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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: The Nightcap

The Nightcap: 18 September

This week on the Nightcap: Octomore and Lagavulin launch new whisky, Bob Dylan brings back the Theme Time Radio Hour and dog-themed cocktails… A whole week has been and gone…

This week on the Nightcap: Octomore and Lagavulin launch new whisky, Bob Dylan brings back the Theme Time Radio Hour and dog-themed cocktails…

A whole week has been and gone since we last went Nightcapping, which means that a brand new Nightcap is required. Fortunately, the world of booze is always churning out all kinds of news stories. We’re not sure what we’d do if it stopped. Perhaps we’d just write about some of the drinks we’ve enjoyed recently or post a series of amusing photos of cats. Thankfully this week there’s been plenty of excitement to write about, so the funny feline pictures will have to wait. Although one of the stories this week does feature a cracking photo of a dog, so if we’ve got you in the mood for pet-based content you won’t be disappointed. Onto The Nightcap!

If you’re a fan of big whisky news stories then the MoM blog was the place for you this week. Jim Murray announced his 2021 World Whisky of the Year and Richard ‘the Nose’ Paterson confirmed that he would step back from Whyte & Mackay to focus his energies on The Dalmore. Elsewhere, we spoke with Dr Rachel Barrie, Benriach master blender, about the brand’s recent makeover before Annie tasted one of the good doctor’s finest creations, a well-sherried 29-year-old single malt released to coincide with the upcoming release of The King’s Man. Other delightful drinks we tried this week include a very special new range of Cognacs from Delamain, a category-defying spirit from Belvedere and a cocktail made with one of the world’s unique spirits, Metaxa. Internationally-renowned bartenders Joe and Daniel Schofield also popped by for a chat, while Jess kicked off our Classic Bar series with the wonderful Coupette, which has just launched a new menu.

The Nightcap

New Octomore is terrific news for peated whisky fans

New series of Octomore whisky unveiled

We’ve got good news for fans of peated whisky this week as Islay-based distillery Bruichladdich has announced the imminent arrival of some new Octomores. First is the Octomore 11s series, which is set to launch on 1 October and includes three expressions, Octomore 11.1, Octomore 11.2 and Octomore 11.3, all of which retain the ultra-peated style that the brand is known for. Octomore 11.1 was malted to 139.6 PPM and matured for five years in first-fill ex-American whiskey casks from Jim Beam, Heaven Hill and Jack Daniel’s before it was bottled at 59.4% ABV without any chill-filtration or additional colouring. Octomore 11.2 was malted to the same PPM and also aged for five years on Islay, but it was matured in two separate casks: 25% of the whisky was aged in Pauillac ex-wine casks, while the remaining 75% was aged in ex-American whiskey casks before being transferred into St Julien wine casks for 18 months. This expression was bottled at 58.6% ABV without added colouring or chill-filtration. The third whisky in the new series, Octomore 11.3, was malted to a massive 194 PPM before it was aged for five years in first-fill American whiskey casks from Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and Jack Daniel’s. The whisky was bottled at 61.7% ABV without caramel colouring or chill-filtration. Bruichladdich will also release a bonus bottling alongside the range. It’s a 2020 edition of Octomore 10 Years Old which was malted to 204 PPM and matured in a mix of virgin oak, and first- and second-fill ex-American whiskey casks from Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace and Jack Daniel’s before it was bottled at 54.3% ABV without chill-filtration or additional colouring. We will write more fully on the Octomore 11.1 and 11.3 soon when they arrive at Master of Malt. Octomore 11.2, however, will only be available direct from the distillery here and in global travel retail. Not fair!

The Nightcap

Monkey Shoulder wants to see you back in bars. Responsibly, of course.

Monkey Shoulder spends £250k to entice you back to the bar 

Monkey Shoulder is so keen to get you back to the bar (responsibly, natch), that it has spent £250,000 on an advertising campaign called ‘The New Rules for Mixing.’ The blended whisky brand won the money as part of OCEAN’s Crucial Creative Competition and decided to put it to good use. The campaign will take the form of a series of local ads with partner bars in cities around the country that will go live on 24 September as well as generic national posters. The press bumf described the campaign by ad agency Tommy as “a playful take on the brand’s ‘made for mixing’ tagline; using Monkey Shoulder’s cheeky tone and distinctive branding style to bring to life the social distancing measures in a fun and memorable way.” Social distancing is fun! To further entice people to venture out of their homes, each venue will be offering a free drink to customers. The participating bars are Glasgow’s The Dam, Edinburgh’s Uno Mas and Kin, Liverpool’s Present Company, Newcastle’s Mother Mercy, Manchester’s Cane & Grain and Science & Industry, Birmingham’s Theatrix, Nottingham’s Brass Monkey and Leeds’ Watermark Bar. Let’s hope another lockdown doesn’t muck things up. The best-laid plans and all that.

The Nightcap

This year’s Islay Jazz Festival might be online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on delicious whisky!

New limited edition Lagavulin Jazz bottling is here, or rather, there.

We all know that there’s no better way to enjoy your bourbon than with a blast of rock and roll, but what should you listen to with a Scottish single malt? Some might say folk music, but we’ve conducted totally scientific tests here at Master of Malt and discovered that jazz is, in fact, the perfect accompaniment. Especially with a smoky Islay dram, you can’t beat a bit of John Coltrane or Miles Davies, hence the long-running Islay Jazz Festival. Ever since 2011, Lagavulin has released a special jazz bottling and now the latest edition is here. Or rather, there, it’s a distillery only release with only 2004 bottles available at a meaty £405. It’s matured in mainly refill American and European oak, with some active casks, for a minimum of 22 years and bottled at 52.6% ABV. Distillery manager Pierrick Guillaume had this to say: “The Islay Jazz Festival has become a pilgrimage for many whisky and jazz lovers around the globe and we hope our friends will join us for the online event to celebrate 22 years of the festival. This will be my first festival having taken over as distillery manager of Lagavulin and although we are unable to host the event in Islay, we wanted to continue to honour the occasion by creating a remarkable bottling. This year’s 22-year-old bottle is a glorious and unique Lagavulin from an interesting mix of casks that have given an extra twist of rich, smooth and sweet fruitiness to the palate and finish.” On 3 October at 7pm BST, go to the  Lagavulin and Friends of the Classic Malts where Guillaume and global whisky master Ewan Gunn will be hosting a jazz and whisky odyssey. Nice!

The Nightcap

Great news music lovers! Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is back

Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is back thanks to Heaven’s Door Spirits

Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour is back, this time with added whiskey. For those who don’t know, Theme Time Radio Hour was a series of shows on NPR hosted by his Bobness where he would play records and riff around certain themes such as ‘fruit’ or ‘weather.’ The music was always an education, but the real fun was just listening to Dylan talk, dispensing wisdom, offering recipe tips or being totally baffling. Equally amusing and baffling, were the celebrities such as Tom Petty or Marianne Faithful who would call up to join in the fun. There’s never been like it before, or since. 100 shows were recorded with the last one airing in 2009, and now thanks to Heaven’s Door Spirits, Bob’s bourbon brand, it’s back. There will be a special one-off episode airing on Monday 21 at 12pm EST on SiriusXm. It will then be available on Heaven’s Door website and social channels, Bob Dylan’s website and social channels, as well as other streaming services from 25 September. And the theme of this one-off special? Whiskey, of course. 

The Nightcap

It’s quite the coup for Last Drop Distillers

Colin Scott joins Last Drop Distillers

Back in June, we raised a glass to Colin Scott, former Chivas Regal master blender, as he waved goodbye to the brand after an enormous 47 years at the nosing glass helm. News reached us this week that he’s back at it, and is now consultant master blender at high-end bottler The Last Drop Distillers! According to the company, Scott’s appointment is the first stage of becoming ‘not only curators but also creators’. And it’s not the first time they’ve worked together. Back in the 1990s, The Last Drop founders James Espey and Tom Jago teamed up with Colin on a number of projects, including the creation of the now-iconic Chivas Regal 18 Year Old. “We are absolutely delighted that Colin Scott will be joining The Last Drop as master blender,” said Rebecca Jago, managing director at The Last Drop. “One of the many attractions for both Colin and The Last Drop is that he will have the widest palette to paint from.” Scott himself added: “The Last Drop is very much a luxury brand in a very niche market. They have a global reach but have maintained their integrity and vision since they began, which is hugely important to me. This is a new chapter that I am very much looking forward to: carrying on the story that began with Tom and James some decades ago. As my much-missed friend Tom Jago said, “If you can’t have fun in the drinks industry, and in what you create, you can’t have fun anywhere!” Rebecca and the team do just that!” We can’t wait to see what comes next.

The Nightcap

The week-long programme will unite professionals from around the world

Imbibe Live goes global with BCB Berlin, BCB Brooklyn and BCB São Paulo

If you like boozy worldwide networking and education events, then you’re in luck. There’s a biggie on the way. Imbibe Live Online has joined forces with BCB Berlin, BCB Brooklyn and BCB São Paulo to create Global Bar Week uniting the international drinks industry at the first-ever global, online drinks exhibition. From 12–18 October topics such as how hospitality venues can rebuild, drive customer footfall and loyalty, build a sustainable business, tap into consumer trends and improve diversity and inclusion will be discussed by a selection of experts such as Lynnette and Ivy from Speed Rack, award-winning bartender Chelsie Bailey, and Diogenes the Dog founder Sunny Hodge. Drink-focused masterclasses and tastings will also feature in the week-long digital programme, which you can check out here. While it will never be the same as the classic Imbibe Live, the on-trade magazine’s inaugural digital event back in June saw hundreds of drinks brands and on-trade professionals come together to share insights, trends and much more in what we’d say was a pretty successful experiment so it makes sense that it’s gone global. Drinks brands have until the end of September to sign up for this virtual event, while UK drinks industry professionals can now sign up to Imbibe Live Online to access a range of educational and inspirational content and be part of a worldwide celebration of the people, brands and businesses who are shaking up the drinks industry. Registration for the week-long virtual event is free and tickets are available at https://live.imbibe.com/.  

The Nightcap

Kane and Rawcliffe impressed the judges in the Bottled Cocktail Challenge

Diageo’s World Class competition returns 

New people, new partnerships and new competitor challenges await as Diageo’s World Class competition comes back after taking a brief pause due to recent events. Featuring a revised approach that adapts to a new competition environment, the internationally recognised competition has announced a series of activations at this year’s London Cocktail Week (now extended to the full month of October), at Whisky House in Kings Cross’ Goods Way. Three masterclasses a week will be hosted by the World Class team with Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray and Ketel One ambassadors sharing cocktail recipes and tips. Diageo has also revealed who the winners of the Bottled Cocktail Challenge are: James Rawcliffe, Tigerlily (Edinburgh); Kuba Korzynski, Black Rock (London) and Stevie Kane, Baccarat Bar (London).The GB Top 100 were split into three groups – Ketel One, Johnnie Walker Black Lable and Tanqueray No. Ten – and tasked with creating cocktails based on three classic serves: Espresso Martini, Tom Collins and the Highball. The winners have secured a spot in the GB Top 15 and will have their cocktails produced in a cocktail kit for consumers to buy via Cocktail Porter, featured here. Finally, the World Class family has been bolstered by a trio of new appointments. Pippa Guy (previously senior bartender at the Savoy’s American Bar) is now the new Tanqueray brand ambassador; Jo Last (formerly of the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar) has been given the title of whisky brand ambassador and Mimi Schofield is now TLA account executive. “We are incredibly excited to bring World Class back to GB, with a new and adapted program to champion bartender creativity in the face of adversity,” said Jack Sotti, head of advocacy GB at Diageo. “Most notably World Class is about people, and so it gives me the utmost pride to welcome Pippa, Jo and Mimi to our diverse and passionate team.” 

The Nightcap

Is this the best idea ever? It might just be.

And finally… Dog-themed cocktails for Skylight’s Charity Dog Day

Picture this. You’re at a gorgeous rooftop bar, you’ve got great company, delicious drinks – what more could you want? Oh right, dogs! Next Sunday (27 September), Skylight over at Tobacco Dock is combining all of those things on Dog Day! The annual event is run in collaboration with UK charity Dogs On The Streets (DOTS), which supports rough sleepers and the homeless community with dogs. Not only will you be able to bring your actual dog, but there will also be dog-themed cocktails – for human consumption, of course. No, really. With serves like the Pugtail and the Frenchie 75 this is just too good to miss, and between midday and 4pm the cocktails are all 2-4-1. If you’re wondering if your pooch will feel left out, fear not because there’ll be some treats on offer for each dog-bringing guest (and their pup, of course). Proceeds from the cocktails will go towards DOTS, so grab your furry friends and get down there! 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 18 September

The Nightcap: 11 September

Robot bartenders, enough whisky to buy a house and a tiki bar full of priests rescuing a drowning man. The Nightcap doesn’t get much better than this! We’re in that…

Robot bartenders, enough whisky to buy a house and a tiki bar full of priests rescuing a drowning man. The Nightcap doesn’t get much better than this!

We’re in that part of the year now where the weather is totally unpredictable. In a matter of minutes you could be made to look a fool by a cold snap, a sudden downpour or baking heat just as you’ve started an hour long walk in a woolly jumper (I’m not venting, why do you ask?). In such times, home comforts, familiar settings and dead certainties are needed. Like a weekly update of all the happenings from the world of booze. Good thing we’ve got you covered. Enjoy!

On the MoM blog this week Henry welcomed a wonderful new collection from The Character of Islay Whisky Company called The Stories of Wind and Wave and then enjoyed a cocktail named after the fanciest college in America, Jess demonstrated the delights of Irish single malt The Sexton and Adam sampled all kinds of delicious new whisky from Glengoyne. Elsewhere, Ian Buxton popped back in to explore how you can own a little bit of your own booze business through the magic of crowdfunding, while Annie cast a spotlight on Storywood Tequila, examined the evolution of cask ownership and then turned her attention to the history of the world’s first luxury whisky. We’d also like to say a big thank you to all who attended Scotch & Sofa and to remind those who missed it that the videos are still available to watch on Facebook!

The Nightcap

What whisky fan wouldn’t want their own cask? No wonder they’re fighting over it

SMWS offers members cask from Holyrood Distillery whisky

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) is offering members the chance to win an entire cask of whisky from a partner distillery for the first time at its annual gathering this year. The prize, from Holyrood Distillery, is worth approximately £10k and includes all associated costs including the production of spirit, maturation for up to 10 years, bottling and duty. The distillery, which is Edinburgh’s first city centre single malt whisky distillery for nearly a century, runs a custom cask programme, which provides fully customisable options that you can read more about here. “Can you imagine owning your own full cask of single malt whisky? That’s the incredible prize that is up for grabs to all the members of the SMWS,” says Helen Stewart, head of marketing and membership at The SMWS. “Without a doubt it’s the biggest prize we’ve ever offered to our members and with our global festival The Gathering beginning on 31st August, it’s the perfect time to show the world what we do at SMWS – but you have to be in it to win it”. This year’s gathering, which is taking place throughout September, will unite a global community of over 27,000 SMWS members through a series of tastings (both virtual and in-person), whisky webinars, global ambassador at-home tastings, virtual pub sessions with global guests and a Twitter Tasting. The SMWS has also encouraged members to host their own gathering events at home, with home tasting kits available to download. The competition went live on Monday (7 September), which SMWS members can enter here, while tickets for the full calendar and info on all the gathering events can be found here.

The Nightcap

The 18-year-old Aberfeldy is finished in barriques from Pauillac, home of some of France’s greatest wines.

Aberfeldy launches ‘aristocratic’ 18 year old finished in Bordeaux wine casks 

Aberfeldy has gone right to the top with its new 18-year-old wine cask finish, Pauillac in the Medoc, home of some of Bordeaux’s greatest wines such as Lafite, Latour and Mouton-Rothschild. The whisky spent 18 years in first-fill bourbon barrels followed by 4-5 months in ex-Pauillac barriques. Those months weren’t wasted, we were given a little sample and it really smells distinctively of the Medoc. Think pencil shavings, blackcurrants and damp earth on the nose with tannin on the palate and an unctuous nutty texture, all wrapped up in the classic honey and toffee of Aberfeldy. The double cask ageing really works. Malt master (not to be confused with a Master of Malt) Stephanie MacLeod commented: “Pauillac casks are the aristocrats of the Médoc, they provide notes of black cherries, blackberries and a cedar wood spice. Aberfeldy’s wonderfully soft signature honey and creamy vanilla notes are invigorated with swathes of plush ripe fruits and lovely nutty aromas to create an incredibly elegant and fruitful whisky.” It’s bottled at 43% ABV and on sale for a very reasonable £95. It is, however, only available from the distillery which reopened in July. Later it will be on sale in certain markets including USA, China, Taiwan, Germany, and France but not, for some reason, Britain. We think a trip to Aberfeldy might be in order. 

The Nightcap

The project might have been delayed but it’s back on course now

Johnnie Walker Princes Street update

Diageo never seems to stop churning out boozy updates and this week is no different after it opened the online doors to the Johnnie Walker Princes Street global flagship visitor experience. The spirits giant had already reaffirmed its £185 million investment programme in Scotch whisky and tourism by resuming physical construction at the landmark building in the heart of Edinburgh in June (in compliance with all government COVID guidelines, naturally) following a three-month lockdown pause, but the new website for the attraction was launched this week on Tuesday (8 Sept). The Princes Street site is now expected to open in the summer of 2021. If you’re after detailed plans for inside the eight-story attraction then you’ll have to wait, but the website does provide pre-sale ticket opportunities and exclusive updates on the project. “The last few months have been so difficult and disruptive for everyone and we know there is still a long way to go, but we keep walking with confidence and we are looking to the future with positivity,” says managing director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Barbara Smith. “Johnnie Walker Princes Street is progressing well following the restart of construction and we are delighted to be launching our website so that our future guests can share in the excitement and anticipation we feel as we build towards opening our doors to visitors next year.” 

The Nightcap

Congrats to you Nate, any chance of a Nebula Negroni on the house…

Nate Brown opens a new bar

Hey, you guys know our friend Nate Brown, right? He’s contributed a fair few cracking articles on the MoM blog over the last year or so, but that’s not why he’s making headlines this week. It’s because tomorrow (Saturday 12 September), he’ll open the doors to Nebula, a new bar on the Hackney Road, London. The pizza, beer and cocktail joint, which is styled as a ‘neighbourhood oasis with cosmopolitan spirit’, was created in collaboration with Shane Long (not the Republic of Ireland international, but the founder and owner of the Franciscan Well Brew Pub Ltd), and will be led by Sam Morgan (ex-Star and MEAT). Heading the cocktail menu will be the bar’s signature Nebula Negroni, which has a ‘herbaceous twist’ and is available for take away in bottles or eco-friendly reusable pouches. There are also three Spritzes, three Highballs, and three Low-balls plus three straight-up, easy-drinking serves, all of which have an emphasis on local, with house gin and vodka made a stone’s throw away by 58 gin and East London Liquor Co. The wines, meanwhile, will be sourced from Renegade Winery in Bethnal Green and many of the beers are brewed in East London. Nebula will be open from midday until 11pm, seven days a week, and we’ll certainly be popping by for a Nebula Negroni, or two!

350 1960s will be released to celebrate 350 years of Warre’s

Warre’s celebrates 350 years with release of rare Port

Warre’s is celebrating its 350th birthday in style with the release of some seriously rare vintage Port. The company was founded in 1670, and while it doesn’t have any wine left from then, it is offering 350 bottles of 1960 Port from its cellars, the last bottles of this vintage that will be sold to the public. RRP around £320. More affordably, the company will be offering special anniversary editions of Warre’s Warrior and its LBV (Late Bottled Vintage) wines. The company is probably the oldest British Port firm and has a rich history in the region. Williams Warre fought with the Duke of Wellington to liberate the country from Napoleon. His descendant George Warre was one of the first British shippers to buy land in the Douro. One of his purchases, Quinta do Retiro, provides the fruit for the 1960 vintage. In the 1960s the firm was bought by the Symington family who still own it today. Chairman Johnny Symington commented: “We are extremely proud to be celebrating Warre’s 350th anniversary: three generations of my family worked alongside the Warres until the mid-1960s when they decided to return to the UK. We have continued a great tradition that dates back to 1670. This incredible milestone is a moment for us to reflect on our heritage and our uniqueness as a family business. We also celebrate the alliance between Portugal and England, the oldest in history, which has been such an important part of the history of Port.” That’s worth raising a glass to.

The Nightcap

This is how I die. And I’m OK with it.

The robot bartender is here!

The machines are taking over! We’ve just received information about a bar where the drinks are made by machine. Named Yanu, it’s described in the press bumf as “the world’s first contactless bar.” It’s the brainchild of Alan Adojaan who is working with top cocktailist Kristo Tomingas to make sure the drinks are tip-top. The machine costs 150,000 euros to buy outright or it can be rented. Adojaan is expecting to sell them to airports, casinos, shopping centres etc. with the current COVID-friendly sales angle that your drink will be untouched by human hands. The set-up consists of a round standalone bar that looks like something from Star Wars with a robot arm at the centre. Approach, state what you want, swipe your card and marvel as the arm makes the drink by pressing the glass to optics located in the ceiling of the bar. From the video, it looks quite basic, we were hoping for something along the lines of the octopus barkeep from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, It’s certainly much faster than any human, able to make around 100 drinks an hour and it won’t spend time admiring its muscly tattooed arms instead of serving customers. 

A load of these is worth a lot money

Son sells 28 years of birthday whisky to buy first home 

This week over in Taunton, Matthew Robson didn’t look to his savings account for his house deposit, but his whisky cabinet! Really though, it’s his father Pete who’s to thank. Matthew was born in 1992, and every birthday since his father bestowed upon him an 18-Year-Old Macallan. Now that Matthew is the ripe old age of 28, that adds up to… 28 Macallans! “I thought it would be interesting if I bought one every year,” Pete said, “and he’d end up with 18 bottles of 18-Year-Old whisky for his 18th birthday”. While Pete spent around £5,000 over the years on the pressies, the collection is now worth more than a cool £40,000. It may not surprise you to know that Pete is originally from Milnathort in Scotland, who bought the first bottle of 1974 vintage Macallan to “wet the baby’s head”. Matthew was “under strict instructions, never, never to open them,” and somehow he managed to resist temptation. Whisky broker Mark Littler is selling the “perfect set,” as he described it himself. “The value of Macallan has risen massively over the last five to 10 years,” he said. “To have such a vast collection of bottles is the real selling point of these.” Excuse us, we’re off to have a word with our parents… 

The Nightcap

This story has, quite literally, everything

And finally. . . . Drowning man saved by tiki bar full of priests

Now that’s a headline that sounds like it sprang from the mind of Chris Morris but it’s actually a true account of a recent incident on Lake George in New York. Jimmy MacDonald was out kayaking when he fell into the water with a badly put on life jacket. Within seconds, he was struggling to stay afloat and thought his days were numbered. Talking to the Catholic News Agency, he said: “I thought I was going to die. I was waving my hand and asked God to please help me.” And lo, his prayers were answered in the unlikely form of a tiki bar boat rented Paulist Fathers from St. Joseph’s Seminary in Washington, D.C. The seminarians and priests helped him onboard and saved his life. One, Noah Ismael, quipped that it was “a movement of the Holy Spirit”. The final twist to this almost too-good-to-be-true story is that MacDonald is a former alcoholic who has been sober for seven years. Truly, God moves in mysterious ways. 

No Comments on The Nightcap: 11 September

The Nightcap: 4 September

There’s a whole smorgasbord of big Scotch whisky news in this week’s Nightcap, as well as reports on new celebrity booze and Whisky Tea. Yes, really! Intrigued? Then read on……

There’s a whole smorgasbord of big Scotch whisky news in this week’s Nightcap, as well as reports on new celebrity booze and Whisky Tea. Yes, really! Intrigued? Then read on…

We hope you all enjoyed your Bank Holiday weekend. Whether you set off on an adventure, popped down to your local or enjoyed some well-earned R&R indoors, we’re sure you made the most of the opportunity to take a breath and enjoy a break. Fortunately for us, the world of booze never seems to stop churning out new products, projects and passions for us all to get all geeky and gleeful about so The Nightcap this week isn’t any lighter even with a day off. Take a look and see for yourself.

The MoM blog this week was also as busy as ever, and almost turned green thanks to the number of stories we had on Irish whiskey. First Ian Buxton examined its growing pains, then Annie learned why the progress of Sliabh Liag Distillers is proving cause for excitement. Certified organic distilleries also caught Annie’s eye, as Henry gave us a lesson in fortified wines casks to mark the arrival of The Epicurean Rivesaltes Finish. Elsewhere, Adam enjoyed a gin-based delight and one of the finest prohibition-era cocktails in The Southside, before wishing That Boutique-y Whisky Company a happy birthday by announcing another terrific new MoM sale.

Arguably the biggest news of all, however, was our announcement of the launch of Pour & Sip, our all-new, kick-ass whisky subscription service. Check out the blog post for more details. We’re also issuing one last call for you to tune in to our virtual whisky extravaganza Scotch & Sofa, which is taking place tomorrow. Oh, and don’t forget, Drinks by the Dram’s incredible booze-filled Advent Calendars are available to pre-order now!

Right, on with the news!

The Nightcap

CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures’ didn’t mince his words for the Scottish government.

Chivas Bros. criticises Scottish government over COVID response

It was a difficult results time for Chivas Brothers, which we’ll get on to in a moment, but the most interesting thing from this week’s press conference was CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures’ strong words for the Scottish government. He talked about a “bumpy period in March/April when we were not so clear about the direction the Scottish government wanted us to take. We know that we were not seen as an essential business to the economy even though Scotch whisky is the second-largest export for Scotland.” Happily (for everyone, not least Master of Malt customers), Chivas Brothers managed to keep the whisky flowing. Coutures praised the workforce and the unions for their helpful attitudes, and now the company is “almost back to full operations”. He added: “I still believe that the Scottish government needs to back us up and they need to understand that keeping this category operating is absolutely critical not only to the Scottish government but as well to the people of Scotland.” Meanwhile, on to those results: total organic sales were down 11%, in large part due to the lack of travel retail, with Ballantine’s shrinking by 8% and Chivas declining 17%. But there are grounds for optimism, with The Glenlivet cementing its position as number one single malt in the US, up 16%, Royal Salute expanding in Taiwan and South Korea, and Chivas growing in 34 markets including Turkey, Russia and Germany. Overall, there was confidence that Pernod Ricard had weathered the COVID storm as well as could be expected. Coutures added: “Our business and brands have responded with agility and resilience in the face of unprecedented market conditions, in many instances outperforming the category. We remain confident in the strength of our portfolio and the Scotch category as a whole, especially in its ability to withstand and overcome external challenges.” Now, if only the Scottish government could be a little more helpful… 

Long-time master distiller Jeff Arnett is to step down from his role at Jack Daniel’s

Jack Daniel’s master distiller to step down

Big news from Tennessee this week. Jeff Arnett, the man at the production helm of Jack Daniel’s for a whopping 12 years, announced he was leaving his role. This is significant stuff for Jack Daniel’s, the world’s biggest selling American whiskey. Arnett oversaw milling, fermentation, distillation, charcoal filtration and maturation, so these are some pretty sizeable shoes to fill. Parent company Brown-Forman hasn’t said why he’s leaving, or given word of his replacement. But Jack Daniel’s senior vice president, Larry Combs, did say: “Jeff has worked tirelessly on behalf of the distillery and brought with him the creativity and the expertise that makes Jack Daniel’s the most valuable whiskey brand in the world.” Arnett said his time with the brand had been “an incredible chapter”, but didn’t say what he’d be up to next. We’re thoroughly intrigued by the proceedings, and wish Arnett all the best!

The Nightcap

Is there anything he can’t do?

Snoop Dogg announces his latest creation: INDOGGO Gin

Not content with being a hip-hop legend and all-round entertainment icon, Snoop Dogg has once again turned his attention to conquering the booze industry. The creator of the classic hip-hop anthem ‘Gin and Juice’ has founded his own gin brand: INDOGGO Gin. Following a partnership with Treasury Wine Estates to release a California red blend under the 19 Crimes brand called Snoop Cali Red earlier in the year, Snoop Dogg teamed up with his friend and spirits veteran, Keenan Towns of Trusted Spirits and spirits importer Prestige Beverage Group this time to release INDOGGO Gin. The expression, which is housed in a purple bottle features a white logo with upturned ‘G’s in a hat tip to the fruit-infused gin being a remix on the classic juniper-dominant style, was distilled five times and features seven botanicals, including orange, coriander and cassia and is infused with “all-natural strawberry flavour” with no added sugar. “I can’t wait for the world to taste my remix on gin! When I wrote Gin & Juice back in ’94 it was about good feelings and real experiences, it just naturally became an anthem,” Snoop Dogg said. “When creating Indoggo, I wanted to give those feelings new life with an approachable juicy gin that’s smooth like the D.O. Double G.” INDOGGO Gin will first launch in Snoop’s home state of California in late September before it’s released throughout the rest of US through 2021, so if you can’t get your hands on it you can at least pour yourself something delicious and sing those seminal words: “Rollin down the street, smokin’ indo, sippin’ on gin and juice/ Laid back (with my mind on my money and my money on my mind.”

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It’s rare to see Ardbeg of this age so it’s particularly exciting news!

The second batch of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan is (nearly) here!

The second batch of Ardbeg Traigh Bhan is here! Or nearly here, it will be arriving at MoM towers soon. We liked the first release so much that we travelled up to Edinburgh with a film crew to listen to Brendan McCarron wax lyrical about it, video link here. The series is named after the beaches of Traigh Bhan (pronounced tri-van) on Islay which are known locally as ‘the singing sands’ because the noise the tide makes on the sand. This latest batch was matured in American oak and oloroso sherry casks for 19 years and bottled at 46.2% ABV with an RRP of £199. There’s a higher proportion of first-fill bourbon casks in the blend alongside refills and sherry casks. Dr Bill Lumsden commented: “To me, this whisky is the epitome of an aged Ardbeg. It somehow manages to balance the complex with the classic. It’s a truly unique bottling and we hope Ardbeggians everywhere look forward to comparing notes with the previous batch. I know I did!” Not only is the whisky special but the packaging is innovative too: each Traigh Bhan whisky carries its own unique batch code, batch symbol and signature from one of the Ardbeg team; this year it’s Jackie Thomson, the visitor centre manager. She said: “the small quirks and originalities on the bottle itself make it highly collectable – something we know our Ardbeg fans love.” They certainly do. Watch the New Arrivals page of the MoM website. It should be with us soon. 

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We can’t wait for this book to come out in October

Johnnie Walker book is coming

Have you ever wanted to know more about the man behind the world’s best-selling whisky, Mr John Walker? No? Well, we do. And now our curiosity is about to be sated with the imminent arrival of a new book called Johnnie Walker: A Long Stride. Its author, historian and Diageo’s grandly-titled head of whisky outreach Dr Nick Morgan, has been labouring in the company’s extensive archives for a good few years, and we can’t wait to find out what he has uncovered. It’s not just the story of the man, but also the brand up to the present day. According to the press release: “By doing things their own way, Johnnie Walker overturned the conventions of late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, survived two world wars and flourished despite the Great Depression to become the first truly global whisky brand, revolutionising the world of advertising along the way.” And you thought they just made delicious whisky. We’re hoping to host Dr Nick on the blog sometime soon to tell us more. 

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We’re very jealous of whoever gets their hands on this 47-year-old single cask whisky

Gordon & MacPhail launches 47-year-old whisky to mark 125th anniversary

Gordon & MacPhail has announced that it will launch four rare bottlings of single malt Scotch whisky to commemorate the company’s 125-year history. The independent bottler and distiller has been doing its thing since 1895, releasing all kinds of delicious single malts from over 100 celebrated, little-known, or closed distilleries. Each exceptionally rare whisky will come from casks from a closed distillery or made on Lomond stills that are no longer in production and will be released periodically during the rest of 2020. The first of which is the Gordon & MacPhail 1972 from Coleburn Distillery in Speyside, which is particularly fitting given the distillery is situated just four miles from the company’s Elgin home. The 47-Year-Old single cask whisky is said to be sweet, intense and complex with notes of butterscotch, apricot, cooked apples and mint, a profile it attained after spending its entire maturation in a refill sherry puncheon (cask 3511) before it was bottled at cask strength, 62.4% ABV. “The whiskies we have chosen to commemorate our 125th Anniversary are all truly unique and seldom seen in the market,” says Stephen Rankin, a fourth-generation member of Gordon & MacPhail’s owning family and the company’s director of prestige. “They are bottled from the last remaining casks we have from these distilleries, and marks an emotional moment for my family as they leave the Gordon & MacPhail warehouse after being left to mature by my grandfather many decades ago.”

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We’re delighted to see one of London’s finest bars return

Tayēr + Elementary opens its doors

Award-winning cocktail bar Tayēr + Elementary re-opened its doors following its closure during the lockdown period. Alex Kratena and Monica Berg will stagger the return in two phases, Tayēr will return in October and the venue’s front bar concept Elementary opening from at the beginning of this month from 3pm until midnight Tuesday and Wednesday, and 3pm-1am Thursday – Saturday. Its new outside terrace to help enable social distancing will make its debut and food from new chef partners Kitchen FM will be available, including the pig’s head croquette (mmmmm, pig’s head), served with kimchi and oyster mayo, deep fry chicken, with a smoked and spicy maple glaze and pickles and desserts such as the plum jam with ginger ice cream. Elementary’s drinks offering will feature the bar’s signature classics such as the One Sip Martini, Whey Sour and ēe Frozen Coffee alongside new highballs, beers, wines and seasonal cocktails. The Bottle Shop will be available for takeaway, serving all of the bar’s own ready-to-drink cocktails, which were launched by the team during lockdown, such as the Bergamot Margarita and Palo Santo Gimlet, as well as a selection of beers and wines to takeaway. 

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Congratulations Pierrick!

Lagavulin gets a new distillery manager

Big transfer news on Islay: Pierrick Guillaume is moving from Caol Ila to take up the role of distillery manager at Lagavulin. Frenchman Guillaume has been with Diageo for eight years with stints at Mortlach and Talisker before the move to Islay and Caol Ila in 2017. Having met and tasted with Guillaume we can vouch that not only is he a lovely chap but extremely knowledgeable. He commented: “It is a great honour to be asked to take on the role of Lagavulin distillery manager. Lagavulin is a whisky that is revered around the world and it’s a great privilege to be joining the outstanding team that makes this exceptional Scotch whisky and I can’t wait to get started.” Meanwhile, there are some big boots to fill at Caol Ila and stepping up is Samuel Hale who is currently the manager of Port Ellen Maltings. If you want to know more, why not tune into our Scotch and Sofa whisky festival tomorrow, 5 September? At 2pm both Guillaume and Hale will be taking a boat trip to Islay alongside Colin Dunn from Diageo and Henry Jeffreys from Master of Malt. 

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The Delevigne sisters are the latest celebs to embrace the world of booze

Celebrity booze continues with Pimm’s competition and Delevigne Prosecco

Celebrities and booze go together like caviar (the celebrity of the seafood world) and Champagne (the celebrity of the wine world). As such, we’ve got double trouble on the celebrity booze front for you this week. First up, we have the Delevigne sisters who have launched their own Prosecco! The sisters, Chloe, Poppy and Cara, called their creation Della Vite, which, although it sounds a lot like their last name, actually translates as ‘of the vine’. Having partnered with the Biasiotto family, two expressions are being launched this month, Della Vite Prosecco Superiore (DOCG) and Della Vite Prosecco Treviso (DOC). “Placing sustainability first and using agricultural methods that don’t rely heavily on the industry is at the core Della Vite’s values,” said Cara. “We spent four months looking for the perfect winery to align with our vision and are so proud to have created two exceptional Proseccos that are both sustainably produced and 100% certified vegan.” There’s no label, with the bottle sporting the brand signature created by Poppy Delevingne. Well, that’s one way of getting her autograph. From Prosecco to Pimm’s, the latter has launched a competition to try and make up for the strange summer Britain has had! Louise Redknapp is spearheading this one, giving the public the chance to win an afternoon with the Pimm’s O’Clock Truck! The winner will get to enjoy it at home for the day with a small gathering of friends and family (complying with COVID regulations, obviously). If you want to enter, snap a photo-sharing Pimm’s with your pals onto Instagram. Make sure you follow @Pimmsgb on Instagram, tag @Pimmsgb and use #TheOriginalTasteOfSummer. You have until 7 September to get your photos up, so get the pitcher out quick!

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Keep an eye out because this historic whisky is on its way to MoM Towers!

Isle of Raasay inaugural release sells out (yes, we will be getting some in)

If you were hoping to get your hands on a bottle of Isle of Raasay Distillery’s inaugural single malt, set to launch in November 2020, we have bad news. It’s already sold out. Before it’s even been bottled. Okay, let us explain. Out of its expected outturn of 7,500 bottles, the distillery set aside 4,350 bottles for an online pre-sale. Obviously these went like hotcakes, while the rest of the bottles have been snapped up by a selection of international markets, specialist retailers, restaurants and bars. It’s no wonder too, with the lightly peated whisky matured in first-fill American oak and set to be finished in 21 first fill Bordeaux red wine casks. “We are delighted to have sold out of our Isle of Raasay Single Malt Inaugural Release before it’s bottled in November,” said Isle of Raasay co-founder Alasdair Day. “This is the first legal whisky from an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling, so it really is a piece of Scotch whisky history!” There is still hope for a bottle though! Make sure you keep an eye out on MoM new arrivals because we’ve got your back and will be stocking the historic whisky. Keep your other eye on its social channels (@RaasayDistillery), because we also heard that the distillery is launching a competition in October with the chance to win one of the prized bottles. 

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We recommend this tea made with whisky. It’s much nicer than it sounds.

And finally… WHISKY… TEA?

When we heard about Whisky Tea, we thought of the great Peter Kay and his cheesecake routine: “WHISKY…. TEA? Are my ears playing tricks on me?” Well, this is no joke, it’s the latest product from Edinburgh-based Pekotea. We were sent some samples and suitably impressed. These are quality teas, not a gimmick. One of the brains behind it, Jon Cooper, filled us in: “There are some close analogies between whisky and tea and we wanted to create something that would reflect this in tea blends. Just like the different regions of tea giving different flavours and aromas, we thought it would be great to make teas that reflected the main Scotch whisky regions. Each of the teas contains a different blend of base tea with added fruit and spices as well as the whisky and a little flavour oil to highlight the nose of each of the whiskies. We wanted to bring out the main aromas associated with each area.” For example, the Campbeltown expression is made from a blend of black tea with cacao nibs, currants and cornflower steeped in high strength whisky with essential oil and then dried. It tastes rich and fruity, the perfect after-dinner tea instead of coffee, or indeed a dram. 

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The Nightcap: 28 August

Hollywood whisky, interactive distillery maps and the Black Forest coming to London. It’s just another regular week in the wonderful world of booze! It’s basically the last Bank Holiday weekend…

Hollywood whisky, interactive distillery maps and the Black Forest coming to London. It’s just another regular week in the wonderful world of booze!

It’s basically the last Bank Holiday weekend of the year (Christmas doesn’t count) in England and Wales and this is obviously incredibly exciting, because who doesn’t love a long weekend? It’s particularly good news if you’ve lost all sense of time like me and had no idea it was on the horizon. I feel like I’ve found a £5 note in an old coat pocket. A weekend as good as this deserves to be kicked off right. So, pour yourself a dram of something delicious and settle in with some delightful reading material. Like this lovely edition of The Nightcap…

It was another terrific week on the MoM blog as we announced that Drinks by the Dram’s delightful Advent Calendars have returned and also launched our incredible Bank Holiday weekend sale! Annie then kept the good times rolling by tasting new whisky from Tobermory, Deanston and Bunnahabhain and explored why coconut water has become the hot new mixer on the bar scene, while Jess cast an eye on a few awesome specialist bars that are pros in specific spirits, reported on BrewDog’s impressive environmental commitment and asked what’s the deal with bitters? Spoiler: they’re awesome. Adam then enjoyed the delights of a smoky summer sipper with an incredible backstory while Henry tasted an innovative rum that thinks it’s a gin. Oh, and we reviewed the 2020 edition of Diageo’s Special Releases. Spoiler: they’re also awesome.

Don’t forget that next weekend the incredible Scotch and Sofa will take place! Now, to The Nightcap! 

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The Glenlivet is helping to uncover illicit whisky past and highlight the impact of Scotch.

Glenlivet joins project to uncover whisky’s illicit past

Speyside whisky giant The Glenlivet has announced a first of its kind partnership this week with The National Trust For Scotland. The duo has launched the ‘Pioneering Spirit’ project, which pairs archive research with archaeological digs in a bid to highlight the impact that Scotch whisky production has had on Scotland’s cultural heritage and its modern way of life. Led by the Trust’s head of archaeology, Derek Alexander, and The Glenlivet’s archivist, Chris Brousseau, the digs will aim to uncover the illicit stills and forgotten bothies that were used to illegally produce and smuggle Scotch across the highlands in the early 1800s. “We are proud to be supporting the National Trust for Scotland and the amazing work they do to protect, and celebrate, what makes Scotland unique,” says Miriam Eceolaza, global marketing director of The Glenlivet. “As a brand that holds so much history in the distilling of Scotch whisky, we are looking forward to learning more about the illicit trade that our founder was involved in, as well as the lasting impact it has had on the country’s rich heritage”. Once underway, the project will enlist the help of visitors and Scottish residents alike to uncover more about the country’s illicit past and the role that whisky played in defining Scottish culture. To find out more, visit www.theglenlivet.com and www.nts.org.uk

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Are you a booze fan looking to holiday in Britain? Well, you’re in luck.

WSTA creates interactive distillery map

Do you know what would be handy for ‘staycationers’ who are also booze fans? An interactive map that showcases some of Britain’s best distillery and vineyard destinations. Oh, wait, that already exists thanks to The Wine and Spirit Trade Association! This week the WSTA launched its delightful map, which should prove useful for those who want to learn more about the art of wine and spirit making and see which locations offer tours, tastings and places to eat and stay on-site across the country. Currently, the map features over 50 distilleries and vineyards, which are marked by a spirit bottle and grape icon respectively. Simply click on them and you’ll get all the info you need about the brand and what experiences they offer. “The ginaissance has led to a huge wave of investment in exciting new distillery visitor centres and tours. There are now more English vineyards offering tours, tastings and dining experiences than ever before. To celebrate our great British distillers and winemakers we have launched the UK’s first digital wine and spirit map,” says Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA and Nightcap homie. “The pandemic means that more people are choosing to enjoy a staycation over the summer and this August Bank Holiday weekend. The WSTA’s interactive map has been designed to encourage people to find out more about the wave of exciting new wine and spirit experiences on their doorsteps.” Where will you go first? Britain now boasts over 763 vineyards and over 440 distilleries, so you’re spoilt for choice!

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Think you can make a delicious, locally-sourced cocktail? Then Jameson wants to hear from you!

Jameson launches new web series

Last year, Jameson brought bartenders, local farmers and producers from across the globe together to create locally inspired cocktails. Now fans can enjoy this adventure thanks to the brand’s new six-part web series. ‘Grow Your Own Cocktail’ will feature episodes from Dubai, Tel Aviv, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Stockholm and Cork (home to Midleton Distillery) and aims to educate and inspire the global bar community. Alongside the series, Jameson is encouraging bartenders to proactively support their local community by launching a new competition that challenges them to create a Jameson cocktail using locally sourced ingredients. To enter you need to post your cocktail on Instagram, outlining the local ingredients used, the background to the collaboration, and explain why Jameson should support them, along with the hashtag #GrowYourOwnCocktail. A €1,000 cash prize will be split equally between bartenders and producers who work in collaboration and winners will also be encouraged to invest their prize back into their community through further local sourcing. “The bar community has faced serious challenges in 2020, so now, more than ever the industry needs solidarity, creativity and innovation to help it through these times. It’s Jameson’s mission to support this creativity and encourage bartenders to use their own environments in truly innovative ways,” says Irish Distillers’ international marketing director Brendan Buckley. Episodes of the web series will be released throughout August and September via @JamesonHosts and Jameson’s YouTube channel. For more information on how to enter the competition, head to Instagram. The deadline for entries is 14 September 2020. 

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German Gymnasium is bringing the Black Forest into the heart of London

The Black Forest comes to London 

There’s been a lot of teaming up this week, and German Gymnasium and Monkey 47 Dry Gin have got in on the act to bring a little slice of Black Forest charm to London through the wonder of gin cocktails. The duo presented A Schwarzwald Summer yesterday (Thursday 27 August), which is a two-month-long celebration designed to help people make the most of the many inevitable staycations that will take place this summer. The Schwarzwald, also known as the Black Forest, is where the Monkey 47 Gin brand is from. Naturally, it has created quite the cocktail list for the event, featuring two refreshing G&Ts, as well as variations on the Negroni, Spritz, Martini and a highball called the Schwarzwald Summer made up of Monkey 47 Gin, elderflower, mint, cucumber, lemon and tonic. There’s also going to be hearty German bar snacks like Black Forest ham and Currywurst, and for the duration of the partnership the outdoor bar will also be completely covered in vibrant pink, red, lilac and yellow flowers to reflect the traditional flower-laden houses seen throughout the Black Forest in the summertime. So, if you head on down, be sure to don your best Trachten, resist the urge to bring up gâteau every forty seconds and enjoy the Schwarzwald Summer!

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Cheers to 60 years of Macduff Distillery!

Macduff Distillery celebrates 60 years

Macduff has some celebrating to do next week as the Highland distillery marks 60 years since its official opening on 1 September 1960. Founded by four Glasgow businessmen, it was one of the first single malt distilleries to go into operation following the Second World War and its first whisky was released in 1968 – a five-year-old labelled ‘Macduff Pure Highland Malt Scotch Whisky’. You probably know the distillery best for creating The Deveron and Glen Deveron Scotch whisky brands, which were named in reference to the River Deveron, which runs alongside the distillery and its whisky has also been used in blends for William Lawson’s. The Macduff distillery, which is currently under Bacardi ownership following their acquisition of Martini Rossi in 1992, was designed to ensure it was as energy efficient as possible and the focus on sustainability and technology remains key for the distillery. “Production at Macduff was simple and compact, focusing on energy-saving techniques such as lagged pot stills which were also steam heated and the use of gravity instead of pumps. It’s fantastic to see that respect for the distillery’s beautiful natural surroundings still firmly in place today,” says Jacqueline Seargeant, global heritage manager for Bacardi, is responsible for archiving the rich history of Bacardi’s distilleries in Scotland. “From changes in ownership to adapting to changes in technology and whisky production techniques, it’s been a fascinating journey for Macduff over the last six decades, and I have no doubt there will be many more amazing stories to come.” There’s only one way to celebrate such an occasion, pick yourself up some Macduff whisky and raise a glass!

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The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage, looking very swanky indeed

GlenDronach announce new Kingsman whisky

Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, if you love whisky you’ve got to respect the Kingsman films because with each new movie comes delicious whisky! Delicious Glendronach whisky, to be precise. This week the GlenDronach distillery has announced that it will once again release a tie-in tipple in collaboration with director Matthew Vaughn to mark the upcoming release of The King’s Man: Tokyo Drift. The GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1989 Vintage is a 29-year-old single malt matured in Oloroso sherry casks initially and finished in Pedro Ximénez casks. All 3,052 bottles have been labelled, numbered and wax-sealed by hand and each box comes with the Kingsman insignia and the signatures of both Barrie and Vaughn. This 1989 vintage is inspired by the oldest bottle of whisky housed at The GlenDronach Distillery — a twenty-nine-year-old whisky bottled in 1913, just before the outbreak of the First World War. According to Glendronach, three friends had each purchased a bottle before leaving for war, vowing to open the whiskies together upon coming home. Tragically, only one friend returned. Having never opened his bottle, his family later gifted it to the distillery, where it remains unopened and displayed in remembrance of fallen friends. “I have selected casks of the most exceptional character for this rare 1989 vintage, with smouldering aromas of dark fruits and sherry-soaked walnuts, vintage leather and cedarwood,” says The GlenDronach master blender, Dr Rachel Barrie. “On the palate, dense autumn fruits meld with date, fig and treacle, before rolling into black winter truffle and cocoa. In the exceptionally long finish, notes of blackberry, tobacco leaf and date oil linger to conclude the rich tasting experience”.

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We’re looking forward to the Android vs iPhone debates on which one can track blood alcohol better

And finally… Your phone could track your blood alcohol 

People joke about phones being able to do everything these days, but in reality, it looks like that really is becoming the case. The latest thing our gadgets are able to do is to track our blood alcohol concentration! Researchers over at the University of Pittsburgh discovered that the phone sensors can identify high blood alcohol concentration. If you’ve got a Nokia then, unfortunately, that won’t do the trick, you’ll need a smartphone for this one (though if you drop it that’s a whole different story). The devices were used to measure walking speed and movements after participants had been given a drop or two of the hard stuff, and it was all rather successful – the phones were more than 90% accurate in detecting when blood alcohol concentration had exceeded the legal limit for driving (which is 0.08%, for future reference). Obviously the hope for this is that it will discourage people from driving under the influence, seeing as they can check it themselves. But like we always say folks, sip, don’t gulp!

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The Nightcap: 21 August

Ryan Reynolds, free rosé, a gin-based streaming service and a world-record breaking whisky. All on this week’s Nightcap.  It’s now raining and grey and miserable again at MoM Towers, which…

Ryan Reynolds, free rosé, a gin-based streaming service and a world-record breaking whisky. All on this week’s Nightcap. 

It’s now raining and grey and miserable again at MoM Towers, which means the quintessential British summer is officially back on. This is good news for those of us who loathe sun cream and sand and instead prefer large woolly jumpers, hot drinks and just generally being indoors. But there is one thing that unites the introverts and extroverts of this world and that’s a love of the weekend, which are especially good when they begin with another cracking edition of The Nightcap. Which is exactly what we have here, so read on!

This week on the blog we launched a new series called MoM Loves which featured NÜTRL’s shiny new range of vodka sodas. Lucy then threw a pisco disco, Henry enjoyed a Champagne that tells the story behind the wines and Annie spoke with Julieann Fernandez about all things Deanston. Before she grabbed five minutes with the Highland distillery’s master blender Annie concluded her series on Icelandic spirits, while Adam learnt all about the groundbreaking story behind a brotherly bourbon and then made himself a Blood and Sand. Because if you could make a Blood and Sand, why wouldn’t you? Oh, and the virtual whisky spectacular Scotch and Sofa is just a fortnight away so if you still need to pick up a tasting set do so now! Onwards to The Nightcap! 

Diageo buys Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation Gin 

Diageo has had a busy week once again, this time adding Aviation Gin, the brand co-owned by Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds, to its already considerable portfolio. The drinks giant’s new acquisition of Aviation parent, Davos Brands is reportedly worth £466m (£271 million immediately and up to £210 million more in performance-based incentives over the next decade) and includes its other signature brands, Astral Tequila, Sombra Mezcal and TYKU Sake, which means a greater share of those fast-growing agave and sake markets. The owner of Johnnie Walker and Guinness loves splashing the cash on drinks companies associated with a handsome leading man it seems, after it also purchased the Tequila brand Casamigos, which was co-founded by George Clooney, for $1bn in 2017. While the value of the deal to the actor was not disclosed, we do know that Reynolds will stay onboard as a stakeholder and public face for the brand moving forward. Which makes sense. The guy is phenomenally good at marketing his own brand. Seriously. “A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring. Growing the brand with my company, Maximum Effort Marketing, has been among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with,” said Reynolds. “I want to thank Diageo for their incredible team and passion. We’re so excited for the next chapter of Aviation Gin, which, I promise, will require just as little reading”. 

The Nightcap

The doc will explore the “alchemy of a brand and what it takes to create an icon”

Johnnie Walker releases limited edition bottles and news of a documentary

It’s been a big week for Johnnie Walker, that’s for sure! First came the announcement that the brand released not one, but three new snazzy limited edition bottlings. Now you can get rare, colourful bottles of the Red Label, Black Label and Gold Label Reserve whiskies, all in honour of its 200th anniversary. Gone are the transparent glass bottles of yore, these new designs are looking bold in block colours. “These limited edition bottles give a bold new look to our most iconic whiskies and perfectly celebrate Johnnie Walker’s depth of character as we celebrate this incredible 200-year milestone,” said brand ambassador Ali Reynolds. Well, it’ll certainly make for a colourful drinks cabinet, and you can grab the limited edition Black Label from MoM right now! The other snippet of news that came our way this week was that award-winning film director Anthony Wonke is making a film about Johnnie Walker! The Man Who Walked Around the World will be a feature documentary, exploring the success of Johnnie Walker over 200 years. “The story of Johnnie Walker is fascinating. It explores the alchemy of a brand and what it takes to create an icon,” said Wonke. “It has punch and depth – a brilliant history packed with intrigue and romanticism. Dig deeper and we find it has the potential to be so much more – a story about what makes us human, the things we can achieve and what keeps pushing us forward.” It’ll premiere later this year (the exact date is currently unknown), and we know what we’ll be drinking when we sit down to watch that! 

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The Champagne region has been faced with climate change, a global pandemic and economic uncertainty

Champagne announces earliest ever harvest

In an unprecedented move, the Champagne region began its earliest ever harvest on record this week. It’s a direct result of climate change as warmer temperatures have fuelled early ripening of the prized grapes. The Champagne industry has been aware of the battle it faces against global warming for some time and was the first wine-growing region to carry out a carbon footprint assessment and identify the main sources of emissions back in 2002. Already 24% of the area has environmental certification and by 2030 the aim is that number will be 100%. The region also plans to be herbicide free by 2025 and reduce its carbon footprint by 75% per bottle by 2050, having already reduced it over the last 15 years by 20%. “Unprecedented year calls for unprecedented measures. Faced with climate change, a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, the Champagne region, not immune but ever-ready has agreed on a yield reduction (8,000 kilos/hectare vs 10,200 last year), a degree of deferred bottling and grape payment, united by an unflinchingly long-term commitment to sustainability,” says Francoise Peretti, director of Champagne Bureau UK and spokesperson for the Champagne industry in the UK, “Pragmatism, resilience and optimism reign over the 2020 harvest which is showing the signs of being one of the most qualitative year, reminiscent of 1988, 1989, 1990, 2018 and 2019”.

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Congratulations to Colin Gordon!

Ardbeg welcomes new distillery manager Colin Gordon

You might remember a while back we reported that Mickey Heads, Ardbeg’s distillery manager, was planning to retire after 13 years at the helm leaving big boots (as well as casks) to fill at the Islay distillery. Now Ardbeg has announced his successor: the wonderful Colin Gordon! You’ll almost certainly know Gordon from his time as distillery manager at Lagavulin Distillery and the former Diageo man also worked as the site operations manager at the Port Ellen Maltings, which provides barley to eight of the 10 Islay distilleries. Heads, meanwhile, has agreed to continue in his role as Chair of the Ardbeg Committee, the worldwide army of Ardbeg fans. “Ardbeg is an iconic name in whisky with an immense reputation. I’m absolutely delighted to be joining an experienced team producing such an exceptional dram”, says Colin Gordon. “Ardbeg has built a reputation for producing amazing whiskies with Mickey Heads at the helm. He is a huge name in the industry and will be a very hard act to follow. It’s a privilege to be chosen to take over the reins from him. Islay has been our home for five years and to be given the honour of overseeing the running of Ardbeg is very special indeed. I will do my very best to protect and enhance the reputation of the distillery and ensure it keeps producing the world-class spirit of Ardbeg.”

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You’re looking at a record-breaker, folks

Nc’nean’s first whisky sets world record at £41,004

Nc’nean has broken a world record after the first bottle of its inaugural single malt whisky sold for £41,004 during an online auction. Bottle number one of the Highland distillery’s expression Ainnir, an unpeated no-age-statement whisky made from organic Scottish barley and matured a combination of five casks before it was bottled at natural cask strength (60.3% ABV), quadrupled the previous record and all 1,320 bottles of the inaugural whisky sold out within 36 hours. The first 10 bottles of Ainnir single malt were sold on Whisky Auctioneer in August to raise money for five charities and attracted more than 852 bids from 13 countries. In total, the auction raised more than £92,000 and all proceeds from the auction will be split between charities including Trees for Life, The Drinks Trust, The Ben, The Scottish Farm Land Trust and Morvern Community Trust. “We could not be happier with the success of this auction,” said Nc’nean founder Annabel Thomas. “I’m really proud that Nc’nean has been able to give something back to support charities and the hospitality industry that has been particularly hard hit recently.” Thomas also said to watch this space for the next chapter in the Nc’nean story and that the brand has some exciting announcements ahead…

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The £10 million fund will help the UK’s distilleries become more environmentally sustainable

£10m eco funding aims to turn Scotch whisky green

Drinks lovers will soon be able to enjoy a dram in the knowledge that they are helping to cut carbon emissions and support new green jobs. That’s because Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, announced the opening of a £10 million fund to be used to kick-start green innovation across the UK’s distillery industry. The move gives backing to distilleries across the UK to harness energy sources such as low-carbon hydrogen, biomass and repurposed waste to power their operations. Furthermore, enabling technology such as fuel conversion, transportation or storage will also be considered. Essentially, government funding will help distilleries continue to produce tasty tipples while contributing to taking pollution equivalent to emissions from 100,000 cars out of the atmosphere. “We want to harness the tremendous innovation of our distilleries so customers can enjoy their favourite tipple in the knowledge they are helping us to tackle climate change”, says Kwarteng. “In 2019, the UK distilleries industry grew by 20%, demonstrating the opportunity for the sector to be at the heart of a clean and resilient recovery.”

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It’s coming home, it’s coming home, Select Aperitivo is coming home. . . to Venice.

Select Aperitivo is coming home to Venice

If you want to make a proper Venetian spritz, do as the locals do and reach for a bottle of Select Aperitvo. This classic drink was originally produced in the Castello district but production had moved out of the city. But now, like football once did, it’s coming home! Parent company Montenegro has announced the plans for the ‘Ca’ Select’ (House of Select) housed in a former industrial laboratory in the Cannaregio district. The maceration of Select’s botanicals will take place at the new facility which has been revamped by Marcante-Testa studio alongside a tasting area and events space. Marco Ferrari, CEO of Gruppo Montenegro commented:We have chosen to build an experiential site that brings the heart of the production process back to Venice and allows us to share it with the city and its inhabitants. We want to communicate, in a widespread way, the quality and tradition but also the research and innovation of our brand.” Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, added: “The City of Venice and I am proud that an important brand, such as  Select,  is  returning  to  produce  in  the  place  that  saw  its  birth  100  years  ago.” Great news, we’re going to celebrate with a Select Bicycletta

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#thefutureisrosé

Free rosé at restaurants around the country

It’s definitely been the summer of rosé. And COVID, of course, but we like to accentuate the positive here at Master of Malt. All that lovely weather had us reaching for the rosé bottle again and again. Now, to encourage people to eat out once more, everyone’s favourite rosé-focused industry body Vins de Provence has teamed up with independent restaurants and wine bars around the country offering various rosé-tinted special offers. For example, in London Lady of the Grapes in Covent Garden is offering a free glass with three plates per person, and Blandford Comptoir will serve you a free glass of AIX rosé with a two-course lunch menu; while down in Eastbourne the first 50 diners through the door at The Grand Hotel get a free glass. Offer runs during August and September, go to Instagram for more information. But that’s not all, share your rosé photos @vinsdeprovenceuk and #thefutureisrosé, and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a case of Provence’s finest. 

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Face masks made out of milk. Yes, we’re serious.

Discarded makes face masks out of milk

In case you hadn’t noticed, face masks (and not the cleansing clay type) have become the next big compulsory pandemic accessory. But the plight of single use face masks is a nightmare, harming marine life and adding to the hoard of single use waste. The clever folks behind Discarded have once again engaged their crafty brains and figured out a way to reuse waste products to make something wonderful – it’s not a vermouth or rum this time, but face masks! Discarded teamed up with Mi Terro, a company that extracts the casein protein molecules from the bacteria found in milk that’s past its best. Then, using something very complicated called dynamic flow shear spinning, it creates sustainable fibres, and these fibres are used to create the masks. That’s not all, because these catchily-named Milk Masks are being distributed by Discarded to London bars for free, while furlough staff from the hospitality sector were employed to make the face masks. We love all this positive news! “Typically, face masks are single use and have been named the new plastic bottle as they contribute to marine debris with a 450-year lifespan,” said Shana Gujral, William Grant & Sons marketing executive. “So in true Discarded Spirits fashion, we sourced fabric, which uses biotechnology to turn wasted milk into cotton fibres.” When life gives you sour milk, what else is there to do but make face masks?

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Yep. That’s a squirrel in a top hat eating a cucumber and watching a waterfall

And finally…Hendrick’s Gin launches unusual streaming service

If there ever was one, 2020 has been the summer of streaming, which goes some way to explaining the onslaught of subscription-based programming recently. Fortunately, Hendrick’s Gin has embraced its self-appointed moniker as the ‘world’s most unusual gin’ and decided to respond by creating its own streaming service. No, really. It’s available free of charge. There’s no subscription necessary to the 21+ audience. Oh, and it’s entirely made up of footage of three serene streams: The Brook that Dared, Cucumber Creek, and Little Falls with Rosy Dreams. This is not an April Fools prank. We swear. Look, check the link. See? It’s all real. The brand says round-the-clock access of bodies of water should offer a tranquil alternative to the ever-expanding maelstrom of choices of conventional streaming platforms. “Quite honestly, we find the array of films and shows available on conventional streaming to be quite mind-numbing,” states Vance Henderson, U.S. Ambassador for the Scottish-based gin maker. “Our stream-focused streaming service will provide a leisurely alternative, coupled with insights into how best to sip Hendrick’s cocktails while you watch”. For maximum stream gazing enjoyment (I can’t believe I’m writing this. I wanted to write the next great American novel, what happened?) Hendrick’s recommends going for either Hendrick’s Rickey, the Cucumber Lemonade or the delightful Floradora as your streamside cocktail.

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The Nightcap: 14 August

We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker….

We’ve got important causes, distillery expansions, trade tariff news and a Scotch whisky distillery asking fans to pick its new whisky from the cask. This week’s Nightcap is a corker.

Seeing as the UK enjoyed a week of Caribbean-esque weather I’d say that’s the perfect excuse to make some classic summer cocktails this weekend. Particularly given that it’s International Rum Day on Sunday (16 August). The only problem is narrowing down which serve to choose. Maybe the tropical delights of a Piña Colada? Or perhaps the zesty refreshment of a Mojito? All I know for sure is, if it’s got tasty rum and can be sipped while reading The Nightcap then it’s the right choice. 

This week we kicked things off on the blog with the news that our summer sale is very much still going before we welcomed the new arrival of a gin with a purpose to support the hospitality industry. Ian Buxton’s then turned his focus to maturation and whether it can ever be manipulated or accelerated as Annie distinguished the difference between Canadian and American rye whisk(e)y and gave us the first instalment of her two-part series on Icelandic spirits. Adam, meanwhile, made the most of the glorious weather by enjoying some gin with some weird and wonderful botanicals and then an indulgent, summery serve which we recommend you make up a glass (or pitcher, it’s the weekend!) of while viewing our fabulous new video tour of Kent’s own Anno Distillery.

Before we proceed to The Nightcap, don’t forget that Scotch and Sofa is just over a month away and tasting sets are available now! 

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Want to help pick the latest Glengoyne single cask bottling? Then take part in the interactive tasting!

Glengoyne invites fans to pick latest single cask

Glengoyne announced this week that it wants you to decide what whisky will become a part of the distillery’s latest ‘Cask of the Moment’ single cask bottling. As long as you tune in to its live stream event at 8pm on Friday 28 August. ‘Casks Unlocked’ features a panel of industry figures join distillery manager Robbie Hughes and global brand ambassador Gordon Dundas tasting and discussing four single casks samples that were chosen from Glengoyne’s Warehouse #8 – including a Port pipe, hogshead, bourbon barrel, and Madeira cask. The truly exciting part is that you can join in at home by purchasing a tasting kit filled with each sample. At the end of the event the panel, viewers, and Glengoyne community will cast a vote for their preferred cask and the winner and the eventual whisky will be available to purchase at the newly reopened distillery shop and online via the Glengoyne website. “At Glengoyne, we’re incredibly fortunate to have some of the most loyal fans in the whisky world. That’s why, to show our appreciation for their ongoing support, we decided to host ‘Casks Unlocked’ – a special opportunity for our community to select Glengoyne’s latest single cask whisky,” says Hughes. “Some of the liquid in the sample kits may have never been released for sale, so this truly is a one-of-a-kind experience that we’re excited to offer our community.” Click here to purchase your Glengoyne ‘Casks Unlocked’ tasting kits.

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Buffalo Trace should meet the high demand for its bourbon soon thanks to the $1.2 billion expansion.

Buffalo Trace Distillery Continues $1.2 Bil Expansion

Despite the pandemic, Buffalo Trace Distillery has made great strides in its $1.2 billion infrastructure investment over the past year. Four new 22-foot-tall cookers with 80,000 gallons of cooking capacity were installed, as were four new fermenters with 93,000-gallon capacity and a new cooling tower. A new $50 million, 110,000-square-feet high-speed bottling hall opened just in time to package essential hand sanitizer, while three more barrel warehouses each with the capacity to hold 58,800 barrels were recently built and three more are on the way. Also in the works at the 247-year-old distillery are eight more fermenters, a new dry house (the area where spent mash is dried and shipped out), a water treatment facility, a second stillhouse, more barrel warehouses, and in the future, another craft bottling hall. Another craft bottling hall will allow Buffalo Trace to produce more single barrel and small-batch bourbons. Since tours resumed on July 1, guests have also been able to see the expanded visitor centre which includes additional tasting rooms and more retail space. The work will be welcome news to fans of the brand, as demand for much of the whisky Buffalo Trace creates exceeds its supply. “We promise we are doing everything we can to make more, as evidenced by our progress we’ve made in the past year with our expansion,” said master distiller Harlen Wheatley. “But great bourbon does take time to age, and we won’t compromise age, taste, or proof just to fill more bottles. We’re just asking our fans to remain patient as we wait for our stocks to mature.” To see a video of the progress Buffalo Trace has made on its $1.2 billion expansion in the past year, click here.

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A rum can now only be labelled as ‘Dominican’ if it meets certain production criteria

‘Dominican rum’ registered as denomination of origin

Some really intriguing news this week that landed at the doorstep of MoM Towers was that the application for the ‘Dominican rum’ denomination of origin has finally been granted. While you may associate the beautiful island with golden beaches, fine cigars and Merengue music, the Caribbean island is also home to a number of delightful rum brands such as Ron Barceló, Brugal and Atlantico and thanks to its geographical location, the island has a vast fauna and flora and the most varied climate of the Antilles. The World Trademark Review revealed that it’s these particular characteristics – “quality, reputation and geographical, including natural and human factors” – that are the foundation of the denomination of origin. A rum can now only be labelled as ‘Dominican’, if producers harvest the sugarcane locally and ferment, distil and age the alcohol in oak barrels for a minimum of one year, all within the borders of the Dominican Republic territory. It’s been a long road for the Dominican Association of Producers of Rum to achieve this milestone as it applied for the denomination of origin way back in July 2014. Third parties had opposed the application on the ground that it contained technical deficiencies but all the oppositions filed were eventually rejected. However, this resolution is not final and an appeal has been lodged by certain parties. For now, Dominican rum has its denomination of origin. The Distinctive Signs Department of ONAPI, in Resolution No 00204 dated 29 May 2020, stated that: “the application for the ‘Dominican Rum’ denomination of origin fulfils all the technical requirements, as it clearly describes the human and environmental conditions required in the cultivation area, as well as the type of sugarcane from the Dominican Republic that must be used and the ageing process required”. And just in time for International Rum Day as well.

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Great drinks, friends and raising funds for a worthy cause. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon

Cocktails in the City returns with Community Spirit Edition

Cocktails in the City is back! On Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September 2020 an alfresco summer garden party at the Bedford Square Gardens will celebrate the city’s best bars that are now reopening, raising money and awareness for the industry. In total, 30 of the city’s most innovative bars will gather at the socially distanced event, including Callooh Callay, 68 & Boston, Nightjar, Trailer Happiness and more. Brands including Moët & Chandon, Belvedere Vodka, The London Essence Company, Campari, Hennessy, Glenmorangie and more will also be making an appearance and guests will be treated to live music from Nightjar and The Piano Works. There will be tasting sessions hosted by The Mixing Class, and complimentary interactive demonstrations throughout the weekend including the Art of the Aperitivo and cocktail making sessions hosted by TT Liquor. This year’s event partners are the wonderful folks at The Drinks Trust and all profits from tickets will be donated to further their outstanding work. Cocktails in the City is the brainchild of Sophie Bratt and Sly Augustin, who created the initiative in the wake of the Grenfell Towers fire in 2017 to raise funds for worthy causes and bring the hospitality industry together. “Boasting nearly two acres of wide-open space, Bedford Square Gardens is the perfect place to bring people together in a safe and socially distanced environment,” says Andrew Scutts, the organiser. “It is a unique opportunity to rediscover the venues that have been forced to close for so long, take part in a series of interactive experiences and enjoy great drinks with friends whilst raising money for a worthy cause”.

The Nightcap

The stunning Glenmorangie House is back open and ready for Highland whisky lovers to enjoy

Glenmorangie House reopens to the public

Highland whisky fans, you can visit Glenmorangie House once more! The 17th-century country house is back open for business as of today, so long as you’re a group of between six and 10 people. Groups of six will have to shell out £1,500 per night, though this gets you a private chef, waiting staff and concierge, and of course, the run of an absolutely breathtaking house. “Prior to our reopening we have introduced additional, rigorous health and safety procedures to ensure social distancing can be adhered to,” said Glenmorangie brand home manager Stuart Smith. “Our team are fully ready to host guests and deliver the very best luxury retreat, accompanied by the finest Highland hospitality all with the aim of restoring our guests’ tranquillity.” If lockdown all got a bit much and you fancy a Highland escape, then this could do the trick. The rest of us will just have to settle for a delicious dram instead.

The Nightcap

The Bekaa valley, home of Lebanon’s wonderful wines

Wine auction to raise money for Lebanon

Following what Anglo-Lebanese writer Michael Karam described as: “a perfect storm of revolution, financial crash, Covid-19 and now this terrible blast,” Lebanon faces a worrying future of food shortages, poverty and political turmoil. Many of us are asking what we can do to help. Madeleine Waters, who knows the country well from organising the award-winning Wines of Lebanon publicity campaign, is organising a charity auction to raise money. She commented: “Wine is pretty much Lebanon’s only export, and one which is bringing much-needed export dollars into a country in the midst of a financial crisis. I would love this to all be about Lebanese wine, but that will limit what we can achieve – so I want it to be a celebration of all wine-producing countries, acting in solidarity with Lebanon.” Expect rare vintages of Chateau Musar and Ksara as well all manner of boozy goodies. Proceeds will go to the re-building Kamal Mouzawak’s Souk el Tayeb & Tawlet, a farmers market and restaurant in Beirut where Lebanese of all religious denominations sell food side-by-side, and Impact Lebanon, which distributes funds to vetted NGOs. The online auction will take place over four days from 28-31 August. Click here if you want to get involved. Or just buy some of Lebanon’s wonderful wine or arak. You won’t regret it.

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It’s a relief that British gin has been excluded from the ongoing US trade tariff saga says Miles Beale

US trade tariffs will not extend to British gin

There’s a new development in the seemingly ongoing US/EU trade war saga! No, don’t scroll down, this time it’s good news: the US will not be extending the tariffs which apply to Scotch whisky, among other things, to British gin. With exports of £672 million, gin is a big money-spinner for the British economy. As you might expect, Miles Beale from drinks industry body WSTA had something to say: “The news that the US has decided not to escalate tariffs is encouraging. This will come as a huge relief to the growing UK British gin sector which has seen distilleries more than double in number in the last five years. Our innovative British distillers, particularly those working in the SME distilleries that the WSTA represents, can breathe easy and raise a glass to America. This is the first important step in what should prove to be a closer trading relationship, and should provide the necessary space for constructive discussions between the US and UK Governments, and for both administrations to work to remove the remaining tariffs against liqueurs, bourbon and Scotch products – and all wine products affected as well. Industry’s voice on both sides of the Atlantic for a free and fair trade agenda is being listened to and that is good for business and good for consumers.” See, we told you it was good news.

The Nightcap

How rebellious is Smokehead’s latest release? Imagine Billy Idol singing Rebel Yell x Bowie’s Rebel Rebel.

And finally… Drink whisky on International Rum Day?

As we are sure you are aware, it’s International Rum Day on the 16 August, so you have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the team at Smokehead who are using the day as an excuse to push their latest Islay single malt; almost as bold as the English whisky distillery who tried to muscle in on Burns Night earlier this year. A Sassenach whisky on the Bard’s own night? Is nothing sacred? At least there is a proper hook as this latest Smokehead is aged in an actual rum cask. Iain Weir, brand director, explained: “We are overwhelmed by the boldness of flavour in our new bottling and can’t wait to see our Smokeheads’ reaction. When our rich, smoky, salty Islay Smokehead collides with spicy, sweet Caribbean rum casks, carnage is inevitable.” We can confirm that not only is Rum Rebel delicious, the sweetness and smoke combining into an exquisite hell broth, but also that it’s coming soon to MoM. Furthermore, on International Rum Day itself, this coming Sunday, top bartender Mikey Sim will be showing you how to make a special Smokito on Facebook and Instagram, go to @smokeheadwhisky. So rebellious.

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The Nightcap: 7 August

It’s the weekend! How do we know that? Because The Nightcap is here. Those are the rules. We always recommend you have a tasty drink in hand before you start…

It’s the weekend! How do we know that? Because The Nightcap is here. Those are the rules.

We always recommend you have a tasty drink in hand before you start Nightcapping. A dram of whisky is a classic option for those who like to kick it old-school, or maybe you like to mix-up and create a homemade cocktail. Today it might be a good idea to grab a beer, seeing as it’s International Beer Day. Also, the weather here is roasting hot and it’s the law to have a cold lager in-hand on the weekend when it’s this warm (probably). Whatever your drink of choice, it’s perfect because you’re pairing it with The Nightcap. It’s a belter this week.

This week on the blog we launched our super Summer Sale, so if deals on whiskies, gins, rums, Tequilas and loads more sound great to you we suggest giving that blog a visit. Elsewhere, Lucy Britner looked back on an incredible 47 years in the whisky industry with Chivas Brothers legend Colin Scott while Annie enjoyed a virtual tour and tasting of Warner’s Distillery and a refreshing drop of Mint Julep. Adam, meanwhile, had the pleasure of trying the delicious new Ardbeg beer as well as an unaged Australian Agricole made on a family-owned farm distillery. He then grabbed five minutes of Swift co-founder Bobby Hiddleston’s time to chat about what it’s like to open a bar during the COVID-19 pandemic before speaking to the founders of Lindores Abbey about 500 years of distillation history. Now, to The Nightcap!

The Nightcap

Grab a tasting set and join us on Saturday 5th September for the world’s greatest virtual whisky festival!

Join us for Scotch & Sofa, the ultimate virtual whisky festival!

As you may have read over on the blog, we’ve teamed up with Diageo to bring you Scotch & Sofa, a one-day extravaganza on Saturday 5 September celebrating all things whisky. Due to, well, we all know why, there just aren’t any whisky festivals on right now. This makes us sad. We love the chance to discover new drams, catch up with whisky friends, and generally geek out about all things delicious. So… we’re bringing you the next best thing! We’ve got eight sessions running from 12pm covering almost everything from campfires on Skye and a boat trip to Islay, to deconstructing Johnnie Walker and whisky Highballs. And the best part? You can actually join in! We’ve got tasting sets galore. Check out the programme and then snap up a tasting set. Then all you need to do is tune in on our Facebook page, and join in the festivities. See you there!

The Nightcap

The name’s More. Bowmore.

Bowmore and Aston Martin unveil £50,000 whisky 

This week an iconic Islay whisky brand and a legendary car manufacturer announced that they were buddying up for a new release of an exceptionally rare Scotch whisky worth £50,000, and we pushed the ‘Nightcap this sucker’ button faster than somebody who owns an Aston Martin can bring up the fact they own an Aston Martin in conversation. The two brands say the exceptionally rare Black Bowmore DB5 1964 is a celebration of time. You see, the new whisky was distilled back in 1964, the same time the distillery traded coal fires for steam to heat the stills with the arrival of a new boiler. Not the most exhilarating event in the world, but interestingly enough the first distillation produced spirit which went on to become iconic Black Bowmore whisky. This particular beauty was first distilled on 5 November 1964 and matured for 31 years in a Williams & Humbert walnut brown Oloroso sherry butt. It’s said to have notes of ripe exotic fruits, creme caramel, soft tobacco smoke, rich black cherry and acacia honey and has an outturn of just 25 bottles. Inside your string-grain calfskin handmade presentation box, you’ll also find a genuine Aston Martin DB5 piston integrated into the bottle. The mid-60s was also something of a golden era for Aston Martin as it launched the Aston Martin DB5 in 1963. Just a year later it was being driven by that 007 fella. “1964 represents a significant date in the modern history of the distillery. Not only a key moment in how we distilled our spirit, but perhaps even more significant as this very spirit went on to create Black Bowmore,” said David Turner, distillery manager at Bowmore. “These defining moments are fundamental to the history of Bowmore. This collaboration with Aston Martin has allowed us to once again showcase this iconic single malt in the most incredible way.” 

The Nightcap

It’s truly the finest way to enjoy Talisker whisky

Talisker teams up with Loch Fyne Oysters to raise money

Talisker has long had an association with oysters. You can find the tasty little treats all along the beaches of Skye and a suggested serve from Diageo’s premium Scotch whisky brand has been to shuck and eat an oyster and then pour Talisker in the shell and drink it. This week has taken its love of seafood even further by creating a campaign of support by partnering with Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd to offer a new at-home whisky and oyster pairing experience that will raise funds for The Fishermen’s Mission. The initiative, which launched on National Oyster Day (5 August) means that you can now buy a limited edition Talisker & Oyster Signature Pairing Kit through Loch Fyne Oyster’s at-home delivery service, which consists of two Talisker 5cl bottles along with one dozen oysters for the cost of £12 (if you don’t know how to shuck the oysters, this video should help). Furthermore, each time a photo of the signature pairing kit is shared via social media, using the hashtag #SHUCKTOGETHER, Talisker has confirmed it will pledge £1 to The Fishermen’s Mission, to help support the economic recovery of coastal communities that have been severely impacted in recent months following the impact of the pandemic. Talisker UK brand manager, Nick Moore, commented: “We have always known that Talisker pairs brilliantly with oysters, but we are thrilled to be able to bring this ritual to people’s homes whilst being able to support the fantastic work of The Fishermen’s Mission in supporting the recovery of coastal communities across the UK through these challenging times”

The Nightcap

The remarkable sunken Scotch should fetch a hefty price at auction

Scotch salvaged from 80-Year-Old shipwreck to be auctioned

This week a pretty special whisky went on sale on The Grand Whisky Auction’s site, a Scotch that was salvaged from a shipwreck that occurred more than 80 years ago! Lot 160320 was rescued from the SS Politician, which ran aground off the shores of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides in 1941 on its way to Jamaica. Nearby islanders attempted to retrieve the 28,000 cases of Scotch it was carrying when it foundered on rocks, a ‘whisky rescue’ that eventually led to a protracted battle between tax collectors and the islanders in a story that I’m sure is sounding increasingly familiar to you. That’s because it’s Whisky Galore. Yep, that novel and British comedy that is surely known to every whisky fan. This is Scotch from that ship. However, this particular bottle isn’t part of that controversially recovered booty, it was actually raised more than fifty years later by George Currie. The deep-sea repairman was able to recover a VAT 69, Ballantine’s and four bottles of a now-defunct brand known as Gibbey’s. Back in 2013, a pair of similarly aged whisky from the SS Politician sold together for £12,050, to give you an indication of the kind of price such a bottling can fetch. This expression is believed to be a blended Scotch whisky but there is no labelling of any sort so its distillery, age statement and tasting notes are unknown. Nonetheless, the airtight wax top and high fill-level suggest that there’s been little oxidation here, which means there’s a fair chance the spirit will taste much like it originally did nearly 80 years ago. Not that there’s any chance of this bottle being opened. From being lost to the deep to being lost to the sealed glass case. Still, the collector may get to enjoy the other spoils of Lot 160320, such as the diving helmet, bricks from the actual SS Politician and an original movie poster for Whisky Galore (the 2016 remake).

The Nightcap

Are you a spirits lover? Think you know a thing or two about the subject? Get involved!

People’s Choice Wine Awards opens to spirits – and you could be a judge! 

Booze lovers and producers alike, consider this a PSA. The People’s Choice Spirits Awards is now open for entries! It’s also the first time the wine awards have a separate section for spirits, and we’re excited. And not just because our very own Kristiane is part of the judging panel! While distillers, blenders and bottlers head off in a flurry to prep their entries, everyone else, listen up. If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a spirits judge, now is the chance! The organisers are on the hunt for people to join the assessment panel. If you buy whisky, gin or rum, and love tasting all kinds of different boozes, this is an opportunity for you. If you can get to Manchester in mid-November, tell your blended Scotch from your bourbon, then keep your eyes and your tasting glasses peeled. The People’s Choice Spirits Awards will want to hear from you! The application process will be unveiled soon, and check out the website for more. But as this is the only awards in the business to take drinks fans’ views into account, it’s a big deal. We hope to see you there later this year!

The Nightcap

Food, Rémy Martin cocktails and noted chef Kwame Onwuach. It’s a winning combination.

Rémy Martin teams up with chef Kwame Onwuachi for flavour series

Feeling peckish? Well, look away now. Cognac brand Rémy Martin has signed award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi for a year-long contract celebrating flavour and hospitality across drinks and gastronomy! It’s kind of a zhuzhed up cocktail and food-pairing partnership, and we’re here for it. Onwuachi has kicked things off with a video called Flavor by the Grill, which brings together regional grilling dishes with Cognac based serves (with Rémy Martin, obvs). The whole point is to highlight the versatility of Cognac, especially Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal and Rémy Martin VSOP. His inspiration comes from his travels across the US, most notably Northease, South, West and Midwest. “Rémy Martin’s commitment to excellence is something that I am truly excited about being a part of,” said Onwuachi. “Rémy resonates with me on a personal level because it’s part of my heritage and has been a favourite drink in my family for generations. I am looking forward to growing with this amazing brand and creating authentic experiences!” Ian McLernon, president and CEO Americas at Rémy Cointreau, added: “Chef Kwame’s wholehearted dedication to excellence in his craft and the culinary space inspires us and is celebrated here at Rémy Martin. We are excited to see his culinary prowess in action with our liquid and look forward to his talent being spotlighted in this partnership.” Keep an eye on remymartin.com for more, including deets of masterclasses and culinary events! The brand has also discontinued gift boxes for its Remy Martin VSOP Cognac as part of a wider initiative to “protect the environment with each and every action it undertakes.” Quite the busy week for our friends over at Remy Martin!

The Nightcap

The Green Glitter and Paloma Sky were highlights. As was going to an actual bar.

And finally… Team MoM finally goes to a real bar!

Something really rather exciting happened in Team MoM this week. That’s right, we went to our very first bar opening since lockdown began! It felt so good to get back out there (responsibly, of course). We picked quite the location for it, as we headed to Deli Cat & Sons, a shiny new riverside bar that sits right across the river from the Tate Modern. It was originally set to open back in March, so it’s been a long wait! Its name is a little nod to the word Délicat, meaning refined in French, and if you say it really fast it sounds like ‘delicatessen’. By day, it’s a cafe serving sourdough sandwiches and salads inspired by local farmers. By night, it turns into a rather chic evening destination, with music and a sprawling outdoor area that couldn’t be closer to the river unless you decided to start paddling. It boasts six signature cocktails and, well… We had a taste of all of them. A couple of firm favourites were the Tequila, chilli and cucumber-based Green Glitter, and the floral lavender, grapefruit and gin-based Paloma Sky. You’ll also find spritzes and rum-based concoctions as well as cheese, mezze and charcuterie sharing boards, so there is truly something for everyone. Especially while the sun shines, we can’t think of a better place to spend an evening. 

 

The Nightcap

Bonus: Can you name these 10 popular beers from their emojis?

Given that it’s International Beer Day tomorrow (7th August) Liberty Games has decided to mark the occasion by creating the Popular Beer Brands Emoji Quiz. The game is simple: you have to name the ten popular brands from the emoji. It’s like that Whisky Emoji Challenge we did on our social channels back when nobody was allowed outside, remember? The fastest time to get all 10 is 1 minute 46 seconds, so that’s your target to beat. Answers are below. No cheating. 

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The Nightcap: 31 July

It’s Friday and you must know what that means by now, it can only be The Nightcap!  Sometimes you see something wonderful and it restores your faith in the world….

It’s Friday and you must know what that means by now, it can only be The Nightcap! 

Sometimes you see something wonderful and it restores your faith in the world. This week we had probably the best thing that’s ever been featured on our humble collection of boozy stories. It’s a story all about distillery pets. Do you want to see the cats and dogs (and a surprise animal) that reside at your favourite flavour factories? Of course, you do. It’s just the second feature from our new guest writer Lucy Britner and honestly, I don’t know how she tops it. Once you see those loveable animals you’ll feel ready to enjoy the weekend in all its glory. Grab a drink, settle down and kick it off with The Nightcap.

In another tip-top week on the MoM blog, Johnnie Walker kicked things off by announcing it releases four celebratory 200th-anniversary whiskies, while Henry had the pleasure of picking the brain of Elwyn Gladstone, the marketing guru behind such brands as Sailor Jerry rum, Hendrick’s, Malfy Gin and Hotel Starlino. Annie then did some trademark myth-busting on the role of water in spirits before Adam spoke to Michael Kain about 10 years of 6 O’Clock Gin. Fans of our regular posts will have noted that our Cocktail of the Week was the terrifically tasty Grasshopper, while our New Arrival of the Week was a delightful Japanese single malt whisky that was part-aged in an apple brandy cask.

The Nightcap

Founders of Sliabh Liag Distillers, James and Moria Doherty, with their first cask of Donegal whiskey

First Donegal whiskey launched

When we spoke to James Doherty of Sliabh Liag Distillers back in 2019, he told us about his desire to distil peated whiskey and make Donegal to Ireland what Islay is to Scotland. Well, this week the brand has taken its first big step forward to fulfilling this ambition by filling its first cask with a peated single malt new-make. Marking the first time that legal whiskey distillation has taken place in Donegal since the closure of Burt Distillery in 1841, the small-batch production took place at Sliabh Liag Distillers’ Carrick facility while the business’s new whiskey distillery at Ardara is under construction and on Wednesday the brand launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help raise €1.5m of capital for the project. The new make was distilled twice in SLD’s copper pot still, known as Méabh, from peated Irish Craft Malts barley grown in Meath, mirroring the profile of the spirit that was being distilled in Ulster 200 years ago, before it was filled into a first-fill bourbon oak cask. “While Burt Distillery ceased production in 1841, we know illegal distilling continued during the intermittent years, not least by my grandfather who was creating a smoky, double-distilled spirit under the authorities’ radar on the hills ‘up the glen’ in Kilcar. I think my grandfather would approve that we are now distilling the first legal whiskey in Donegal for nearly 200 years, and there’s a lovely sense of coming full circle,” commented Doherty. “There has been a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears to get to this point – especially last week in hand-mashing 500L of wort for brewing – but it’s given us a huge lift as we embark on the next stage in both our and Donegal’s history. Once we are up and running there, the future of Donegal Irish Whiskey will be even brighter.” 

The Nightcap

If everything goes well the tiny Hebridean island of Benbecula should have a distillery by 2022!

Plans unveiled for Benbecula distillery

New whisky distillery alert! Well, potential distillery. This week, The Uist Distilling Company revealed plans for a £6.5 million site at Gramsdale on the tiny Hebridean island of Benbecula! If it gets the green light, the distillery will make rum and gin alongside single malt, and will also feature a visitor centre and food outlet, where visitors can snap up all manner of freshly made local products. What’s especially exciting is that low-carbon tech will be used from design and build all the way through to distillation. Green(er) whisky incoming! 25 jobs will be created, alongside another 60-70 indirect jobs in the supply chain. Good stuff all round. “The new distillery aims to be a champion of all things Hebridean and Scottish and will provide a huge boost to tourism in the area,” said Angus A McMillan, Uist Distilling Company chairman and chief executive. “We want to produce whisky, rum and gin that will put Benbecula and the Hebrides firmly on the whisky tourist trail, while introducing the products we make to a national and international clientele.” The planning application is due for submission imminently, and, if all goes to plan, production will kick off in early 2022. Godspeed, folks!

The Nightcap

Scottish barley being harvested for Bruichladdich whisky

Bruichladdich continues transparent drive with No Hidden Measures campaign 

Islay-based distillery Bruichladdich has long committed itself to transparency. Back in 2016, it stood with whisky blender Compass Box in its drive for clearer labelling rules when it comes to the constituent parts of whisky expressions. Now Bruichladdich is honing in on accountability, with a focus on the prevalence of raw materials in whisky-making. Through its No Hidden Measures initiatives, it ‘hopes to bring a new level of transparency to single malt Scotch’ by publishing the provenance of and recipes for its flagship Classic Laddie and Laddie Eight bottlings on its website. Details include where the barley was grown (on the island of Islay or near Inverness), its maturation details of first- or second-fill casks, and the age of its youngest component part. Interestingly, the distillery also states how EU law restricts its transparency (the subject of the first campaign with Compass Box). “Never before have businesses been in such a privileged position to share the detail in all they do,” said Bruichladdich CEO Douglas Taylor. “Our customers are engaged with us across our big picture thinking down to the granular detail of how our whisky is made. Our aim has always been to make the most thought-provoking spirit possible, and we couldn’t do that without nurturing the same sense of curiosity in our consumers, as we allow ourselves.” He continued: “We’re determined to highlight the complexity behind every batch of The Classic Laddie and The Laddie Eight. There are no shortcuts taken in their creation, therefore we have no secrets… that’s what’s meant by ‘No Hidden Measures’. Some may dismiss this level of detail as unnecessary, but it’s important for us to make whisky accessible AND allow a more sophisticated conversation to take place.” To discover how their bottle was made, customers can pop a code found on the back of the bottles into Bruichladdich’s website. Happy tracking!

The Nightcap

Smeaton’s Gin is the latest brand to do their bit to support the on-trade

Smeaton’s Gin to boost Hospitality Action funds with new cocktail

We all know we’re living in challenging times, and that despite lockdown’s largely easing, the hospitality industry continues to struggle. Loads of brands and retailers alike have pulled together to support the on-trade, the latest being Smeaton’s Gin. The Bristol-based producer ran a cocktail competition to find a fabulous new serve. The winning concoction will be sold in bars and restaurants across the UK, with Smeaton’s making a donation to Hospitality Action for every cocktail sold. The winner? Gin blogger and judge Meme Toor with her serve The Hospitality. The pineapple-based drink “tastes delicious, shines in the glass, and will offer bars an easily-replicable, relatable, value-added cocktail to offer their patrons returning from lockdown,” according to brand ambassador Alex Williams. Smeaton’s owner Michael Palij MW added: “Bars and restaurants embraced Smeaton’s Gin when we launched. Now it’s our turn to help and at this immensely challenging time for the On-Trade, we are committed to supporting Hospitality Action – a charity which supports hospitality workers in times of hardship.” Good work all round!

The Nightcap

Cheers to 10 years of William Grant and Tullamore Distillery’s partnership!

William Grant & Sons Celebrates “10 Years of Tully”

Can you believe we’ve had 10 whole years of Tullamore D.E.W. deliciousness? This month marks an entire decade since it joined William Grant & Sons’ portfolio! Over that time it’s become the world’s second-largest triple blend Irish whiskey, which is pretty groundbreaking stuff. If you want to mark the occasion with more than just a dram (though that will certainly do), then you’ll be thrilled to know that Tullamore D.E.W. visitor centre reopened its doors to the public this month! We love a celebration. Anyway, we’ll leave you with a fact, the kind that’s going to come in handy at dinner parties. Here goes: across the world, 10 shots of Tullamore D.E.W. are consumed every second. Yes, really! Now, go and get yourself a glass of Tully and spread the word. 

The Nightcap

Yamazaki-55 Year Old, the oldest Japanese whisky ever produced.

Oldest Japanese whisky ever distilled goes to auction in August

If you want to see a little piece of whisky history made next month then mark the 21 August (Friday) in your calendar as it’s the day the Bonhams Hong Kong auction of Fine and Rare Wine & Whisky will take place. The highlight of this sale? A bottle of Yamazaki-55 Year Old, the oldest expression ever produced by the prestigious brand and the oldest Japanese whisky in history. The blockbuster of a single-malt was only released in June this year by Suntory, via a customer lottery system applicable only to residents from within Japan. The expression was distilled in the 1960s and matured in both Japanese Mizunara oak cask from 1960 and white oak cask from 1964 before it was bottled at 46% ABV. The whisky, which had an exceedingly-limited outturn of 100 bottles, is said to have a complex agarwood and sandalwood nose, rich in fruity scents with a sweet aftertaste. Excitingly, it’s even older than the coveted Yamazaki-50 Year Old, which – on several occasions over the years – has set the world auction record for a single bottle of Japanese whisky. Other wine and spirits highlights of the sale include a bottle of Saburomaru 1960 55-year-old, which means the auction will feature the two oldest Japanese whiskies currently available to the market, as well as Macallan Lalique 55-Year-Old, Karuizawa 1974 (40-year-old) Blue Geisha and Karuizawa 1974 (40-year-old) Gold Geisha and Bowmore 1955 (40-year-old). “We are thrilled to be the first international auction house to offer this historic and extremely popular bottle to the worldwide audience, which already has a strong appetite for the finest Japanese whisky,” Daniel Lam, Bonhams’ director of wine & spirits, Asia, commented. “One of only 100 that were produced, this amber joy by one of the most prestigious whisky distilleries is as rare as its quality is unmatched.”

The Nightcap

It’s wholesome escapism, Tobermory-style

And finally… need some soothing colouring? Tobermory’s got your back

Remember a couple of years ago when colouring-in books for grown-ups were the thing? Well, Mull-based Tobermory Distillery reckons it’s time for a come-back. After all, lockdowns around the world have inspired many of us to get in touch with our artistic sides, so why not? As such it has launched a Tobermory colouring book, featuring 10 hand-drawn designs by artist Lydia Bourhill depicting the charm of the island, from its technicolour harbour to dramatic landscapes. “Our colourful home on the island of Mull is ample inspiration for those looking to keep up the enriching, artistic hobbies many have started in lockdown,” said Amy Burns, Tobermory Distillery’s global marketing manager. “It’s thanks to this nourishing artistic community and the island’s stunning natural beauty that Tobermory Distillery is expressive by nature, and this is reflected in the spirits we craft.” She continued: “It is this expressive creativity which formed the inspiration for our colouring-in books, designed to let you relax, unwind and unlock your artistic passions over a gin and tonic or dram of whisky.” The colouring books are available from Tobermorydistillery.com – soothing weekend plans sorted!

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The Nightcap: 24 July

Well, another week bites the dust. It’s time to put your feet up, pour yourself a drink and immerse yourself in some fresh booze news. This week, Ardbeg brings you the…

Well, another week bites the dust. It’s time to put your feet up, pour yourself a drink and immerse yourself in some fresh booze news. This week, Ardbeg brings you the thrill of the grill, Glen Moray unveils some single cask expressions, and Jose Cuervo debuts an automatic Tequila button.

Greetings, weary traveller. You have stumbled upon an everlasting tome of knowledge, one that is reborn anew once a week, refreshed, revitalised, brimming with new information. This rejuvenating opus tells tales of people who use the elements to create deliciousness where the once was none. These descriptions sound like myths and legends, but they are in fact true reports. What could this regularly regenerating work be?! Well, weary traveller, it’s The Nightcap!

We kicked off the week with an irresistible competition to win some sustainable booze from our neighbours at Greensand Ridge Distillery. Henry highlighted a rare single grain bottling from the now-demolished Port Dundas in Glasgow, before shaking up some sherry and cassis with Alex Williams from the Great Scotland Yard Hotel for our Cocktail of the Week. On Tuesday, we welcomed a new writer to our blog, Lucy Britner, who looked at pre-mixed cocktails. Welcome Lucy! Annie had a busy week, she spoke to a company looking at distillation from a molecular point of view, and interviewed Ron Welsh master blender and strategic inventory manager for distilleries including Bowmore, Laphroaig and Auchentoshan. Finally, Adam got all excited about cocktail bundles, and who can blame him? That was the week, now on with the news!

Ardbeg and DJ BBQ team up for online grill sessions

This summer you can experience the thrill of the grill online as Ardbeg teams up with diffident TV cook DJ BBQ for the Ardbeg Smoke Sessions. DJ BBQ (aka Christian Stevenson) will be hosting a series of online classes showing whisky lovers how to up their grill game as well as making delicious smoky drinks using Ardbeg 10, An Oa and Wee Beastie. Joining him will be everyone’s favourite head of maturing whisky stocks, Brendan McCarron, aka DJ PPM. Mr BBQ commented: “My smoky barbeque recipes share so many characteristics with the flavours of Ardbeg whisky, and they complement each other perfectly. The laws of wood, heat and smoke are so important to barbecue and single malt alike, and once mastered, you’ll become a barbeque boss! The taste of braided beef fillet alongside an Ardbeg 10 Old Fashioned is just awesome, and a sip of hot Wee Beastie punch with a slow smoked pork shoulder is unrivalled!” The series launched on 21 July on Ardbeg’s social channels (you can watch the first episode here), and there will be a special Instagram Live event on Friday 24 July (tonight!) at 8pm BST. Furthermore, things will be happening in the real world too, as you can order DJ BBQ’s Maple and Bacon Old Fashioned via Mothership on the Drinks At Home platform. Looks smoking!

Lovely wine cask whiskies are just a phone call away

Glen Moray releases three wine cask whiskies

She’s been at it again. Dr Kirstie McCallum has clearly been having a whale of a time in the warehouses of Glen Moray since she joined the distillery as head of whisky creation in 2019. Earlier this year, it was a 2006 Madeira cask, and now there are three new single casks Distillery Editions available: a 2004 Chenin Blanc, a 2003 Chardonnay, and a 2004 Burgundy. All have been fully matured in wine casks and bottled at cask strength. The team at Master of Malt was given a wee taste, and not only did we love these distinctive whiskies, we were impressed with the very reasonable pricing, £85 a bottle. They would normally be available only from the distillery which reopened last week. But if you can’t make it, you might still be able to get your hands on a bottle. Just give them a ring. Visitor centre manager Iain Allan commented: “Buying a bottle of Glen Moray from our annual Distillery Edition is as much about the experience of a visit to the distillery as it is about buying a wonderful new whisky. For the many people who would normally make the trip and take away one of these special bottles, we wanted to find a way to make the range available but avoid making it just a basic transaction over email or the internet. Everyone working at the distillery enjoys nothing more than talking about whisky with fellow enthusiasts, answering questions and sharing behind the scenes stories of how Glen Moray is made.” So dial Glen Moray for a nice blether about whisky. 

Totally fabulous, darling

Harrods opens luxurious basement Baccarat Bar 

News just in: swanky basement bar has just opened in Harrods. Though wouldn’t it be more newsworthy if a dingy pub opened in the Knightsbridge department store instead, offering £2 a pint Wednesdays and wall-to-wall football? Anyway, Harrods went for the more obvious swanky option: the new venue has been created in partnership with Baccarat, the crystal glass maker. It’s called… The Baccarat Bar! With social distancing in place, there’s room for 23 guests only, so it’s pretty exclusive. The totally fabulous interior, a symphony in glass and marble, was created by Fabled Studio and is inspired by Baccarat’s creations. The menu, put together by bar manager Cameron Attfield, is no slouch either, with 16 signature drinks made using state of the art techniques. He commented: “We have approached the drinks in a unique manner, with the design of the bar and its playful yet exquisite elegance and form setting the tone of our menu, but then applying multiple flavour extraction techniques, including fermentation, vacuum distillation, ultrasonic homogenisation and carbonation to make it a reality.” Each drink comes in its own special glass. You can probably guess the manufacturer.

Al fresco drinking will be all the rage this summer

It’s going to be the summer of the garden party, says Bacardi

Top drinks company Bacardi commissioned a survey of Britain’s plans for summer drinking, and you won’t be surprised to learn that it involves being outside… a lot. Out of a survey group of 1,000, 39% said that they will be socialising outdoors more than last year. You’d think, though, that it would be more like 100%. Much of this al fresco frolicking will be taking place at home, with 71% planning on attending or hosting a garden party, and 44% preferring their own gardens to outdoor spaces at venues. So some way to go before Britain’s pub-going returns to normal. But 59% did say that an outdoor space would entice them back to a pub or restaurant with socially-distanced tables (57%), hand sanitiser at the bar (53%), and contactless payments (52%) all cited as important. And what will we be drinking this summer according to the survey? Happily for rum giant Bacardi, the answer seemed to be rum-based cocktails with the most popular being the Mojito and Piña Colada (both picked by 24%). Let’s hope the weather holds up.

Safe and snazzy: Boë Gin’s masks

Boë Gin gives away face masks as coverings become law in the UK

If you’re reading this in the UK you’ll know that as of today, it’s a legal requirement to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces, including shops, banks, and public transport hubs. There are a number of options, from the surgical to the homemade, if you’re one of the craftier among us. But if, like us, you’d rather someone else puts the leg work in, then look no further than Boë Gin! The Scottish producer is giving away snazzy reusable face coverings to bartenders and hospitality workers around the country. The purple masks feature a floral pattern inspired by the brand’s violet gin, and can be washed and reused. “We hope these face masks can help people look great and stay safe at the same time,” said Andrew Richardson, Boë director. “The stylish masks are designed to be worn regardless of the occasion – whether that’s a trip to the shops or working behind a bar making some of our delicious signature cocktails. As always, we encourage everyone to stay safe – even while they are enjoying themselves.” Taken by the masks? Head to the Boë site and to see how you can get your mitts on your own! 

Aberlour is one of four Chivas Brothers distilleries welcoming visitors back

The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Scapa and Strathisla get set to reopen

Wonderful news reaches us! And it will be especially welcome if you’re planning on a spot of Scotch whisky tourism this summer. Chivas Brothers has announced it will reopen four of its Scotch brand homes as lockdown eases in the UK! The Glenlivet, Aberlour and Scapa will throw open their (highly sanitised) doors on 29 July, with Strathisla allowing visitors back in from 7 August. Pre-booking online is essential, your temperature will be zapped on arrival, social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and you should bring your own face mask (although there will be supplies on-hand if you forget yours. But face coverings are the new normal, people. Get with the times.). “After four challenging months, we’re delighted to be able to reopen the doors to our brand homes to give visitors the chance to safely enjoy our whiskies and the beautiful surroundings in Speyside and Orkney,” said Gordon Buist, Chivas Brothers production director. We have had substantial best-in-class Safe System of Work processes in place across all of our operational sites over the last few months, and we have been working closely with our local Speyside and Orkney communities to enable us to take significant steps in implementing these strict social distancing and sanitation measures in our visitor centres as well, ensuring we’re able to welcome visitors safely, protect our colleagues and neighbours, and support Scottish tourism. Whether a discerning drinker or discovering drams for the first time, the team and I look forward to welcoming visitors safely back to our homes to uncover more about our rich Scotch heritage.” We can’t wait to get back inside a distillery – just no sharing drams, obvs.

Avallen Calvados

Avallen’s on a £250k crowd-funding drive

Calvados brand Avallen kicks off Seedrs crowdfunding drive

Every so often, the chance to own a little bit of a booze brand comes along. If you’ve fancied yourself as the next Cameron Diaz or Post Malone but without the singing, we have news for you. As of this week, Calvados brand Avallen is looking for investors! The sustainability-focused brand launched in spring 2019 and it’s notched up more than 1,000 case sales since launch. The brand’s philosophy is all about creating planet-positive drinks that taste delicious – and now we can be part of it, too. Avallen’s founders are looking to raise £250,000 through crowdfunding platform Seedrs, with the funds put towards hiring sales and marketing directors, and securing carbon-neutral certification. Fancy splashing out? Head over to Seedrs and check it out!

Certainly presses our buttons

And finally… press a button for Jose Cuervo Tequila

The best thing about being rich is being able to press a button and get exactly what you want. Who hasn’t dreamed of being Mr Burns from The Simpsons who, at the touch of a button, can summon a team of top lawyers, a flight of winged monkeys, or drop his enemies down into a bottomless pit? No? Just us? Well, top Tequila brand Jose Cuervo is about to make someone’s button-based dreams come true, though sadly it doesn’t involve bottomless pits or winged monkeys. Just in time for National Tequila Day on Friday 24 July (as in, today!), the company is launching a competition to win a ‘Push for Tequila’ button. One lucky person will win a button and a year’s supply of Tequila (one bottle per month). Simply press the button, and a bottle of Tequila will be sent to you to enjoy with your friends (responsibly, natch). You can enter via Jose Cuervo’s UK Instagram @josecuervouk and Facebook pages. Good luck!

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The Nightcap: 17 July

Innovation, celebrities, festivals, invisible portions of chips… It’s just another week in the bonkers world of booze. Happily, we’ve stuffed it all into another fabulous edition of The Nightcap! As…

Innovation, celebrities, festivals, invisible portions of chips… It’s just another week in the bonkers world of booze. Happily, we’ve stuffed it all into another fabulous edition of The Nightcap!

As lockdown eases, I’ve noticed that a number of articles advising how we can still make the most of a prohibited summer are starting to pop-up all over the place. The recommendations for socially-distanced summer experiences include watching a film at an open-air cinema, taking a break in a remote cabin or hosting a virtual festival at home. All decent suggestions. But there’s a sorry lack of anybody acknowledging that pouring yourself a dram, finding a comfortable seat and opening up another lovely new edition of The Nightcap is the finest way to spend a Friday night. It beats going outside and being harassed by flying ants.

On the MoM blog this week, we launched a new competition with our neighbours at Greensand Ridge to give you the chance to win a VIP trip to the distillery! Ian Buxton then returned with part two of his look at how the spirits business is coping with the COVID (spoiler, there is some good news!), as Annie gave us the lowdown on cooking with booze and the philosophy behind Japanese spirit giant Suntory. Our New Arrival of the Week was a blended Irish whiskey aged in Basque wines casks from one of the country’s newest and smallest distilleries, and for our Cocktail of the Week, Henry made the ultimate Jazz Age gin serve. It’s the Bee’s Knees. Literally.

The Nightcap

The new design will debut with Johnnie Walker in early 2021

Diageo develops first 100% plastic-free bottle 

Diageo has had a busy week, first announcing that it has created the world’s first-ever 100% plastic-free paper-based spirits bottle. The move comes after the makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness formed a partnership with Pilot Lite to launch Pulpex Limited, a sustainable packaging technology company. The ‘first-of-its-kind’, fully recyclable bottle is made from sustainably sourced pulp to meet food-safe standards and is said to have 30% less CO2 emission than PET (plastic bottles) and 90% less than glass. The new design will debut with Johnnie Walker in early 2021. “We’re proud to have created this world first. We are constantly striving to push the boundaries within sustainable packaging and this bottle has the potential to be truly ground-breaking. It feels fitting that we should launch it with Johnnie Walker, a brand that has often led the way in innovation throughout its 200 years existence,” says Ewan Andrew, chief sustainability officer, Diageo PLC.

… and a digital cask-filling system

The brand has also partnered with the University of Strathclyde to create a digital whisky cask-filling process that is projected to save Scotland’s whisky sector millions annually in inventory costs. The new digital design aims to tackle the problem of inconsistent cask-filling levels resulting from overspill, underfill and foaming by accounting for every drop that goes into each cask, allowing producers to achieve more than 99% fill consistently on a 200-litre cask in under one minute. Cask production accounts for 10% to 20% of the overall cost of whisky making and Diageo itself holds more than 11 million casks in maturation at one time. The new system hopes to “revolutionise” industry equipment and enable a “high degree of repeatability” as well as improvements to health and safety, and reduce waste.

The Nightcap

We’re not sure what ‘clean wine’ is. But we definitely know who Cameron Diaz is.

Cameron Diaz releases a ‘clean wine’

Another day, another celebrity wine, this time it’s the turn of Cameron Diaz who you may remember from such films as ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ and ‘There’s Something about Mary’. With her business partner Katherine Power (CEO of fashion company Who What Wear), she’s unveiled a range of wine called Avaline. But these are not just any wines, according to the press bumf the wines, a white from Spain and a rosé (natch) from France are ‘clean wines’. What does this mean? The term itself has no legal meaning but looking more closely, they appear to be fairly standard commercial bottlings, though they are made with organic grapes. Production methods include cultured rather than wild yeasts, added sulphur and finings with bentonite clay, pea protein and cream of tartar (good article here looking into this more closely). All these are completely normal things in wine production and are in no way unhealthy, but it looks like Avaline are no more ‘natural’ than most supermarket wines. Still, they might taste nice and also Cameron Diaz!

The Nightcap

Meet your wonderful host, Peter Holland!

The Scottish Rum Festival reveals day of virtual celebration

Got any plans for Saturday 25th July? Because there’s a lovely Scottish rum festival taking place that’s definitely going to be better than anything you have planned. The Scottish Rum Festival will feature tastings and masterclasses from the distilleries and independent bottlers in a showcase of the nation’s thriving rum scene. Expect delightful brands from all over Scotland, including Ninefold, Devil’s Point, Matugga, Rumburra Orach, SeaWolf, Banditti Club, BrewDog, J. Gow and Sugar House. The Floating Rum Shack and That Boutique-y Rum Company’s Peter Holland will host the event, leading you through a jam-packed day of talks and tastings with Dave Broom offering his expert opinion and entertainment from Glasgow’s Mungo’s HiFi sound system. The innovative virtual event, which is supported by Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Distillers Association, Glencairn Crystal, and Alba Cola, aims to raise the profile of Scottish rum at a time when the rum category is increasingly in the spotlight and welcomes both rum newcomers and seasoned connoisseurs alike. If you’ve managed to get your hands on a ticket, you’ll get access to all the virtual rum sessions, as well as a tasting pack featuring 10 x 30ml Scottish rums, branded Glencairn tasting glass and a charitable donation to The BEN. For more information, you can go to the Scottish Rum Festival website.

The Nightcap

We dare say the gin is royally good… haha but all jokes aside it sold out immediately so we have no idea.

Buckingham Palace gets its very own gin 

Whether it’s Prince Charles with his Martinis or the Queen with a gin and Dubbonet, it’s well-known that the Royal Family is partial to a drop of (Queen) mother’s ruin. Now, the Firm has its very own gin partly made from botanicals grown in Buckingham Palace’s garden including lemon verbena, hawthorn berries, bay leaves and mulberry leaves. It’s a London Dry Gin from a mystery distiller and bottled at 42% ABV. Naturally, Miles Beale from the WSTA had something to say: “It is fantastic to hear that hot off the heels of the success of the English sparkling wine made from vines grown in Great Windsor Park we will now be able to try gin made from botanicals grown in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. We couldn’t really ask for a better ambassador for these great British drinks than Her Majesty the Queen. Last year British gin sales, at home and abroad, reached a record-breaking £3.2 billion. The new royal gin adds another jewel in the crown amongst an established collection of highly sought-after quality British gin brands.” All profits go to help fund the care and conservation of the Royal Collection. The only snag is the £40 gin, which was available only from Royal Collection Trust, sold out in a matter of hours but happily, MoM has plenty of alternatives.  

The Nightcap

Imagine getting this and some Nandos straight to your door. The night-in of dreams…

Asterley Bros. cocktail service is here!

While some people are getting all excited that Nando’s has started home delivery, for us, the delicious things brought to your door news is all about Asterley Bros.’ Cocktail Club. Yes, this week South London’s finest fraternal booze alchemists announced a monthly cocktail subscription service. Sign up and each month you will receive a giant cocktail pouch containing 10 servings. Each month’s offering will be seasonal and champion small producers. First, up is a Pink Negroni containing Schofield’s Dry Vermouth and Cabby’s London Dry Gin; we were given a little sample and it’s one of the most delicious things on the planet. But that’s not all, you will also receive two 50ml samples from independent brand partners to introduce you to new tastes, plus limited edition artwork, a video of Asterley Bros. creative director Joe Schofield doing some drinks magic and some nibbles to consume while drinking that month’s cocktail. All this for under £45 a month and 10% of the profits goes to Hospitality Action. Oh, and when you sign up, you will get a unique code to share and when someone signs up with your code, you will both receive a double 100ml cocktail pack totally free. It sounds like a drinks service that really delivers. 

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The brand ensures that its production is sustainable and that its mezcal is very tasty indeed!

Pernod Ricard ‘partners’ with Ojo de Tigre Mezcal

Got a taste for Mezcal? So does supersize drinks group Pernod Ricard. After taking a majority stake in Del Maguey in 2017, it’s at it again, this time forming a “partnership” with Ojo de Tigre. The artisanal mezcal producer uses sustainable Tobala and Espadín agave varietals to create joven and reposado expressions. The result is a sweet, herbal taste profile that Pernod Ricard reckons will ‘strengthen’ both its place in the fast-growing mezcal category, and its ‘Transform and Accelerate’ strategic plan. Details of the deal, including the size of the stake or its value, haven’t been disclosed, but Ojo de Tigre co-founder and CEO, Moises Guindi, thinks it will “recruit the next generation of drinkers”: “We believe Ojo de Tigre is well suited to this task and Pernod Ricard is the perfect partner for this mission.” Pernod Ricard’s chairman and CEO, Alexandre Ricard, added: “Ojo de Tigre’s authentic origins, mindful production and inviting taste contribute to its strong appeal among consumers. We look forward to a successful collaboration toward the brand’s future development.” Exciting times ahead!

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Remember when we used to do this together? Good times. Apart from the pandemic, obviously.

Natural born quizzers

Just because the pubs were closed didn’t mean that the great British public was going to miss out on a pub quiz. No global pandemic was going to curb our passion for trivia. At MoM we put on a virtual pub quiz for customers which proved extremely popular. While in-house Zoom meet-ups were enlivened by some extremely difficult quizzing (though with rather too many questions about Star Wars, who knew there were so many films?) Well, it seems we weren’t the only ones because the numbers are in from UK commercial print company Where The Trade Buys and they are big. How big? Well, there were 1.3 million searches for ‘pub quiz questions’ in the UK this year, up 932% on last year and 229,000 searches for ‘virtual pub quiz’, that’s up 381,767% on last year. No, there isn’t an extra digit in there, an increase of over three hundred thousand per cent! Didn’t we promise you big numbers? Looking closely at the data reveals that football questions were the most searched for followed by music. And the nation’s quizzing capital? Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a 954% increase in searches for quiz questions. Howay the lads!

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Fred Sirieix is one of the hospitality giants supporting the initiative.

And finally. . . fancy a portion of ‘Invisible Chips’?

Hospitality Action has launched a fundraising campaign to support the hospitality industry through the magic of Invisible Chips. That’s right, you, the public, can help those working in the hospitality sector by buying a portion of ‘invisible chips’, which food outlets will add to their menu at the same price as their edible counterpart, with all proceeds going to the charity. Essentially, you buy a portion of nothing to do some good. BrewDog, Hawksmoor and Gaucho have already signed up and Invisible Chips are also available to purchase online. The initiative, which has been backed by top chefs including Fred Sirieix, Heston Blumenthal and Tom Kerridge, attempts to alleviate the struggle of workers in the industry, who have seen their place of employment close or show no signs of reopening, or position has been made redundant. Official predictions suggest unemployment will hit 10% by the end of 2020, with the hospitality industry being one of the worst affected. The campaign has assured consumers that the chips are “0% fat, 100% charity” and “simple to prepare, take up zero freezer space and never go past their use-by date”. Mark Lewis, chief executive of Hospitality Action added: “To anyone who has missed eating out these past few months, I urge you to order a portion of Invisible Chips to help those people we’ve perhaps taken for granted up until now. The hospitality industry is built on resilience and creativity and I’m confident we will recover, however, the people within it need a helping hand in the interim.”

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