on 12th August, now known as ‘Wine Tax Freedom Day’. The date is 61% of the way through the calendar year, and represents the 61% tax (duty +VAT) that is paid on a £5 bottle of wine. Did you know the tax levied on vino? Time for fairer booze duties, we reckon.

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Brockman’s Gin Autumn Reviver cocktail

Brockmans Gin signals changing of the seasons with autumn menu

Ok, ok… the sun’s certainly NOT got its hat on, and it’s more soggy than sunkissed (in the UK anyway…) but it’s still mid-August. Is it really time to unveil Autumn cocktails? We’ll forgive Brockmans though, because these ones look mega tasty, and they’re based around irresistible warming spices and berry notes. First up is the Autumn Reviver, made with 1 2/3 oz. Brockmans Gin (soz for the imperial measures), 2/3 oz. Lillet Blanc, 2/3 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 oz. ginger syrup, 1/3 oz. orange liqueur, and a slice of dehydrated orange studded with cloves. Just fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add the first five ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with the clove-studded orange slice. Voilà! Then there’s the slightly trickier Blackberry Sling, with 1 2/3 oz. Brockmans Gin, 10 fresh blackberries, a sprig of fresh rosemary, 1 2/3 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice, 2/3 oz. simple syrup, and chilled soda. Muddle the blackberries (save some for the garnish) and rosemary in a Highball glass, take the rosemary out, add the gin, lime juice and syrup and stir. Then fill half the glass with ice, top with soda and pop the saved blackberries (and the rosemary, if it still looks good) in as garnishes. “Our signature seasonal recipes were developed to highlight the combination of traditional gin aromas, bitter-sweet orange peel, coriander and top notes of blueberries and blackberries found in our gin,” said Neil Everitt, Brockmans co-founder and CEO. We know what we’re drinking on the next waterlogged summer evening. Oh, that would be tonight…

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We’ve needed a new hobby since our office games of ‘The Cones of Dunshire’ started getting too heated…

And finally. . . a whisky board game

They say you should never play with your food, but nobody ever said anything about playing with your drink. Which is just as well, as two Czech whisky aficionados have created a board game based around their favourite liquid. The idea came to them at a meeting of their whisky club which they call the Gentlemen of Tullamore, based on their early love for Tullamore D.E.W. “It took actually almost three years to develop,” Petr Pulkert, one of the duo, told us. He went on to say how helpful the industry has been with their project. “So far they, including legends like Nick Savage, John Quinn, Alan Winchester, Rachel Barrie, all helped us for free and with enthusiasm.” To play, you move your Glencairn glass-shaped counter around Scotland and Ireland, answering questions about whisky (and indeed whiskey) and collecting points. There are character cards featuring big whisky cheeses like Quinn, Barrie and Winchester. Each character has a special ability, such as Dave Broom with beard grooming, or Bill Lumsden with wearing snazzy shirts. We may be making this up a bit; we’re not precisely sure how the game works but it does sound like enormous fun, especially with a dram in hand (though this isn’t a drinking game). The Tullamore Boys are crowd-funding production: they’ve already raised £3,800 out of a target £6,622. So, if you like whisky and you like games, then sign up.

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The winner of our Game of Thrones Youtube competition is…

To celebrate the official end of Game of Thrones we gave you the chance to win some rather incredible whisky, and all it required was some quality time on YouTube….

To celebrate the official end of Game of Thrones we gave you the chance to win some rather incredible whisky, and all it required was some quality time on YouTube. Fates have been decided, and the winner has now been revealed. Here are the details:

Our exciting competition was announced back in May, when Game of Thrones was still a thing and the finale hadn’t caused one million people to petition to reshoot it. But, what’s done is done. There was, however, another incredible adventure that gripped many of you, and that was Master of Malt’s very own Contest for the Captain’s Chair, set in the mysterious realm of space on the Interstelleros spaceship. 

The incredible prize for completing this adventure was the entire Game of Thrones whisky range!

Game of Thrones whisky

Who will be lucky enough to take home all of these delicious whiskies?

 

What does that include, you ask? Oh, only nine bottles of extremely popular whisky with each representing a Westeros house, including House Targaryen’s Cardhu, House Tyrrell’s Clynelish, House Stark’s Dalwhinnie, House Lannister’s Lagavulin, the Night’s Watch’s Oban, House Baratheon’s Royal Lochnagar, House Tully’s Singleton of Glendullan and House Greyjoy’s Talisker single malts, with a cheeky bottle of White Walker blended Scotch thrown in for good measure. Can’t forget the Night King now, can we?

But best of all, you were in charge of our heroes. We trusted you with the fate of the Interstelleros spaceship crew, who faced teleports, space lizards, betrayal and even space whisky. It was quite the ride. But alas, all good things must come to an end, and the time has come to announce the lucky winner.

The winner is…

Terry Burns from Twinbrook, Belfast! 

Congratulations Terry. In the words of Tyrion Lannister, may you drink and know things. An enormous thank you to everyone who played Contest for the Captain’s Chair, we hope it helped fill a certain medieval fantasy shaped-hole!

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We put your Lagavulin questions to Colin Gordon!

Join us as we put your questions about Lagavulin to distillery manager Colin Gordon during Fèis Ìle 2019! During Fèis Ìle, we quizzed someone from every single distillery with YOUR questions. We’ll…

Join us as we put your questions about Lagavulin to distillery manager Colin Gordon during Fèis Ìle 2019!

During Fèis Ìle, we quizzed someone from every single distillery with YOUR questions. We’ll be putting out the footage every day, up until Friday 28 June. So follow the Fèis Ìle tag on the blog, Twitter, Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, and see if we asked your question!

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Fèis Ìle 2019: Day One, Lagavulin

It’s the first official day of Fèis Ìle 2019, so we did the only appropriate thing: headed south to Lagavulin to kick off the celebrations in some significant style! After…

It’s the first official day of Fèis Ìle 2019, so we did the only appropriate thing: headed south to Lagavulin to kick off the celebrations in some significant style!

After a day of sunshine yesterday (Bruichladdich, Port Ellen and Islay House looked amazing in the brightness), Saturday dawned murky and drizzly, with midges lurking about ominously. Grey, low visibility… typically Islay, perhaps, and the rain is certainly needed. Distilleries across the island are struggling with production due to low water levels. We* embraced the ‘greater good’ mentality, loaded up the car in full waterproofs, and jetted off back to Lagavulin for the first official distillery day of Fèis Ìle 2019!

Feis Ile Lagavulin

Whisky has arrived!

I say ‘back’ because after we hit ‘publish’ on Day 0’s post, we headed to the distillery for an absolute treat: a tasting of the full Game of Thrones single malt collection in the Malt Mill! Donald Colville, Ewan Gunn and newest ambassador recruit TJ talked the packed hall through the whole shebang, finishing on the House Lannister & Lagavulin 9 Year Old – I know whisky always tastes better where it was made, but this one truly was delectable! We rounded off the night with an array of Lagavulin-based cocktails; a dream way to round off Day Zero!

Feis Ile Lagavulin

Make way for the SMWS Tour of Islay!

But back to today! We parked up, grabbed the camera kit from the car (more on that shortly!) and made our way over to Lagavulin. But we didn’t get far because behold! The Scotch Malt Whisky Society peloton came through, fresh from starting their Tour of Islay challenge from Ardbeg. Lagavulin was stop number two. Thankfully they seemed fresh-legged and full of energy – we sent them off on their (not yet) merry way with a stash of our All Islay drams!

Lagavulin Feis Ile

All you need is Rhythm and Booze!

After waving the SMWS team off, the Ardview Inn pipe band arrived! Processing round the distillery, they kept the hordes Lagaqueuelin-ing for the official Fèis Ìle bottling (a 19 year old – more on that shortly) entertained. We then headed down into the yard. It was only 10:30 but the crowds had already gathered! Team Lagavulin was more than prepared for the soggy weather and were armed with free ponchos, so people could party and dram in the rain without a care in the world. Good job too – the bands, including The Rhythm and Booze Project, had everyone up on their feet.

Feis Ile Lagavulin

TJ wowing the crowd

Well – it was partly the blues, and definitely partly the drams. Lagavulin super-generously had free pours of its core range on offer. Plus an incredibly exciting 10 year old expression, not set to launch in the UK for another six months! Keep your eyes peeled – it’s a good one.

Feis Ile Lagavulin

PONCHO! (And Jake)

Adjacent to the dram hall was the cocktail bar – there was a major focus on mixed drinks this year, and rightfully so. Lagavulin is a great dram for mixing (we’ll send you to TJ if you even mutter the world ‘sacrilege’!) and the results were delicious. Ali Reynolds (off of Diageo Reserve and World Class) and the team cooked up some classics old and new, including the Smokey Cokey Floaty (with Lagavulin 16, complete with ice cream and a cherry!) and the really rather refreshing Queen of Islay, made with the 2017 Jazz Festival edition, ginger, hibiscus and soda. Yum. It was genuinely exciting to see cocktails properly take front and centre at a whisky festival – which they truly were in the (free!) cocktail sessions throughout the day, hosted by TJ and the legendary Colin Dunn!

Feis Ile Lagavulin

Our Laura with the Lagavulin Piña Colada and Queen of Islay!

It wasn’t all about the boozes, though – there was an epic selection of food available, including a number of delectable vegan options, much to our surprise and delight. Round of applause, Lagavulin! There were also free, reusable metal flasks given out along with loads of water stations, a welcome addition to various distillery open days in recent years. Responsible (sip, don’t gulp, folks!) and great for the environment (no plastic!).

We escaped from the melee to grab some time with Colin Gordon, Lagavulin’s distillery manager. You sent your questions for him on social, and we put a whole load to him! Keep your eyes peeled for the results. But also! He gave us a guided tasting through the 2019 Fèis Ìle bottling – a delectable 19-year-old expression. And we’ve got the footage with everything you need to know – and you can see it RIGHT HERE!

Aside from the brilliant crowd and the tip-top whisky, there was another major highlight. All the excellent doggos! Not put off by the rain, the hounds were out in force. A distillery really is an ace place to go if you want to make friends with a poochie!

Feis Ile Lagavulin

Gorgeous poochies!

Bravo, Lagavulin, and thanks for an epic day. We’re off for a hearty dinner and to dream of drams. Next stop tomorrow: Bruichladdich Open Day!

 

*An apology. In our blog yesterday, I neglected to introduce you to the 2019 MoM Fèis Ìle dream team! We are a five-strong band of whisky enthusiasts and media geeks, with the mission to bring all the fun of the Fèis to social, the blog and through the medium of video. We have Kenny, our film-maker, Dan, our social media manager, Jake and Laura from our campaign team and me, Kristy, our editor. If you see us out and about on Islay, come and say hi (and bag some whisky swag!).

 

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Win the entire Game of Thrones whisky range in our YouTube competition!

As Game of Thrones reaches its dramatic finale, we’re offering you a chance to WIN the entire Game of Thrones Single Malts Collection, plus White Walker by Johnnie Walker! All…

As Game of Thrones reaches its dramatic finale, we’re offering you a chance to WIN the entire Game of Thrones Single Malts Collection, plus White Walker by Johnnie Walker! All you have to do is get involved with a little YouTube choose-your-own adventure we’ve created…

“Whisky is coming”. So went the headline of our most-read blog post of 2018. Huge news it was! Then it came, and sold out immediately. Then we managed to get hold of a little more and it sold out again (we’ll keep trying to source more if we can!). It seems that many of you – and us! – love both Game of Thrones and delicious whisky. You’ll be pleased to know, therefore, that we’re offering you the chance to win the entire Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection plus White Walker by Johnnie Walker!

For your chance to win, you’ll need to watch a show other than Game of Thrones, however (sorry). One of our own making that’s now showing over on our shiny YouTube channel. It’s a sort of choose-your-own show, in fact, as you’ll need to help guide the characters. Their fate is in your hands! Successfully make it to the end and you’ll be able to enter to win this epic prize.

Due to the licensing agreements involved with a record-breaking hit HBO show, the eagle-warged among you may notice that our show isn’t in fact set in any kind of medieval fantasy world. But it is set in the next best place: a spaceship in space. Let’s call it… the Interstelleros. And we’ll call the show… Contest for the Captain’s Chair. Yes, that’ll do. Aid the crew in their quest and the glorious bounty of every Game of Thrones whisky could be yours!

That’s nine bottles of highly sought-after whisky including Cardhu, Clynelish, Dalwhinnie, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, Singleton of Glendullan and and Talisker single malts, representing House Targaryen, House Tyrrell, House Stark, House Lannister, the Night’s Watch, House Baratheon, House Tully and House Greyjoy from Game of Thrones respectively. It seemed churlish not to chuck the aforementioned White Walker blended Scotch in to complete the set!

Not bad for simply killing some time on YouTube, eh?

Game of Thrones whisky

Hold the door! Just look at this incredible haul that’s up for grabs!

Just follow the on-screen options to navigate through the videos until you to receive the super secret passcode at the end. To enter, subscribe to our YouTube channel (natch) and email the passcode to gotwhisky@masterofmalt.com along with your YouTube username. Best of luck!

Competition open to entrants 18 years and over. Shipping restrictions apply. Entries accepted from 18 May – 13 June 2019. Winners chosen at random after close of competition. Prizes not transferable and cannot be exchanged for cash equivalent. See full T&Cs for details.

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Raise a glass to delicious discounts on some of our favourite drinks!

Fancy treating yourself to something tasty? Getting a head start on gathering those Christmas provisions? We have news. We’ve lopped a chunk off the price of some of our very…

Fancy treating yourself to something tasty? Getting a head start on gathering those Christmas provisions? We have news. We’ve lopped a chunk off the price of some of our very favourite bottlings. Hurrah!

It seems like #WhiskySanta’s jolliness has well and truly rubbed off on us all here at MoM Towers. We’re spreading good cheer to all of legal drinking age with these incredible deals on some of our most beloved bottlings!

And why wouldn’t we? We love deliciousness and know you do too. It’s like a celebration of the most delectable drinks!

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Meet Cladach, the blended malt that completes Diageo Special Releases 2018

Last month we joined Diageo to taste the Special Releases 2018 cohort – but there was one expression we were asked to keep under wraps. Until now. The mysterious 10th…

Last month we joined Diageo to taste the Special Releases 2018 cohort – but there was one expression we were asked to keep under wraps. Until now. The mysterious 10th Scotch whisky expression is… Cladach!

‘What IS Cladach?’, we hear you cry. No, it is not the first release from a secret new distillery (although like many new releases it doesn’t carry an age statement). It is a blended malt from six coastal distilleries: Caol Ila, Clynelish, Lagavulin, Oban, Inchgower and Talisker. And it’s delicious.

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