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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Old and Rare Whisky

Master of Malt 60 Year Old Whisky, and my contribution to the NAS debate

Well. This is sort of a big deal, isn’t it? I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of whiskies ever released that are over 60…

Master of Malt 60 Year Old Speyside

Well. This is sort of a big deal, isn’t it?

I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of whiskies ever released that are over 60 years of age, and it’s absolutely unthinkable these days that a 60yo distillery release would ever see the light of day at anything less than a five-figure price tag. Yet here we are bringing this astonishing piece of liquid history to you for a three-figure sum*.

How?

Well rather than re-iterate, I’ll refer you to my explanation of the economics behind this, here: https://www.masterofmalt.com/Blog/post/Brand-New-30-40-and-50-Year-Old-Whisky.aspx. Do please read it, as every bit of it still rings true, and it’s the reason behind our ability to continue to deliver exceptional, unbelievably well-aged whiskies at price-points an order of magnitude less than some other folk.

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Macallan in Lalique “The Spiritual Home”

More or less every time I write a blog post, I ask management for permission to use the phrase “hells-a-poppin’”… I get shot down mercilessly every time. Well, the renowned…

The Macallan Lalique

More or less every time I write a blog post, I ask management for permission to use the phrase “hells-a-poppin'”…

I get shot down mercilessly every time.

Well, the renowned whiskym’n at The Macallan have only gone and released part five in their legendary Lalique Six Pillars Collection. Each single malt in the ultra-super-deluxe-premium range is made from exceedingly rare old stock, and bottled in decanters designed and created by the famous French crystal house, Lalique. If ever there was a time for the term hells-a-poppin’, surely now is it.

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Bowmore 50 Year Old 1961

Hello, my name’s Mike. If you remember me at all, you’ll probably know me as the chap who wrote tasting notes and things, and used the word “soupcon” too much….

Bowmore 50 Year Old 1961

Hello, my name’s Mike.

If you remember me at all, you’ll probably know me as the chap who wrote tasting notes and things, and used the word “soupcon” too much. If you work at Master of Malt, you may know me as “the bloke that did that thing at the Christmas Party” or “the terrible man who did that other thing in Sales Director Ben’s office which Ben still hasn’t found out about”.

Regardless of whether or not you know me, you better learn something, punk: I’m back from Africa, I’ve just tasted a £16,000 bottle of whisky and now I’m going to tell you all about it.

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Chivas: Age Matters

Chivas Brothers have recently launched a new global educational campaign entitled ‘Great Things Take Time’. To declare such a grand concept – Chivas treated us to a delicious lunch, courtesy…

Chivas Brothers have recently launched a new global educational campaign entitled ‘Great Things Take Time’.

To declare such a grand concept – Chivas treated us to a delicious lunch, courtesy of Mark Hix, at Brown’s Hotel to explain why age is important – undoubtedly because they have a lot of old whisky that needs selling, and selling is what we do. I am always happy to listen so I settled down to be wooed by these giants of blending.

According to their research only 10% of whisky consumers understand what the age statement on a bottle of whisky means, and 94% of people believe an age statement is an indicator of quality. This is understandable; it’s not immediately apparent, or indeed, at all apparent on the bottle that the age statement refers to the youngest whisky inside. Plus, it’s easy to see why older whisky should be better; older whisky is more expensive, if it’s more expensive surely it should be of a higher quality – that’s a fair assumption to make. However, this got me thinking as we tasted our way through the Chivas range with Master Blender Colin Scott: does age matter?

We were then ferried to the grotto of antiquities that is the Victoria & Albert Museum to watch a debate addressing the question whether age matters or not take place. The debate took place between historian Bettany Hughes and Peter Aspden from the Financial Times, however their inclination to agree with one another lended a bias to the argument that age does matter (remember old whisky is at stake here). Despite this what they had to say was interesting.

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Brand New 30, 40 and 50 Year Old Whisky

For those of you hitherto unfamiliar with them, our ‘Secret Bottlings’ series of Single Malts have long been a staple of our core range of Master of Malt branded scotch…

For those of you hitherto unfamiliar with them, our ‘Secret Bottlings’ series of Single Malts have long been a staple of our core range of Master of Malt branded scotch whiskies. They provide exceptionally well-aged whiskies at a price that seems utterly unthinkable in today’s world of 5-figure 50 year olds, and six figure 54 year olds.

The secret with these whiskies has always been that we’ve released them without the name of the distillery present on the label, hence preserving the distillery in question’s brand equity, and allowing us to buy them at a fraction of the price that would be possible if the distillery’s own name was on it.

A bit more on that, because I’ve just read it back, and it sounds suspiciously like marketing bullshit. I’ll expand:

If a distillery (let’s call it Glenyummy) has a certain number of customers (X) for its standard 12yo whisky, the chances are they’ll have a customer-base of about 0.05X for their 18yo expression, 0.0005X for their 30yo expression, and 0.0000005X by the time they hit anything over a few hundred quid.

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Tasting the Diageo 2012 Special Releases

It’s that time of year again – the weather has given up the pretence of caring, the trees are shedding their leaves like a sinking ship sheds ballast, and the…

It’s that time of year again – the weather has given up the pretence of caring, the trees are shedding their leaves like a sinking ship sheds ballast, and the sun can’t summon the energy to stay in the sky for longer than is absolutely necessary. Thankfully all is not lost as Diageo are about to release their much anticipated Special Releases Range.

Diageo is a multi-national drinks company that owns twenty-eight working distilleries and the remaining stock of a number of closed ones, and every year they release a selection of limited releases from some of these distilleries.

With such a large portfolio to draw from these whiskies tend to be the cream of the crop and get us whisky geeks slathering at their merest mention [go on, find a whisky geek and mention it, watch it slather…].

So this evening we all trooped to London to taste these high-demand whiskies in the warm and, more importantly, dry confines of The Deck at the National Theatre. Last time I was in this theatre I watched Benedict Cumberbatch (that guy off of Sherlock) prance around the stage as Frankenstein’s monster with nothing but his self-esteem to cover his modesty. This time I came armed with a notebook and pen – ready to record my experience of facing this enormous tackle of whisky.

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Bowmore 1957: The Oldest Islay Single Malt Ever Released

Today Bowmore made a monumental announcement that they are releasing the oldest Islay Single Malt ever produced, ever… Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and is famous for producing…

Today Bowmore made a monumental announcement that they are releasing the oldest Islay Single Malt ever produced, ever…

Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay and is famous for producing extraordinary bottlings such as the Black Bowmore and the White Bowmore, as well as their better known (and more affordable) Bowmore 12 Year Old and Bowmore 18 Year Old. In addition to these they have also produced the tasty sherry cask Bowmore Darkest and the stormy cask strength bottling of the Bowmore Tempest.

This, however, is the Bowmore 1957, which was bottled in 2011 after 54 years of cask ageing. In 1995 a number of casks of Bowmore were bottled, but one cask was kept in the legendary Bowmore  No. 1 Vaults, the oldest whisky maturation warehouse on the island. This cask has been monitored every six months until it was deemed to have reached perfection.

The bottles have been beautifully hand-blown and sculpted into the shape of the waves that pound the walls of No. 1 Vault by renowned glass artists Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns. The glass has also been flecked with platinum to create a shimmering sea-like effect.

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Glen Grant 60 Years old Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee (1952-2012)

This competition has now closed. Click here to find out the winner! I spent most of the last week interviewing for our Online Editor’s job (more on that soon folks)….

Glen Grant 60 Y. O.

This competition has now closed. Click here to find out the winner!

I spent most of the last week interviewing for our Online Editor’s job (more on that soon folks). A reasonable part of the interview process is the effective management of people’s expectations with regard to the ‘glamour’ of the job. In fact, I’d even got a bit of patter I could do on autopilot memorised. It went “You know – for every fantastic, 60 year old whisky that you’ll get to taste, there are another 100 less exciting ones, and probably 50 vodkas too”.

The events of this morning have somewhat stepped on my point, as on arriving at the office I was greeted by a little package containing a sample of the most recent über-premium bottling from Gordon and Macphail – the somewhat tongue-twistingly named Glen Grant 60 Years old Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee (1952-2012).

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Aldi’s 24 and 40 year old Whisky Redux

So, it would seem that the hype surrounding the release of Aldi’s 24 year old and 40 year old ‘single malts’ has now died down (with one notable bombshell yet…

So, it would seem that the hype surrounding the release of Aldi’s 24 year old and 40 year old ‘single malts’ has now died down (with one notable bombshell yet to come courtesy of our chums at caskstrength.net. Keep an eye on their site. We won’t spoil the surprise), and the whisky world has returned to its former calm self. Well, I say calm… As calm as it can be whilst sending out enough Christmas booze per day to fill a small swimming pool.

 

There are tales aplenty in the feedback to our first blog post about the queuing, jostling, and general shenanigans surrounding the release, but we, being the ever inquisitive souls that we are, wanted to revisit the whiskies away from the initial tasting, and see just what we made of them in the cold light of day.

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Aldi’s 40 Year Old Whisky

So, a couple of Tuesdays ago, I had possibly one of the most random evenings of my life. And I’m not talking about the end of the evening, where Myself,…

So, a couple of Tuesdays ago, I had possibly one of the most random evenings of my life. And I’m not talking about the end of the evening, where Myself, Joel Harrison (one half of caskstrength.net), Dr. Whisky, and Pierre from off of that there Connosr ended up in a basement Sherry bar late in the evening arguing the finer points of the various Port Ellen releases over Manzanilla and nibbles. No. I’m talking about the launch of Aldi’s 40 year old whisky.

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