Here’s a round-up of some our favourite sherry-matured expressions, either aged or finished in casks which previously held the delightful Spanish fortified wine. It’s hard to resist a good sherry…
Here’s a round-up of some our favourite sherry-matured expressions, either aged or finished in casks which previously held the delightful Spanish fortified wine.
It’s hard to resist a good sherry bomb. The indulgent, fruity and rich drams are a perfect reminder as to why sherry casks have played a massive part in the Scottish whisky industry for well over 200 years. The style is very popular here at MoM Towers and we know there are many of you booze lovers out there who are equally partial to the sweet, spice and everything nice profile of a well-sherried spirit, particularly as we approach autumn. That’s why we’ve gathered quite the selection of sublime sherried treats here for you to enjoy, from peated Scotch, American rye whiskey and even a Venezuelan rum…
A classic single pot still Irish whiskey, Redbreast 12 Year Old was made from a mash of malted and unmalted barley, triple distilled and matured in a combination of bourbon seasoned American oak barrels and Oloroso sherry seasoned Spanish oak butts. It can’t stop winning awards and stealing our hearts.
What does it taste like?:
Nutty, rich and oily, with notes of citrus peels, ginger, linseed, melon, marzipan, dried fruits, custard and a hint of Sherry.
For those who desire a rich and complex sherried single malt Scotch whisky with a hearty helping of peat shouldn’t look past Bowmore 15 Year Old. It was matured first in bourbon barrels before it spent its final three years spent in Oloroso sherry casks.
What does it taste like?:
Dark and punchy, with Corinth raisins, baking spices, mochaccino, sweet dates, woody, pine oil, creamy toffee and malt.
From the fantastic Douglas Laing, this blended malt was made entirely from Speyside whiskies, including Mortlach, Macallan and Glenrothes, with spirit matured in Spanish sherry butts and bourbon casks. It was bottled without chill-filtration or additional colouring at 46% ABV.
James E. Pepper 3 Year Old – Oloroso Cask Finish (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)
Something a bit different, a young rye whiskey from James E. Pepper that was independently bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company. Three different batches were released in the series with each whiskey finished in different types of cask, one an Ale Cask, one Pedro Ximénez and this expression was finished in Oloroso casks. James E. Pepper owner Amir Peay also features on the label, which is pretty neat.
What does it taste like?:
Red cola cubes, sticky toffee pudding made with dates, blood orange rind, creamy vanilla, dusty oak spice, rich dark chocolate, chewy rye notes, red fruit and aromatic warmth from clove and cinnamon.
Anybody who enjoys Scotch whisky will know that you can always rely on Glenfarclas for a delightfully sherried dram. From one of Scotland’s few family-run distilleries, Glenfarclas 105 was bottled at a cask strength 60% ABV after it was matured for 8-10 years in a combination of both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels. It’s superb value for money and captures everything great about Glenfarclas.
What does it taste like?:
Honey on toast, a touch of smoky coffee, almond, praline, hazelnut, dried peels, Armagnac, a hint of rancio and spicy and peppery oak.
We do really enjoy Swedish single malts from the Smögen distillery, and the expressions from the Sherry Project series are no exception. This bottling is Sherry Project 2:2, which was matured in first-fill sherry quarter casks, which are smaller than your run-of-the-mill casks, which allows for more surface area for interaction between the wood and whisky.
What does it taste like?:
Honey-glazed ham, dark chocolate truffle, malt loaf, Sherried sweetness, meaty peat, fudge dotted with raisins, burnt ends and a hint of orange oil freshness.
The elder statesman of the Mortlach range, Mortlach 20 Year Old is an elegant presentation of what The Beast of Dufftown is all about. The sherry casks this beauty was matured in offers the perfect balance the robust, bold and uncompromising character of the whisky. This single malt is dubbed ‘Cowie’s Blue Seal’ in tribute to one of the original Mortlach bottlings dating back to 1909.
A bit of a curveball to end our round-up, we’ve got a sherry-tastic rum. This expression of Diplomático Single Vintage was distilled from the harvest from 2005 before it was aged in bourbon barrels for about 12 years which was blended by the cellar master and then finished in old oloroso sherry casks for a year.
What does it taste like?:
Roasted orchard fruit, soft oak, strawberry and balsamic, espresso, cassia and star anise.
Tune in to The Nightcap this week for news about new distilleries, very old Talisker, and… Oh, tariffs again. Great. It’s been a busy ol’ week here at MoM Towers,…
Tune in to The Nightcap this week for news about new distilleries, very old Talisker, and… Oh, tariffs again. Great.
It’s been a busy ol’ week here at MoM Towers, only somewhat hindered by the sunburns acquired in a field in Somerset. However, with plenty of after-sun lotion at hand, we have made it all the way through to Friday, and we’re ready to provide you with all the news from the world of booze, because it’s once again time for The Nightcap!
Phew. Catch your breath for a moment, we’ve not even started with the rest of the booze news yet…
Not the Scotch, please anything but the Scotch…
Scotch whisky targeted by new US tariffs
The US continues to play the role of the Darth Vader of the drinks world. This week, Scotch whisky was named among a list of imported products in line for possible new tariffs. Just to underline how significant this is, here are some numbers. They are really big. The US is the world’s largest export market for Scotch whisky by value, snapping up £1.04 billion-worth in 2018. It’s also the second largest by volume, with 137 million 70cl bottles heading its way last year. Scotch also makes up 12% of the total American whisk(e)y market. While we don’t know yet when the tariffs could be imposed, we do know that they could affect European Union imports worth up to $4bn (£3.2bn) including luxury goods: think cheeses like Parmesan and Gouda (please no), pasta (hold me), olives (they wouldn’t dare) and Irish whiskey (now they’ve gone too far). The issue stems from a 15-year long dispute at the World Trade Organization between the US and EU over subsidies given to plane-makers Airbus, from Europe, and the US’s Boeing. It was only back in April that the US announced proposed a whole different set of tariffs on $11bn-worth of EU goods. “Exports of Scotch whisky to the US have been zero-tariff for 20 years, so it is disappointing that Scotch whisky has been drawn into this dispute,” a spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association commented. “The Scotch whisky industry has consistently opposed the imposition of tariffs, which harms economies on both sides of the Atlantic which depend on trade for their continued prosperity.” Scotland’s devolved government also weighed in on this issue, stating it was “deeply concerned” that Scotch whisky was being implicated in the dispute. “We are calling on the UK government to make urgent representations to the EU to ensure that Scotch whisky is not collateral damage to this long-term dispute between the EU and the US,” a spokesperson said. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States was equally condemning of the move, warning that it may harm both jobs and consumers in the country. Hopefully, sense prevails and we can report some good news on this issue soon.
The buzz around hemp and spirits just keeps on growing. That’s right, what is said to be the first CBD Hemp Rum has been brought into existence by Dead Man’s Fingers! The original rum has been infused with hemp, which naturally contains around 20% CBD (cannabidiol). Most importantly though, it definitely doesn’t contain any THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, try saying that five times fast), which is the psychoactive compound in the plant. “Flavoured and spiced is the fastest-growing rum sub-category, driven by penetration of younger consumers, yet almost a quarter of rum drinkers are frustrated with lack of choice, the highest out of all spirits categories”, says Lucy Cottrell, brand manager for Dead Man’s Fingers. “Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum is an exceptional spirit that pushes the boundaries where others haven’t dared, and fulfils rum drinkers’ very clear expectations for something more exciting and experimental. With this launch, Dead Man’s Fingers will bring fun back to a category which has become stale in recent years.” The rum weighs in at 40% ABV, and is said to have notes of “cola, coffee, hops and pine with a grassy herbal back note”. We rather enjoyed the suggestion of a twist on a classic, a ‘Dankuiri’. If you fancied giving it a go, you’re in luck, because you can nab a bottle from your favourite online retailer!
Look! It’s all new and shiny and wonderful!
New Lagg Distillery opens on Arran
Good news, everyone: Lagg Distillery has officially opened its doors to the public and is now welcoming visitors to the brand new site! The second distillery on the Isle of Arran, Lagg has already begun whisky production, with the first middle cut of spirit recorded on 19 March 2019. The spirit is expected to mature into a rich, smoky, heavily-peated (50ppm) single malt, a departure from the style produced at the original Isle of Arran Distillers site in Lochranza, which opened in 1995. Both distilleries are expected to draw over 200,000 visitors by 2020. The visitor centre includes a shop, an interactive video showcasing Arran’s whisky history, a café and restaurant, with ingredients sourced locally, as well as two new copper stills and four wooden washbacks. Within the same room. The experience means visitors can be guided through every stage of production, and highlights Arran’s place in the story of Scotch, with frequent references to past distillation in the island, both legal and illicit. Production will be overseen by both distillery manager Graham Omand, an Islay native who has spent the past eight years at the Lochranza distillery, and master distiller James MacTaggart, who has over 40 years of experience in the industry. “We’re all thrilled to be celebrating the opening of our spectacular new Lagg Distillery and to bring production back to the heart of whisky-making on the Isle of Arran,” Omand said. “We can’t wait to start writing the next chapter of this story and welcoming whisky-lovers from around the world to Lagg.”
It might be small gin, but it packs a big taste!
Hayman’s launches Small Gin as low ABV alternative
Hayman’s of London made its mark on the low-to-no alcohol market this week with the launch of Small Gin, a full-strength tipple with stronger botanical flavours designed to reduce the amount of spirit required to serve a Gin & Tonic. The small 20cl bottle is theoretically so intensely flavoured with botanicals that you need just 5ml of Hayman’s Small Gin to make a balanced G&T, in theory reducing alcohol consumption by 80%. Having tried a cheeky G&T at Imbibe, we can confirm that it does indeed work. It’s one small G&T for us, and perhaps one giant leap for low-alcohol drinks. “Many consumers are actively looking to reduce their alcohol consumption but are keen to continue enjoying that classic gin flavour they have grown to love,” fifth-generation family member Miranda Hayman said. “Small Gin is the perfect solution – a real gin that allows you to mix a true G&T with just a fraction of the alcohol.” Distiller Sam Pembridge added: “We based the flavour profile for Small Gin on a classic London dry and getting all that wonderful botanical character into such a small serving size was an incredible challenge. We are working at the outer limits of what can be achieved but the flavour profile is spot-on. In blind tastings completed at our distillery, even the most experienced of gin drinkers were unable to tell the difference between a Small Gin & Tonic and a London dry Gin & Tonic.” Small Gin will available to pre-order at haymansgin.com for delivery in August, and is priced at £26 per 20cl bottle.
The impressive second expression from the Bodega series.
Talisker releases oldest official single malt as part of Bodega Series
The Talisker Bodega Series, a range we’ve previously enjoyed in the past, has added a second stunning Scotch to its selection. Are you ready for this? It’s a 41-year-old expression. A 1978 vintage. Matured in Manzanilla sherry casks. Bottled at 50.7% ABV. The oldest official single malt to date from Skye’s oldest distillery. Limited to just 2,000 bottles. All of what you just read there should be said out loud in that sultry voice from those M&S food adverts. It will set you back £2,900 per 70cl bottle, obviously. Nothing can be perfect in this world. The bottling continues Talisker’s exploration of sherry cask finishes on some of its most valuable stock. In this case, the 41-year-old was finished in Manzanilla sherry casks from Delgado Zuleta, the oldest Sherry producer in the famed Sherry Triangle in the Marco de Jerez region. It’s also where Talisker historically enjoyed a trading connection, dating all the way back to 1900. Talisker’s master blender Dr Craig Wilson worked alongside the sherry masters at the bodega to craft the precious liquid. He hand-picked only six casks for finishing, all of which once held La Goya, the Bodega’s flagship wine and a very fine Manzanilla aged in casks for more than a century. The result is said to be a remarkably rich whisky, with notes of sultanas, orange peel, sandalwood, salty sea air, smoky raw sugar. “This is a magnificent example of Talisker, which initially holds back on the nose, but blossoms with spice in the mouth,” whisky writer Charles MacLean said. “It is a privilege to be able to taste such a memorable dram.”
The new Black Rock Tavern, an izakaya inspired whisky pub
Black Rock becomes London’s first whisky hotel
Many a fellow whisky fan has enjoyed the odd dram at the award-winning Black Rock. A visit will see you sampling cocktails and expressions from its considerable range, and imbibing from its enormous 185-year-old oak tree table because, well, when in Rome. Very soon we’ll also get the chance to extend our experience as the whisky-centric bar is set to undergo a five-floor expansion of its Christopher Street location over the course of the summer! The new space will include a tavern, a blending room and a three-room hotel. Hurrah! The subterranean bar, which was launched in 2016 by spirit enthusiasts Tom Aske and Tristan Stephenson, will extend through the four-storey building above it, but don’t worry – the stripped-back decor and ace soundtrack will remain. And the tavern part opens today! A more casual alternative to the original bar, it will serve five beers on tap alongside a library of 40 to 50 whiskies. The decor will feature Japanese-inspired twists, including a reclaimed oak bar, bamboo ceiling panels and graffiti wall art by artist Ryan Gajda. The upcoming blending room, meanwhile, will host tasting experiences in which guests can enjoy a cocktail and blend their own 500ml bottle of whisky using a flight of single malts. And the best part? You can take your own blended whisky home with you. As for the three lodging rooms, they will be situated on the second and third floors, with two compact lodgings and one larger suite, the style of which will be “minimalist but luxurious”. It sounds fantastic, but good luck getting a reservation. We may have to book up the whole summer for err… research purposes, of course.
Redbreast’s new look has landed
Irish whiskey brand Redbreast is clearly feeling chipper after showing off the results of a makeover for its entire range. The refreshed look includes raised ‘Redbreast’ lettering at the base of the neck and ‘Single Pot Still’ on the reverse, while the labels are now a lighter cream colour with an embossed, textured background. The highlight is the reimagined classic – and let’s face it, adorable – robin redbreast, which is now represented in hand-drawn form by celebrated Irish illustrator Denise Nestor. Nestor, whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Variety and more, reinvented the bird in different flight positions for each whiskey expression. The idea is to represent the evolution of the brand over time and “the continuous journey of discovery that Redbreast drinkers find themselves on”. To complement the illustrations, Redbreast has also introduced a new colour palette of red, copper, navy, green and steel blue to distinguish each variant; with Redbreast 21 Year Old presented in a premium, handmade wooden box. You’ll also find tasting notes on the front labels, presumably with the words ‘delicious’ or ‘yum’. The new designs will be released initially on Redbreast 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old and Lustau in July and August, but you’ll have to wait until autumn to see the revamped Redbreast 21 Year Old and Redbreast 12 Cask Strength.
Inver House MD, Martin Leonard
Old Pulteney propels Inver House to ‘significant’ growth
Old Pulteney, Balblair, Knockdhu, Speyburn and Balmenach parent company Inver House Distillers submitted a financial glowing report this week, with 2018 sales climbing 7.4% year-on-year. The stand-out superstar? Old Pulteney, which enjoyed bumper 20% growth for the 12 months to September. Caorunn gin also notched up double-digit growth, according to the chief bean counters. Seems fitting, interest in Scottish gin, in general, is definitely on the up. “This is the result of having consistently invested in our people, in production at our distilleries, in the quality of our spirits and in their sales and promotion,” said Inver House MD, Martin Leonard. “We also now have the channels in place to grow our brands in markets around the world, so our focus is very much on rolling out some exciting plans and building further success in 2019 and beyond.” If that means more delicious whiskies, we are well on board.
Delamain Cognac will cultivate its own vines after more than century
Delamain Cognac returns to grape growing after more than 100 years
Big news from on-trade booze fest Imbibe this week. Cognac house Delamain announced it has bought 20 hectares of vines within the Grande Champagne region. The firm, which makes the legendary Pale & Dry XO, used to own vines until 1910, but since then has made its reputation with bought-in eaux-de-vie. This new venture guarantees the firm’s access to some of the finest grapes in Cognac. Charles Braastad, managing director of Delamain, said: “After over a century, we are very pleased to once again be cultivating vines. We originally abandoned the practice in 1910 upon the sale of our “Bois Clair” property in Saint-Brice which, at the time, allowed us to focus on selection, blending and ageing of Grande Champagne Cognacs. From 2019, the house of Delamain is re-committing to the very first moments in the lives of our Cognacs, to their birth and growth in the vineyards. We are certain that this decision to tend such extraordinary vines will permit us to continue creating ever more exceptional Cognacs for future generations.” It will be interesting to see whether, with its own vineyards, Delamain is tempted to follow Hine with a single vineyard and vintage bottling. That would be really exciting.
Best of luck to Tim Etherington-Judge!
And Finally… Healthy Hospo’s Tim to run 42 marathons in 42 days
We like a more unusual or outlandish story for And Finally… and this week is no exception. The founder of on-trade wellness initiative Healthy Hospo, Tim Etherington-Judge, is about to undertake an especially ridiculous challenge. He’s preparing to run 42 marathons over 42 consecutive days in the year he turns 42 (a marathon is also 42 kilometres long. All the 42s). It’s a ludicrous feat – but also an incredible one, for an incredible purpose. He’s hoping to raise £42,000 for industry charity The Benevolent to build a brighter, better future for those working in drinks, and especially to shine a light on mental health. Etherington-Judge was diagnosed with severe depression after attempting to take his own life in 2016. Ever since, he’s been an advocate for better mental health across the on-trade and in society in general, and 424242run is a huge part of that. “On January 9 2019 I turn 42 years old, conveniently the same distance as a marathon and I plan to take my mission to the next level, to create as much attention, support and money as I can for improving the mental health of the hospitality industry by putting it all on the line and pushing my mind and body to the very edge,” he writes on Healthy Hospo. “Why am I doing this? Because I can and because we need to take the mental health of people in our industry seriously.” The challenge kicks off at industry event Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans on 20 July, and also takes in New York, Amsterdam and London. To find out more and to support Etherington-Judge, either as a sponsor or to pledge to run with him, check out the 424242run site. Godspeed, sir!
Well, Irish Distillers told us “Something special was coming soon. . .” in a mysterious video released this week. Then a package arrived at MoM towers that explained everything. It…
Well, Irish Distillers told us “Something special was coming soon. . .” in a mysterious video released this week. Then a package arrived at MoM towers that explained everything. It was something special indeed, the new limited edition 20 year old Redbreast Dream Pedro Ximénez Edition! Here’s the full story.
To celebrate World Whisky Day (that’s today!), Irish Distillers have released a whiskey that has been over 20 years in the making. It’s drawn from a single Pedro Ximénez butt where four different single pot still whiskeys from the Midleton Distillery have been marrying. The first component was distilled in 1998 matured in an ex-bourbon barrel and re-casked into a Pedro Ximénez sherry butt in 2012; the second was distilled in 1995, matured in an ex-bourbon cask and re-casked into an oloroso sherry butt in 2012; the third was distilled in 1985 and matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel; and the final component was distilled in 1997 and matured in a second-fill ex-bourbon barrel. After marrying, the whiskey was bottled at 52.2% ABV and only 924 50cl bottles will be released.
From left, Dave McCabe and Billy Leighton
We were lucky to try a sample: as you’d expect the flavour it’s a symphony of dried fruit with that pot still spice and creamy texture (full tasting notes below.) The casks were chosen by master blender, Billy Leighton, in collaboration with blender, Dave McCabe. Billy Leighton said: “Rather than try to seek out another extraordinary cask from the Midleton inventory like the inaugural Redbreast Dream Cask, we set out to create a new Redbreast Irish whiskey like you have never tasted before. The coming together of three exceptional casks, originally destined for Redbreast 21, and a rare Pedro Ximénez butt is a first for Midleton, and the careful balance of sweet, spice and sherry flavours offers a new and complex take on the classic Redbreast Christmas cake flavour profile – it’s sure to add an extra cheer to your World Whisky Day celebrations this year!”
‘Right! where do I sign?’ we hear you say. Well, not so fast. This very special Redbreast retailing at €380 is only available from the Redbreast online members’ club, The Birdhouse, from 3pm on Monday 27th May. We hope that Irish Distillers have some top IT people on standby because we expect the site to crash with the demand. Last year’s 32 year old Dream Cask sold out in six hours!
Look at the colour on that!
Tasting notes by The Chaps at Master of Malt:
Nose: Like you’ve died and gone to PX heaven: malt extract, molasses, rum, toffee, raisins and marmalade.
Palate: Very full-textured and rich, dates, dark chocolate, and coffee. Plus rum and raisin ice cream. Yummy! That high ABV keeps it all together with a peppery bite.
Finish: Orange peel, honey and walnuts, sweet and lingering
As Irish whisky and Jameson in particular continues to boom globally, Irish Distillers will be spending €150 million to increase production, warehousing and bottling capacity in Cork and Dublin. Irish…
As Irish whisky and Jameson in particular continues to boom globally, Irish Distillers will be spending €150 million to increase production, warehousing and bottling capacity in Cork and Dublin.
Irish Distillers, the company behind such legendary whiskeys as Jameson, Powers and Redbreast, has announced massive investment in sites in Cork and Dublin.
€130 million of the money will be spent in Cork on expanding and upgrading the already massive New Midleton Distillery to increase capacity. Exciting new equipment will include a mechanical vapour recompression evaporator, a third mash filter, and new fermenters. And that’s not all; they’re getting a new office building too.
If you’ve been thinking about breaking out the sherried whisky from its summer slumber, you’re in good company. We’ve got a whole bunch of ace sherried whiskies to enjoy during…
If you’ve been thinking about breaking out the sherried whisky from its summer slumber, you’re in good company. We’ve got a whole bunch of ace sherried whiskies to enjoy during the chillier months…
As the fiercely mild September weather continues to cause a polite ruckus outside the window, we’re diving into autumn head-first. Everyone is wearing about five sweatshirts. We’ve spruced up the halls of MoM Towers with decorative gourds. Nobody is daring to go outside to forage lunch items for fear of frostbite and the bite of frostcrocodiles. It’s all very thrilling. However, none of this compares to the excitement of unearthing our favourite sherried whiskies from the cupboards where they sheltered from the harsh rays of the sun.
So imagine the joy – nay, near-frenzy – when the fruit of our intrepid spirits buyers’ latest adventure found its way into the office. Redbreast 16 Year Old 2001 Single Cask is a delectably divine single pot still showcase – and it is also a Master of Malt exclusive, which sent the excitement levels well and truly through the roof!
We speak to Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton about Redbreast, the latest Irish Distillers news including Jameson’s renovated Dublin home and the growing Irish whiskey scene. Continuing from…
We speak to Irish Distillers Master Blender Billy Leighton about Redbreast, the latest Irish Distillers news including Jameson’s renovated Dublin home and the growing Irish whiskey scene.
‐ WIN two 70cl sample bottles of 16yo Redbreast drawn from a single Sherry cask selected by Master Blender Billy Leighton!
With St. Patrick’s Day (17th March) just around the corner, we’re looking at Redbreast Irish whiskey from the truly excellent Midleton distillery in Cork. To mark the occasion we’re also reducing the price of delicious Redbreast 12 Year Old to £35.99 (down from £40) until the big day, which means there’s literally no reason not to buy a bottle immediately! It’s the best-selling single pot still Irish whiskey in the world and an absolute award magnet that’s adored by critics, but there’s more… Everyone who buys a bottle of Redbreast 12 Year Old from now until the end of St. Patrick’s Day will be automagically entered into our draw to win 2x totally exclusive bottles (as in ‘2 of 2′) of 16 year old Redbreast drawn from a single Sherry cask selected by Irish Distillers’ affable Master Blender Billy Leighton!