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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Mackmyra

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Broaden your horizons and discover something new with this selection of sublime world whiskies! We love the history and tradition of whisky, from the many classic expressions to the legendary…

Broaden your horizons and discover something new with this selection of sublime world whiskies!

We love the history and tradition of whisky, from the many classic expressions to the legendary old distilleries. But whisky is also an ever-expanding category that’s ripe with innovation. It seems like everyday new nations are joining in the fun of distilling the good stuff while adding their own spin on what it is that makes great whisky. We’re deeply fond of this development and are delighted to champion the many wonderful producers that make whisky all across the globe. Which is why we’ve made this handy little list of some of our favourites, so you can indulge in an expression from India, South Africa, Sweden and more!

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Amrut Fusion 

Amrut Fusion is truly a world whisky as it was made from a mix of 75% unpeated Indian barley and 25% peated Scottish barley. These were distilled separately and aged for four years, then ‘fused’ together for a further three months. That’s why it’s called Fusion. See? Anyway, the whisky is delicious.

What does it taste like?:

Rich barley, fruity, citrus, gentle peat, coffee, dark chocolate, marmalade, baking spices and creamy sweetness. 

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Lot 40 Rye Whisky 

Canadian whisky deserves a bigger spotlight, so why not enjoy a legendary expression from Lot 40. A Canadian rye whisky that is produced in a single copper pot still, Lot 40 Rye Whisky was named after the plot of land home to the historic Ontario farm of Canadian pioneer, politician and distiller Joshua Booth, the ancestor of one of Hiram Walker’s distillers.

What does it taste like?:

Earthy rye is backed up by caramel, cardamom pod, peppery coriander, brown sugar, fresh vanilla pod sweetness, fig and flamed orange peel.

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Mackmyra Äppelblom 

Äppelblom, which means apple blossom, is distilled at Mackmyra and matured initially in bourbon and new American oak casks before it was finished in oak casks which previously held Calvados from Christian Drouin, one of the world’s leading Calvados producers. It’s recommended that you serve the fresh and spicy whisky alongside a warm apple dessert or even apple sorbet, which sounds amazing.

What does it taste like?:

Toasted oak, orchard fruits, pear, lemon, delicate floral notes, sweet vanilla, toffee, cedar, aniseed, caramelised almonds, white pepper and ginger spiciness.

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky 

South Africa’s first-ever single grain whisky and the winner of the Best South African Grain at the World Whiskies Awards 2019, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky was named after the chap who built the first roads in Wellington. It was distilled in column stills at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington and matured in first-fill American oak casks previously used for the maturation of bourbon, first for three years before being finished in a fresh set of casks for a further 18 to 30 months.

What does it taste like?:

Grapefruit peels, custard creams, icing sugar, nutmeg, fresh pear, banana, cardamom, meadowsweet and vanilla sugar. 

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Starward Two-Fold 

From the wonderful Starward in Melbourne, Two-Fold takes its name from the production process of this delicious Australian whisky, which combines spirits made from malted barley and wheat before the two are matured entirely in Australian red wine casks. It took home the prize of Best Australian Blend at the World Whiskies Awards 2019, continuing our winning theme.

What does it taste like?:

Banana bread, caramelised dates, nutty malt, soft vanilla fudge, brown sugar, cinnamon, pepper, coffee and walnut cake, summer berries and stewed stone fruit.

 

Explore the world via your tasting glass!

Smooth Ambler Old Scout American Whiskey 107 Proof 

Smooth Ambler Old Scout American Whiskey 107 Proof is a variation of their Old Scout American Whiskey bottled at 107 proof (that’s 53.5% ABV for those of us here in the UK). Expect a full-bodied, spicy and tasty expression from those delightful distillers in Greenbrier County, West Virginia.

What does it taste like?:

Roasted coffee beans, burnt caramel, a good kick of cumin, floral vanilla, fresh ginger, fragrant oak, fiery cinnamon, fudge, mango and sponge cake.

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Whisky Advent 2019 Day #12: Mackmyra Äppelblom

It’s nearly time to open door number 12 on your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendars! This dram hails from a Nordic spot known for the Northern Lights, Ikea,…

It’s nearly time to open door number 12 on your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendars! This dram hails from a Nordic spot known for the Northern Lights, Ikea, ABBA and, most importantly, lip-smacking whisky.

Well, that’s it. We’re officially half-way through Advent! If you’ve still got Christmas shopping to do, this is your call to arms. What have you been doing all this time? Go, go! If you’re one of those uber organised folk, then you can reward yourself with opening the 12th door of your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar, and treat yourself to some tasty Swedish whisky with a pretty… apple-ing cask finish (sorry).

Today’s dram is… Mackmyra Äppelblom!

Mackmyra is a pretty awesome Swedish distillery, breaking new ground all the time. Did you know it’s even got its very own super futuristic gravity distillery, built in 2011 at 35 metres tall. Like the name suggests, the eco-friendly distillery uses gravity throughout the whisky making process, with the raw ingredients entering at the top, and the new make collected at the bottom. The heat generated during production is even used to heat the premises, which is pretty nifty. 

Mackmyra Appelblom

It’s the fruit bomb that is Mackmyra Äppelblom!

It’s no surprise then that the folks over at the distillery have been known to try out some cool cask finishes, namely in the form of Mackmyra Äppelblom! Äppelblom means apple blossom, which makes more sense when you find out that, after ageing in bourbon and new American oak casks, the Swedish single malt was finished in oak casks which previously held Calvados. 

This wasn’t just any old Calvados, but spirit from one of the world’s leading Calvados producers, none other than Christian Drouin. Prepare yourselves for a whole load of spiced orchard fruits over here. Get your hot toddy glasses out and pair this one with warm apple juice for a winter warmer, or follow UK sales manager Alex Johnson’s advice on the perfect Äppelblom serve. We managed to grab a chat with Johnson to tell us more about all things Mackmyra.

Master of Malt: A Calvados cask-finished whisky! What can we expect flavour-wise?

Alex Johnson: Apples abound with strudel and custard, then cedar, soft spices, vanilla, pear and a touch of citrus.  

MoM: What’s your favourite way to drink Äppelblom?

AJ: Chill a glass and pour in a good measure. Serve with banana bread dipped in sea-salted extra virgin olive oil – you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Mackmyra Äppelblom

Check out Alex Johnson’s favourite serve, with a hefty slice of banana bread.

MoM: What was a Mackmyra highlight of 2019?

AJ: The creation and launch of Intelligens, the world’s first A.I. whisky was a very special event and another first for Mackmyra.

MoM: Can we expect more fun cask finishes from Mackmyra in 2020?

AJ: Of course, innovation is at our core. Angela’s not revealed what they’ll be just yet but we know they’ll be our best yet.

MoM: What’s your favourite Christmas cocktail?

AJ: A Margarita is a perfect way to get the day going but in the evening that try stirring some Äppelblom down with Angostura bitters, a pinch of sea salt and a dash of crème de banane. Serve on the rocks with slices of dried banana – it’s essentially an apple and banana Old Fashioned, but we call it a Bonita Äppelblom.

Mackmyra Äppelblom Tasting note:

Nose: Toasted oak and orchard fruits galore, namely apple and pear with a hint of lemon, delicate floral notes with sweet vanilla and toffee.

Palate: Well rounded fruity and spicy notes continue with the marriage of pear and citrus. Cedar wood emerges alongside aniseed, caramelised almonds, white pepper and ginger spiciness.

Finish: Spicy tones linger with gentle oak and zesty lemon and apple.

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Whisky Advent 2019 Day #6: Mackmyra Vinterglöd

Roll up, roll up, it’s the sixth day of Advent, which means that door number six on your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar is eagerly awaiting to be…

Roll up, roll up, it’s the sixth day of Advent, which means that door number six on your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar is eagerly awaiting to be opened! What’s in store for us today?

The first week of Advent is just flying by, don’t you think? With a different dram to look forward to every day, it’s hard not to wish away the whole 24 days! Today, we’re in for a real treat, with a whisky from a place which, over the last couple of decades, has now been put on the tasty whisky map. Yes, it’s a thing. Yes, it also looks a lot like a regular map, except… this one’s full of places which produce tasty whisky. Duh. 

Today’s dram is… Mackmyra Vinterglöd!

Once the friends behind Mackmyra started looking to create a Swedish whisky distillery back in 1998, it seemed ridiculous that nobody had thought of this before! There’s pure water running past the distillery, with Swedish barley growing in the fields, to the Swedish oak which can be used to make barrels for ageing. It’s like this is what the country was born to do!

Mackmyra Vinterglod

Mmm, maturing Mackmyra whisky…

Vinterglöd means ‘winter glow’ in Swedish, and the whisky was inspired by the Swedish tradition of drinking mulled wine during winter (though we wouldn’t say that’s an exclusively Swedish tradition, we don’t want to know how many ladles of mulled wine we get through during the festive period here at MoM Towers). To achieve this fruity, wine-y flavour, Vinterglöd is matured in casks that previously held Pedro Ximénez sherry and Swedish mulled wine. That should do it.

To learn a bit more about this fun-loving Swedish distillery, we chatted to UK sales manager Alex Johnson!

Master of Malt: What memories come to mind when you nose/taste Vinterglöd?

AJ: It’s all those lovely evocative Christmas flavours – Christmas cake, marzipan, fragrant spices, dried fruits, candied peel, sweet sherry and panettone.

MoM: What’s your favourite way to drink Vinterglöd?

AJ: With a slice of ginger cake or a bowl of Christmas Pudding. A roaring fire is not obligatory but it helps, however good company is essential.

Mackmyra Vinterglöd

It’s Mackmyra Vinterglöd!

MoM: What can we expect from Mackmyra in 2020?

AJ: More innovative finishes and more people experiencing their own personal 30L casks.

MoM: It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re sitting down with a Mackmyra dram. Which one is it?

AJ: It would have to be a bottle from my own Mackmyra Reserve 30L Peated Oloroso cask.

MoM: Okay, and besides mulled wine and (obviously) whisky, what’s your favourite Christmas tipple?

AJ: Sherry, sherry and more sherry – Manzanilla in the morning, Amontillado in the afternoon and PX with pudding!

Mackmyra Vinterglöd Tasting Note:

Nose: Christmas cake spice cuts through blood orange and red berries. Aromas of burnt toffee popcorn, caramel fudge and a little marzipan develop throughout.

Palate: Blackcurrant, pink grapefruit and a little floral barley blend with caramelised almonds and tobacco leaves.

Finish: Oak spice and ginger linger with a little cherry.

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Brand new boozes!

There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a bottle of something new, regardless of what you already have sitting at home. So indulge yourself with these recently released expressions… It…

There’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a bottle of something new, regardless of what you already have sitting at home. So indulge yourself with these recently released expressions…

It can be hard to keep up with the world of booze. It seems like every day there’s a different bottling launched on the market. It’s not easy to find the time to filter through all of the choices to find the perfect expression for you. That’s where we can help, by rounding-up some of the most delightful new drinks to arrive at MoM Towers.

Whether your drink selection looks like it could use a bit of a refresh, you want to broaden your horizons, or you just can’t help yourself and you want to buy some shiny new booze (we can relate), then this blog is the place for you.

1770 Peated – Release No.1

The Glasgow Distillery Company has released what it claims to be the city’s first peated whisky, made using heather-rich peat from the Highlands. The peated variant of its 1770 single malt was matured in first-fill ex-sherry casks, then finished in virgin oak casks. It’s historically significant and very tasty.

What does it taste like?

Zesty orange, toasty oak, burnt sugar, dried fruit richness, earthy peat and a hint of quince, juxtaposed by wafts of floral smoke.

Campfire Old Tom Gin

If you’ve got something a sweet tooth then an Old Tom gin might just be the thing for you. This expression is from the Puddingstone Distillery and it’s a variation of its original Campfire Gin that gets it extra sweetness from angelica root, lemon peel, cardamom and cinnamon. Traditionally Old Tom gins are sweetened with sugar or honey, so this is an interesting point of difference. Oh, and the great grandfather of the founder of the distillery was known to his friends as ‘Old Tom’. Which we think is neat.

What does it taste like?

Warming and sweet spices, with an undertone of piney juniper, fresh citrus notes and a sweet, creamy finish.

Mackmyra Vintersol 2019

Mackmyra’s seasonal release always proves popular and this expression should prove no exception. Vintersol (which translates to ‘Winter Sun’) 2019 was created in collaboration with the Port wine producer Quinta Do Vallado, who provided the Swedish whisky-makers with ex-port casks to add a rich and fruity dimension to the otherwise creamy whisky.

What does it taste like?

Oaky vanilla, liquorice, grape skins, custard creams, pear tart, fruitcake, tinned pear, vanilla custard, gingerbread and lots of dried fruit, with a subtle note of pine.

QuiQuiRiQui Tobalá

If you haven’t tried mezcal yet, you’re missing out. Let’s rectify the situation with a Joven mezcal that established lovers of the Mexican spirit will also appreciate from QuiQuiRiQui. Made from wild Tobalá agave, which is smaller than other varieties and takes around 10 or 15 years to grow to maturity, this is a complex and intriguing tipple. Production of this expression is also limited to ensure sustainable farming and protect the species.

What does it taste like?

Tropical notes of creamy coconut, tangy pineapple and corn on the cob (with a lot of butter), with a clean, grassy finish and gentle smoke lingering.

Octomore 10.1 5 Year Old

Perhaps the most accessible Octomore released to date, the first expression in Bruichladdich’s Octomore 10 series was created to explore “a different realm of ‘softer smoke’”. It’s peated to 107PPM, so those who like it smoky will still get a kick out of it, but it should prove less intimidating for those who want to start exploring the peatier side of things without smoking themselves out. Octomore 10.1 was aged for 5 years in a selection of first-fill American whiskey casks (Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and Jack Daniel’s).

What does it taste like?

Bright stone fruit sweetness, salty smoke, toasted sugar, charred oak, dried earth, waxy peels, salted caramel, tangy mango, peach and fiery peat.

LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin

Citrus-forward gins will always prove popular, so it’s a safe bet to say that you won’t regret indulging in this tangy variation of BrewDog’s LoneWolf Gin. That cloudy lemon profile is achieved by allowing the original recipe gin (which features punchy botanicals along the lines of Scots pine, lavender, fresh grapefruit peel, and more) to macerate with fresh Sicilian lemon peels for seven days.

What does it taste like?

Clearly lemon notes appear at the fore, but the spicy gin at its core is certainly no slouch, packing heavy notes of juniper and spice.

The ONE Signature Blend

The Lakes Distillery just keeps churning out great whisky, and this blend is just another example. The ONE Signature Blend features its very own single malt distilled in the Lake District at its core, which is then blended with Scotch single grain, and malt whiskies from the Highlands, Speyside, and Islay. It’s subtly smoky and delightful mixed or neat.

What does it taste like?

Toasted sugar, upside-down cake, honeysuckle, caramel, citrus, smoky spices, toasted oak, stem ginger, nutty malt, orange boiled sweets, cedar and menthol.

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The winner of our Mackmyra private cask ownership is…

Back in September we announced something rather marvellous, and that was the chance to win (and consequently own) your own maturing cask of spirit, courtesy of the awesome Mackmyra! It’s…

Back in September we announced something rather marvellous, and that was the chance to win (and consequently own) your own maturing cask of spirit, courtesy of the awesome Mackmyra!

It’s a truly unique opportunity to have you very own cask of maturing spirit, much less to have that new make come straight from the wonderful Mackmyra stills! The friendly folks over in Sweden will fill the lucky winner’s 30-litre first-fill ex-bourbon cask with unpeated new make spirit. The cask will even have a personalised brass plaque, with the winner’s shiny name glinting off it. That cask will then be matured in one of two Mackmyra’s warehouses for at least three years, though which warehouse is totally up to them!

Mackmyra cask

The winner’s cask could be maturing here very soon…

The fun doesn’t stop there. The victor will be given a 50ml sample of their maturing spirit each year so they can monitor their whisky’s maturation journey. Once a least three years and one day have passed (unless they want to let it mature for longer) the winner will be able to crack open the cask for good! Then the whisky will of course be bottled up, with labels boasting the winner’s own message slapped on the front before it’s delivered.

That’s a whole lot of excitement right there. But the really magical thing was that it was so easy to enter! All you had to do was nab yourself one of these tasty Mackmyra bottlings! To make it that little bit tastier, we even lopped £3.50 off MACK by Mackmyra, and a whole fiver off Mackmyra Äppelblom. We’re nice like that.

Mackmyra whisky

Treating yourself to a bottle of one of these tasty whiskies got you in with a chance of winning!

Well, we’ve rambled on for long enough, it’s time to get down to it.

The winner is…
Stephen Maher from Halesowen!

A massive congratulations to Stephen, your cask awaits. And a huge thank you to everyone who took part, though with a bottle of scrumptious Swedish whisky, you’re already winning.

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Win! The Mackmyra private cask ownership experience!

Ever wanted to own your own maturing cask of spirit, soon to be whisky? Now you can, courtesy of Swedish distillery Mackmyra! It’s a whisky lover’s dream – not just…

Ever wanted to own your own maturing cask of spirit, soon to be whisky? Now you can, courtesy of Swedish distillery Mackmyra!

It’s a whisky lover’s dream – not just having the drinks cabinet of dreams, but owning an actual cask, too. And Mackmyra wants to make this very dream come true for one very lucky drinks geek!

Mackmyra became Sweden’s first dedicated whisky distillery when it was founded in 1999. Now in 2019, the year of its 20th anniversary, it operates two sites, with a fierce focus on flavour and innovation. There’s peated (using bog moss and juniper!) and unpeated spirit, and there’s a real passion for capturing the local sense of place, too. And now, one mega-lucky winner can go behind the scenes at the whisky-maker with a cask of their very own!

So… what’s up for grabs?

Super simply, 30 litres of unpeated new make spirit, destined to go into a 30-litre first-fill ex-bourbon cask, complete with a personalised brass plaque. That cask will then be matured in one of two Mackmyra’s warehouses for at least three years. Victor’s choice! You can select between The Bodås Mine (the distillery’s primary warehouse, which has high humidity and stays at around 7-10°C all year round – you won’t be able to visit your cask here though, mind) or the Forest Warehouse (concrete-built and half-buried into a bank, with a drier atmosphere, a higher temperature in summer, and as such, a greater angels’ share – and you can visit it!).

Mackmyra cask

You could be the proud owner of a cask!

The winner will be able to monitor their whisky’s maturation journey, receiving a 50ml sample each year so they can see how it’s coming along. Once a least three years and one day have passed, it’ll be time for that lucky so-and-so to get their mitts on the actual whisky (that is, unless you want to let it mature for longer, which you’re free to do so).

The whisky will be bottled up, complete with labels bearing the winner’s own message, and then delivered. Be warned, though, Mackmyra can only deliver to the UK, Denmark, Germany or France – if the winner choose to further ship them elsewhere, they may be subject to duties and taxes by authorities at the destination country at the winner’s expense.

Loving the sound of the private cask ownership experience but fancy adding an extra flavour dimension? The winner will be given the option of upgrading (at their own expense) to peated spirit (£200), or to oloroso sherry, American oak or Anniversary casks (£600). You can even choose to start the process with a four year old spirit for £300.

I want the private cask experience! How do I enter?

Super simple! Snap up one of these delicious Mackmyra bottlings, and we’ll pop your name in a hat, just like that. Magic! (See T&Cs)

Mackmyra Whiskies

Snap up one of the delicious Swedish whiskies and you’ll be in with a chance to win!

To make it even easier, we’ve lopped £3.50 off MACK by Mackmyra, and a whole fiver off the mouthwatering Äppelblom! We are good to you.

You could also snap up Brukswhisky, Svensk Ek, Svensk Rök, or Svensk Rök/Amerikansk Ek from the core range, or Skördetid, Gruvguld, the Moment series, Fjällmark, Efva, Prestige, or Ledin from the seasonal line!

So. If you fancy winning the chance to join Mackmyra’s private cask ownership experience (provided by and Mackmyra’s sole responsibility), you know what to do! We’re not jealous of the winner at all…

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The Nightcap: 10 May

Another week with a bank holiday, but as we’ve seen before, that won’t stop the influx of information that we know as news – specifically about tasty booze! The season…

Another week with a bank holiday, but as we’ve seen before, that won’t stop the influx of information that we know as news – specifically about tasty booze!

The season of short weeks continues, keeping us on our toes when it comes to Monday plans. You have to be rather on the ball in April and May, otherwise you could end up at work all alone, or equally alone on a presumably sunny beach. One of those is probably more preferable than the other…

Anyway, you’re tuned in to The Nightcap, so let’s see what has been happening in the world of booze this week. On our very own blog, our very own Adam took a look at the continuing rebirth of Port Ellen, and then got a little musical with some Eurovision-themed tipples. Jess’ New Arrival of the Week was actually a double-header with the duo of new Nelson’s Rums. Ian Buxton’s guest column this week looked at both delicious and questionable innovations in whisky, while Henry recalled his adventure at Ramsbury Estate. Annie checked out five of the world’s most sustainable bars, and then took us through the story of the Bloody Mary for Cocktail of the Week.

And now, the news!

The Nightcap

This dream is one step closer to becoming a reality

Johnnie Walker Edinburgh attraction secures planning permission

If you talk to Diageo people, they are beyond excited about plans to open a Johnnie Walker venue on Princes Street in Edinburgh (as we revealed back in February). Now the dream is one step closer as this week planning permission was granted by Edinburgh Council. The venue on Princes Street will be more than just a shop: it will include a brand storytelling experience, an events space, and a training academy. It’s part of £150m investment in whisky tourism by the drinks giant. David Cutter, chairman of Diageo in Scotland, said: “We have had great support for our proposals from local stakeholders and businesses in Edinburgh and we are grateful to everyone who has helped us to get to this stage. We will continue to work with the local community as we now progress with construction and with making our plans a reality.” Cristina Diezhandino, Diageo Global Scotch whisky director, added: “We have ambitious plans to make this a truly world-leading attraction, drawing people from the four corners of the globe to Scotland and to give them an unforgettable experience in Scotch whisky and Scottish culture.” Construction work on the period building on Edinburgh’s grandest shopping street will begin very soon. The next step is for the City of Edinburgh Licensing Board to grant an alcohol licence. Let’s hope they do, or it’ll be a pretty sad whisky experience.

The Macallan kicks off ‘Experiences’ video series

Speyside-based Scotch whisky distillery The Macallan has unveiled a new video-based campaign to celebrate ‘innovative, interactive and engaging whisky serves’. The series, called The World’s Best Scotch Experiences, sees the whisky-maker team up with leading chefs and bartenders to give behind-the-scenes glimpses at all kinds of drinks creations. Featured in the series are everything from four-course tasting menus to 3D-printed serving vessels, from the likes of Manhattan and Mexico City. “As the leading single malt Scotch whisky, we strive to lead the way when it comes to new, immersive experiences, which in turn creates memorable moments and long-lasting success for The Macallan,” said Alexis Calero, key city and spiritual homes manager at The Macallan. “Through The World’s Best Scotch Experiences series, we were able to create and collaborate with chefs and mixologists that share the same passion we have for creating unique experiences and memories that bring The Macallan to life in an unforgettable way.” Check out US Macallan YouTube, Facebook, Instagram pages, or search the hashtag #DestinationMacallan to check it all out!

The Nightcap

Absolutely beautiful. That bourbon looks nice too.

Matthew McConaughey taps into Texas roots with Wild Turkey

Celebrities getting involved in the world of booze is nothing new. From George Clooney and Conor McGregor, to Derek Zoolander, it feels like half of Hollywood has tried to add some star-power to their chosen spirit (most impressive from Zoolander, given he isn’t actually real). Sometimes these launches can leave a lot to be desired, other times they can turn out alright, alright, alright. (I apologise for nothing). Wild Turkey will be hoping it can achieve the later with Longbranch, a bourbon launched in collaboration between master distiller Eddie Russell and creative director Matthew McConaughey. Longbranch, named to mark the friends that form the longest branches of our family trees, was inspired by the Academy Award-winning actor’s Kentucky and Texas roots. The small-batch release was made with eight-year-old Wild Turkey bourbon and refined with two separate charcoal filtration methods using American white oak and Texas Mesquite wood. It’s said to possess notes of vanilla, caramel, pear, citrus, pepper, toasted oak and a subtle, smoky finish. “Longbranch, in its simplest form, is an extended hand, inviting a friend into your family,” said McConaughey. “So the branch that was extended to me from the Russells was a long one, one that reached from Kentucky to Texas and back again. I offered the Mesquite from my great state to add to their legendary Kentucky whiskey and together we made Longbranch.” Wild Turkey Longbranch will be available in the UK in June for £40, and if it’s as good as McConaughey was in Magic Mike True Detective, then you’ll want a dram.

The Nightcap

Congratulations to Jonny!

Sotheby’s hires first spirits specialist

Unless you’ve been living under some kind of rock, you’ll know whisky auctions have become a Proper Thing in recent times. It’s a fact not lost on the team at Sotheby’s – in light of the zeitgeist, it’s hired its first dedicated spirits specialist. Say hello to Jonny Fowle! Born and raised in Edinburgh, Fowle founded his own whisky training business in 2012 and worked with companies including Mandarin Oriental, JW Marriot and The Peninsula. He also spent time as an ambassador for booze brands across Japanese whisky, gin and rum. More recently, he’s brokered deals on casks and rare whisky bottles. Rather well-qualified, then! “I am very excited to have joined Sotheby’s as the company strengthens its footing in the spirits market,” said Fowle himself. “It is an incredibly exciting time for a growing industry, and alongside the hugely talented Sotheby’s Wine team, we hope to place ourselves at the centre of that growth.” Congrats, Jonny!

The Nightcap

Anyone for an Aviation?

Pickering’s Gin and British Airways create ‘first’ gin for sipping in the sky

How many gins have you come across that were botanically engineered to be enjoyed at 30,000ft? Presumably none, because Pickering’s Gin claims it has achieved a world first. It’s worked with British Airways to launch its Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin! The gin was developed at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery using a balance of 10 botanicals specially selected to combat the suppression of our taste and aroma receptors due to in-flight low air pressure and lack of humidity. The botanicals also celebrate British flora and fauna, with juniper, rose petals and heather used alongside Pickering’s signature ingredients of lime, lemon, cardamom and cinnamon. The new release will be available onboard economy flights and as part of a limited-edition triple ‘Gin Flight’ miniature gift pack. Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin actually comes with two different tasting notes, depending on the altitude you’re at when you drink it. At 30,000ft, the citrus and sweet spice of cinnamon and cardamom are said to be more prominent, while at 10,000ft and below, the bold, floral juniper and delicate hints of rose and Scottish heather are more accentuated. “To banish so-called airplane ‘taste blindness’, we have carefully designed a botanical flavour profile that enhances what you lack when you’re soaring in the sky,” said Pickering’s head distiller and co-founder, Matt Gammell. “We trialled multiple iterations of the recipe in the air until we were confident that it would taste as good in the sky as it did on the ground.” It’s one small step for gin and one giant leap for enjoyable in-flight refreshments!

The Nightcap

Holyrood Distillery has it all, from cask programmes to a delightfully dapper dog!

Holyrood Distillery intros personalised cask programme

Edinburgh-based Holyrood Distillery – one of the producers in the mix to make the city’s first whisky for almost 100 years – has announced a fancy cask programme where customers can create their own barrel from scratch. How does it work? In consultation with head distiller Dr Jack Mayo and co-founder David Robertson, interested parties can buy a cask, choosing pretty much everything from the type and oak species to previous fill. Not only that, but they’ll be able to shape the production process too! Why not decide how long the barley is dried and roasted for, which yeast should be used during fermentation, and even have a say in distillation approach and date?! It really is the full customisation shebang! 100 casks have been made available in the programme, and production will start shortly after the distillery opens in July. Prices start from £4,500 for a 200-litre barrel, including flavour consultation, whisky creation, storage for ten years, sampling, insurance, labelling and bottling. “Everything we do at Holyrood is driven by flavour,” said Dr Mayo. “That’s why our Cask Programme gives people the unique chance to tailor a cask of our whisky to suit their flavour preferences.” Head to the Holyrood Distillery site to register your interest!

The Nightcap

Yann Bouvignies’ first menu at Scarfes is hitting all the right notes.

Scarfes Bar new cocktail menu

We headed over to the lovely Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood Hotel in London for a chat with head bartender Yann Bouvignies about the latest cocktail menu which combines music and drinks! Scarfes Bar is one of the few London hotel bars to boast live music every night, so it was only a matter of time until music made its way into the drinks list. The menu is an interactive journey through the genres, with one famous face representing each style, drawn by caricaturist Gerald Scarfe himself. Each genre is given two cocktails representing the music from the artist. For example, Tupac is the face of hip hop, and the two drinks were named Poetic Justice, a nutty, whisky-based cocktail reflecting the gentler, earlier days of his art, and Tradin’ Old Stories, a somewhat more assertive drink mirroring the development of Tupac’s music. It really is a fabulous idea: Aretha Franklin is the face of soul, Prince of funk, Louis Armstrong representing jazz, even the Spice Girls make an appearance in the name of pop. The new menu focuses more on sustainability (which is always good), and on many of the minimalist cocktails there is no garnish (especially if Bouvignies doesn’t deem it necessary and thinks it will simply be thrown away). With 18 cocktails in total, there is quite literally something for everyone, music and drinks lovers alike.

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Massimo Bottura’s (L) non-profit Food for Soul will receive a windfall from The Dalmore

Dalmore L’Anima raises £108,900 for Food for Soul

Remember when we brought you news of (and then got to taste!) The Dalmore L’Anima Aged 49 Years, the mega-fancy bottling set to be auctioned for charity? Well, bidding closed at Sotheby’s yesterday [9 May] at £108,900! A phenomenal amount of money. The full proceeds are going to Food for Soul, the non-profit founded by Massimo Bottura, Chef-Patron of Osteria Francescana, who also co-created the expression. Food for Soul, which he runs with his wife, Lara Gilmore, works to counter food waste through social inclusion. “We are honoured to be part of this great collaboration with The Dalmore, which displays the excellent features of this world-renowned whisky together with an Italian touch,” Bottura said. “I’m even more enthusiastic that this unique project, together with Sotheby’s precious help, will support Food for Soul to build projects that celebrate the culture and the potential of communities around the world.” Good work all-round, folks, and congrats to the winning bidder, who along with that incredible bottle, also gets to enjoy dinner for two at Bottura’s Modena restaurant, Osteria Francescana – voted the world’s best restaurant in 2016 and 2018. Buon Appetito!

The Nightcap

Fans of all things Japanese and boozy will surely be seeing more of James

Suntory appoints James Bowker as first UK ambassador

Hibiki, Yamazaki, Chita, Roku, Haku (check the blog on Monday for more!)… The House of Suntory certainly has deliciousness aplenty in its portfolio of Japanese tipples. And now there’s a dedicated UK brand ambassador to help them shine even brighter! Meet James Bowker, the man in the brand-new role. He’s tasked with spreading the spirit of Japan far and wide through the land and coming up with all kinds of education plans and cocktails. He’s been a bartender for more than 10 years, and developed a passion for Japanese whisky in particular at The Edgbaston Hotel in Birmingham. He then spent time making drinks in actual Tokyo, deepening is knowledge of Japanese cocktail techniques and visiting distilleries. “I’ve always had a passion for spirits and grew very fond of The House of Suntory whisky portfolio during my early days behind the bar,” Bowker said. “I can’t wait to become the face of The House of Suntory in the UK, building strong partnerships with bartenders and venues across the country to broaden the appeal for Japanese spirits, serves and the brands’ founding principles for continued perfection.” Congrats!

The Nightcap

The future is here. And it’s slightly confusing.

And finally… Mackmyra and Microsoft create ‘AI whisky’

Hands up if you’re an expert in artificial intelligence (AI)? Us neither (though if you are, and can shed some light on what our ‘And finally…’ this week means for whisky in general, please drop us a line!). Swedish whisky-maker Mackmyra has become an expert in the field after teaming up with Microsoft, of off computers, and Fourkind, a Finnish tech consultancy, to create the ‘world’s first’ AI whisky. Here’s what we think it means: the whisky recipe has been engineered using data based on consumer flavour preferences. According to the distillery, AI is used to “augment and automate the most time-consuming processes of whisky creation” with the possibility to create more than “70 million” recipes. “We see AI as a part of our digital development, it is really exciting to let AI be a complement to the craft of producing a high-quality whisky,” said Angela D’Orazio, Mackmyra’s master blender. “It is a great achievement to be able to say that I’m now also a mentor for the first ever created AI whisky in the world.” According to a Microsoft spokesperson, AI-generation can have an impact in multiple industries. “These new AI solutions can be used to generate products that retain the spirit, look and feel of the brands behind them, while at the same time being new and unique.” It stressed, however, that AI isn’t designed to replace a master blender, who should always have a curation role in the process. Mackmyra’s AI-generated whisky will be available from Autumn 2019 – but it very much seems like the future is now. The robots are coming!

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The Nightcap: 28 September

The working week is coming to a close, as is September as a whole, which means it’s right about time for another edition of The Nightcap! Friday has rolled around…

The working week is coming to a close, as is September as a whole, which means it’s right about time for another edition of The Nightcap!

Friday has rolled around once again, bringing the weekend into view! If you’ve finished up your work week and are preparing for a Saturday filled with plans and the like, do so with a brain full of knowledge about the world of drinks, harvested from a brand-spanking-new volume of The Nightcap.

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Whisky Advent 2017 Day #14: Mackmyra Brukswhisky (The Swedish Whisky)

We’ve arrived at day 14 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and today we’re going so far north even the Scots might begin to feel the cold! Day…

We’ve arrived at day 14 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar, and today we’re going so far north even the Scots might begin to feel the cold!

Day #14 has rolled around, meaning there’s only 10 days left of #WhiskyAdvent… *sad face*. To appropriately begin our Final Countdown*, we’ve hopped over to Sweden for this dram.

Satisfying your need-for-Swede (sorry), behind window #14 of Drinks by the Dram’s Whisky Advent Calendar is… Mackmyra Brukswhisky (The Swedish Whisky)!

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Whisky Advent Day 17: Mackmyra Brukswhisky

Day 17 of #WhiskyAdvent and time to leave Scotland once again, for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram is a single malt from Sweden! Mackmyra opened their first distillery back in…

Whisky Advent Calendar

Day 17 of #WhiskyAdvent and time to leave Scotland once again, for today’s Whisky Advent Calendar dram is a single malt from Sweden!

Mackmyra opened their first distillery back in 1999 and have since gained a reputation for producing some top malts. In 2012 they opened a second site, a gravity-run facility that stands at 37 metres high! This is where all of their distillation now takes place, save for the odd special run.

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