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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: The Macallan

The Nightcap: 15 October

Delicious new whiskies from The Macallan, Glenmorangie and the Clydeside Distillery, grape leftovers that are good for your skin and Hendrick’s wins the ginternet. These are just some of the…

Delicious new whiskies from The Macallan, Glenmorangie and the Clydeside Distillery, grape leftovers that are good for your skin and Hendrick’s wins the ginternet. These are just some of the delightful things that have grabbed our attention in the Nightcap: 15 October.

It seems half the news these days is all about people running out of stuff. Short supply is an issue across a lot of industries. But one thing that you can guarantee will be here every seven days is a nice healthy dollop of The Nightcap, as boozy and brilliant this week as it was last.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the week that was on the MoM blog. Adam put on his thinking beret and asked, ‘what is peat?’, Henry was in a bubbly mood and Lauren took a trip to Venice with the delicious combination of vodka, sorbet and Prosecco that is the Sgroppino. Meanwhile, our favourite grizzled industry veteran Ian Buxton reflected on how the world whisky category has come on in less than decade while elegantly plugging his new book 101 Craft and World Whiskies which is well worth a read. But that’s not all! Our ex-editor returned with a trip to Westward Whiskey in Portland, Oregon, we sampled the sheer magnificence of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and danced around like giddy schoolchildren at the arrival of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2020. What a week! 

Now, let’s crack on. It’s the Nightcap: 15 October edition!

Patron XO Cafe

Farewell old friend

Patrón XO Café will soon be no more

Bacardi has announced that it is ceasing the production of one of its most popular drinks: Patron XO Cafe, a 35% ABV liqueur infused with a kick of coffee, Patrón Tequila president Mauricio Vergara said that the business wanted to focus on growing and protecting the supply of their “super and ultra-premium Tequilas”. Priority is going to Patrón Silver, Reposado, and Añejo drinks instead, with Vergara describing now as an “incredibly exciting time” to be in the Tequila business. He continued: “We are thrilled to see consumer demand for Tequila continuing to explode around the world. Tequila is seeing rapid growth and incredible momentum – not just in the United States, but it is the second fastest-growing category in value across the globe.” Bacardi had acquired Patron back in January 2018 in a £3.66bn deal and, while Patron XO Café seemed a popular addition to its roster, a drinks industry source told The Grocer that the drink was discontinued most likely due to a lack of profit. Despite the fact that retail sales grew over the course of the pandemic, rising £550k to £1.9m over the year to 15 May 2021, the source was quoted as saying: “Because it’s not obvious to the consumer what [the drink] is, it will take a lot to investment to scale,” the source said. “Without scale it’ll be a very small profit contributor and not worth the effort.” A shame to see it go though we have heard rumours that Vivir Tequila has stepped in the breach with its own coffee liqueur. Isn’t capitalism great?

Congratulations to Dr Erna Blancquaert (left) and Angela Elizabeth Scott

Golden Vines wine diversity scholarships announced worth £55,000

The great and good of the wine world, and Kylie Minogue, descended on top London nightspot Annabel’s for the inaugural Golden Vines awards. Yes really! Apparently the pint-sized pop princess was there though we were too engrossed in the ridiculous quality of the wines served which included Dom Perignon, Château d’Yquem and Domaine de la Romanée Contée, and missed her. But we weren’t just there to swill fine wine. The evening saw the announcement of two Taylor’s Port Golden Vines Diversity Scholarships, worth £55,000 each. The winners were Angela Elizabeth Scott from Pennysvlvania who is training to be the first black Master of Wine, and Dr Erna Blancquaert, a lecturer at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Scott commented: “Receiving The Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship, Internship and Mentorship programme means that I will be able to connect with key figures and gain experience to which I would otherwise lack access. I hope to help others do the same,” and Dr Blancquaert said: “This Golden Vines Diversity Scholarship will enable me to expand my knowledge on the entire wine value chain, implement it in my teaching, and address global vitiviniculture problems through my research.” Adrian Bridge from the award’s sponsor Taylor’s Port added: “Taylor’s Port is delighted to be involved with this initiative to foster diversity in the wine industry. We are excited to see two very worthy winners have been chosen by the judges.” Congratulations to both winners and to Taylor’s Port for getting behind such a worthy cause. 

Stobcross

It’s Stobcross – which sounds like an anagram of something rude

Clydeside Distillery releases first-ever single malt whisky

Introducing Stobcross, the first-ever single malt whisky from one of Scotland’s newest and most exciting whisky distilleries, Clydeside in Glasgow. Bottled (and what a striking bottle it is) at 46% ABV and made from 100% Scottish barley and water from Loch Katrine, the inaugural Stobcross was named after the street on which it was made. Whisky production returned to the banks of the River Clyde for the first time in a century when the innovative new distillery opened in 2017. Andrew Morrison, commercial director at Morrison Glasgow Distillers, said: “Today marks a culmination of many years of hard work. Stobcross pays tribute to Glasgow’s industrial heritage and the spirit of innovation which forged its position on the global stage”. Clydeside is Located in the former Queen’s Dock, the transformed Pump House includes an impressive visitor centre, interactive tourism experience, shop, and cafe.  Fittingly, the distillery’s chairman Tim Morrison is the great-grandson of John Morrison, who originally built The Queen’s Dock in 1877. The distillery is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, and we’ve been waiting on this release for a while, so we’re very excited to see how it will do. Let us know your thoughts if you manage to get a taste.

Glasses of light and dark beer on a pub background.

Support your local, or it might not be there tomorrow

Almost 1,000 hospitality venues shut in two months this year

Britain’s hospitality sector lost 980 sites between July and September 2021, according to new data. The latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners showed the closure of an average of 16 sites per day. We, of course, have the effects of and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic to blame, leading to problems like supply issues, rising costs and, most keenly felt, labour shortages. There will also be a fair amount of debate regarding Brexit’s impact here too, but one thing that’s for certain is the sad inevitably that independently-run pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed venues were always going to be hit hardest. According to the report, they account for nearly three quarters of all closures during the period, while a report from the Night Time Industries Association revealed around 86,000 people working in the night-time industry have lost their jobs because of the pandemic earlier in the week. Compounding the issue further is new research from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) which shows sales of gin in the UK on-trade plunged by nearly 50% in the 12 months to July 2021, while a YouGov poll has revealed 66% of adults believe pandemic-led closures led to a decline in their mental health. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, says the numbers are a “reminder – if it were needed – that the crisis in hospitality is far from over”, adding that targeted government support on these major challenges like the crisis in recruitment, as well as VAT relief, is needed to help prevent “hospitality’s recovery from stalling”. It might all sound bleak, but not all insights are negative. Lumina Intelligence, for example, expects an industry return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to its UK Pub & Bar Market Report 2021.

Glenmorangie Winter

Another delicious-looking Glenmorangie is on its way

Glenmorangie unveils new winter warmer whisky

Glenmorangie is seemingly on a mission to ensure it has a dram for all occasions after it unveiled a 13-year-old single malt created specifically for the winter season. A Tale of Winter, produced by head of whisky creation, Dr Bill Lumsden and his team, was inspired by ‘the joy of cosy moments indoors’ during Scotland’s snowy months. The innovation- hungry whisky makers took a batch matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished it in ex-Marsala casks, giving the 46% ABV whisky aromas of orange toffee, lavender honey and sweet rose, and flavours of red pepper flakes, cocoa powder, Brazil nut toffee and sweet barley malt, apparently. You might remember it was around this time last year that Glenmorangie launched A Tale of Cake, and like that edition this bottling will be available from Master of Malt soon. To celebrate the launch, the distillery has made a selection of seasonal cocktails, including a Winter Old Fashioned and a Quinta Ruban Hot Chocolate. There’s even a Pumpkin Scotch Latte perfect for the forthcoming festival of spookiness.

Macallan Harmony

Do they ever stop at Macallan? No, no they don’t

Macallan makes chocolate-inspired whisky

The Macallan’s relentless pursuit to be in the news every week continues, mostly thanks to the distillery’s insane ability to conjure up new single malt ranges. This time it’s the Harmony Collection, which kicks off with a whisky that combines the worlds of whisky and chocolate. To create the new bottling, The Macallan whisky maker Polly Logan visited Girona, Spain, to learn about the flavours behind the chocolate-making process. She teamed up with pastry chef Jordi Roca from three Michelin-starred restaurant El Celler de Can Roca and chocolatier Damian Allsop to learn the art of chocolate, then searched sherry-seasoned oak casks maturing at The Macallan Estate to identify “rare, indulgent chocolate notes”. The whisky is made from a combination of European and American oak casks, and is said to pair perfectly with rich chocolate, you might expect. The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao comes in a fully recyclable and biodegradable presentation box, made using natural by-products in the chocolate-making process. A limited 200 pairing tasting sets, including a bottle of The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao, a 10-piece box of custom-made chocolate, a pairing guide and two Macallan Glencairn glasses, are being made available to pre-order the Reserve Bar on 8 November 2021. We’ll have plenty of the whisky here too soon, if you’re worried about not getting your hands on that.

The Lucky Drinker

Ciprian Zsrag is the Lucky Drinker

St James Bar bartender launches cocktail book, The Lucky Drinker

We last visited St James Bar to sample the delights of the drinks from the talented team, but last night we popped over once again for a very different kind of event – a book launch! There were drinks to be had (of course), but all were simple classic cocktails made from The Lucky Drinker, the new book from Ciprian Zsrag, former head bartender of St James Bar (with experience at Artesian and The Savoy’s American Bar under his belt, too). The Lucky Drinker started as a blog in 2017, though it’s the culmination of many years of experience before. The book covers recipes, yes, but also barware, food pairings, and a history of industry personalities – it even takes into account the cost of a cocktail. During the evening Zsrag’s excitement is palpable, as he recounts over a decade of planning, and how, in contrast to the usual offerings from the St James Bar menu, the serves in the book are based on minimalism – though each recipe comes with a way to ‘twist’ your drink, should you be feeling on the flamboyant side. A beautiful book for anyone wanting to nail the classics, without splurging on crazy ingredients and contraptions. Congratulations Ciprian!

pelegrims.ProductSet.WEB

Pelegrims, good for your skin and good for the environment

Pelegrims skin care is grape for your complexion 

You may be wondering why the Master of Malt content team’s skin is looking so youthful and glowing despite the demanding circuit of tastings, parties and late nights we have to endure to bring you all the news from the world of booze. Well, it’s because of a new skincare range called Pelegrims, an old English name inspired by Pilgrims Way to Canterbury. The secret of the Pelegrim magic is grape extract. These are leftovers from the wine making process and come from Ortega and Pinot Noir grapes grown not far from MoM towers at Westwell in Kent. The polyphenols in the seeds, skins and stems have antioxidant properties. The range consists of a facial oil, facial balm, a hand cleanser and hand pomade. And not only are they made from a waste product but the packaging is recyclable. The range is a collaboration between skincare expert Alex Verier, wine lover and tech type, and Jerome Moisan. Remarkably Moisan isn’t even the most entrepreneurial one in his family. His son put together a charity cookery book earlier this year called In Conversation With which outsold Mary Berry, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver in its first week on sale. And he was only 12 at the time! Watch out Dad.

GIN-fographic_IWOOT_GIN BRANDS

Gin is a wonderful thing but it isn’t good for your liver

Hendrick’s is the most searched for gin on social media

You’ve probably been wondering what the most searched for gin on the internet is. No? Just us? Well, Homeware retailer IWOOT (stands for I Want One Of Those) has crunched the numbers and the results are in, perfect timing what with Gin & Tonic day coming up on 19 October. Based on hashtags on Instagram and monthly search volumes the winner is…. Hendrick’s, followed by Tanqueray, Gordon’s, Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire, which isn’t surprising. The most searched for type of gin was apparently pink gin followed by sloe and rhubarb. Though we imagine that just plain old gin was quite popular too. The infographic produced by the firm shows that searches for gin were up 80% year on year probably because of all those lockdowns (go here to see a full breakdown of the date). The press release we received then took a wild turn by claiming: “There are many reasons why drinking gin may have increased in popularity during this time; it’s a natural remedy for your joint woes, helps fight kidney and liver disease.” Sounds like someone’s had one too many G&Ts.

And finally… Remember kids, motorbikes and booze don’t mix

We’re a bit sceptical here of motoring/booze collaborations here on the Nightcap. Are whisky and fast cars really such a great combination? But two Italian icons have cleverly squared the circle by emphasizing that they don’t go together. The old switcheroo! A new campaign launched by legendary motorbike manufacturer Ducati and its sponsor Amaro Montenegro features a rugged Italian biker deciding not to take his beloved bike out, and instead spend the evening with his friends drinking, yes you guessed it, Amaro Montenegro. Almost as much fun as riding your Ducati and a lot more sociable. It’s called ‘Don’t Drink and Ride’ and naturally comes with its own hashtag #DONTDRINKANDRIDE. The aptly-named Marco Ferrari, CEO of Gruppo Montenegro, explained: “As a spirit brand, it was imperative to be vocal about responsible drinking and we wanted to send a clear message in a compelling and engaging way. We feel our ‘Don’t Drink and Ride’ campaign is the perfect response to it.”  Just in case you needed to be reminded that high performance motorbikes and cocktails are not a good combination. 

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The Nightcap: 17 September

The biggest whisky bottle ever filled, Luther launches a bar and TWO ‘and finally’ stories… It’s all in the Nightcap: 17 September edition.  It might not have registered with you…

The biggest whisky bottle ever filled, Luther launches a bar and TWO ‘and finally’ stories… It’s all in the Nightcap: 17 September edition. 

It might not have registered with you but this Wednesday saw the first ever National Hospitality Day. Now, we realise that there are a lot of these things to keep up with: British Pie Week, World Whisky Day, and Talk Like a Pirate Day, if it’s still going. But National Hospitality Day is one that’s particularly close to our hearts. During all the lockdowns, almost as much as we missed our parents and grandparents, we missed the convivial fug of our favourite bars and pubs. Though it’s good to be back, many venues didn’t make it through Covid, and with talk of possible restrictions on the way (noooooooooooo!), we’re urging readers to make full use of their local. So grab your phone, tablet, or portable electronic device, head out, order your usual and settle back with the Nightcap: 17 September edition. Cheers!

As well as being National Hospitality Day, it’s also Negroni Week (13-19 September) so Millie Milliken brought us seven twists on the classic including the intriguing-sounding ‘wanky Negroni.’ Then we shined our New Arrival spotlight on an underrated Scotch whisky style, single grain, with a special bottling from McMurray David. Things took a turn for the unusual as we invited customers all aboard the Hendrick’s airship. On Wednesday, did we mention it was National Hospitality Day? To celebrate, MoM staff got all misty-eyed about their locals and we finished the day by making a Vesper Martini because there’s a new Bond film out this month. An eclectic week finished off with a trip to Normandy to sample some Sassy cidre

Now it’s on with the Nightcap: 17 September edition!

The Nightcap: 17 September

We’ve seen a lot of whisky in our time and, in our expert opinion, that is a big bottle

World record smashed for the biggest whisky bottle ever filled

Gather round, gather round and gaze upon its magnificence: the biggest whisky bottle ever filled! Yes, in the Scottish town of Huntly a world record breaking-sized bottle of Scotch, was unveiled this week containing a staggering 311 litres of Macallan single malt. Household names Fah Mai Holdings Group Inc (FMH) and Rosewin Holdings PLC (RH) joined forces to fill the beast on 9 September, which beat the previously-held record, established by The Famous Grouse Experience in 2012, by a landslide 83 litres. There’s two sister casks of 32-year-old Macallan single malt whisky, married together by Duncan Taylor, in the 1.8m (five ft. nine inches) tall bottle, which took an hour to fill. The leftover whisky has been used to produce a limited-edition bottling run called ‘The Intrepid’. Each set consisting of a replica of the record-winning bottle featuring the faces of different famous explorers, athletes and adventurers. The feat was done to raise money for a number of charities so the whisky will now travel to a London auction house, where the hope is that the bottle will end up breaking a second world record for the highest price for a bottle of whisky ever purchased. “To put it into perspective, a single 70cl bottle of original 30-year-old Macallan Oak sells for £4-5k and a similar independent bottling fetches £3k plus,” says Fah Mai Holdings Group and Rosewin Holdings owners Louis Haseman and Daniel Monk. “What we have here in our mega bottle alone is around 444 of those. We’ll leave you to do the maths…”

Big spirits regulate influencers

How do you influence the influencers?

Big spirits sets influencer standards

A group of the largest spirits companies including Diageo, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard has launched an initiative to set standards for influencers. The giants are part of 12 booze companies in the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), and they’ve teamed up with 13 marketing firms. The idea is to prevent minors from being influenced by the influencers. Henry Ashworth, IARD president and CEO, explained: “This is a world-first initiative in raising collective standards of responsibility across multiple digital channels, and we call on our partners in the alcohol, advertising and influencer industries to join us in our ongoing work to ensure that alcohol marketing across all forms of media is responsible.” He added: “This is a major step in preventing minors from seeing any alcohol marketing and IARD is proud to have united the world’s leading agencies to help raise global standards.” All very laudable but it seems to us that the main problem with influencers is not that minors might see them, after all alcoholic imagery is everywhere on billboards, films and in shops. Far more worrying is that it’s often not clear that when a top influencer is by the pool in Dubai enjoying a bottle of big brand booze, they are being paid to do so. We look forward to hearing about the new transparency regulations soon.

The Nightcap: 17 September

This beauty will reduce energy-related CO2 emissions by 95% by next year

Belvedere completes its biomass capture facility 

Belvedere has opened an ambitious on-site biomass capture facility that’s been three years in the making. In 2018, the Polish vodka maker became the first spirits distillery to receive a grant from the European Commission to pilot such a facility, and it will now be able to accelerate its Made With Nature commitments set forth in 2020. The facility will start producing 100% renewable energy, and subsequently reduce energy related CO2 emissions by 95% by 2022. President & CEO of Belvedere Vodka, Rodney Williams, commented that the build marks a “major step forward towards Belvedere making good on our belief that better business practices create a better world,” adding that the brand is “building on these achievements by setting the bar even higher for ourselves with eight sustainability commitments achievable by 2025.” The eight commitments include initiatives such as converting to fully organic farming from 2023, restoring landscapes through a regenerative soil program, reducing water waste, pursuing renewable energy solutions, reducing use of plastic by 50% and recovering heat waste by converting the distillation by-product into fuel. We always welcome progress in the name of sustainability, so nice work Belvedere. We think you’ve earned a Martini. Or a Vesper, perhaps…

The Nightcap: 17 Septembervvvv

Transparency has been a problem within Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey legislation is tightened

The Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has helped further the cause of transparency in Irish whiskey by introducing new legislation regarding how brands label and market their products. The new terms state that if your liquid was not produced at a distillery your brand owns, then the label must say ‘Produced for’. The Irish whiskey industry has been undermined by a number of brands which have been less than forthcoming about the whiskey it markets, often misleading consumers with labels that suggest it produces its own spirit. You might have thought this move would come from one of four distinct entities which claim to represent Irish whiskey producers – the Irish Whiskey Association, the Irish Distillers Association, the Irish Whiskey Guild, and the Irish Craft and Artisan Distilleries Association – but no it’s come from a government department. Many producers have publicly stated their dissatisfaction with the lack of transparency in Irish whiskey, such as the outspoken Blackwater Distillery founder Peter Mulryan. A tweet by the distillery reacted to the news positively, stating, “It’s great to see DAFM insisting that Irish whiskey labels now say ‘Produced for’ when liquid is not produced in-house by brand. Expect gnashing of teeth from shite brands and faux-distilleries. #irishwhiskey”. One suspects we haven’t heard the last about this, but for those who are passionate about protecting the good name of Irish whiskey should have something to raise a glass to this week. 

The Nightcap: 17 September

Congratulations, Jen and Seb!

Spirit of Manchester plans second site

It’s been a hard year-and-a-half for the spirits industry but that hasn’t stopped the impressive growth of The Spirit of Manchester Distillery. The maker of gin, rum and more is having to open a second facility outside Manchester city centre just to meet increased demand. A 5,000-square-foot facility called The Vault, will provide additional space for bottling, labelling and shipping, the chance to hire two new workers for its production and warehouse team, and the opportunity to produce more than one million bottles annually. The Spirit of Manchester currently operates its flagship distillery in the city centre in a grade two-listed building on Watson Street, which is also home to a cocktail bar and gin school (all of which are excellent, as an upcoming blog will reveal…). The company says it expects to grow sales by more than 30% on pre-pandemic levels in 2022 as a result of ‘booming’ consumer demand and increased production capability. “Having come through a tough period for the industry, we’re delighted to be looking to the future and investing in our growth,” says master distiller Seb Heeley. “By expanding our production facilities, we’re also able to plan exciting enhancements to our distillery tour and gin tasting offering and look forward to sharing the magic that is The Spirit of Manchester.” We can honestly say this couldn’t happen to nicer people. Congrats, guys.

The Nightcap: 17 September

Porte Noire opens on the 18 October

Idris Elba and David Farber to launch Porte Noire bar 

From Luther to luxury fizz, Idris Elba is launching a wine bar! He’s teaming up with David Farber from Connaught Wine Cellars and wine and Champagne brand Porte Noire. The bar will be located at the foot of Gasholders (yes, an old gasholder), by the Regent’s canal towpath London. Expect an extensive selection of wines from around the world, cocktails and a selection of classic French brasserie-style dishes split into tasters, bar snacks, starters, mains and desserts. Designed by leading design agency Kanvass, Porte Noire will feature an outdoor space, a dining room and a bar which can seat up to 70 guests. The new bar and shop will also be home to around 800 wine bins as well as one of the largest fine wine tasting rooms in London. Chosen by Farber, the wine selection will include  some of the best and rarest bottles to a more accessible selection of wines on tap to suit all tastes. Most bottles will be available to purchase in the shop that sits by the entrance of the bar. “David has been working in the wine space for a long time, I know he is going to take the Porte Noire name and create something special,” says Elba. The Porte Noire Bar and Shop is set to open on Monday 18 October.

The Nightcap: 17 September

The Gibson will play host to some Laphroaig larks with David Miles and Marian Beke

Edrington UK to host a month of events for London Cocktail Week

Need some ideas of how to spend London Cocktail Week? Well, Edrington UK, the company behind Macallan, Highland Park and Laphroaig, has announced an interesting sounding series of workshops and events dedicated to the trade across the capital. Designed for those working in the bar and hospitality industry, the brand has put together three different sessions taking place throughout London Cocktail Week, which is taking place across the entire month of October. The first is Tending to the Tenders at Lyaness, a partnership with the bar to create a community space that’s focused on great food, delicious cocktails, wellness, and mental health. From cocktails to food, massages to interactive sessions, yoga to cinema nights, trade can attend all of these events for FREE. Lovely stuff. Then there’s Laphroaig at The Gibson, which sees whisky specialist David Miles talking all things “Peat, Heat, Sour and Sweet” alongside Marian Beke. Finally, everything from bar economics to fixing glassware will be tackled in one-off trade workshops at Maker’s Mark x Tayēr + Elementary Workshops. Just follow the links if you want to book your tickets, hopefully, we’ll see you there!

The Nightcap: 17 September

Arbroath Smokies benefit from the traditional process. But will gin?

And finally… anyone for gin made in a fish smokehouse?

Forfar distillery Gin Bothy has partnered with smokehouse Alex Spink and Sons to enter a new addition into our classic Nightcap category: weird and wonderful gins. The local fish smokehouse, has been specialising in the art of making ‘Arbroath Smokies’, which are a traditional type of smoked haddock cured in salt before being slow-cooked in a fire-filled barrel, since the 1970s. It’s actually a geographically protected method, like Champagne. Now Alex Spink and Sons has applied the same traditional technique to botanicals including juniper, orange peel, coriander, and lemon, which were then used to make the smoked gin. You’ll be pleased to know that the distillation itself took place at the Gin Bothy distillery, half an hour’s drive away from the smokehouse, preventing the aroma of fish from penetrating the spirit. The Gin Bothy Smoked Gin is said to have notes of burned orange, deep citrus flavour with a smoky finish and its makers recommend sipping it neat, or pairing it with chips. Just kidding, a light tonic and a slice of orange should do the trick. Some smoked salmon on the side wouldn’t go amiss, all jokes aside. Gin Bothy founder Kim Cameron says the inspiration behind the gin was to bring together two of Scotland’s oldest traditions in one unusual product. “The smoking of ingredients and products has long been part of Scottish culture,” she said. “The bothy smokehouses dotted along the north-east coasts offer culinary secrets from recipes of old and it is here that we created our smoked gin.” The gin is priced at £35 per bottle and is available from Gin Bothy’s website.

The Nightcap: 17 September

Well, it’s hard to confuse that for anything else. Wait, not hard. Difficult. It’s difficult.

… or penis-shaped wine?

Well, we were bound to get there eventually. One Napa-based company has made penis-shaped bottles to house its wine. It’s called Just the Tipsy, obviously, and is hilariously described as “fairly anatomically correct”. Launched in June, the $37 genitalia bottle houses sparkling rose Seurat (not Penis Noir, before you ask) that’s described as being dry and crisp with a long, ahem, finish. Pairs excellently with coq au vin. Ha, ha, ha. Anyway, as you might expect, the initial idea was to market the wine for hen parties and “girls’ wine nights”. The project has been in the works for nearly two years, and CEO Matthew Shore says he was surprised by how many winemakers in Napa were open to participating. He also said that he can “neither confirm nor deny who the model(s) may have been, but we made sure to go through many rounds of design to make sure it came out perfect”. Isn’t that comforting? The penis-shaped bottle is available for purchase on the company’s website

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An exciting new Macallan whisky bottle lottery is here!

The Macallan Sir Peter Blake: An Estate, A Community and A Distillery has arrived at MoM Towers and we’ve ensured that you’ve got a fair shake at getting your hands…

The Macallan Sir Peter Blake: An Estate, A Community and A Distillery has arrived at MoM Towers and we’ve ensured that you’ve got a fair shake at getting your hands on a bottle.

The Macallan is a distillery that loves to release a swanky whisky. When the Speyside producer isn’t breaking records with expressions distilled decades ago, it’s launching new rare bottlings to get us all excited.

One of those recent releases, The Macallan Sir Peter Blake: An Estate, A Community and A Distillery, has found its way onto our site. You might recall hearing about this one in The Nightcap. You see, legendary artist Sir Peter Blake nipped up Speyside way to help create The Anecdotes of Ages Collection. The collaboration was his third with The Macallan in a relationship that has spanned almost four decades. So the whisky giants decided to honour Blake and commemorate his visit to The Macallan Estate with some booze.

The brand says An Estate, A Community, and A Distillery tells the story of some of the “colourful characters from The Macallan’s past and present”. It features a label digitally designed by Sir Peter himself. The Macallan lead whisky maker, Sarah Burgess, has a made dram that’s said to be rich in dried fruits and spices with hints of orange, clove, cracked black pepper and treacle.

The Macallan An Estate, A Community and A Distillery

Swanky new Macallan whisky is here!

It’s lottery time!

It all sounds rather lovely. But this is The Macallan. This means this super fancy bottle is highly desirable. And seeing as we only have 40 bottles available, we’ve decided that a bottle lottery is the best way to sell this spirit. 

Those of you who’ve seen any of our previous lotteries will know we do this because we want to be as fair as possible. As always, our sweary and handy post from 2016 will shed some more light on our policy.

We will approach this lottery the same as we have before. The action will be taking place on the product page. The timeline is below. The bottle will feature the message “I hereby swear not to sell this bottle – but to drink it with my chums. May my taste-buds and olfactory bulb shrivel and die if I should break my word.” For those of you who are lucky enough to win, dispatch will take place on the week beginning 19 April.

The Macallan An Estate, A Community and A Distillery

Head over to the product page and get entering!

An Estate, A Community and A Distillery lottery timeline:

When you’re ready to enter, simply head here. Let’s be 100% clear on this. If you want to get your hands on a bottle, you need to click on this link and go to the product page. Don’t comment on this blog. Don’t try and send us a smoke signal. And definitely do not email Sir Peter Blake. We’re pretty sure he gets his mail via raven anyway. 

Also to note, the clocks change in the UK this weekend. So the times are initially in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Then British summer time (BST) officially starts at 1 am on Sunday 28 March. When the clocks go forward an hour to 2 am. Clear? Just nod along. Nobody actually understands how time works. It’s basically made up. Like unicorns or the economy.

Bottle Lottery: Friday 26 March 12:00 – Tuesday 30 March 13:00

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The Nightcap: 22 January

In the Nightcap this week we cover the cancellation of some of our favourite whisky festivals (boo!), plenty of great work from The Drinks Trust (yay!) and the US Supreme…

In the Nightcap this week we cover the cancellation of some of our favourite whisky festivals (boo!), plenty of great work from The Drinks Trust (yay!) and the US Supreme Court’s verdict on a parody dog toy that upset Jack Daniel’s (???).

Hello again everyone. We hope you’re all staying safe and managing the seemingly endless lockdown ok. We found a useful way of doing that is to appreciate those small moments of joy we can overlook. Like hearing a new song you love or making yourself a plate of delicious carbohydrates to inhale. Plus, there’s vaccines and dogs and all kinds of exciting and wondrous things happening in the world of booze to enjoy. Which is why we do The Nightcap. This industry never fails to amaze. Did you ever think you’d see Fatboy Slim, pre-French Revolution Cognac, pirate-themed whisky, CBD gin and the US Supreme Court in one article?

On the blog this week, we introduced our solution to the blandness of the season with Try January! Then, we looked forward to a different but still delightful Burns Night by checking out the most exciting virtual events taking place and recommending some cracking whiskies to enjoy on the night. We also had our fill of tasty cocktails, from a classic gin-based pre-Prohibition serve to serves that can transport you across the world. Expressions that caught our eye included a terrific dram from Aberlour was our New Arrival of the Week, a non-alcoholic spirit inspired by the historical distinction of London Dry gin and a selection of bargain white wines.

Now, on to The Nightcap!

On The Nightcap this week: Fèis Ìle,

It’s heartbreaking to know we won’t be going back again, but safety is the priority.

Fèis Ìle and Campbeltown Malts Festival cancelled

In unsurprising, but still terribly sad news, there will be no Fèis Ìle or Campbeltown Malts Festival this year. Much like in 2020, the organisers of the two internationally-renowned events were moved to axe them in the face of huge uncertainty over the impact of coronavirus restrictions. Planning a programme, buying/selling tickets and booking accommodation in advance as normal hasn’t been possible due to the ongoing curbs on travel, social gatherings and events. Virtual versions of  both festivals will take place instead. Springbank Distillery announced last night on Instagram that the Campbeltown distilleries felt it was the only option, “as the UK is currently in the midst of lockdown restrictions and it is unlikely that mass gatherings will be allowed by May”. Islay’s hugely popular music and malt festival released a similar statement. “With deep regret, we announce that this year’s festival is cancelled. We have discussed this with our distillery partners, and we have come to this decision together,”. The organisers went on to say, “We know you won’t like hearing this news. We don’t like saying it. But please just keep Islay in your hearts for a little longer: hold on to the love of the island, the music, the whisky and the company, and the embraces when we see you again will be all the sweeter.”

On The Nightcap this week: Arrrrrrrdbeg

It’s a most fitting tribute. Arrr!

Ardbeg reveals new whisky: Arrrrrrrdbeg

There can’t be many jobs that reward you with leaving presents as cool as the drinks industry provides. Just ask Mickey Heads. As regular Nightcap readers will know, the well-regarded distillery manager announced his retirement last year from his role at Ardbeg (although he will be continuing in his role as chairman of the Ardbeg Committee). So the Islay-based distillery has created a new whisky to celebrate his time there. How cool is that? The new whisky is a pirate-themed expression called Ardbeg Arrrrrrrdbeg (hell yeah) and is the distillery’s first-ever whisky matured in ex-rye casks. The brand’s tasting notes describe flavours such as gunpowder, smoked banana, rye bread, sweet vanilla toffee, an aniseed breeze, Brazil nuts and gentle smoke. Sounds delicious. But, sadly, this is an Ardbeg Committee exclusive bottling. That means if you want to get your hands on a bottle you’ll have to head on over to the Ardbeg website and join the committee before it is released in the UK on the 2 February 2021. Members are due to receive an email that morning with a link giving them the chance to buy a bottle. Dr Bill Lumsden, director of whisky creation at Ardbeg, described the dram as a “perfectly peaty parting gift” and thanked Heads for his time there, commenting: “Working with Mickey has been an absolute joy. He’s somebody with a genuine passion for Ardbeg and we hope that this bottling will take pride of place in his collection. He’s presided over many momentous Ardbegs over the years, but this ‘end of an era’ edition is a special one”. You can still pick up all kinds of tasty Ardbeg whisky from us, however, and raise a glass of that to the man who led Ardbeg to three IWC ‘Distillery of the Year’ titles in a row and was named Distillery Manager of the Year 2014 instead. Slange var! 

On The Nightcap this week: Fèis Ìle,

The Drinks Trust welcomes Troy Christensen, Jaega Wise, Ian Burrell and Becky Paskin.

The Drinks Trust welcomes new chair and patrons

We got some good news courtesy of The Drinks Trust this week as it appointed a new chair of its board of trustees, Troy Christensen and welcomed three new patrons, Ian Burrell, Becky Paskin and Jaega Wise. Christensen, who first joined the charity in 2018,  brings 15 years’ experience in the drinks trade with Constellation Brands and as CEO of Accolade Wines from 2011 until 2013. He was appointed CEO of Enotria Wine Cellars in June 2014 and oversaw the acquisition of Coe Vintners in 2015. “This remarkable charity has represented and defended employees of the wine and spirits industry for over a hundred years. After the unbelievable challenges 2020 presented to our industry through the impact of Covid and government policy, this is a very relevant time for The Drinks Trust,” he commented. Helping Christensen and co. to raise awareness and increase the charity’s reach and impact are new patrons Ian Burrell, rum ambassador; Becky Paskin, spirits journalist and co-founder of Our Whisky; and Jaega Wise, TV and radio presenter and head brewer at the Wild Card Brewery. They will join existing patrons Matthew Rhys, Jancis Robinson MW OBE and Olly Smith as well as Founder Patron, Tom Yusef who said, “The help and time from our new patrons to further our causes whilst helping The Drinks Trust to reach new audiences is greatly appreciated. We are excited to be working with such dynamic and inspirational people in the drinks industry”.

On The Nightcap this week: rare Macallan

This beauty is sure to fetch an eye-popping price

World’s most expensive whisky tipped to set new records

The second half of an incredible collection of whisky will go under the hammer next month in a sale that is set to enter the record books. From 12-22 February 2021, over 1,900 bottles of the rarest single malts in existence, will feature in the sale hosted by Whisky Auctioneer. Leading the auction is The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60 Year Old, which is expected to beat the current world record hammer price of £1.2m, which is held by a Macallan from the same original bottling batch. Other standout whiskies include The Balvenie 1937 50 Year Old, Bowmore’s legendary 1964 vintage and a 1921 private cask bottling of Dallas Dhu which has not been seen on the secondary market for over 25 years. The Perfect Collection Part Two, which initially launched last April, was postponed following a major cyber attack. Part one took place in February 2020, fetching a total hammer price of £3.2million as Whisky Auctioneer became the first online auction house to sell a million-dollar bottle. The collection was amassed by late American businessman and philanthropist, Richard Gooding and is one of the largest and most significant ever to go to public auction. “Mr Gooding’s Collection is nothing short of extraordinary and we are honoured and delighted to bring it to auction,” says Iain McClune, founder of Whisky Auctioneer. “Collectors, investors and whisky lovers alike will have their interest sparked by the truly astonishing array of whiskies on offer”. 

On The Nightcap this week: rare Cognac

Want to own Cognac distilled when Napoleon was eight years old? Now you can.

Pre-French Revolution Cognac goes under the hammer

We got quite excited last year at getting hold of some 1895 Cognac from Hermitage but new lots going up on Whisky.Auction on Sunday 31 January make that venerable liquid look positively sprightly. The collection belonging to Jacques Hardy, from a well-known Cognac family, contains bottles from 1802 and 1777. The last one a pre-Revolutionary vintage distilled when Napoleon was just an eight-year-old boy with big dreams. It boggles the mind that you might be able to taste such a piece of history. The grapes came from Domaine de la Vie in Grand Champagne and after distillation, the liquid spent around 100 years in oak before being transferred to a demijohn and finally bottled in 1936. It was given to Jacques’ uncle, James Hardy, on his wedding day by his new family-in-law. Much better than new linens. It’s one of only five such bottles in existence. Sukhinder Singh from Whisky. Auction commented: “I am pleased to have tried this around 10 years ago when it was available at The Lanesborough Hotel in London. What a privilege it was to taste such old liquid that was still fresh and full of life with the lingering rancio flavour that you find in pre-phylloxera Cognac.” The rest of the collection is equally mind-blowing as alongside the 1777 and 1802, there’s an 1812, a 1906 and a mere baby, the 1914. The bottles are being sold as individual lots, and the auction will go live on Sunday 31 January 2021, running for ten days until Tuesday 9 February. Happy bidding!

On The Nightcap this week: The Drinks Trust,

The money goes to a great cause, so do check it out

Fatboy Slim signed prints up for auction for The Drinks Trust

How’s your living room looking? A bit bare, perhaps? What you need are some gorgeous limited edition prints which have just gone on sale called A Shot in Time. These five pictures celebrate five emotions associated with hospitality: togetherness, happiness, resilience, family and, not forgetting, shenanigans. Remember shenanigans? The creator of these prints is drinks photographer Addie Chinn. Each one costs £50, is A3 size and part of a limited run of only 50. Best of all, all the profits go to The Drinks Trust, to raise essential funding to those needing critical social, medical and financial help for them and their families in the hospitality sector.  Go to Our Future Proof Website to buy yours. But that’s not all! Mr Fatboy Slim himself, Norman Cook, has signed and captioned a set of prints which will be auctioned at Whisky.Auction of 31 January 4pm. It’s all happening there this week. Follow @OurFutureProof for more information. 

On The Nightcap this week: spaniels

It’s not a story of Jack Daniel’s getting into a fight with actual dogs, but it’s no less ridiculous.

And finally… Bad Spaniels beat Jack Daniels

In a long-running legal battle between a small dog, VIP Products, and a big animal, Brown Forman, it looks like the little dog will, at last, have its day. It all started with the launch of a dog chew toy called Bad Spaniels that looked a lot like a bottle of Jack Daniels, with the words ‘Old No. 7 Tennessee sour mash whiskey’ replaced with ‘The Old No.2 on your Tennessee carpet’. Clever! Following cease and desist letters from the whiskey firm, VIP products sued Jack Daniel’s in 2014. Initially, a court found that the toy did infringe on Jack Daniel’s trademarks but then in 2020 the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favour of Bad Spaniels. The big boys at JD weren’t done yet, so they petitioned the Supreme Court but this month the highest court in the US declined to hear the case. So it looks like, finally, the spaniel has won. Moral of the story: don’t get in a fight with a dog over a chew toy. Not only will you lose, but you’ll be left looking foolish.  

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Charity auction: Macallan The Red Collection

Remember when we reported that The Macallan had launched the most unbelievable collection of whiskies you’re ever likely to see in your life? Yeah, well we’ve just got some of…

Remember when we reported that The Macallan had launched the most unbelievable collection of whiskies you’re ever likely to see in your life? Yeah, well we’ve just got some of them in. No, really.

The Macallan is a brand that truly understands how to get us whisky lovers all hot and bothered. There are few distilleries who can cause a stir like the Speyside giants when it launches a limited-edition expression or breaks yet another auction record. But the brand managed to out-do itself back in October when it revealed The Red CollectionSeriously, who else could produce a range in which the youngest bottling is 40-years-old and the oldest is 78-years-old? The latter is the oldest bottling ever released in the history of the distillery, and it just so happens that we have one. In fact, we were lucky enough to get a small allocation of the following:

The Macallan 40 Year Old – The Red Collection

The Macallan 50 Year Old – The Red Collection

The Macallan 71 Year Old – The Red Collection

The Macallan 78 Year Old – The Red Collection

Macallan The Red Collection

The Red Collection is one of the most astonishing ranges of whisky we’ve ever seen

But, given the demand for these was always going to be insanely high and the supply is scarce, we won’t be offering these beauties to you in the usual manner. Instead, we’ll be doing one of the things we do best. Selling remarkable booze as part of a charity auction (for a little more detail on why we’re doing this, check out our handy little sweary blog post from 2016). This means everything over RRP (net of any applicable VAT) going to Hospitality Action, which offers a crucial lifeline to people of all ages, working and retired, from the hospitality industry. It’s a cause that we’re obviously very supportive of and I’m sure you can all imagine why it’s as important now as it has ever been.

Auction Timeline:

As usual, the excitement will take place on the individual product pages, which are all located on our handy Macallan The Red Collection page (all timings are GMT). Oh, and please remember to use the same email address to bid as the one you intend to purchase with. For more info, check our terms of business.

Be sure to pop the times in your calendar, and good luck to everyone taking part!

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The Nightcap: 4 December

Hurrah! The first Nightcap of the festive season is here and it’s full of Christmas cheer, interesting stories and boozy news. We’ll raise a glass to that. Those who welcome…

Hurrah! The first Nightcap of the festive season is here and it’s full of Christmas cheer, interesting stories and boozy news. We’ll raise a glass to that.

Those who welcome the “Christmas creep” that now begins before Halloween might disagree, but I think it’s fair to say that, for most of us, the true Christmas season has begun now that December has arrived. Nobby Holder has emerged from this den, the decorations are up all over the place and I can longer shame my mum for watching Christmas films (although I was definitely right to do so in early November). 

You might have noticed that we’ve got into the Christmas spirit on the MoM blog, mostly thanks to #WhiskySanta incredible Super Wishes, which this week featured two Scotch whiskies matured for more than 40 years, one from Tomintoul and another from Tamnavulin. We also opened up our Whisky Advent Calendar and enjoyed the spoils of what appeared behind windows #1, #2, #3 and #4.

Elsewhere, Adam learnt all about Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s new mezcal, what drinks trends to look out for this year, why the Octomore 11 Series is so tasty and which rums are not only tasty but available for less than £40. Henry, meanwhile, tasted some extraordinary Cognacs (one of them spent 110 years in cask!), Annie made the delicious and delicate White Negroni, Kristy investigated why Jura is so enchanting and Nate Brown returned to explain why his bar will remain shut this December

Oh, and we launched a competition that offers you the chance to win a VIP Trip to Bowmore and Laphroaig. Phew! Talk about blog-mageddon. Now, on to The Nightcap!

The Nightcap

The sale of this bottle has just made one man’s Christmas very festive indeed (image credit: Sotheby’s)

Macallan whisky bought for £80 sells for £57,500

I think it’s fair to say a lot of us have picked up a pretty pricey bottle of whisky with a special occasion in mind. But I imagine there won’t be many of us who look up the price of the whisky 37 years later and realise it’s worth tens of thousands of pounds. That’s exactly what happened to one lucky man, whose son bought him a bottle of The Macallan’s 50-year-old Anniversary Malt for his 50th birthday in 1983 for £80, with plans to drink it when he turned 80. But, after learning what it might be worth, the eventual seller instead contacted auctioneers Brightwells and ended up fetching a remarkable £57,500 for the bottle, according to the Scottish Daily Record. Most bottles of the expression, which was one of a 500-bottle release distilled in 1928, have been drunk so demand was high and the whisky attracted bids from Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and Hong Kong as well as the UK. “This release has acquired mythic status as the best-tasting Macallan ever produced,” Paddy Shave of the auction house said (best name ever, by the way). “It’s described as the Holy Grail for malt whisky lovers, so we knew there would be worldwide interest.”

The Nightcap

Anyone got a spare 10k lying around?

Glenturret releases a 33-year-old whisky

Scotland’s oldest working distillery has made the most of 2020, relaunching its brand in the autumn and now unveiling a very swanky limited-edition single malt series in collaboration with glass experts Lalique. The first release is The Glenturret Provenance, which was bottled today and is now available on www.theglenturret.com for just £9,800. It’s a 33-year-old single malt whisky drawn from three casks filled in 1987 that was bottled in 320 French crystal decanters at a cask strength of 43.7% ABV without any additional colouring or chill-filtration. It is said to possess rich notes of ginger, brandy-soaked cherries and plump, juicy sultanas, followed by hints of cinnamon sticks, dates and soft whispers of oak and green apple.  2020 has been a challenging year for all but also a very exciting year for us. We recently introduced a fresh visual brand identity as well as six new expressions,  hand-crafted by our incredible team at the distillery in Crieff,” John Laurie, managing director at The  Glenturret, said of the launch. “Adding The Glenturret  Provenance is an important milestone for us – this is a whisky to be savoured slowly, which fits in perfectly with our distillation process as we still do everything here by hand. The Glenturret Provenance is all about reflecting on time, memories of places and people have gone before”.

The Nightcap

The range is a first for Aberlour and features some of its oldest ever bottled whisky

Chivas Brothers unveils rare aged collection 

Fancy getting your hands on three exceptionally rare limited-edition collections of Scotch whisky comprised of over 600 bottles available across the three distilleries from the Chivas Brothers single malt portfolio? Then you’re in luck. The whisky giants unveiled The Glenlivet Cellar Collection, The Aberlour Cellar Collection and The Scapa Single Cask this week, featuring some of the oldest whiskies released from these great distilleries and for the first time ever, they will be available for UK-based customers to order direct from the distillery from the comfort of their own homes. The Glenlivet Cellar Collection comprises of a 30-year-old, a 33-year-old, a 38-year-old and a 40-year-old, The Aberlour Cellar Collection, a 39-year-old and a 44 year old, while The Scapa Single Cask Vintage Editions consists of a 29-year-old, 41-year-old and 42 year old, its ever oldest release. “It has been an incredibly challenging year and we recognise it hasn’t been easy for Scotch enthusiasts to travel to our distilleries in Speyside and Orkney. We’re so pleased that we’re now able to give Scotch whisky fans the opportunity to order some of the most exceptionally rare aged malts from our portfolio straight to their door,” says Miriam Eceolaza, marketing director for Malts at Chivas Brothers. “The exclusivity of these expressions is unlike anything we have ever released before, and we hope our fans relish the opportunity to taste real history with these delicious collections.”

The Nightcap

Spirit Guide is a tale of founding an English whisky distillery. There are no spooky ghosts

Cotswolds distillery founder writes book

Is there no end to the man’s talents? Not content with setting up a distillery that produces superb gin, single malt whisky, Amari and now a rum, but The Cotswolds Distillery founder Daniel Szor has now written a book. It’s a hard-boiled crime novel set in the murky Belgrade underworld…. Not really! Called Spirit Guide: In search of an authentic life, it’s Szor’s own story. He is the son of Polish immigrants to America who made a packet in finance before moving to the peace and tranquillity of the Cotswolds. It was there that the idea came to him to start a distillery. Szor’s passion was whisky and the idea came to him to make single malt in England. Not such an unusual thing now but back in 2014, this was considered a bit peculiar. He enlisted the help of the late Jim Swan and results have been, it has to be said, extremely impressive. Szor commented: “I am delighted to have written my first book and to share my journey with readers. I really hope this book will provide some inspiration during these unprecedented times and if I have one message it would be ‘following one’s heart is never the wrong direction’’”. Wise words, though we would recommend making a packet in finance before following your heart.

The Nightcap

Having enjoyed a tour of this place before, we can confirm the accolades are well deserved

Jameson Distillery Bow St. named world’s leading distillery tour again!

I hope the shelves were fitted securely at Irish Distillers because it must have a tonne of awards to display, especially now that it has completed a treble at the World Travel Awards (WTA)! For the third year in a row, its Jameson Distillery Bow St. attraction has been named the World’s Leading Distillery Tour at the 27th Grand Final Ceremony, which took place virtually, but was still able to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence in global travel and tourism. Having already scooped the prize for Europe’s Leading Distillery Tour earlier this month, Jameson Distillery Bow St. had to beat off stiff competition from the likes of Macallan, Hennessy, Jack Daniels and Jose Cuervo. “To win three years in a row is incredible and, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the disruption that the travel and tourism industries have faced globally, this acknowledgement is particularly special this year,” says Greg Hughes, managing director, Jameson Brand Homes at Irish Distillers. “The award honours and recognises our commitment to excellence at the spiritual home of Jameson and is an acknowledgement of the incredible work of our team at Bow St., who provide every visitor with an unforgettable and unique experience – in-person, and now, virtually.” Congratulations, guys!

The Nightcap

Fair play to Couture, it is a much better use of money than wine and dining a load of freeloading journalists…

Pernod Ricard donates Christmas lunch money to charity

It’s one of the highlights of a drink writers year, the annual Pernod Ricard Christmas lunch. It’s a time when the great, the good, and those who blagged a ticket at the last minute of the booze world meet to feast, gossip and sample lots of delicious drinks from Pernod Ricard’s extensive portfolio. For obvious reasons, it’s not happening this year so, according to a statement signed by Chivas CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures, CEO of Chivas UK David Haworth and CEO of Pernod Ricard Travel Retail Mohit Lal: “We have relocated funds normally set aside for this event and combined with support for a number of organisations that will help those in need this Christmas and beyond.” These charities include The Drinks Trust, Mind, Crisis and many others. The company will also be supplying 18,000 litres of hand sanitiser to help the on-trade as well as donating to local food banks on Speyside. What an excellent initiative. 

The Nightcap

So often the outsider, Gabriel has finally been accepted into the inner-circle!

And finally…. ‘Renegade’ Alexandre Gabriel is new Cognac vice president

Is it a case of poacher turned gamekeeper as it was announced today that Alexandre Gabriel is the new vice-president of the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) alongside Christophe Véral, the new president? It’s a move that nobody expected. Well, we didn’t anyway, having met Gabriel and heard his views on the Cognac establishment. Gabriel, the owner of Maison Ferrand, has previously been described as a ‘renegade’ for his vociferous querying of Cognac rules on what kinds of casks are allowed to be used for ageing. He even released a non-AOC brandy called Renegade no. 2 that was not allowed to be classed as Cognac because it was aged in chestnut barrels. The election took place on the 24 November and included 14 other members of the industry joining the standing committee.  Véral, a grower distiller in the region since 1994, described his job as: “part of the century-old history of Cognac, in the service of a strong, united, responsible sector.” Gabriel commented: “After 31 years in Cognac, I am humbled by the privilege of adding our small contribution to the great destiny of cognac as vice president of the BNIC.” We are keen to see what changes having someone with Gabriel’s unconventional views will have on this extremely conservative industry. 2021 is going to be an interesting year for Cognac!

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The Macallan unveils The Red Collection

Speyside’s swankiest distillery has launched a range of seriously old and rare Scotch whiskies. How old and rare? Well, one of them is 78 year old! And they’re all coming…

Speyside’s swankiest distillery has launched a range of seriously old and rare Scotch whiskies. How old and rare? Well, one of them is 78 year old! And they’re all coming to MoM Towers…

Sometimes a piece of news arrives in your inbox that makes you do a double-take. Mostly, they end up being our And Finally… stories in The Nightcap, but what we learned today was definitely more stunning than silly.

The Macallan has created a new range of whisky. Which is always big news, to be honest. But this one, The Red Collection, is really something else. Let’s cut to the chase. Here are the expressions that make up the series with their prices:

The Macallan 40 Years Old – £11,300

The Macallan 50 Years Old – £37,500

The Macallan 60 Years Old – £49,000

The Macallan 71 Years Old – £58,500

The Macallan 74 Years Old – £61,500

The Macallan 78 Years Old – £65,500

The Macallan The Red Collection

Look, it’s The Red Collection!

Yep. There are three whiskies that are over 70 years old and the youngest bottling is 40-years-old. In fact, The Macallan 40 Years Old, The Macallan 50 Years Old and The Macallan 60 Years Old have become the oldest ongoing expressions ever offered by the brand. From time to time, special high-aged guest releases will keep them company. In this case, it’s three incredibly rare single malts that are among the world’s oldest whiskies, with The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old being the oldest bottlings ever released in the history of the distillery.

There’s not a huge amount of information regarding the production process of the expressions, other than to say that they were distilled in the distillery’s signature small copper stills and were matured in “The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks”. What we do know is each bottling is encased in a typically swanky oak presentation box, which was  created from the same sustainable European oak used to craft The Macallan’s oak casks.

The Macallan The Red Collection

The whiskies are on their way to MoM Towers!

“Created from some of the world’s oldest and rarest casks it is an incredible privilege to have crafted The Red Collection, the pinnacle of The Macallan’s portfolio,” says Kirsteen Campbell, who was appointed master whisky maker at The Macallan in 2019. “It’s thanks to the foresight of previous custodians of The Macallan, who laid down and aged these extraordinary casks, that we have been able to curate such a remarkable selection of whiskies. Each precious drop offers a unique opportunity to explore The Macallan’s whisky making legacy.”

So, why ‘The Red Collection’? It was “inspired by the significance of the colour red throughout the history of the brand”, according to the press release. The distillery charts this history back to its founder Alexander Reid, whose surname means ‘the red one’. Then owner Roderick Kemp launched The Macallan Choice Old range in 1903 which was shipped in cases labelled with red print to distinguish it from existing whiskies, which featured black labelling. By 1980, red was chosen to feature again in the release of The Macallan’s then oldest vintages, dated 1938, 1940 and 1950, with Allan Shiach, chairman of The Macallan at that time, tying a red ribbon around the bottlings to denote their age and value. So, yeah. Loads of red.

In order to mark the release, The Macallan has made an animated film with Spanish painter and illustrator Javi Aznarez, whose work will feature in Wes Anderson’s upcoming feature, The French Dispatch, no less. Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, provides the music. An extremely rare, complete set of The Red Collection will also be auctioned by Sotheby’s to raise funds for global food charity City Harvest, which redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people across London. The Sotheby’s auction runs from 22 October to 31 October 2020.

The Macallan The Red Collection is on it’s way to MoM Towers, so keep your eye out

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The Nightcap: 2 October

On the Nightcap this week there’s a CGI robin, the “most awaited whisky launch in a generation” and a gin housed in a genuine snowglobe. The brilliant and bonkers world…

On the Nightcap this week there’s a CGI robin, the “most awaited whisky launch in a generation” and a gin housed in a genuine snowglobe. The brilliant and bonkers world of booze never fails to disappoint.

Apparently, there was all sorts going on in US politics this week, but to be honest something even more troubling caught our attention. It’s October. Ten whole months have somehow passed and the year that will be forever known as that year is almost over. We’re not really sure how to feel about all this, so when the working day draws to a close today we’re going to settle in with some home comforts. A tasty dram of something boozy and some light reading is just what the doctor ordered. Good thing The Nightcap is here, as always.  

On the blog this week we were delighted to announce the launch of another delightful #BagThisBundle competition, this time with that small craft distillery Jack Daniel’s. You probably haven’t heard of them. We also kicked-off our Sober October coverage by selecting seven delicious low and no alcohol drinks for you to try before having a taste of Tamdhu’s latest Batch Strength bottling and making a dynamite Martini with Palo Cortado sherry. If you’re a lover of all things rum you probably enjoyed our breakdown of the wonderful world of Jamaican rum, while fans of our Five Minutes with… series will have noticed we had two big names join us this week, Johnny Neill, of Whitley Neill fame, and Dr Nick Savage, master distiller at Bladnoch Distillery.

Redbreast whiskey launches new look and partnership

Redbreast may be one of the most well-known Irish whiskeys in the world, with IMPACT recently naming it as one of the top five-selling Irish whiskeys in the US, but the brand has announced a new strategy this week to broaden its audience and “drive discovery with more whiskey fans by creating a distinctive and memorable character for the beloved range”. That character in question is a CGI robin called Robin (no shock there) who has made his debut in a number of videos on the Redbreast YouTube channel, explaining how Redbreast got its name, recommending how you should enjoy Redbreast whiskey and blushing at awards. The move brings the brand’s trademark robin to life as a plucky, witty character with plenty of irreverent Irish humour, very much in the vein of Sipsmith’s excellent Wes Anderson-style ‘We Make Gin Not Compromises’ advert or Ryan Reynolds’ marketing of Aviation Gin. As well as introducing Robin, Redbreast has also unveiled a new look carved from wood, paying homage to casks, and a global partnership with leading bird conservation charity, BirdLife International. “With the Robin being one of the world’s most recognisable birds, Redbreast Irish Whiskey is delighted to take the opportunity of the launch of its new character to announce its commitment to supporting BirdLife International and the welfare of not only Robins but all birds,” explains Laura Hanratty, head of prestige and speciality brands at Irish Distillers. Expect to see more of the little scamp in the future.

The Nightcap

Lyaness will welcome Angel’s Envy ahead of the brand’s launch in the UK

Check out London Cocktail Week’s month-long schedule

You might have heard that, in order to support the recovery of the hospitality industry, London Cocktail Week has decided to expand upon its usual boozy extravaganza by hosting events across the capital for a whole month! Among the experiences are an immersive tasting masterclass with Santa Teresa rum and specialist rum bar Burlock where guests will enjoy food, cocktails and live music, while Craigellachie and Milroy’s have collaborated to ‘Share the Rare’, an event in which measures of the rare and spectacular Craigellachie 31 Year Old are available to win! Lyaness will welcome Angel’s Envy for a ‘Tasting & Finishing School’, meanwhile, the Sun Tavern will host the eagerly awaited ‘Return of the Hatch’ courtesy of Aberfeldy with takeaway hot and cold honey-infused cocktails. We can personally recommend you check out the bars and pay tribute to your favourite haunts throughout October as we were lucky enough to head to Swift Shoreditch last night to sample drinks from the Noilly Prat and St Germain spritz trolley, accompanied by food from Masterchef finalist Yan Florio. You don’t need to ask us twice if we’re willing to have a great time and help out the hospitality industry. If you’re of a similar mindset, then find out more at londoncocktailweek.com.

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Exciting times ahead for Torabhaig, whose whisky will soon be available here!

“Most awaited whisky launch in a generation” announced

Torabhaig, the second legal distillery ever to be built on the Isle of Skye (you know, the one with Talisker on it), has revealed that it plans to join the peated single malt market by releasing some whisky. It’s Torabhaig Legacy Series 2017 and what we know about it at the moment is that it’s a limited-edition expression bottled at 46% ABV. Oh, and the brand has described it as the “most awaited whisky launch in a generation”. So that’s something. Production started at the island distillery, which is owned by Mossburn Distillers, back in January 2017 with a local team of nine distillers, many new to the industry. Torabhaig is also launching a member’s club called The Peat Elite complete with a subscription service, set to launch in November 2020. It will include two exclusive bottlings per year, the first being a cask strength pre-release 70cl bottle drawn from single casks. More details on how to sign up to The Peat Elite will follow closer to launch date. “By opening the second-ever licensed Single Malt Scotch Whisky distillery on the Isle of Skye we have from the start been mindful of the legacy we are leaving, it was never enough to make ‘just another whisky’,” says Neil Mathieson, chief executive at Mossburn Distillers. “We have created a characterful whisky with real depth and complexity, and an elegance and refinement which belies the extremely high phenol levels in the barley. It is a distinctive take on peat, and it is the first expression of our distillery’s signature style, a flavour profile we call Well-Tempered Peat, which we hope will help define the future of Torabhaig.” Sounds lovely. Good thing Torabhaig whisky will be available at MoM Towers in the future…

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The English Whisky Festival will feature the likes of the Cotswolds Distillery, The Lakes Distillery and more!

The first-ever English Whisky Festival is coming 

The Whisky Show isn’t the only whisky-based fun you can have online this month. The first-ever English Whisky Festival will be taking place on 16-17 October. A few years ago the idea of a festival devoted to English whisky would have seemed peculiar but now with a vibrant scene producing a dizzying variety of styles including rye whiskies, Irish-style malted and unmalted barley pot stills and single malts, it’s sure to be an unmissable experience. Distilleries from all over the country are taking part including the Cotswolds Distillery, Kent’s own Copper Rivet Distillery, from Norfolk the English Whisky Company, Adnams of Suffolk, the Lakes Distillery in Cumbria and representing London, Bimber. Panel hosts include TV presenter Matthew Wright, whisky judge Amy Seton and writer, musician and all-round smoothie Felipe Schrieberg. Organiser Richard Foster, the founder of the English Whisky Society, commented: “This is a golden age for English whisky-making, with distillers making a name for themselves around the globe. We may not be able to gather in person, but the Virtual English Whisky Festival will be the first-of-its-kind celebration of the best English whisky has to offer.” Andrew Nelstrop, founder of The English Whisky Company added: “15 years ago when we built England’s first registered whisky distillery for over a century, we could never have imagined that such a vibrant and expansive English whisky scene would emerge as quickly and successfully as it has done. The English Whisky Festival will be a true moment to champion the success stories so far and contemplate a very exciting future for us and our fellow distilleries.” Get involved here. 

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When you see a line-up likes this you know it’s going to be a good auction

Macallan headlines Sotheby’s Inaugural Halloween Spirits Sale

Nearly a year to the day that Sotheby’s made history when its sale of The Ultimate Whisky Collection achieved £7.6 million, the highest total for any whisky collection ever offered at auction, Part II has been announced. Set to take place on Saturday, 31 October in London, or Halloween as it is also known, the collection will feature whiskies from renowned distilleries in Scotland, Ireland and Japan. The headline offering, however, will once again be from The Macallan, fresh off setting an auction record for any bottle of wine or spirit last year when a bottle of The Macallan Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old 1926 sold for £1.5 million. To mark the launch of a new classic aged collection of single malts from the Speyside distillery, the Sotheby’s sale will open with a complete set of six whiskies from age 40 Years Old to the oldest whisky ever released by the brand. The proceeds generated from this one-off offering at auction will be donated to global food charity, City Harvest, which redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people internationally. Full details will be revealed on 15 October, to coincide with The Macallan’s official launch.

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Which colour is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below

Glencairn Glass celebrates 20 years with a riot of colour

The official glass of the Scottish Whisky Association is 20 this year. To celebrate this auspicious anniversary, the Glencairn Glass is being released in a set of five different colours: black, green, blue, red, and as Spandau Ballet once sang, ‘gold!’. Scott Davidson, new product development director and son of founder, Raymond Davidson, commented: “We were blown away by the massive success of our limited edition black Glencairn Glass last year which sold out almost immediately. So in response to public demand, our 20th-anniversary gift to loyal fans of the Glencairn Glass across the world is the introduction of this colourful new range, which is here to stay. Not only are the coloured glasses a fun addition to any drinks cabinet, tasting your dram blind is the perfect way to develop your senses and to learn all about the wonderful world of whisky”. Yes, these glasses don’t just look snazzy, they help with tasting as your senses won’t be deceived but the sometimes misleading colour of your dram. Glasses cost £8 each or £60 for the set (go to The Glencairn Crystal online store) which will also include a classic clear glass for those old fuddy-duddies who actually like to see their whisky’s colour. 

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New Lowland whisky could well be in the pipeline…

Jedburgh whisky distillery plans back on track

We’re one step closer to having two new whisky distilleries in the Borders, which is part of the Lowland region. Despite fears that the project could be dead in the water after plans to build the £40m complex – close to the former Jedforest Hotel near Jedburgh – expired in January, fresh planning approval has been sought this week. Developers have now lodged a repeat application with Scottish Borders Council with the promise of up to 70 full-time jobs and a report to councillors has recommended they approve the plans as a “significant economic investment”. Backing had been given to the scheme back in December 2016 by the local authority and the proposals remain unchanged. Fresh permission is required, however, since the previous one has now lapsed. The first phase of the development is touted to include a small distillery built to educate visitors in the “craft of making spirit”, while a larger-scale distillery, capable of producing millions of bottles per year, would be completed after that. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we receive more good news on this front.

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We were very happy to taste the latest instalment in the Dictador 2 Masters series this week

Dictador releases new 2 Masters expression with Royal Tokaji

On Tuesday, we were treated to an evening of perhaps epic proportions – and not even just due to the current pandemic times. Colombian rum brand Dictador hosted a cunningly socially distanced but no less fancy dinner at London’s 67 Pall Mall to reveal the next instalment of its always-intriguing 2 Masters series. What’s the proposition? Age wonderful rum for up to 40 years, pass some of these precious casks over to partners from different spirits categories for them to finish, and voila! Previous incarnations include a Glenfarclas expression, plus Hardy Cognac- and Barton 1792 bourbon-finished bottlings. This week, we got to experience Dictador 2 Masters Royal Tokaji! Hernan Parra, Dictador master blender, worked with his Royal Tokaji counterpart Zoltán Kovács for a truly luxurious, unctuous spirit, oozing with elegant rancio notes. To be more precise, a 1977 vintage Dictador rum travelled all the way to Poland (more adventure than most of us have seen recently…) where it matured for seven months more in Royal Tokaji’s 12-year-old, 300-litre Zemplén oak barrels that had previously aged the delightful 2016 Royal Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos. (And it really is a delectable wine!) “In the depths of the 13th century Royal Tokaji wine cellar, our rum has developed a new and extraordinary finish,” said Parra. “Its palate is elegant and balanced, smooth and rich, with a good attack and a persistent finish.” He continued: “The Tokaji Aszú aroma has made a remarkable mark too. Dictador 2 Masters Royal Tokaji is complex and rich, with hints of tropical fruits and a nice honey touch on the nose.” At £670, it’s not your average rum – it’s much more special than that. Keep your eye on the New Arrivals feed if you’re interested – could the age of prestige rum be here?!

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This year’s Whisky Show will feature That Boutique-y Whisky Company and our very own editor Kristiane Sherry!

Behold, the virtual Whisky Show is here!

Now in its 12th year, the Whisky Show has to be the highlight of the London or London-adjacent whisky lover’s calendar. It’s normally two days of whisky and rum intensity packed into the Fishmonger’s Hall but obviously, that can’t happen this year. So, it’s going online, and how! Now spread over seven days, 2-9 October, there’s something for everyone (as long as you like whisky and rum). There will be talks and panels on all aspects of whisky plus plenty of rum and some other spirits. We particularly like the sound of: a talk subtitled ‘Why is Blanton’s So Delicious?’; a tour of Sukhinder Singh’s legendary whisky collection and, one for the geekiest of whisky geeks, ‘Good Sulphur v Bad Sulphur’. You can buy tasting sets so can really join in with the fun. All your favourite whisky personalities will be there including Dave Broom, Georgie Bell, Dr Whisky and, of course, Billy Abbot. MoM will be represented in the form of Kristiane Sherry chairing three events with the East London Liquor Company, Teeling Irish Whiskey and That Boutique-y Whisky Company. While Henry Jeffreys will be reading from Empire of Booze: British History Through the Bottom of the Glass on the Whisky Auction stage. Find out more here. Come along and say hello using the magic of high-speed broadband. 

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Decorative and delicious, presumably.

And finally… Nothing says Christmas like a snow globe gin…

There was a time on The Nightcap when it felt like every week we were reporting on some weird and wonderful new gin, so this story coming into our inboxes this week had us tinged with nostalgia. Harvey Nichols has kicked-off the ‘holy crap, is it Christmas already?!’ season of news by announcing the launch of an Orange and Gingerbread Snow Globe Gin Liqueur. As in a gin liqueur presented in an Italian-made Snow Globe Bottle, you didn’t read that wrong. The expression, which contains an edible 23kt gold leaf and comes in a gold-foiled gift box, includes a lamp switch on the base for illumination, so if you give the globe a gentle shake and turn on the lamp you can see the gold leaf cascade around the Christmas scene inside. Harvey Nichols says the spirit has notes of “real zesty Seville orange, warmth from gingerbread and notes of cinnamon and dried cloves which perfectly capture the spirit of Christmas”, and recommend you enjoy it with either Prosecco or tonic water or as part of a festive cocktail or simply neat over ice. So, if you’re in the market for a boujee bottling that could become part of your Christmas decorations, you’re in luck!

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The Nightcap: 25 September

New Macallan, Jura, Tobermory and Glenturret whisky,  and how to celebrate Oktoberfest at home. Another delightful Nightcap has arrived! So, it turns out we’re no longer allowed to go outside…

New Macallan, Jura, Tobermory and Glenturret whisky,  and how to celebrate Oktoberfest at home. Another delightful Nightcap has arrived!

So, it turns out we’re no longer allowed to go outside again. Well, that was fun while it lasted. Time to pretend you love a virtual quiz, desperately try to remember your Zoom password and resist the urge to look longingly at the local boozer across the road. If you need a bit of cheering up or distraction, or if you’re in your element indoors surrounded by screens (no judgement, we respect the game) then you’ll be delighted to hear that all the doom and gloom hasn’t stopped us putting together another cracking edition of The Nightcap. Read on!

This week in the blog-o-sphere we announced the first Master of Malt Day! What is a Master of Malt Day? Well, you’ll have to click on the blog to find out. Ian Buxton returned to investigate what distilleries are doing to combat the lack of visitors in 2020, while Henry cast an eye on some overlooked joys, including a cocktail that combines bourbon and red wine and a delightful Irish whiskey brand. Annie, meanwhile, turned her attention to Britain’s diverse, dedicated and highly experimental rum brands, three-ingredient classic cocktail recipes and the very first single malt from the 100% organic Scotch whisky distillery Nc’Nean before Adam got his teeth into Glenmorangie’s new cakey delight and learned from Corte Vetusto what makes mezcal so great.

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Sadly, this is the final expression in the excellent Edition series

The Macallan launches sixth and final release in Edition series 

We received mixed news this week as we learned that we were going to get to enjoy a new expression from The Macallan, but also that the sixth release from the Edition Series will be the final one. The Speyside giants have announced that Edition No.6 was created to “tell the story of unique land and an extraordinary river, where whisky making, agriculture and nature all live in total harmony” and “capture the River Spey’s energy, the extraordinary life of the Atlantic salmon on the beat and the warm, welcoming personality of Macallan’s ghillie, Robert Mitchel”, who is responsible for monitoring fish stocks and hosting fishing trips on the River Spey. Macallan whisky maker, Steven Bremner, chose five styles of American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks for this one, which is said to have aromas of fresh fruits, nutmeg and toffee merged with oak and flavours of ripe plum, vibrant sweet oranges and cinnamon, developing into spicy fresh fruits and creamy chocolate and toasted oats at the finish. The brand also marked the news by launching a charitable partnership with The Atlantic Salmon Trust, who help to conserve at-risk fish salmon and sea trout whose numbers have declined so rapidly in places like the River Spey. “This complex single malt provides the perfect conclusion to the Edition Series as there is so much to discover in this whisky,” said Bremner. “The natural colour of antique brass derived from The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks indicates the richness of flavour that awaits and there is a structure and depth that is uncovered more and more over time.” And the best news of all? Edition No. 6 is on its way to MoM Towers.

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You can pre-order this beauty now!

New Tobermory 23 Year Old is sherry heaven

We’re taking orders for a very special Tobermory that will be landing at MoM towers soon. It’s a 23-year-old expression finished in sherry casks. When we say finished, it’s not a matter of months but six years in Oloroso sherry casks from Gonzalez Byass. Just enough time to take on masses of sherry without, according to master blend Julieann Fernandez, “taking on too much sherry and masking the Tobermory.” Previously the liquid, from the famed 2008 release of Tobermory 15-year-old, spent 17 years in refill hogsheads. It was bottled this year at 46.3% ABV. We were the first outside the distillery to taste it and were very impressed. It’s a deep copper colour with the nose alive with ginger cake, dried fruits, cinnamon and barley with that classic citrus Tobermory note, on the palate it’s thick and sweet with salted caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and best of all a finish like candied walnuts. In fact, the finish tastes just like Gonzalez Byass’s premium sweet Oloroso, Matusalem. All this magnificence doesn’t come cheap, £320, but we think it’s worth every penny. Best of all, it’s not a limited edition but a permanent addition to the Tobermory range.  

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Singapore’s Atlas picked up the trophy for World’s Best Cocktail Menu

Spirited Awards reveal 2020 winners

For obvious reasons, the renowned bar industry gathering Tales of the Cocktail couldn’t continue in New Orleans as normal this year – which meant the Spirited Awards ceremony was a virtual affair. Assessed by a highly regarded panel of experts, the bar and personality accolades are considered to be some of the most robust in the category. And we’re celebrating a few of the international winners here! The Connaught scooped Best International Bar Team, while Scarfes Bar at the Rosewood London was named Best International Hotel Bar. The wonderful Kwānt was rewarded with Best New International Cocktail Bar, and Singapore’s Atlas picked up the trophy for World’s Best Cocktail Menu. When it came to individual categories, Alex Kratena was named Best International Bar Mentor, with Kelsey Ramage awarded International Bartender of the Year. HUGE congrats to all the nominees and winners – check out talesofthecocktail.org for the full list.

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The island distillery is supporting a fantastic cause

Jura whisky exclusive auctioned for charity

The Jura has also announced that new whisky is on the way, but this expression was bottled to raise funds in aid of SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health). The incredible gesture (for a mighty important cause) will see 470 individually numbered bottles of exceptionally rare whisky be auctioned online via Whisky Auctioneer as part of a wider effort led by Whyte & Mackay employees to fundraise for mental health charities around the world. The challenge – Whyte & Mackay Cares – was inspired by the heroic feats of Captain Tom Moore in the UK and since June, the team has clocked up enough miles to virtually run, walk, cycle or row around the world twice. As for the whisky itself, the distillery’s latest release is 19-Year-Old whisky that was distilled in May 2001 and placed into Jura cask No 1708 (a sherry butt) before being bottled at a cask strength 55% ABV in August 2020. The Jura Distillery Cask is said to have notes of liquorice toffee, ginger biscuits, subtle vanilla with a subtle touch of sea spray. “I have been so impressed by my colleagues’ passion to support communities where our colleagues, friends and consumers live during the pandemic,” said Daryl Haldane, head of whisky experience at Whyte & Mackay. “The speed and creativity which has allowed this new whisky to reach public auction is outstanding and I am incredibly proud of the team’s efforts to get us here. All of the funds raised from the auction will go directly to SAMH, a charity which has been instrumental in providing vital mental health support to people throughout the pandemic.” To find out more about the auction and register your interest, click here

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Exciting times at Scotland’s oldest working distillery

Glenturret reveals new core range and swanky new rebrand

We reported back in December 2018 that Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, no less, had been bought by French luxury wine company Art + Terroir. Seeing as the company is run by Silvio Denz who also owns Lalique, you won’t be surprised to hear that the brand is moving upmarket. One of his first new signings was ex-Macallan whisky maker Bob Dalgarno, a real statement of intent. Last week, Dalgarno revealed the new range he’s been working on along with the swanky new rectangular downward tapering bottle featuring the Glenturret crest, inspired by the coat of arms of the Murray family, the founders of the distillery. We then tried the four core expressions: Triple Wood, 10-year-old Peat Smoked, 12-year-old and 15 year old. We were particularly taken with the honeyed 12-year-old expression. Plus there will be two limited editions, a 25-year-old and an “Extremely Scarce” 30-year-old. Dalgarno spoke about: “the challenge of creating a new range of whiskies with a different cask and character profile. And went on to say that: “Building on previous experiences and having the freedom to influence and develop, respecting the history whilst writing new chapters was a perfect fit”. Ian Renwick, the distillery manager, added: “Having Bob on board is a recognition of the scale of our ambition and a testament to our transformative work over the past eight months. We cannot wait to share the new expressions with the world.” Nor can we. 

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1698 and IPA have become the order of the day in Guadalajara

Shepherd Neame sales are booming… in Mexico

Guadalajara resident Fernando de Obeso had a happy surprise when he visited his local supermarket in Mexico’s second city: strong Kentish ales. In place of local beers, there were bottles of Shepherd Neame 1698 and IPA. He told us “because of COVID, local large breweries like Corona and Modelo were forced to shut down. So supermarkets scrabbled to get beer from every place in the world, so for some time we have had beer from many small breweries in Europe.” Olly Scott, head of export sales at Shepherd Neame, confirmed the story: “The feedback from importer is that there has been more demand for imported beers during the lockdown and we have noticed where we would expect two orders across four months there have been three.” Mr de Obeso went on to say that discovering Kent’s finest beers has been a “silver lining to the pandemic and let the brewery know that they now have a Mexican fan.”

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Cheese and beer is a tried and tested combo that we’re big fans of

And ninally… Missing Oktoberfest? Crack out the cheese!

Oktoberfest is a staple of the season. Alas, this year celebrations will have to take place in a somewhat different format. And one suggestion especially caught our eye at MoM Towers this week. Wisconsin (also apparently known as the State of Cheese), is encouraging beer-loving folks to indulge in a spot of cheese-pairing. “Beer is the perfect palate cleanser for cheese, and frankly, it’s hard to go wrong when pairing beer with cheese,” said Molly Browne, education manager at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and American Cheese Society Certified cheese professional (how do we get that title?!?). Top suggestions include Butterkäse – a mild, buttery option – and Kolsch; Limburger – a Wisconsin-made punchy rind cheese – and Belgian Ale; and Brick and Weiss Beer. The semi-soft, nutty cheese is said to pair delectably with a wheat-based sipper. Great stuff. Now all you need to do is crack out the pretzels, put on the polka tunes, fashion a beer tent, and Eureka! You may as well be in Germany.

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The Nightcap: 3 July

It’s a bumper week for The Nightcap, with stories about The Macallan, Diageo, competition winners, the artist formerly known as Plantation rum and a new Swift bar. Lovely stuff. It’s…

It’s a bumper week for The Nightcap, with stories about The Macallan, Diageo, competition winners, the artist formerly known as Plantation rum and a new Swift bar. Lovely stuff.

It’s been another busy week and a whole heap of boozy news has occurred. With so many stories floating around it can be hard to keep up. It’s not as if you have some kind of contraption to corral it up into one place to hand, like a big booze news net or one of those massive gloves they have in that American sport with the baseball hats. Lucky for you, we’ve got just the thing. Our delightful round-up of all the drinks industry happenings from the last seven days – it’s The Nightcap!

On the MoM blog this week Kristy recalled her trip to Texas distillery Balcones as our exclusive Balcones Barrel Pick landed at MoM Towers, Adam spoke to John Quinn about the journey to restore Tullamore D.E.W Distillery and Jess broke down why garnishes are so great with the help of some industry experts. Annie then shone our MoM-branded spotlight on Cornwall’s first distillery and then had some advice on how you can upgrade your BBQ beverages, while Henry asks what it takes for a Cognac to be singled out for the vintage treatment while enjoying a new Frapin expression, made one of the world’s most delicious cocktails the way it should be made and celebrated some of our favourite places in London to drink whisky.

For the very last time, we’d like to thank all of you who entered last week’s virtual pub quiz. It’s been a pleasure teasing you with all kinds of weird and wonderful boozy trivia and hopefully, you all had fun. Thomas Knockaert certainly enjoyed himself, as he has the distinction of being the final winner! You can check out the answers to the last quiz (*sob*) below.

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The rum formerly known as Plantation

Maison Ferrand rename Plantation Rum brand 

Plantation Rum announced this week that its brand name will change. While we don’t know what the new name will be yet, we do know that its production methods and the liquid inside the bottle will remain the same. It’s also clear that the move was prompted by the global protests for social justice and racial equality spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter movement. “As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people, especially in its association with much graver images and dark realities of the past,” says Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation Rum master blender. “We look to grow in our understanding of these difficult issues and while we don’t currently have all the details of what our brand name evolution will involve, we want to let everyone know that we are working to make fitting changes.” Global brand manager Stephanie Simbo added that the rum brand “wants to be on the side of actions and solutions”. This case is a reminder of rum’s complex history and the fact that it is inextricably linked to slavery. But this is so rarely acknowledged, which is why we think this is great news and a meaningful step in the right direction.

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The full Double Cask range. It’s a beautiful sight.

The Macallan adds to Double Cask range

The Macallan has bolstered its Double Cask range with two new aged expressions, the Double Cask 15 Years Old and Double Cask 18 Years Old. The former is said to impart aromas of dried fruit, toffee and vanilla, and delivers a warming finish with a creamy mouthfeel, while the latter is said to be filled with notes of dried fruits, ginger, toffee and a warm oak spice finish that’s balanced by sweet orange. Fans of the distillery will remember The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old was first introduced in 2016 as part of a series that celebrates the union of American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks. The Speyside distillery sources its European oak in northern Spain and the French Pyrenees, and American oak from Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky. Both types are transported to Spain, where they are made into casks, seasoned with sherry and then shipped to The Macallan Estate where they are filled. “Bringing together American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks to achieve the perfect balance of flavours is incredibly exciting for the whisky mastery team, and we are proud to offer two new expressions to this distinctive range for The Macallan Double Cask fans to explore,” says Kirsteen Campbell, master whisky maker of The Macallan. “Oak influence is the single greatest contributor to the quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours at the heart of The Macallan’s single malts.”

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Each expression is the ‘first and last of its kind’, according to Diageo.

Diageo launches Prima & Ultima and plans carbon-neutral distillery in Kentucky

Diageo has had a busy week! First up is its shiny new whisky alert, announcing the launch of a very luxurious set of single malts, named Prima & Ultima. The first and last. Because each is the ‘first and last of its kind’, according to the press release. See what they did there? There are eight cask strength whiskies in the series selected by none other than Dr Jim Beveridge OBE. “Each of the eight whiskies I’ve selected for Prima & Ultima tells a tale of heritage and craftsmanship and I’ve chosen them from distillers of great personal importance to me,” says Dr Beveridge. You’ll find whisky from Cragganmore, Lagavulin, Mortlach, Port Ellen, Clynelish, Caol Ila, Talisker, and The Singleton of Dufftown, and each bottling marks a significant period of whisky-making for its distillery, with each one accompanied by a limited edition book of personal stories from Dr Beveridge himself, along with a 20ml sample. If you have a spare £20,000 you can get your hands on the entire set, though you’ll have to register first (which opens on 22 July). There are only 238 sets though, so better be snappy! 

 

The other big news is physically much bigger, because Diageo has revealed its plans to construct Bulleit Bourbon brand’s new Kentucky whiskey distillery, and it’s going to be carbon neutral! It’ll run on 100% renewable electricity (even the on site vehicles), using electrode boilers and a combination of renewable energy sources. It’s costing a cool $130 million and is set to be up and running by 2021, with the capacity to produce just over 34 million litres each year. Get ready to say hello to one of the largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America!

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Congratulations to you, Stephanie Macleod!

International Whisky Competition 2020 winners announced

The results are in. The 11th edition of the International Whisky Competition whiskies has concluded after drams from around the world were judged side by side at the event in Estes Park, Colorado from 10-14 June. The top recognition, Whisky of the Year, was awarded to John Dewar and Sons – Double Double 32 Year Old (Blended Scotch), which scored 96.4 points, the highest-scoring whisky of the competition. This meant Stephanie Macleod, the brand’s master blender, became the first woman to win this prize and it was also the second year running that Macleod has won the accolade of Master Blender Of The Year, after she made history in 2019 as the first woman to win the award. John Dewar and Sons also won the Golden Barrel Trophy. “At Dewar’s we aim to push the boundaries of what is expected from the whisky category and have a long-standing commitment to innovation, so we are delighted with our success in the 2020 competition and it is an honour to be named Master Blender of the Year,” says Macleod. “I accept this award on behalf of the whole team at Dewar’s who have shown relentless hard work and dedication to achieving the very best quality and taste for our beautifully crafted whisky, despite the challenges this year has held. It is incredibly rewarding indeed to see these efforts appreciated.” Other winners were Glenmorangie’s Dr Bill Lumsden who won Master Distiller of the Year, while Ardbeg won Distillery of the Year. You can check out the full list here.

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How Soho may look as it goes pedestrian-only in the evenings this summer.

Soho gets a pedestrian makeover

As Britain wakes up from its lockdown slumber, bars, pubs and restaurants have been working out how to reopen safety. Westminster Council has hit on a great way to help, pedestrianise Soho. So this summer from 5pm to 11pm, London’s original nightlife capital will be out of bounds to motor vehicles as part of the new Summer Street Festival. The pedestrian-only area covers Dean Street, Frith Street, Greek Street and Old Compton Street (map including street closure timings and details can be found here.) We spoke with Simo from Milroy’s yesterday about his plans for reopening which includes 16 tables outside the whisky shop on Greek Street. Other famous venues due to reopen include Cafe Boheme, Dean Street Townhouse, and Bar Italia. Many places are also offering incentives to visit such as one free drink with dinner bookings and discounts for NHS workers. The best thing is, that if this experiment is judged a success, then there’s potential for full or part pedestrianisation to become permanent. So no more diesel fumes in your al fresco cocktail.

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We can’t wait to have those delicious Irish coffees at the new venue…

Swift to open all-day venue in Shoreditch 

Swift, you are really spoiling us! Not only will the award-winning Old Compton Street institution be opening again on Saturday 4 July but the couple behind it, Mia Johansson and husband Bobby Hiddleston, have announced a new location to open at the end of the month. Located on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch, it will serve from 8am during the week and 11am on weekends, offering breakfast, coffee etc. alongside the sort of cocktails that made the original Swift such a destination (though not at 8am presumably.) The team issued a statement saying: “Whilst we’re all still in uncertain times and have a long road ahead of us on our way to recovery, we have faith in the British public’s love of coming together for great food and drink and are hopeful that London’s world-class cocktail scene will rebuild itself to come back stronger than ever. Sticking to our plan to open our second site is just the embodiment of our faith in this and we are so excited to start hosting guests again.” A bit of optimism, that’s what we like to hear. 

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Gordon & MacPhail has gone for the classic Teletubbies look with its new distillery

Gordon & MacPhail distillery gets the green light

Gordon and MacPhail (G&M) is edging ever closer to having a shiny new multi-million-pound distillery near Grantown. The whisky distiller and bottler has given the contractors, Morrison Construction, the green light to begin contruction at the site on the banks of the River Spey in Craggan in Scotland’s Cairngorm National Park. The facility will be the first new malt whisky distillery to be built in the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) area since its creation in 2003. The building was supposed to be already well underway by now, but because of Covid-19 crisis restrictions, the project had to be pushed back. The distillery, which G&M has said will become a “significant local employer,” will have the capacity to produce around 440,000 gallons of whisky a year. Forsyths of Rothes will supply and install the distilling equipment, while the visitor centre, tasting rooms, retail space and coffee shop are projected to attract 50,000 tourists annually. “These appointments are the next major milestone in delivering this long-term project for the company. We look forward to working with these established businesses who are both highly experienced in their own field,” says Ewen Mackintosh, managing director of Elgin-based G&M. “We’ve been really heartened by the warm welcome we have received locally. As a family-owned business located in the north of Scotland, we are very much rooted in our communities, and we are keen to develop strong relationships in Grantown and the surrounding area.”

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Why pour beer down the drain when you can feed it to cattle?

And finally. . . .  Wimbledon Brewery feeds cows with beer

Some of the most heartbreaking stories to come out of lockdown were about pubs having to pour beer that was going out of date down the drain. Oh, the humanity! When Wimbledon Brewery found itself with a lot of unsaleable beer destined for pubs, however, someone had a brainwave: why not feed it to cows? And not just any cows, the excess stock went to the beer-loving cattle at Trenchmore Wagyu Beef Farm in Sussex. The beer helps make Wagyu the tenderest and sweetest-tasting beef on the planet. In return, the brewery will receive its very own Wagyu burgers. This is not the only way the brewery has adapted. According to founder Mark Gordon, the company lost 90% of business when the hospitality industry closed but managed to survive by concentrating on “local home deliveries and increased sales to supermarkets and bottle shops. This went from a very low base to the equivalent of 80% of our pre-lockdown turnover.” He went on to say: “Soon after the lockdown was announced, we initially closed the brewery but quickly took the decision to reopen because beer can be very good for morale.” It certainly is, and that reminds us, it’s probably time for beer. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Pub Quiz Answers

1) In ‘Diary of a Nobody’, what brand of Champagne does Charles Pooter order from his local shop?

Answer: Jackson Freres

2) What’s the nearest single malt distillery to Edinburgh?

Answer: Holyrood

3) What’s the name of the famous copperworks at Rothes?

Answer: Forsyths

4) Who invented the spirit safe?

Answer: Septimus Fox

5) Which brand of whisky does Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) smuggle into prison for her husband (Ray Liotta) in ‘Goodfellas’?

Answer: J&B

6) Which cocktail was supposedly named after Zelda Fitzgerald?

Answer: White Lady

7) In the Jeeves & Wooster stories, what is the “secret” ingredient of the former’s hangover remedy?

Answer: Worcestershire Sauce

8) Which gin does Amy Whitehouse mention in the song ‘You Know I’m No Good’?

Answer: Tanqueray

9) Bernard de Voto’s book ‘The Hour’ is a paean to which cocktail?

Answer: Martini

10) In which of Shakespeare’s history plays is one of the characters drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine?

Answer: Richard III

 

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