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Tag: Old and Rare Whisky

Last Drop Distillers – sniffing out rare casks

The Last Drop Distillers’ business model is based on sniffing out rare casks of spirits and Port. But what happens when such rarities become impossible to find? Ian Buxton talks…

The Last Drop Distillers’ business model is based on sniffing out rare casks of spirits and Port. But what happens when such rarities become impossible to find? Ian Buxton talks to managing director, Rebecca Jago, to find out. 

What do you do when the last of the really good, really old stuff is all gone? Admittedly, it’s not the kind of issue that confronts many of us all that often, but it is an existential problem if your name is The Last Drop Distillers and your company’s raison d’etre is to sniff out vanishingly rare old spirits, snap them up and bottle them for our delectation.

But let’s start at the beginning because, unless you’re one of the fortunate few able to purchase at this rarified and thus necessarily expensive end of the drinks market, the activities of The Last Drop Distillers may have gone unnoticed. And that would be a shame because this is an interesting and innovative little company with a refreshing approach to rare, super-premium spirits.

Rebecca Jago MD of Last Drop

Rebecca Jago MD of Last Drop

The Last Drop story

The company began life in 2007 as a retirement project for two notable figures with long-standing and distinguished records in the drinks industry – James Espey, OBE and his erstwhile colleague Tom Jago. But ‘retirement project’ doesn’t really do justice to two remarkable individuals. Espey’s conventional working life saw him rise through various corporate ranks, ending with very senior roles in International Distillers & Vintners (IDV – a forerunner of Diageo), United Distillers and latterly as global president of Chivas Brothers’ whisky business. After that, instead of fading gently away, he reinvented himself as a mentor, philanthropist, author and entrepreneur, as well as non-executive director of various drinks businesses. In truth, even today an hour in his company is both stimulating and quite exhausting for those of us of lesser talents and energy.

As entrepreneur he joined forces with an old colleague, Tom Jago (who sadly died, aged 93, in October 2018). He too was something of a force of nature and a new product development genius in IDV’s glory days. Often working with Espey, Jago led the teams that created Baileys, Le Piat D’Or, Malibu, The Classic Malts and Johnnie Walker Blue Label amongst others. He did have flops, but not many in what is a notoriously failure-ridden process.

So, what do you get if irrepressible energy combines with unrivalled expertise? The result was The Last Drop Distillers, which set out to be (in Espey’s words) “the world’s most exclusive super premium liquor company, offering rare finds (very limited quantities) of very old superb award winning whisky and cognac”. Many, of course, available through Master of Malt including blended and single malt whiskies, Cognac, rum and even some remarkably venerable Port.

The younger generation take over

So, since 2008, that’s what they have been doing. But by 2014 they were both ready to step back and control of the business, still wholly independent at that stage, passed to their daughters Rebecca Jago and Beanie Espey. Motherhood and another drinks project (Xeco sherry) caused Beanie Espey to restrict her role to that of an advisor, and today the company, which in 2016 was sold to Sazerac, is run by Rebecca Jago with two colleagues Nick Morton and Michael Cowman. 

The aim remains the same but, with Sazerac’s financial and distributor might behind them, Last Drop is evolving. It’s an interesting partnership – being privately-owned, intensely tight-lipped and appreciative of the extended timescales involved in the maturation of fine spirits, it’s harder to think of a more appropriate parent than Sazerac.

Jago is fulsome in her praise. “Respect for the liquid is at the heart of everything we – and they – do”, she says, adding that “we need to plan ahead to build relationships, letting customers know what we plan next. Sazerac’s support has transformed the business while letting us plot our own path.”

Colin Scott - Last Drop

Colin Scott, just one of the illustrious names in the Assembly

Assembling the Assembly 

That path now involves a carefully structured programme, incorporating a curated autumn release of three very exclusive spirits and a spring release of a new creation by one of their ‘Assembly’ members – a group of luminaries from Scotch, American, Irish and Indian whiskies, Cognac and rum. And what a group they are: there’s Colin Scott, formerly of Chivas Brothers; Drew Mayville, master blender at Sazerac; Richard Seale from Foursquare Rum; Louise McGuane of JJ Corry Irish Whiskey; Michael d’Souza, master distiller and blender at Paul John Whisky; and Denis Lahouratate, cellar master at Domaine de Sazerac Cognac.

Though we can probably eventually expect some extra-aged Buffalo Trace bourbon from their Warehouse P climate-controlled racks (Sazerac own this iconic distillery), the first expression from the Assembly is a Scotch. Last Drop’s first ever release under its own label is 500 bottles of a 50 year old blend, created by Scott and carrying his signature. Now it’s not what you’d call cheap. But by the standards of today’s whisky pricing, at £3,250, is in comparative terms it’s something of a bargain.

last drop 50 yo blend

Last Drop 50 Year Old blend, for drinking, not investing

Rare spirits for drinking, not investing

And that led me to discuss with Rebecca Jago the vexed question of ‘investment’ in whisky.  It’s a subject I’ve been outspoken on for some time, considering the very idea to be almost sacrilegious and watching, with growing concern, the increasingly inflated claims for returns from the purchase of casks of new make whisky. Turns out we’re of like mind. “Alcohol was never designed as an investment,” she told me. “It’s for celebration and conviviality – it was designed to be shared.” 

So, when you get your bottle from Last Drop, remember that the mini they include with every release is not to give you a little taste before you flip the rest at auction, but so that you can plan, savour and anticipate the momentous occasion when you open the big bottle. So go to it – invest in your pleasure in some extraordinary spirits that deserve to be set free.

The Last Drop Signature Blend is available from Master of Malt. Click here to buy. 

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#WhiskySanta’s Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar Super Wish!

#WhiskySanta has already granted one extraordinary wish, but he was only just getting started. The second Super Wish is here and it’s pretty amazing As I’m sure you all know,…

#WhiskySanta has already granted one extraordinary wish, but he was only just getting started. The second Super Wish is here and it’s pretty amazing

As I’m sure you all know, it’s not easy getting your hands on rare and remarkable booze, even if you are a marvellously omniscient and handsome festive fellow. Sometimes you wish all these tasty treats could be in one easy location, preferably some kind of seasonal box of treats. One that delivers you a daily dose of deliciousness, perhaps in dram form. You don’t want to overdo it. I once had too many mince pies in one sitting and the thought of another one… oh, who am I kidding? Anyway, while I tuck into another pack of Mr. Kipling’s finest, you can get wishing for the beauty I’ve just described. How is that possible? Because it’s The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar. That’s how.

Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar

The amazing Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar!

The Advent calendar includes 24 different wax-sealed glass drams of magnificent malts and exceptional blends by 21 distilleries from America, Japan and, of course, Scotland. What whisky fan wouldn’t love this? Ordinarily, this beauty would set you back £999.95, but for a lucky someone, it will cost absolutely nothing!

How can I be in with a chance to win all this loveliness?? Simple. Head to The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar product page and you should see a shiny ‘Wish’ button. Click on that and a box will appear with a pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Press publish and voila, just like that you’ve made your wish! How does this work? Through complex technology befitting the current age we live in? Don’t be ridiculous. It’s magic, silly. Christmas magic. You can also wish on Instagram too if that especially appeals (just make sure you use the #WhiskySanta hashtag to make it easier for those delightful minions at MoM Towers). The deadline is the end of Thursday, folks!

Make your wish by Friday if you’d be into this sort of thing…

Now, I have a six-pack to tuck into (#pielife) while I stare at the windows of my own Advent calendar and resist tearing them open to see what delights are hidden behind them. Get wishing!

UPDATE: Would you believe it, I’ve only gone and granted this Super Wish! James Maddock, I do hope you enjoy your Old and Rare Advent Calendar!

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The Nightcap 22 November

This week on the Nightcap: The Macallan turns its distillery into a festive wonderland, register to vote and you’ll get a free drink, and stop worrying about your hangover: you’re…

This week on the Nightcap: The Macallan turns its distillery into a festive wonderland, register to vote and you’ll get a free drink, and stop worrying about your hangover: you’re only making it worse. 

We don’t know about you, but we’ve spent most of this week scavenging for firewood around the Master of Malt warehouse. At the first sign of a broken pallet out came the kindling vultures to squabble over scraps of pine and medium-density fibreboard to be hoarded and turned into life-giving heat later in the day. What a life! This is just a roundabout way of saying that it’s been properly cold this week. But it’s also the perfect weather to curl up by the fire with a dram of something rich and smooth, and revel in this week’s Nightcap. 

The blog went competition crazy this week with a chance to win tickets to see singer songwriter Jarrod Dickenson with Balcones whisky and with #WhiskySanta is giving away a bottle of Hennessy Paradis worth nearly £1,000. In non-competition news, our Jess tried The World Whisky Blend from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, and went to Seville to discover the Royal Salute 29 Year Old Pedro Ximénez. Meanwhile, Annie got acquainted with Dutch spirit genever, and spent five minutes with Dr Kirstie McCallum, the new head of whisky creation at Glen Moray. Adam tried a bourbon with a Japanese twist courtesy of Beam Suntory, and, clearly in a Kentucky frame of mind, spoke to Jackie Zykan, master taster for Old Forester. Kristy peered into her crystal ball to look at rum’s future with Lucy Cottrell from Dead Man’s Fingers; and Henry brought us news on the revival of Rosebank distillery and cooked up a hot cider cocktail to keep the cold out. 

That’s the week that was. On with The Nightcap!


Some very rare Macallans like those in the Vietnamese collection

Whisky collection smashes record with £10m valuation

How much is your whisky collection worth? A few hundred quid? Maybe into the thousands? This week, Guinness World Records confirmed a Vietnamese collector was the delighted owner of the most valuable whisky collection in the world – weighing in at a mighty £10,770,635! The haul belongs to Mr Viet Nguyen Dinh Tuan of Ho Chi Minh City, and it was valued by the team at Rare Whisky 101. They reckon the figure could top £13,032,468, when you add on the 21% buyers’ premium if it was sold through a UK auctioneer. The collection features 535 bottles, including the only known complete Macallan Fine & Rare set, complete with three 1926 bottlings. Only forty were ever released! There are also 12 bottles of the oldest and most expensive Bowmore ever released (it fetched £300,000 at auction recently), and one of only 24 bottles of the 1919 vintage Springbank. Phew. Mr Viet has been building his collection for over 20 years. “For me, whisky collecting has been my life’s passion,” he says. “Every spare I moment I get, I’m searching auction sites and trading websites to find famous and rare whiskies from around the world. Clearly this requires a lot of patience and no shortage of tenacity, but I’m proud of my efforts. As for my collection, I have no intention of selling any of it. Not one bottle. In fact, I’ll continue to hunt for more old and rare bottles and add to and enrich it.” Wowzers!

Warehouse X Experiment 2 Barrels resize

“Careful Jed, it’s one of those experiential casks!”

Buffalo Trace Distillery completes second Warehouse X experiment

Cask ageing is still a perplexing business, but the team at the Buffalo Trace Distillery is attempting to break the process down using the specially-designed and mysteriously-monikered Warehouse X. The second experiment at the facility, which began in 2016, has just been completed. It focused on how temperature affects the ageing process. The warehouse’s four chambers were used to determine how barrel activity correlates with temperature changes, keeping two chambers constant and varying the other two chambers and leaving the breezeway unchanged. Buffalo Trace tracked temperature fluctuations, monitored barrel pressures and collected a total of 9.1 million data points. As a result, the distillery was able to confirm how temperature affects pressure, colour and flavour over a period of three years. After leaving Warehouse X, the barrels were rolled into a traditional warehouse to continue ageing, as was done with the first experiment. Built in 2013, Warehouse X was created to study the many variables that affect the bourbon maturation process, and Buffalo Trace is now almost a third of the way through a 20-year project to monitor numerous atmospheric elements, including natural light, temperature, humidity and air flow. The first experiment, which ended in 2016, focused on natural light. The next two-year experiment will begin soon to expand on the most recent findings, focusing on how temperature swings affect whiskey activity in the barrel. We’re intrigued to see what they find.

It’s David C. Stewart or DCS to his friends

The Balvenie unveils final DCS Compendium instalment

In brilliant but bittersweet news, Chapter Five of The Balvenie DCS Compendium has been unveiled. Why bittersweet? Because it’s the last of the series, so for one final time we all have the opportunity to gaze longingly at five unique and intriguing single-cask Balvenie expressions that none of us will ever taste. Titled ‘Malt Master’s Indulgence’, the rare vintages were selected by David C. Stewart MBE (hence DCS) for their significance to his career. Aged between 16 and 56 years, the selection includes The Balvenie’s oldest-ever bottling, the fragrant and sweet 1962 expression taken from a European oak oloroso hogshead, which commemorates Stewart’s very first year at the distillery. The longest-serving malt master in the whisky industry, who started the role back in 1974, commented on Chapter Five: “It takes a good deal of time to understand how each cask differs and how whisky maturation is affected by various wood types. You need confidence to select casks and know which are likely to achieve greatness. Working for a family company, I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the freedom to make stock decisions based on my preference and vision, with the free rein to pick casks and hold on to whisky, not always knowing what I’m going to do with it, for no other reason than thinking one day it will be extraordinary. For me, this is indulgence in its truest form.” As with past Chapters, Chapter Five is presented in a handcrafted, individually-numbered frame, with just 50 sets available worldwide. It also features The Balvenie DCS Compendium book depicting rare archive imagery from the distillery, along with information on each of the five chapters, which documents Stewart’s thought process in curating the Compendium. The Balvenie is also planning a series of celebratory events throughout 2020 to mark the completion of the project.

£2500 and you have to bottle it yourself.

Bottle your own 40-year-old at Aberfeldy Distillery

Heading up to the charming Aberfeldy Distillery? You can now hand-bottle the delightful Aberfeldy 40 Years Old! Directly from the cask. In the warehouse. Yes, that’s the oldest whisky the Highland whisky-makers have released to date. If that doesn’t get you excited, nothing will. In total, three single cask editions will be launched, all of which were first filled on 22nd August 1978 and matured in American oak, ex-bourbon hogsheads. “To find one cask at this venerable age, is extraordinary but to find three, is exceptional. Just think of the four decades of history these casks have slumbered through,” said malt master Stephanie Macleod. “The single cask is something that we at Aberfeldy bottle rarely – to have the honour of filling your very own bottle of our oldest and most exclusive whisky yet, is a truly special opportunity. The golden hallmarks of the distillery are evident; beautifully-balanced, elegant and well-mannered with peerless texture, perfectly expressed by these 40-year-old bottlings.” The whisky will be on sale for £2,500 a bottle, exclusively from the Aberfeldy Distillery.

Just some of the mouth-watering rums drunk on World Foursquare Day at Trailer Happiness in London

Barbados distillery honoured with inaugural World Foursquare Day

Rum lovers of London descended on Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill last Sunday (17 November) for the inaugural World Foursquare Day. The day was the idea of Facebook group Foursquare Rum Appreciation Society to celebrate the much-loved Barbados distillery. According to Foursquare brand ambassador Peter Holland, they chose 17 November because it “was the day that Foursquare Distillery and Heritage Park was officially opened by Sir David Seale [father of the owner, Richard], and the Prime Minister of Barbados Mr. Owen S. Arthur in 1996.” Holland organised the London event; there were rum cocktails, bottles from Holland’s own collection (including the ultra-rare Foursquare Triptych), and even a surprise appearance from the Seales themselves. There was also a well-attended event in Milton Keynes. Holland told us: “Next year, I think we will look to grow the event, and, perhaps in conjunction with the UK importers, see if we can get a few more bars involved across the UK. Increase the celebration, but try not to make it crass and commercial.” So put 17 November 2020 in your diary now.

Annabel Meikle, one of the judges at the Spirit of Speyside Awards

Top whiskies shortlisted for Spirit of Speyside Awards

Awards and whisky go together like bread and butter, and Speyside is about to get its fair share! Eight Speyside single malts have been shortlisted as finalists in the international Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards. The initial judging process took place earlier this month in the heart of Speyside (well, where else could it be?), where a panel of leading whisky experts carried out a blind tasting of 41 entries. A tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. However, it’s not the experts who get the final say. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards are the only industry awards in the world to give consumers the final vote. Over the next six months, the two finalists in each category will be put forward for judging by whisky drinkers all over the place, from the UK and Europe to India and Canada. Spanning four categories, this year’s finalists are Aberlour 10 Year Old and Cardhu 12 Year Old, Benromach 15 Year Old and Glenallachie 15 Year Old, Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year Old and Glenfarclas 25 Year Old, and finally Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition and Cardhu Amber Rock. “It was almost impossible to pick just two finalists in each Awards category this year – the standard of whisky produced here in Speyside by our local craftsmen and women is truly exceptional,” said James Campbell, Chairman at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. “We’re very much looking forward to opening up the judging to consumers over the next six months before celebrating the winners at what we believe is the finest whisky festival in the world.” You’ll have to wait a few months for the results, as the category winners will be announced at the opening of the 2020 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in late April.

Fairy lights from Robert Dyas at The Macallan

The Macallan Distillery goes festive

The team at the Macallan are pulling out all the stops to turn the award-winning distillery into a festive wonderland this Christmas. As you’d expect from such a luxury brand, this will be a little more lavish than neon Santas, plastic holly, and M&S mince pies. Instead, the decorations have been inspired by the character of the single malt with golden acorns, dried berries and a palette of sienna, gold, copper and black, colours traditionally associated with The Macallan”, no less. At the centre will be a “towering” 15 ft Christmas tree. But that’s not all. There will also be a special Christmas menu in the restaurant, seasonal Macallan cocktails like the Speyside Flip and the Clootie to be sipped, and a special after-hours dinner on Thursday 5 December. Stuart Cassells, general manager, commented: “We are incredibly proud of the success our new distillery experience has enjoyed since opening 18 months ago. But we want to be more than a fantastic visitor attraction. Our ambition is to become a key Speyside destination, a place where people from the local community and further afield want to return to again and again. We’re extremely excited about the exclusive experiences we are offering, from unique gifting options to our new brasserie and bar menus. We hope to attract visitors old and new and look forward to providing a warm welcome to The Macallan Estate this festive season.” Sounds magnificent, though we’d have been just as happy with M&S mince pies as long as there was some Macallan to wash them down with. Don’t tell #WhiskySanta…

Remember kids, don’t drink and vote

Free drink if you register to vote

Here’s a good way to combat voter apathy (and we are being asked to vote a lot more than normal). A free drink when you vote. Brilliant! Why did no one think of this before? Well, of course they did. In elections past, unscrupulous politicians would ply the electorate with booze to get them to vote the ‘right’ way. But this new initiative from the Lollipop group of venues around London, is not trying to corrupt, just get people to vote. Simply turn up at a Lollipop bar, like Journey on the King’s Road or Dear Sunny in Hackney, prove that you have registered to vote before 26 November (the closing date), and a free drink will be yours (full details and list of venues here).  Founder Seb Lyall had this to say: “We know how important it is for people of all ages and backgrounds to get out there and vote on December 12. These elections will have a significant impact on our industry and we want as wide a group of voices to be heard as possible.” Make sure, however, that you vote sober, or you never know who we might end up with.

We could be saying, ‘goodbye Joe to baijiu” (sorry)

Are we heading for a baijiu shortage?

Kweichow Moutai is one of the biggest baijiu brands on the planet – and this week, at its overseas distributors conference, the company suggested that the Chinese spirit is gaining such a following internationally that stock shortages are becoming a reality for the first time. “It’s one of the most significant changes we have seen in overseas markets since Moutai rebounded in the domestic market in 2016,” said Moutai Group chairman and party committee secretary Li Baofang. Baijiu is the most consumed spirit category in the world, although the vast, vast majority is drunk in China. This looks to be slowly shifting though – and from 2017-18, we saw a 650% uptick in sales here at MoM Towers, albeit from a teeny base. Keep an eye out for more baijiu in 2020 – if international supply can keep up with demand!

Don’t worry, be happy

And Finally… Worrying about your hangover ‘makes it worse’

We’re all about responsible drinking here at MoM Towers. Remember – sip, don’t gulp! But sometimes, a little overindulgence can happen. And new research from the University of Salford this week appears to confirm something we’ve had a little inkling about: worrying about a hangover makes it worse. It’s all linked to whether someone is likely to “catastrophise pain” or not. What’s that, we asked. Apparently it’s when you worry too much about the threat of pain, which makes you feel like you can’t manage it, and then dwell on how much something hurts. 86 people ages from 18 to 46 were quizzed about a recent time they’d had a drink (more gulping than sipping. Just don’t). The results showed a “significant relationship” between all that catastrophising and the severity of the hangover. Turns out there are actual dehydrated-related symptoms, but also stress-related ones, too – and the stress ones were more likely to get on that catastrophising. “These findings suggest the importance of cognitive coping strategies in how people experience hangovers after drinking alcohol,” said lead researcher, Sam Royle. “This may have implications in understanding behavioural responses to hangovers, and also for addiction research.” Good work, Sam. But the best way to avoid that hangover? Keep the booze consumption sensible in the first place! 

And with that in mind… Happy weekend, folks!

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Royal Salute unveils new drams and makeover

Royal Salute is toasting a couple of delightful additions to its signature range with its first-ever blended malt and permanent peated whisky, as well as a fancy new makeover. Back…

Royal Salute is toasting a couple of delightful additions to its signature range with its first-ever blended malt and permanent peated whisky, as well as a fancy new makeover.

Back in May, I was fortunate enough to be invited to Aynhoe Park, a Grade I listed, 17th-century country house in the Cotswolds, by Royal Salute, who promised big news. But before we get to that, we need to discuss the venue.

It’s like the Mad Hatter’s summer house. There are stuffed giraffes with bow ties and bowler hats. A herd of (unstuffed) white stags roam in the fields outside. There’s even an underground nightclub. Somehow, none of this was the most exciting part of our adventure, however.

That was to come in the form of delicious Scotch whisky, as Royal Salute revealed the reason why we were all assembled was so it could show off its brand new look and two delicious drams: The Lost Blend and The Malts Blend. We’ll get to the makeover later, but we know you really want to hear all about the two additions to the signature 21 Year Old range.

Master blender Sandy Hyslop was visibly excited about them himself at the event. “As master blender for Royal Salute, there is no greater honour than protecting the continuity of the blend that was first created in 1953 and has remained exceptional ever since,” he explained. “But to have the opportunity to create something entirely new for this sensational portfolio – an elevated Scotch evoking the signature Royal Salute style but with its own unique characteristics – that’s truly the dream.”

Without further ado, let’s take a look at them…

Royal Salute

Aynhoe Park: it’s wild.

Royal Salute The Lost Blend

Our first newcomer is The Lost Blend, which includes scarce whiskies from distilleries no longer in production such as Caperdonich and Dumbarton (much like the Lost Distilleries Blend). Whisky from the Imperial Distillery is said to be at the heart of the blend, which is a fitting choice for Royal Salute, a brand that has obvious connections to royalty. Imperial was named in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, while the distillery itself topped with a gilded cast-iron crown in tribute to the momentous event.

Available exclusively at Duty-Free stores around the world, the Lost Blend is the first permanent peated whisky to join the Royal Salute range alongside The Signature Blend. The expression is, of course, presented in Royal Salute’s new-look packaging and housed in a crafted porcelain flagon.

“Including some of the scarcest whiskies in our inventory, The Lost Blend celebrates the legacy of some of the best whisky distilleries in Scotland which I am proud to immortalise in an exceptional new 21 Year Old blend”, Hyslop said of the whisky. In the press notes, we were told to expect notes of sweet, juicy pears, orange rind, hazelnuts and aromatic peat from The Lost Blend. Here’s what we thought of it:

Royal Salute

Royal Salute 21 Year Old The Lost Blend

Royal Salute 21 Year Old The Lost Blend

Nose: Bergamot, banana milkshake and crème brûlée initially, then ripe barley, some drying ginger and sharp Granny Smith Apples. An aroma of incense and charred pineapple add depth underneath.

Palate: Through bonfire embers, cinder toffee and conference pear there’s light oak char, freshly baked gingerbread and earthy vanilla. There’s a note of lemon and orange sherbets present in the backdrop.

Finish: Caramelised tropical fruit and aromatic peat linger.

Royal Salute The Malts Blend

The second addition is The Malts Blend (my personal highlight), which was crafted with more than 21 single malts aged for a minimum of 21 years from the five whisky regions of Scotland. Royal Salute’s hot new makeover is also present in The Malts Blend’s packaging, which is housed in a crafted porcelain flagon. Because consistency is key.

“Like a symphony, each of the single malts ‘performing’ in this blend complement and enhance one another’s unique flavours and together create the final composition,” commented Hyslop. “Working with the finest single malts to create The Malts Blend was extremely special, and from the moment you taste the super-sweet richness of this blend, with its hints of spice, it’s clear that this whisky is nothing short of magic”.

Royal Salute says that The Malts Blend is an “indulgent and profound Scotch whisky” that’s bursting with notes of orchard fruits and enriched by subtle spices. Once again, here’s what we think:

Royal Salute

Royal Salute 21 Year Old The Malts Blend

Royal Salute 21 Year Old The Malts Blend

Nose: Ripe nectarines, homemade blackberry compote and crème brûlée, then stem ginger and cardamom ponds. The nose then develops into notes of apricot yoghurt, marzipan icing and vanilla ice cream with golden syrup drizzled on top. It’s a deeply beautiful, nostalgic nose.

Palate: More baking spice, ginger powder this time and a rush of tannin oak initially, followed by sticky sultanas, toffee apples and sponge cake drenched in honey. Delicate florals and a little black pepper heat are present underneath.

Finish: Stone fruit in syrup, which lasts an age, with a hint of cooked banana.

Royal Salute

Royal Salute showed off its new look at Aynhoe Park

The new-look Royal Salute

The makeover, meanwhile, was created in collaboration with artist Kristjana S. Williams. “We wanted to create something special for our Signature 21 Year Old. This is, after all, a whisky first created for royalty. The result is a fun, vibrant take on our rich heritage that brings to life our royal legacy with a colourful depiction of the British Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London, and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen from a Scotch whisky,” commented Mathieu Deslandes, Royal Salute’s marketing director. “There has never been a more exciting time for our brand. With a bold new look across our packaging that speaks to our unique quality, craft and personality, we’re raising the bar for Scotch whisky. And we’re only just getting started.”

The packaging really is something, especially the Royal Salute lion, crooked crown and all, looking over his colourful kingdom. It’s quite the scene. There are patriotic fluttering tartan butterflies, one very fashionable owl and plenty of nods to the production process of Royal Salute whisky like oak casks, a rushing river and Speyside distillery. It’s quite a departure from the classic Royal Salute look. It also has to be said, the more you look at the design, the more Aynhoe Park makes sense as a venue. It literally had a lion with a crown in the dining room. I want to go back.

Things are certainly looking good for Royal Salute, in and out of the bottle. We’re looking forward to seeing what they do next.

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#WhiskySanta’s Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar Super Wish!

This week #WhiskySanta’s giving away an Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar Super Wish to one lucky wisher! Season’s greetings, fans of all things Christmas and tasty drinks! As I’m…

This week #WhiskySanta’s giving away an Old & Rare Whisky Advent Calendar Super Wish to one lucky wisher!

Season’s greetings, fans of all things Christmas and tasty drinks! As I’m sure you all know by now, I’m back to give away over £250,000-worth of the finest booze-based gifts to Master of Malt customers and those placing wishes on social for anything available on Master of Malt! I’ll keep doing so right up to Christmas! A whole bunch of fortunate folks have already got their hands on some spirited treats, and there’s much, much more where that came from!

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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!

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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.

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Midleton Very Rare 2017 and Cask Circle – own a bottle or a cask!

Midleton Very Rare 2017 launches in Ireland The distillery also launches The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, its new cask ownership club Jake tastes Midleton Very Rare from every decade,…

  • Midleton Very Rare 2017 launches in Ireland
  • The distillery also launches The Midleton Very Rare Cask Circle, its new cask ownership club
  • Jake tastes Midleton Very Rare from every decade, including some of these newly available whiskeys
  • Lots of Irish whiskey to talk about here, as well as a bit of a sign off from yours truly, but feel free to skip ahead to the 2017 release, or to find out about more the Cask Circle

    First off, a bit of housekeeping. Yes, I’m still alive! You’ll no doubt have noticed a plethora of posts from our awesome new content team hitting the blog lately. It’s a team made up of our new editor Kristiane Sherry, fellow new faces at MoM Towers Annie Hayes and Adam O’Connell, and the one and only Sam Smith (he of Tom Hanks’ Big fandom and aversion to flying).

    You’ll notice that my name didn’t feature on that there list. Ooh, mysterious. Suffice to say that I’m still busy doing all sorts at MoM Towers. Emphasis on the busy – that’s how I’m keeping (especially with national present day fast approaching!*). I may chip in with very occasional blog posts going forward (so what’s new, exactly?), but it does rather feel like a passing of the torch moment as I’m typing this. Fitting, then, that this is a post about Irish whiskey, which you may have noticed over the years is one of my favourite topics (see older posts such as Irish Whiskey – Everything You Need To Know! as well as the more recent Spotlight on… Redbreast and interview with Master Blender Billy Leighton).

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    Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish is back in the building!

    We’ve received an allocation of three bottles of Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish direct from the supplier, and we’re going to split the bounty between a two-bottle lottery and 30ml drams!…

    We’ve received an allocation of three bottles of Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish direct from the supplier, and we’re going to split the bounty between a two-bottle lottery and 30ml drams!

    The exciting news that three bottles of the single malt Scotch whisky are currently in stock does come with certain realities. While all of us here at MoM Towers are thrilled the bottles are back, it does mean that, with thousands of interested customers, there will be some disappointed people whatever we do.

    Acknowledging the price and availability of the product, we decided that splitting the stock up between a lottery (see timeline below) and drams was the fairest way to proceed. While there’s no age-statement, the whiskies that were blended for this release were distilled in the 1990s (so they are between 15 and 25 years old) and Mizunara is a highly unusual cask finish. Individual bottles are being sold for a considerable price (£1,195.00, RRP). Given this is the case, there will be no auction.

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    Macallan Lalique & Bowmore Black Charity Auctions: Own Whisky History!

    We’re auctioning the final and oldest releases in two legendary ranges: Bowmore Black 50 Year Old 1964 – The Last Cask and The Macallan in Lalique 65 Year Old –…

    We’re auctioning the final and oldest releases in two legendary ranges: Bowmore Black 50 Year Old 1964 – The Last Cask and The Macallan in Lalique 65 Year Old – Peerless Spirit with everything over RRP donated to our nominated charity Malaria No More UK.
    Following the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection auctions (which raised well over £4k for an excellent cause) and another update to our auction system, it’s time for our first charity auctions of 2017! And, well, just look at the extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime bottles we have available.

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