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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Springbank

Master of Malt tastes… Mossburn Vintage Cask releases

Look at what has just landed at MoM towers: a haul of single cask whiskies from independent bottler Mossburn including a Springbank from 1999. Be quick, these Mossburn Vintage Cask…

Look at what has just landed at MoM towers: a haul of single cask whiskies from independent bottler Mossburn including a Springbank from 1999. Be quick, these Mossburn Vintage Cask releases aren’t likely to have around for long.

Last year was a milestone for Mossburn Distillers as its distillery on Skye, Torabhaig,  released its inaugural single malt whisky – to great acclaim and huge demand. There’s more to come as the company has a grain plant at Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders called the Reivers Distillery which at some point in the near future will be releasing a rye-based spirit.

That’s not all! The Jedburgh HQ is also home to the company’s warehouses, where Mossburn functions as an independent bottler releasing a range of rare single malts as well as blended whiskies including the Caisteal Chamuis, which came out earlier this year. The firm is owned by a publicity-shy billionaire called Dr Frederik Paulsen. According to Ian Buxton in a recent article, “Mossburn, Mamont Vodka, Mozart Liqueur, Torabhaig, Kaikyo, a number of wineries and multiple drinks distributors all around the globe are part of his sprawling empire.”

Torabhaig Distillery’s first whisky

Torabhaig, the Isle of Skye’s newest distillery

Back to the whisky

But back to the whisky. We’re very excited about a series of single cask bottlings which will be landing at Master of Malt shortly from Mossburn’s Vintage Casks range. These include rare old releases from Jura and Springbank as well as younger single malts with interesting cask finishes from Auchroisk, Craigellachie, and Macduff. 

Company director and whisky maker Neil Macleod Mathieson explained: “As independent bottlers, we have the opportunity to scout out the most interesting casks that can provide an alternative perspective on a distillery’s character. At its heart, Mossburn has a concept we like to refer to as ‘the spirit of intrigue’, a phrase which we feel sums up our team as much as it does the whiskies we make. We aim to reward drinkers’ curiosity with thought-provoking whiskies that will allow whisky enthusiasts to continue on their journey of discovery.”

So there we go. Here’s what has just landed:

Springbank

Springbank 1999 22 Year Old SOLD OUT

Bottling strength: 54.7% ABV

Nose: Delicate wood smoke with stewed fruit and baked apple with a little lemon, baking spices, leather and aromatic tobacco and camphor wood notes. Hugely complex and enticing.

Palate: It delivers on the palate too with sweet fruitcake, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, tobacco, and hints of wood smoke all wrapped up in a full oily texture.

Finish: Very long with lingering smoke and spices. 

Jura Packshot

Jura 1993 28 Year Old 

Bottling strength: 48.2%ABV

Nose: Waxy notes with mature cheddar rind, vanilla, toffee and cooked apple.

Palate: Big spices here with aniseed to the fore. Wow, it sounds like someone has dropped some ouzo in here by mistake. Also pepper, chilli and orchard fruit with a creamy texture.

Finish: Sweet toffee, liquorice and hazelnuts. 

 Craigellachie,

No.28 Craigellachie 2007 13 Year Old Oloroso finish

Bottling strength: 46% ABV

Nose: Sulphurous and a little wood smoke with waxy apple skin, vanilla and saline notes.

Palate: Fiery chilli peppers, black pepper, gorgeous full creamy texture.

Finish: Leather, a little smoke and lemon rind.

29 Macduff Packshot

No.29 Macduff 2007 14 Year Old Ruby Port finish

Bottling strength: 56.4% ABV

Nose: Toffee and dried fruit with fresh stone fruit, peaches and cherries, plus some darker notes like old cellars, damp leather and tobacco. Magnificent!

Palate: Super peppery with Szechuan pepper and cloves balanced by sweet toffee and apple notes and creamy full texture.

Finish: Burnt caramel and spice. 

30 Auchroisk Packshot

No.30 Auchroisk 2007 14 Years Old Bordeaux Red Wine finish 

Bottling strength: 46% ABV

Nose: Smoky nose with sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, and cinnamon.

Palate: Another one with prominent aniseed among other spices. Very light and fresh.

Finish: The smoke comes back in again.

So something for everyone in these latest releases from Mossburn Distillers, with my tips being the Springbank if you’re feeling flush (and quick), and the Macduff for those on a more everyday budget. These are strictly limited edition single malts so may sell out very swiftly.

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Whisky icons – we have a winner!

Whether they’re bourbons, single malts or blended whiskies, some brands are so famous that they’re iconic. But which is the biggest whisky icon? We’re running a poll on social media…

Whether they’re bourbons, single malts or blended whiskies, some brands are so famous that they’re iconic. But which is the biggest whisky icon? We’re running a poll on social media to find out, and this is the page to follow the results.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word ‘icon’ as: “A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol or as worthy of veneration.”

So, what makes a whisky an icon? Well, it has to be a great whisky to start with. One that’s revered across the world. But more than this, it has to have a strong memorable image. Say the name of a particular distillery or brand, and it should instantly resonate. 

Worthy of veneration

Now this could be a globally famous brand like Johnnie Walker or Jack Daniel’s. Many people who have never even drunk whisky will have heard of these brands. Jack Daniel’s for its association with music, and Johnnie Walker because it’s an icon of consumer capitalism (as well as a great whisky). Then there’s Macallan, a symbol of luxury up there with Rolls Royce or Cartier. 

But lesser-known names can be iconic among the whisky cognoscenti. Take Springbank, for example. You have to know a bit about whisky to have heard of it but it’s undoubtedly “worthy of veneration.” We’ve seen grown men and women go all tearful at the thought of a rare bottle of Springbank. 

But your whisky icon might be Lagavulin from Islay, Four Roses from Kentucky or even a newer distillery like Mackmyra from Sweden. So to decide this once and for all, we’re giving Master of Malt customers the opportunity to shout about their favourite brands. 

Vote for your whisky of icon

Social polls will be posted on a @masterofmalt Instagram story Monday to Friday this week (simply view our story and tap on the distillery/brand you wish to vote for). Or alternatively you can vote over on the @MasterOfMalt Twitter page where a poll will be posted to our feed.

The tournament will end on Monday 27 September with the winner announced that day. This is how it will work:

Monday 20 September – first round with 32 whiskies

Tuesday 21 September – second round with 16 whiskies

Wednesday 22 September – quarter finals 

Thursday 23 September – semi finals 

Friday 24 September – finals

Saturday 25 September – voting closes

Monday 27 September – announcement of the winner

Get voting so we can say once and for all what the greatest icon of whisky is! And then we find something else to argue about. 

UPDATE, 27 September:

The winner was… Bunnahabhain with Lagavulin as the runner-up.

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New Arrival of the Week: Springbank 17 YO Madeira

Today we’re toasting the arrival of a limited edition Madeira cask whisky from a distillery that still does things the old ways, Springbank in Campbelltown. Hurry, it’s not going to…

Today we’re toasting the arrival of a limited edition Madeira cask whisky from a distillery that still does things the old ways, Springbank in Campbelltown. Hurry, it’s not going to be around for long.

You can tell that they do things a little differently at Springbank from the marketing bumf. There’s no fancy fonts, or guff about ‘lovingly hand-selected’ and ‘hand-signed’ casks. Instead you have something that would have looked a bit dated in 1981.

Production is similarly traditional. Everything, malting, distilling, maturation and bottling, takes place at the distillery. Springbank is the only distillery in Scotland still doing this. But that’s not the end of the anachronisms: the stills are direct-fired, with oil. There’s something called a rummager inside to remove burnt bits. Springbank has its own unique distillation process with three stills. It’s a bit hard to explain so I’m going to quote from The World of Whisky book: 

“The low wines, foreshots and feints are re-distilled with the next batch of low wines in an intermediate still before final distillation occurs in the spirit still.”

The unique still set-up at Springbank

So, the spirit is distilled 2.5 times. The wash and the spirit stills use shell and tube condensers while the intermediate still uses a worm tub.We scarcely need to say that there’s no chill-filtration or colouring used. The final unusual thing about Springbank is it has been in the hands of the same family since it was founded 1828. The current chairman of the distillery Hedley Wright is great grandson of founder John Mitchell. 

At one point, Campbeltown, on a peninsula next to the isle of Arran across the water from Glasgow, was home to a staggering 34 distilleries. For much of the 19th century, it was Scotland’s whisky powerhouse, famous for its heavy oily spirit which was much in demand for blends. Things began to go wrong with the advent of the railways which saw better-connected distilleries further north, Speyside basically, stealing a slice of the whisky pie. But there were other problems: the Campbelltown style was ill-suited to lighter blends that became fashionable, Prohibition struck a blow, and there are stories about unscrupulous distillers simply making bad whisky and ruining the town’s reputation. By the 1930s there was only one functioning distillery in town.

Springbank suffered too. It stopped distilling in 1926 only to reopen in 1933. It then shut down for nearly ten years in 1979 as the Scotch whisky industry fell into another trough, and when distillation resumed, it was with only a limited production. Of course, things are very different now, Sprinbank is one of the most sought-after whiskies in the world, with old bottling attracting big money on the auction market. 

Casks outside the distillery

Things were going so well that in 2004, Springbank reopened Glengyle distillery taking the number of working distilleries in Campbeltown to three, the final one being Glen Scotia. Just to confuse matters, Glen Scotia owns the Glengyle brand so new releases from Glengyle distillery have been released under the Kilkerran name. The 12 year old is well with trying if you want some of the Springbank style at a bargain price.

Springbank itself produces three different brands: Longrow, which is heavily peated and distilled twice, Hazelburn which is unpeated and triple distilled as well as the classic lightly-peated Springbank. This week’s new arrival is a limited edition of this classic style. 

Only 9200 bottles have been produced. It was aged in rum and bourbon casks for 14 years, before spending three years in Madeira casks, a total of 17 years, before being bottled in October 2020 at 47.8% ABV. That classic Springbank fullness mingles beautifully with the sweet nuttiness from the Madeira wine. It’s sure to sell out quickly but if you’re not one of the lucky ones, there are other Springbank and Campbeltown whiskies on the site.

Tasting note from the Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Big rich flavours with ginger cake, toffee, grapefruit rind and strawberry jam coming through strongly with underlying saline and smoky notes.

Palate: Spicy black pepper and briny peat leads with sweet notes of caramelised ginger, salted caramel and fennel coming through, and a thick oily feel in the mouth.

Finish: Long, peat character mingles with walnuts.

Overall: Beautifully-balanced dram combining all those classic oily briny Springbank notes with sweet jam, toffee and nuts from the Madeira cask.

Springbank 17 year old Madeira wood is now sold out. 

Springbank Madeira

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The hidden world of private cask sales part one

Ever fancied your very own cask of Springbank? Well, until quite recently, this is how much single malt whisky was sold. In the first of a two part story, Ian…

Ever fancied your very own cask of Springbank? Well, until quite recently, this is how much single malt whisky was sold. In the first of a two part story, Ian Buxton looks into the often murky past and present of buying private casks from some of Scotland’s best-known distilleries. 

I’ve been thinking for some while about how the Scotch whisky industry sells casks to private individuals. Now you might very reasonably draw the conclusion that I should get out more but, that not being possible for the foreseeable future, I suggest that you pull up a chair, pour yourself a stiff dram and get ready for a long story – a two-parter, in fact. And we begin with a short history lesson (if it helps, think of it as home-schooling for grown-ups).

The purchase of a cask of single malt whisky by an individual is probably as old as the industry itself. Without stepping back terribly far in time – no more than 40 years – it was quite commonplace for a doting parent to purchase a cask of whisky in the name of a newborn child to await the celebration of their majority. The better class of pub and numerous hotels frequently had their own cask, often from their nearest distillery. Syndicates of chums, shooting or fishing friends, might subscribe for a cask to be bottled and enjoyed when out on the hill or riverbank. Companies had their own cask bottled for corporate gifts or to celebrate a significant anniversary or even a major deal.

What treasures lurk behind the white-washed walls of Bowmore?

You could approach the distillery direct or buy via a broker, then a more important part of the industry. When times got hard, distilleries were grateful for the business – Springbank in particular was a consistent seller of private casks. When I first entered the industry in the late 1980s, it was not unusual to visit a warehouse and see a small collection of privately-owned casks, some where all contact had been lost with the owner. These ‘orphan’ casks were just beginning to be a bit of a nuisance. Paperwork had to be maintained, they took up scarce warehouse space and were slowly deteriorating in quality or strength but could not be touched in case the owner or their descendants suddenly appeared. Sometimes a feature could be made of them – some readers may recall the display of orphan casks that once occupied a highly visible corner of Bowmore’s legendary No. 1 Vaults on the shores of Loch Indaal. The guide would point them out – containing allegedly the oldest whisky on the site – but not to be touched or sampled for even the most important VIP guest.  What mysteries they held could only be guessed at, delicious speculation over a later dram.

The trade was then more informal. If not quite conducted on a handshake there were fewer rules. In particular, it was acknowledged that having paid for the cask the owner could do with it whatever he or she wished (provided the tax was paid).  Private bottling was normal and, by and large, thought unexceptional.

From time to time such drams still appear at auction. Here, for example, is a Jura single malt privately bottled for the hotel of the same name that stands opposite the distillery and here is one of the many Springbank bottlings, this to commemorate the decommissioning of HMS Campbeltown. And, finally, just to show that anyone could do this, here’s a Port Charlotte from a cask that I bought in 2002 and bottled through Royal Mile Whiskies (check out the back label if you don’t believe me).

Imagine having one of these!

So despite the protestations of certain distillery’s PR teams and what you may sometimes read, the sale of private casks has been a long-honoured tradition. But it was never, until relatively recently, approached with an overtly commercial eye: the purchase price was typically little more than the distillery’s standard trade filling price with a small margin added for the inconvenience. How do you think it was possible otherwise for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to begin a modest operation, discretion assured, back in 1983 when they could benefit from the ‘whisky loch‘ of such bitter memory. The distillers were, quietly, glad enough to see them then, as few buyers were interested in older casks. With Scotland awash with whisky, every sale was gratefully received.

But industry consolidation brought hard-eyed accountants to the fore. The profit was not considered worth the paperwork involved and a generation of marketing managers, more astute than their predecessors, began to question the lack of brand control as single malt sales grew in importance and value. One by one, the supply dried up. When, in November 1989, Aberlour distillery ran a national advertising campaign to sell casks there were eyebrows quietly raised at the SWA at the headline, “Invest in a hogshead of Aberlour”. The price of £1,350 (ex duty, VAT and bottling) was considered excessive by many and the very idea of promoting private sales was simply ‘not done’.

So, by 1990, it may have seemed the halcyon days were numbered. The possibility of your own cask moved slowly out of reach as prices rose and availability fell. But, if you’re seriously rich, all is not lost.  Look out for part two next month where I delve into the shadowy world of million pound casks and some very private buyers.

Though he has neither a beard nor any visible tattoos or piercings, Ian Buxton is well-placed to write about drinks. A former marketing director of one of Scotland’s favourite single malts, his is a bitter-sweet love affair with Scotland’s national drink – not to mention gin and rum, or whatever the nearest PR is pouring. Once, apparently without noticing, he bought a derelict distillery. Follow his passionate, authentic hand-crafted artisanal journey on the Master of Malt blog.  Or just buy his books.  It’s what he really wants.

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Stunning spring sippers!

Spring is finally here and to celebrate we’ve got a selection of seasonally appropriate spirits to enjoy! What felt like an endless winter has finally passed. Honestly, it was so…

Spring is finally here and to celebrate we’ve got a selection of seasonally appropriate spirits to enjoy!

What felt like an endless winter has finally passed. Honestly, it was so dark and stormy in the UK that I’m surprised Gosling’s didn’t try and trademark the weather. But now spring is here and we can all start to enjoy the thought of sunnier days. Barbecues. Pub gardens. Bank holidays. It’s all on the horizon. 

This made us realise at MoM Towers that people will be wanting to stock up on the kind of tasty boozes that immediately make you think of spring. That’s why we’ve rounded-up some of the most light, sweet and refreshing drinks around to save you the hassle. Enjoy!

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Mr Lyan’s Rainy Day Spritz

A delightful pre-bottled cocktail that means you get all of the deliciousness and none of the fuss, Mr Lyan’s Rainy Day Spritz was made by the fantastic Ryan Chetiyawardana (a.k.a Mr. Lyan), who we’re big fans of here. His winning combination of raspberry eau-de-vie, crisp vermouth and bitter rhubarb liqueur is enjoyed best as an aperitif or by mixing with soda, white wine, or Prosecco in the style of a classic spritz.

What does it taste like?

Intense and exhilarating notes of raspberry in all sorts of variations – fresh fruit, jammy compote and subtly funky raspberry brandy. A hint of shrub and rhubarb liqueur gives it balance.

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Moniack Mead

Mead has never been so popular, with bottles flying off the shelves here at MoM Towers. Henry even did a whole blog post on the historic drink. This traditional honey mead, produced at Moniack Castle by Highland Wineries, was made by fermenting honey, so if you fancy seeing what all the fuss is about this expression is a great place to start.

What does it taste like?

Smooth and warming with a certain dryness, prominent honey and caramel flavours without being overly sweet, along with light floral notes.

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Twisted Nose Watercress Dry Gin

A super tasty and individual London dry gin, Twisted Nose Watercress Dry Gin was made in very small batches in traditional copper stills using a botanical selection that includes juniper, grapefruit zest, cassia bark, fennel seed, orris, angelica, lavender and, most notably, locally-grown watercress. The name comes from the word the Romans used for watercress, “Nasturtium”, which means twisted nose.

What does it taste like?

Bright peppery note, sweet herbs, crisp grapefruit, lively fennel and subtle floral hints.

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Signature Blend #1 (That Boutique-y Rum Company)

If you’re a lover of Daiquiris then look no further than this rum. Pete Holland (of The Floating Rum Shack fame) developed this particular treat with the classic cocktail in mind, although it’s so deliciously mixable it will work in a variety of serves. The first release from That Boutique-y Rum Company’s Signature Blend range was created from a combination of unaged rum from Martinique and some particularly bold dark rum from Jamaica. 

What does it taste like?

Sugar cane juice, Conference pears, foam banana sweets, dried pineapple rings, watermelon, pink grapefruit tartness, black olives, classic Martinique grassiness, stewed winter fruits, ginger root, a hint of seaweed and some eucalyptus leaves.

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Springbank 10 Year Old

Springbank has a loyal and passionate following thanks to its distinctive drams and Springbank 10 Year Old is no exception.  This slightly peated Scotch, which was matured in ex-bourbon and then ex-sherry casks, is full of that wonderful signature character and makes it the perfect way to introduce yourself to the renowned Campbeltown distillery. It’s also got the word spring in its name. Which is pretty neat.

What does it taste like?

Exotic spices, guava, heather honey, soft smoke, marzipan, sweet cider, toasty barley and cigar boxes.

Stunning Spring Sippers!

Two Birds Watermelon Gin

What says spring more than a fabulously fruity and refreshing gin? Two Birds Watermelon Gin was crafted in a still founder Mark Gamble designed and built himself using his London Dry Gin as a base and the addition of a key botanical: watermelon. The name should have really given that away. 

What does it taste like?

Juniper starts it off, followed by a touch of lemon peel and a good hit of sweet, refreshing watermelon.

 

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Explore Scotland’s whisky regions!

This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way… I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone…

This week you’ll journey with us through the wonderful whisky regions of Scotland, stopping for a delicious dram or two along the way…

I think it’s pretty obvious to everyone by now that we do enjoy a dram or two of Scotch whisky here at MoM Towers. Some who share our passion may prefer to indulge in expressions from the same region, be it the Lowlands, the Highlands, Campbeltown, Islay, the Islands or Speyside. We, however, love all of them like children and, just like every parent you’ve ever met, we can’t wait to talk your ear off about how much we do.

So, whether you prefer the peaty powerhouses typically found on Islay, the sherried and sweet often associated with Speyside, the malty, fruity whiskies you’ll regularly see in the Highlands or all the above and more, then you’ll be happy to join us on a journey that marvels at the huge range of different styles of whisky that are produced all over Scotland.

Before we start, it’s worth checking out this Drinks by the Dram Tasting Set, which contains five 30ml samples that showcase the Regions of Scotland. Now, on with our adventure!

Bladnoch 17 Year Old California Red Wine Cask Finish

Region: Lowland

We start our journey at the fabulous Bladnoch Distillery, which started up production once again in 2017 following some periods of difficulty. Since its return, the brand has created some delicious and intriguing drams, such as the 17 Year Old California Red Wine Cask Finish. Originally matured into ex-bourbon barrels, this 17 year old single malt was then finished in Californian red wine casks to create a rich, rewarding and wonderfully fruity profile.

What does it taste like?:

Dried fruit, orange marmalade, coffee, cherries, toffee, vanilla, liquorice, shortbread, black pepper and sweet oak.

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old

Region: Lowland

Glenkinchie 12 Year Old is not only the flagship expression from the Glenkinchie distillery, but it makes for a fine introduction to all things Lowland Scotch. A creamy, sweet and smooth expression that’s ever-popular and incredibly versatile, it’s no surprise this expression was named the winner of the Best Lowland Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards in 2016.

What does it taste like?:

Light and aromatic with hints of barley malt, almonds, hazelnuts, stewed fruits, dessert wine, apple peels and manuka honey/beeswax.

Springbank 10 Year Old

Region: Campbeltown

We journey now to Campbeltown and its famed Springbank distillery, which is known for its distinctive, powerful whiskies and loyal following of enthusiastic, passionate fans. The brand’s 10 Year Old expression, a blend of both bourbon and sherry matured whiskies, is the kind of dram that makes you understand why. Quite simply a sublime introduction for those not familiar with the distillery or the Campbeltown region in general.

What does it taste like?:

Oaked aridity, rich peat, earthen rootiness, exotic fruits, salinity, cereal sweetness, dark nuttiness and whirling smoke.

The Glenrothes 12 Year Old – Soleo Collection

Region: Speyside

We venture now to arguably the most famous and certainly most productive of all Scotch whisky regions: Speyside! Glenrothes has been providing great whisky in this part of the world since 1878, but it’s only recently eschewed its famous vintages to make for age statements. This 12 year old single malt, released as part of the Soleo Collection, is one such example and you’ll find that this teaming with the kind of sherried deliciousness people love from a Speyside Scotch.

What does it taste like?:

Floral vanilla, galia melon, shortbread cookies, honey, banana, white chocolate, black pepper and cinnamon.

Strathisla 12 Year Old

Region: Speyside

This fruity, floral and sherry-rich single malt was distilled at Strathisla, which is not only the oldest continuously operating distillery in Scotland, but also one of the most beautiful. It’s currently owned by Chivas Brothers and much of the whisky is used for its blends, however, given its significance to Scotch whisky and the brand, it’s little surprise Chivas Brothers decided to honour the distillery with its own expression.

What does it taste like?:

Soft oak, candied peel, Danish pastries, cooked apple, malt, sultanas, cinnamon and allspice.

Caol Ila 2004 (bottled 2016) Moscatel Cask Finish – Distillers Edition

Region: Islay

We now find ourselves on the Isle of Islay, which is pretty much the closest we’ve got to a holy land for us Scotch whisky fans (don’t forget to make your pilgrimage for Feis Ile 2019 from 24 May-1 June). We know that some of you will have immediately scrolled when you saw this blog for the first thing that could be classed as Islay awesomeness in a bottle. Good thing you did, as the Caol Ila Distillers Edition bottlings are not to be missed. This edition is the 2004 vintage Distillers Edition, which was bottled in 2016 after it was finished for a period in a Moscatel cask. Expect smoke, expect sweetness and most of all, expect a truly sublime Scotch.

What does it taste like?:

Honey, subtly floral malt, a crash of sea spray, peat smoke, golden syrup, orange oil, jasmine tea, brown sugar, red grapes, cinnamon, cassia and a few touches of spearmint.

Kilchoman Machir Bay

Region: Islay

We’re now at Islay’s farm distillery Kilchoman for a delicious dram of Machir Bay, the flagship of the Kilchoman range. Named after the scenic beach on Islay, this excellent single malt Scotch whisky that was matured in both bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and boasts a wonderful balance of peat, sweetness and zesty citrus. One to savour.

What does it taste like?:

Citrus zests, crumbly vanilla biscuits, elegant peat smoke, tropical fruit, dried raisin and cracked black pepper.

Deanston 18 Year Old

Region: Highland

Our next stop is the wonderful Highland region for a delightful dram of Deanston. All of the distillery’s whisky is distilled with Scottish-grown barley and the 18 Year Old expression served its finishing period in first-fill Kentucky bourbon casks. With just a hint of drying smoke and plenty of creamy, sweet characteristics, Deanston 18 Year Old is a fine expression that should not be overlooked.

What does it taste like?:

Earthy vanilla, Golden Grahams, honeydew melon, flint, lemon cheesecake, orange boiled sweets, oily walnut, stem ginger and beeswax.

Highland Park Valknut

Region: Island

The Islands, which are often classed as being part of the Highlands, are home to some classic names like Talisker, Tobermory and, of course, Highland Park, the latter of which is our final stop. It’s located on the island of Orkney, where you’ll find puffins, plenty of great Scotch and also puffins (did I mention Orkney has puffins, guys?). The brand’s expression Valknut is part of the Viking Legend series and features a small portion of Orkney-grown Tartan barley. This is a more smoky customer than you may be used to from Highland Park, but it’s still got plenty of that typical rich, succulent profile you’ve come to love from Scotland’s most northerly distillery.

What does it taste like?:

Warming peat smoke, fresh vanilla, thyme honey, toasted barley, fennel seed, flamed orange peel, gingerbread, BBQ char, nutmeg and sandalwood.

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Behold! Six brilliantly old and rare Boutique-y whiskies are here!

‘Old’ and ‘rare’ are terms often bandied about with much abandon in whisky. Not here, folks. We’ve got six really rather marvellous, hard-to-find That Boutique-y Whisky Company gems that certainly…

‘Old’ and ‘rare’ are terms often bandied about with much abandon in whisky. Not here, folks. We’ve got six really rather marvellous, hard-to-find That Boutique-y Whisky Company gems that certainly live up to that billing, including a Macallan and not one but two Rosebanks!

We’re always on the look-out for unusual bottlings that max out deliciousness. And we love the people behind That Boutique-y Whisky Company because they are after the same: they sniff out incredible whiskies, independently bottle the best of the best, and then share them with the world. They are our kind of folk. And they’ve done it again. Say hello to six incredibly exciting brand-new bottlings: Rosebank 26 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company); Rosebank 28 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company); Ardbeg 27 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company); Highland Park 26 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company); Macallan 30 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company); and Springbank 22 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company)!

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36 New Master of Malt Single Cask Series Bottlings!

Hear ye hear ye! We have a brand new selection of Master of Malt Single Cask Series Bottlings, so flock to MoM Towers my fellow whisky-lovers – you don’t want…

Hear ye hear ye! We have a brand new selection of Master of Malt Single Cask Series Bottlings, so flock to MoM Towers my fellow whisky-lovers – you don’t want to miss out on this lot…

Our Single Cask Series is bigger than ever, with a whopping 36 new whiskies for our Single Cask Series!

Who wouldn’t want to savour the joy of a single cask whisky? The following editions have spent years maturing in a specific cask and now each idiosyncrasy is ready for you to interpret and enjoy. Each and every bottling here is truly unique. Once that cask is emptied, there is no more, people!

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Tasmanian Whisky – Everything You Need to Know! (Part 8: William McHenry and The Small Concern)

This is the final instalment in my series on Tasmanian Whisky and we begin with William McHenry and Sons; a distillery located about as remotely as you could imagine, on…

William McHenry distillery

This is the final instalment in my series on Tasmanian Whisky and we begin with William McHenry and Sons; a distillery located about as remotely as you could imagine, on the southeastern tip of Tasmania.

The distillery has its connections with the Gaelic whisky world; the owner, William McHenry, being a descendant of an Isle of Skye whisky smuggler. By trade, McHenry was in the pharmaceutical industry, and lived in Sydney, and one balmy Australian day at a barbecue, a friend made a passing comment about William’s Scottish roots, and the idea of making a whisky in honour of them. A few years later, McHenry moved with his family to Tasmania, settling on a beautiful 100-acre estate close to Port Arthur, an historic penal colony.

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Coastal Whisky: The Curious Relationship Between Whisky and the Seas

Some whiskies can be said to have a ‘coastal’ or ‘maritime’ character, and invariably these are also whiskies that I absolutely love. In fact, these seaside malts are the reason…

Coastal Whisky Bowmore

Some whiskies can be said to have a ‘coastal’ or ‘maritime’ character, and invariably these are also whiskies that I absolutely love. In fact, these seaside malts are the reason I became interested in whisky in the first place, and the very best examples are still probably my favourite spirits in the world. This is personal taste, of course, and whilst I love most of the gods’ rich tapestry of whisky flavour profiles, I just happen to be a sucker for the Neptunian ones. So, consider me your Neil Oliver as we embark on a journey of discovery and also consider exactly how is it that some malts seemingly take on the very taste of the coast. This, is whisky on the edge… *Cue music*

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