We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

Tag: New Release

New Arrival of the Week: Smouldering Heights Gin

This new product from That Boutique-y Gin Company celebrates a small distillery that rose phoenix-like from the ashes and pays tribute to the greatest novel ever set in Yorkshire (no,…

This new product from That Boutique-y Gin Company celebrates a small distillery that rose phoenix-like from the ashes and pays tribute to the greatest novel ever set in Yorkshire (no, not All Creatures Great and Small).

Spirits are highly flammable, which makes distillation a lot more dangerous than brewing. Distillery fires have long been a problem and still are today. In July 2018 a fire swept through Long Pond distillery in Jamaica destroying around 65,000 litres of rum. In America, to ameliorate the potential effects of just such a fire, distilleries mix up their stock so one wouldn’t leave a hole in the inventory. And they keep their warehouses widely spaced so flames cannot jump from one to another. Despite these precautions, the 1996 fire at Heaven Hill in Bardstown, Kentucky managed to spread to seven warehouses destroying over 90,000 litres of spirit. Apparently the roads ran with burning bourbon and exploding barrels shot across the sky.

Masons Gin

This still is no more

The fire that took place this year in England was less spectacular but no less devastating for those concerned. It took place at Masons Gin in the Yorkshire Dales. This little distillery was set up six years ago by husband and wife team Cathy and Karl Mason. Early in April this year one of their stills blew up and started a major fire. Happily nobody was hurt but production had to be stopped. And in another stroke of luck, the distillery was having a new still fitted that month to increase production so there was already a replacement in the pipeline.

Some of the last spirit distilled in this now-deceased still went into Smouldering Heights gin. You might think that it was especially designed to commemorate the fire but according to Karl Mason, that is not the case:  “This is a liquid created at Masons Yorkshire Gin distillery prior to the fire, that represents our local heritage and traditions. Even the label design, complete with flame-thrower, was conceived before the fire which could be seen as a little spooky!”, he said.

It would seem there are forces at work in the universe that we cannot begin to comprehend. That label is, of course, inspired by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights with Karl manfully playing the part of Heathcliff and Cathy playing the part of… well, Cathy. Don’t they look great? But it also celebrates the annual burning of heather on the Yorkshire Moors. The smoky flavour in the gin comes from peated malt included in the botanical mix. We’re thinking a smoky Martini would be the best way to toast Mason’s phoenix-like rise from the ashes. Cheers!

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Oily, warm citrus from dried orange peel, coriander seed and Szechuan peppercorns, then delicate angelica, pine-y juniper and a little cardamom. Cassia bark and orris root add aromatic spice in the backdrop.

Palate: The initial focus is citrus, with key lime pie, then more angelica, juniper and exotic spice in support. Soft florals emerge underneath.

Finish: A delicately sweet and herbaceous finish.

“Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Cathy, I’ve come”

 

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Smouldering Heights Gin

Diageo releases new Italian gin, Villa Ascenti

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a new premium gin! Drinks giant Diageo has just announced the launch of Villa Ascenti, a new Italian gin with…

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a new premium gin! Drinks giant Diageo has just announced the launch of Villa Ascenti, a new Italian gin with an intriguing signature botanical.

The growth of the gin-dustry truly shows no signs of slowing down, with new releases popping up left, right and centre. The most recent of these is Diageo’s Villa Ascenti, produced at a new £360,000 distillery, Distilleria Santa Vittoria, based (rather unshockingly) in Santa Vittoria. It is the latest tipple to join Diageo’s luxury spirits portfolio. Trained winemaker and master distiller, Lorenzo Rosso, who has over 20 years’ experience with Diageo, is the brains behind the new spirit. Rosso works closely with local farmers and producers in Piedmont to source ingredients for the gin.

“Villa Ascenti Gin is rooted in provenance and brings local, fresh ingredients from Piemonte to life,” Tanya Clarke, general manager of Diageo Reserve Europe, commented. “Its use of locally-grown ingredients from the foothills of Piemonte, alongside some of the more classic botanicals associated with gin, has allowed us to create a high-quality liquid, which we hope existing and new gin drinkers will love.”

The local Piedmontese botanicals include fresh mint and thyme, which are distilled at their freshest within hours of harvest, and sweet Moscato grapes. The grapes are harvested in August and September and are then three times distilled, while during the third distillation they are infused with Tuscan juniper berries. Botanicals are distilled in a newly-refurbished Frilli copper pot still from the 1970s, so you can be sure there’s a splash of history in each bottle, too.

Villa Ascenti

One way to enjoy Villa Ascenti

“It has been an absolute privilege to be involved in developing Villa Ascenti Gin and to have the chance to showcase the very best of Piemonte to the world,” Rosso added. “It’s a beautiful gin with the region at its heart in its aroma and flavour, but also in how it’s best enjoyed – around the table with friends. I’m particularly proud of the use of the Moscato grape distillate, an idea that stemmed from my winemaking experience.”

So, we know you’re all wondering, what does it taste like? Well, who better to tell us than the Master Distiller himself:

Nose: Mint and thyme are vibrant and refreshing alongside the spice of the Tuscan juniper berries.

Palate: The Moscato grapes really come to life. Enhanced through copper distillation, the smooth, fruity flavour of this distillate rounds off zesty juniper notes to create a velvety, slightly sweet gin.

We reckon it would do very nicely in a Gin & Tonic with a sprig of thyme, and perhaps even some fresh mint leaves. The good news is that there isn’t long to wait, as Villa Ascenti will be available to buy this month! Keep your eyes peeled for news from your favourite online retailer.

No Comments on Diageo releases new Italian gin, Villa Ascenti

New Arrival of the Week: Darnley’s Very Berry Gin

This week Darnley’s Gin launched a limited edition gin distilled with local ingredients from the hedgerows and even from the sea. We went to Scotland for a little taste. ….

This week Darnley’s Gin launched a limited edition gin distilled with local ingredients from the hedgerows and even from the sea. We went to Scotland for a little taste. . .

In January we visited Kingsbarns Distillery in Fife to try its first whisky release, and very nice it was too. The distillery’s founders, the Wemyss family, also produces Darnley’s Gin which appeared back in 2010. In craft gin terms, this is ancient history.

Head gin distiller Scott Gowans talked me through the range. I enjoyed the Original and the cumin-accented Spiced Gin, but the one that really blew my hair back was a limited edition product – the Very Berry Gin. It’s a London Dry Gin made with Scottish hedgerow fruit including rose hips, elderberries and sloes. I loved its fruity flavour and the saline note that comes from using sugar kelp as a botanical, and couldn’t wait until it was available to the general public. Well the wait is over. It’s here.

Very Berry Gin

Very Berry Gin – note gleaming copper in the background

The range is named after Mary Queen of Scot’s first husband, Lord Darnley. She first met him in February 1565 at Wemyss Castle in Fife and was clearly quite impressed. A chronicle of the occasion wrote: “Her Majesty took well with him, and said that he was the lustiest and best proportioned long man that she had seen.” Blimey! By July of that year, they were married.

Unfortunately, despite his general dishiness, Darnley was also a violent drunkard. His behaviour, which included murdering Mary’s private secretary David Rizzio, quickly made him unpopular at court. Darnley was himself eventually murdered in 1567, some think at instigation of Mary.

His portrait sits in the gin distillery at Kingsbarns. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area not least for the theatrical gin tasting room. It seems like an ordinary room but at the touch of a button, a light comes on behind a wall-sized window to reveal the gleaming copper gin stills. Very James Bond.

Gowans uses both traditional distillation and vapour infusion to get those wonderful flavours into Very Berry Gin. When I tried it back in January, I immediately thought it would be great in a Negroni, but it’s also a natural candidate for a Bramble. Here’s a recipe which will get the most out of this very Scottish gin:

50ml Darnley’s Very Berry Gin
25ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
10ml crème de mure

Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice in a shaker, double-strain into a tumbler filled with crushed ice. Drizzle crème de mure on the top and garnish with a lemon slice and a bramble, and raise a toast to one of Scotland’s top scoundrels.

Darnley's Very Berry Pack Shot crop

It’s very very berry

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Darnley’s Very Berry Gin

The world’s best boozy Advent calendars are ready to rock and roll!

Drinks by the Dram’s delicious range of spirits-filled Advent calendars are ready to ship – snap yours up today! Our friends over at Drinks by the Dram announced details of…

Drinks by the Dram’s delicious range of spirits-filled Advent calendars are ready to ship – snap yours up today!

Our friends over at Drinks by the Dram announced details of their bumper range of booze-filled Advent calendars earlier this month. The stash has arrived at MoM Towers, and the heavenly haul is shipping now!

From whisky and gin to rum, Tequila, Cognac, and many, many more, each fabulously festive box is filled to the brim with 24 different wax-sealed drams, one tucked behind each window. There’s literally no tastier way to count down to Christmas!

2 Comments on The world’s best boozy Advent calendars are ready to rock and roll!

This is not a drill – spirit-filled Advent Calendars available to pre-order now!

Drinks by the Dram has released its 2017 range of brilliantly boozy Advent Calendars into the wild – pre-order yours now! Drinks by the Dram has unveiled its bumper range…

Drinks by the Dram has released its 2017 range of brilliantly boozy Advent Calendars into the wild – pre-order yours now!

Drinks by the Dram has unveiled its bumper range of Advent Calendars for 2017 – and the range is bigger and better than ever. From whisky and gin to Cognac, Tequila and many, many more, every calendar is filled to the brim with 24 different 30ml samples of deliciousness. What’s more, you can pre-order yours right this very moment with but a mere click of the mouse!!

Every calendar contains 24 different wax-sealed drams, one behind each window, collectively adding up to an Advent Calendar of much magnificence. We’ve got The Whisky Advent Calendar, The Ginvent Calendar, The Rum Advent Calendar, The Tequila Advent Calendar, and many more up our sleeves to make sure the Christmas spirit is well and truly flowing this December.

1 Comment on This is not a drill – spirit-filled Advent Calendars available to pre-order now!

Diageo unveils Special Releases 2017 in full

After much too-ing, fro-ing, teasing and general whisky-based commotion, Diageo has finally revealed the full details of its Special Releases class of 2017 – and there’s an intriguing blended malt…

After much too-ing, fro-ing, teasing and general whisky-based commotion, Diageo has finally revealed the full details of its Special Releases class of 2017 – and there’s an intriguing blended malt in the mix!

The 10-strong field matches last year’s outturn in terms of size. While then it was the oldest-ever Port Ellen expression that tickled our tastebuds in anticipation, it’s the 52 year old Port Dundas single grain that’s got us all animated this time round. Excitement also stems from a rare official Teaninich release, created to mark the distillery’s 200th anniversary. And it wouldn’t be the annual fun that is Special Releases without Brora and Port Ellen popping up to say hello.

6 Comments on Diageo unveils Special Releases 2017 in full

2016 Whisky Advent Calendar – Available for Pre-Order!

Drinks by the Dram have launched their 2016 range of Advent Calendars, and you can Pre-Order yours right now! Drinks by the Dram revealed their selection of spirit-filled Advent Calendars…

Drinks by the Dram have launched their 2016 range of Advent Calendars, and you can Pre-Order yours right now!

Drinks by the Dram revealed their selection of spirit-filled Advent Calendars for 2016 last week, all of which you can pre-order right this very second! Every calendar contains 24 different handmade wax-sealed 3cl drams, one behind each window, so you count down to Christmas while exploring spectacular whiskies, gins, rums, tequilas and more.

No Comments on 2016 Whisky Advent Calendar – Available for Pre-Order!

Drinks by the Dram Christmas Crackers!

Before we get started, yes, we know. We’re banging on about Christmas and it’s not even Halloween yet. Most of us at MoM Towers are only just putting the finishing…

Drinks by the Dram Christmas Crackers

Before we get started, yes, we know. We’re banging on about Christmas and it’s not even Halloween yet. Most of us at MoM Towers are only just putting the finishing touches to our costumes – this year I’m changing it up from my usual Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ cop and going as a horse with Jake. He’s kindly volunteered to be the back half (but he doesn’t know that yet).

However, the Drinks by the Dram Christmas Crackers were recently put up for pre-order and now we can’t but feel all Christmassy and whatnot. Just look at these handsome little rascals! Don’t expect to find any tiny rulers, giant plastic paper-clips or ridiculously easy puzzles here, oh no. These Christmas Crackers are filled with award-winning spirits and liqueurs!

3 Comments on Drinks by the Dram Christmas Crackers!

A new batch of Boutique-y Whiskies for a Tuesday Morning

So – it’s about that time again – new batches, and replenished batches of some absolute crackers from That Boutique-y Whisky Company. First up – spoiler alert – we do…

Fettercairn, Blended Malt #2 and Blair Athol That Boutique-y Whisky Company

So – it’s about that time again – new batches, and replenished batches of some absolute crackers from That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

First up – spoiler alert – we do have a new batch of both the Port Ellen, and Brora. I’ll understand if you want to stop reading for a bit and take care of a small (okay – large) transaction.

We’ve also got some brand spanking new lines though – 2 single malts and a blended malt (which after the editor’s choice award in the most recent edition of Whisky Magazine), should see some interest piqued…

No Comments on A new batch of Boutique-y Whiskies for a Tuesday Morning

Reference Series – The First Batch of Extensions

This range was born almost 6 months ago with the release of the initial ‘Reference’ Blended Malt Whiskies I, II, and III, and have received some lovely reviews from all…

Reference Series First Extension

This range was born almost 6 months ago with the release of the initial ‘Reference’ Blended Malt Whiskies I, II, and III, and have received some lovely reviews from all over the web – not least of which from Serge of Whiskyfun who rated the initial batch from 83-88 points.

The theory is initially simple – we took 4 components (2 blended malt and 2 single malt), and as the range progressed from I to III, the proportion of older whisky went up. This was designed to give us all an insight into the way that age affects whisky.

Today, however, is where it all really starts to get fun.

No Comments on Reference Series – The First Batch of Extensions

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search