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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Whisky Santa

#WhiskySanta’s Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition Super Wish

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of year: the season of #WhiskySanta’s Super Wishes! This is when Whisky Santa gives away some incredible bottles of whisky, and to kick things…

Yes, it’s the most wonderful time of year: the season of #WhiskySanta’s Super Wishes! This is when Whisky Santa gives away some incredible bottles of whisky, and to kick things off, he’s got something very special indeed. 

Ho, ho ho! Are we feeling Christmassy yet? I’ve been getting in the swing of things polishing my boots, brushing my beard and grooming the reindeers. We’re now all looking spick and span, and ready to deliver boozy goodness and that includes some super fancy Super Wishes!

But there’s yet more good news –  I have even more Super Wishes up my sleeve this year than ever before! ‘But pray tell, what is a Super Wish?’, I hear you cry. Hopefully, you already know that you can wish for any delicious treat on the Master of Malt site, and that I’m granting wishes every single day from now until Christmas Eve! For these additional Super Wishes, I’m giving you a sneak-peek of some extra treats I have in my special sack of pressies…

One lucky person who wishes for the incredible bottle below between now and the end of Sunday will find that their Christmas wish comes true!

So, without further ado, my first Super Wish of the season. I have to say I’m pretty pleased with this one. It’s certainly one of my favourites, and I only drink the very best, I am #WhiskySanta, after all. It’s…

… the fabulous Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition!

This is probably the finest and at £1,500 certainly the most expensive whiskey that Woodford Reserve has ever released. It consists of the classic pot still American oak-aged Woodford Reserve matured for an additional three years in XO Cognac casks. Now I’m thinking about the rich toasted oak dusted with chocolate and cacao notes, creamy vanilla bean and hints of clove and cinnamon spice over a deep layer of dried fruit and citrus peel. Doesn’t it sound amazing! And just when you think it couldn’t get any fancier, it comes in a crystal Baccarat decanter. There’s fancy! Much too good to share with the reindeers.

If you want to get your mittens on Kentucky’s fanciest, then I suggest you visit the Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition page. Hit the ‘Wish’ button, which will help send you on your way to a pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Hit publish and voila! (If Instagram is your platform of choice you can wish there too, just be sure to use the #WhiskySanta hashtag. Or the hard-working people at MoM won’t see it. And if they don’t see it, then it didn’t happen.)

There’s that button!

What better way to spread even more (much-needed) Christmas cheer this year? That’s the thing that gives me the most satisfaction, after all. Well, that and looking really, really, ridiculously good in red and white. Nobody does it better, and don’t you forget it!

That’s all for now. Until Monday… Now, where did I put my portable reindeer polishing kit?

 

#WhiskySanta

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#WhiskySanta is back! With over £250,000-worth of goodies to give away

It’s time to light the fire, pour a glass of the good stuff and put out some delicious carrots, because #WhiskySanta is back and he’s got more goodies than ever…

It’s time to light the fire, pour a glass of the good stuff and put out some delicious carrots, because #WhiskySanta is back and he’s got more goodies than ever to give away!

Ho ho ho! Yes, it is I! Back for another season of boozy giveaways to keep out the cold and usher in the Christmas festivities. So please do get out that good bottle you’ve been saving and the finest hand-foraged carrots, but don’t light the fire or I won’t be able to get down the bloody chimney. Honestly, who writes these introductions? Don’t they know anything about #WhiskySanta? Hurrumph, hurrumph! Anyway, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let me explain to you why this Christmas is going to be my busiest ever: not only will I be giving away £250,000 worth of goodies to Master of Malt’s lovely customers and beloved followers, but there will be more jaw-dropping Super Wishes than ever before! Right, hand me a mince pie, stick some brandy butter on it, and I’ll explain how it’s all going to work.

1. Gifts with orders!

My good friends at Master of Malt have hooked me up with access to their checkout for yet another fun-packed yuletide, so I can give away tens of thousands of free gifts right up until Christmas Eve! Why would you do your Christmas shopping anywhere else?!

No idea why there’s a “no thanks button.”

It’ll work a bit like this. You’ll be minding your own business getting a bottle of Advocaat for Uncle Derek. He does love a Snowball, does Uncle Derek. And I do too. I drink them all year round. A Snowball isn’t just for Christmas. Anyway, you’ll be minding your business buying something and after you hit ‘Complete Order’ you might be lucky enough to get a little note from me on the Order Confirmation page (like the one above) offering you something extra for free!

You could receive treats such as tasty 30ml drams, 50ml miniatures, Master of Malt Gift Vouchers up to £50 and more – I’ll even occasionally pick up the tab for entire orders! They don’t call me #WhiskySanta for nothing! To accept the gift, click the ‘Yes please!’ button. If for some reason you don’t want to accept the gift (I can’t think why? Haven’t you heard the expression, ‘never look a gift reindeer in the mouth’?), you can click the ‘No thanks’ button, and your gift will go to someone else. 

2. #WhiskySanta Wishes!

Another way you can get my attention is to send a wish to me. In the old days this would have been done by journeying to a magical icy wishing well somewhere in the North and tossing a coin in while making a wish. Now, of course, it’s all done on social media. If you spot a bottle that is your heart’s desire, simply follow the links on the page to share your wish for this treat on Twitter or Facebook using #WhiskySanta, and you may just find your wish comes true… (If you’re wishing on Facebook, make sure your posts are set to ‘Public’, or even with my omniscience I won’t be able to see them!) That’s right, in fact I’ll be granting wishes on social media every single day from now until Christmas Eve! You can wish on Instagram too, check out our Stories for some inspo. Not quite as picturesque as throwing a coin into a well, but much easier to do from one of those portable telephones that everyone seems so keen on these days. Me? I just shout really loudly when I want someone’s attention. I have a really loud voice: think Brian Blessed crossed with Pavarotti and you’re nearly there. Ho! Ho! HO! See what I mean?

Easier than tossing a coin in a well

3. Super Wishes!

But that’s not all! Just as Vanessa Williams once did, I’ve saved the best ’till last. While all wishes are important, some soar higher than others, up to the heavens. A bit like Superman. Or indeed my Super Sleigh. And so these wishes are called Super Wishes. Twice a week in the run up to Christmas, I’ll be giving you a heads up to wish for some specific fancy bottles that I’ll give away to one lucky wisher (on top of all the other wishes I’ll be granting). How fancy? Think big. Very-much-not-everyday BIG! Big and very swanky. I can’t say more right now, but the first Super Wish opportunity will be announced this Thursday…

So, that is what I’m going to be up to in the next six weeks. Lots to do but first I think another mince pie and, yes, I’ll have a cup of that mulled wine I can smell. I might as well get in the spirit of things before the hard work starts.

#WhiskySanta

#WhiskySanta 2020 is open to entrants 18 years and over. #WhiskySanta will run from 12:00:01 GMT 23 Nov to 11:59:59 GMT 24 Dec 2020 inclusive.

 

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Time for #WhiskySanta to say a festive farewell…

Another year, another magnificent display of boozy gifting from #WhiskySanta. He’s spoiled us once again with his Christmas spirit, but before he goes on his well-earned holibobs he has one…

Another year, another magnificent display of boozy gifting from #WhiskySanta. He’s spoiled us once again with his Christmas spirit, but before he goes on his well-earned holibobs he has one more thing to say…

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

Ho! Ho! Ho! We always say Christmas comes around so fast, but it goes just as quickly when you’re as busy as I am. My good friend Mr. Lennon has just asked me what I’ve done this year through my nifty little radio system here at MoM Towers and I’m delighted to say that I can look back at another sensational season of sharing. Since this year’s festivities kicked off at the start of November, I’ve given away over £250,000-worth of delicious drinks gifts!

But now it’s time for me to say goodbye for another year. A year with so many wishes coming in all around the clock on social media, I had to upgrade the Wish-o-meter the elves made for me! See for yourself all the wonderful wishes I granted in my original post. I’m particularly proud to have shared so many sublime Super Wishes in 2019, from an Old and Rare Whisky Calendar, a bottle of Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old, a bottle of Fettercairn 40 Year Old and a Glenfarclas 50 Year Old Decanter! Any one of those would certainly make it the most wonderful time of the year…

And of course, gift after gift after gift was also given away to thousands and thousands of lucky Master of Malt customers who placed orders, some of you even received your orders completely free!

But, even supernatural, omniscient, festive, heavily-bearded beings need a break. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an enormous Mojito waiting for me on a beach somewhere sunny. l wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year too!

#WhiskySanta

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And the winner of our Where’s #WhiskySanta 2019 competition is…

We’ve got just one more #WhiskySanta-themed surprise for you. One lucky person has successfully located our supernatural, omniscient, festive, heavily-bearded friend and has nabbed themselves a £250 Master of Malt…

We’ve got just one more #WhiskySanta-themed surprise for you. One lucky person has successfully located our supernatural, omniscient, festive, heavily-bearded friend and has nabbed themselves a £250 Master of Malt voucher! The question is, who…

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a jolly game of hide and seek, right?! We certainly think so here at MoM Towers. So, during the great festive run-in, we set you the challenge to locate our chum somewhere in a mega distillery montage in our Where’s #WhiskySanta competition!

And it really was quite the challenge. You searched low and high (hint!) in all manner of distilleries. Still houses, tun rooms, warehouses (ahem) and more. And where was he lurking? Right at the top of a stack of casks at England’s very own St George’s Distillery!

There he is, the sneaky sort!

Loads of you looked, and a fair eagle-eyed few located #WhiskySanta. To enter, you had to subscribe to our YouTube channel and email us your YouTube username and time stamp of the moment you spotted him. And one very lucky person is about to embark on a £250 Master of Malt shopping spree…!

And the winner is…

Christopher Edgington!

Where's #WhiskySanta

Cheers from #WhiskySanta, Chris!

Congratulations from Team MoM and #WhiskySanta!

All that’s left to say is… charge the tasting glasses, and have the most fantastic Christmas, folks!

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Where’s #WhiskySanta? Find him and win a £250 MoM voucher!

Looking for a self-treat of something tasty this Christmas? Spot our favourite omniscient, heavily-bearded one in our Where’s #WhiskySanta distilleries video and you could nab a never-expiring, interest-accruing Master of…

Looking for a self-treat of something tasty this Christmas? Spot our favourite omniscient, heavily-bearded one in our Where’s #WhiskySanta distilleries video and you could nab a never-expiring, interest-accruing Master of Malt voucher worth £250!

Don’t panic, folks – there’s just over a week until The Big Day! Struggling with Christmas pressies? Not sourced the entire banquet yet? There’s still time… just. But if you are just finding it all too much and have found yourself making your own wish lists instead of actually buying pressies for other people, we have something you may find interesting. A chance to scoop a £250 Master of Malt voucher to spend on your actual self! That’s a lot of good whisky. Or a mega assortment of tasty drams. Or a gin haul of dreams. Or a wondrous array of rums… you get the idea.

But how can one nab this awesome prize? This is where #WhiskySanta comes in!

Where's #WhiskySanta

Can you find our festive friend?

Where’s #WhiskySanta?!

Regular readers will know we adore a distillery visit. And when we head out and about, we generally take our beloved film crew with us, complete with VR cameras. And on one occasion, #WhiskySanta snuck along too! He was on his holibobs, it was only fair to let him come explore.

The trouble was, we lost track of him at one point. Probably after a snack. Luckily, our film team spotted him. And this is where you come in. We need you to help spot #WhiskySanta!

But those bods behind the camera haven’t made it easy. They’ve made a marvellous montage of some of our favourite trips over on our YouTube channel – including the moment they caught up with #WhiskySanta. But can you spot him in the video?  Locate him, and you could be the lucky recipient of that £250 voucher!

Got him in your sights? Great. Now tell us where, complete with time stamp!

To enter:
1. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
2. Ping an email to
whereswhiskysanta@masterofmalt.com with your YouTube username, where you saw #WhiskySanta, and that crucial time marker

Ideal!

We must have your entry by 23:59 on 23 December, and we’ll announce the lucky winner on Christmas Eve.

Happy finding!

18+ only and some exclusions apply. Further T&Cs apply.

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#WhiskySanta’s Glenfarclas 50 Year Old Decanter Super Wish

It’s been an exciting year of #WhiskySanta, but he’s got one last Super Wish up his immaculately cuffed sleeve – and it’s a real showstopper! Well, I’ve certainly been a busy Blitzen,…

It’s been an exciting year of #WhiskySanta, but he’s got one last Super Wish up his immaculately cuffed sleeve – and it’s a real showstopper!

Well, I’ve certainly been a busy Blitzen, haven’t I? I’ve been giving out gifts to Master of Malt customers at the checkout, and I’m not really looking to slow down until the middle of next week (I’ve got something I’m contractually obliged to do that Tuesday night, you know…), so that means you shouldn’t slow down on doing wishes either! That being said, it is time for my very last Super Wish of 2019. However, never fear, because I’ve got my hands on something absolutely incredible indeed…

This week’s Super Wish is for a single malt whisky that has matured for half a century! Or 50 years, if you prefer your units of time to be more plentiful but smaller. It was distilled by a magnificent family-owned distillery in Speyside. It slumbered in Spanish oak sherry casks. It’s just awesome. That enough preamble for you? Good, because I’m extraordinarily excited to say that the Super Wish this week is for a bottle of Glenfarclas 50 Year Old!

Oh yes, chums. For the final Super Wish of 2019, I’ve managed to get my mitts on a bottle of Glenfarclas 50 Year Old Decanter, worth a massive £12,000! Oodles of years maturing in sherry casks has given this one a spectacularly rich, complex and decadent flavour profile – the sort of thing any whisky fan would be astonished to find wrapped up underneath the Christmas tree.

You should know the score with Super Wishes by now, but in case you don’t, let’s go over it one last time, eh? If you fancy being in with a chance to get this bottle, you’ll want to wish for it! Head on over to the Glenfarclas 50 Year Old Decanter page and slam dunk that zazzy red button that says “Wish” on it. Using magic, a box will pop up with a  pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Hit publish and ta-da – you’ve gone and wished! You can also wish over on that fancy Instagram, just ensure you use the #WhiskySanta hashtag, otherwise my elves won’t be able to see it.

There’s that button!

You’ve got until the end of Thursday to make your wish for this breathtaking bottle, so ensure that you do that! In the meantime, I’ll continue granting all sorts of delicious wishes across the social medias, and handing out gifts to Master of Malt customers! I’ve got to keep busy, y’know, otherwise I’ll get bored and end up helping myself to whatever the MoM folks have put in the fridge. They put their names on all the food in there so I know who to thank after I gobble it up. Very kind of them.

UPDATE: My final Super Wish of 2019 has been granted – I do hope you enjoy deliciously old Glenfarclas, Catriona McCaw!

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#WhiskySanta’s Fettercairn 40 Year Old Super Wish

It’s Monday and it’s December, which can only mean one thing. #WhiskySanta’s back with another marvellous, mouth-watering Super Wish! Ho, ho, ho! Isn’t time flying, my drinks-loving chums? Somehow it’s…

It’s Monday and it’s December, which can only mean one thing. #WhiskySanta’s back with another marvellous, mouth-watering Super Wish!

Ho, ho, ho! Isn’t time flying, my drinks-loving chums? Somehow it’s 9th December already, my reindeer are limbering up for the Big Flight to come, and I’ve already given away Santa sack after Santa sack of the finest spirits known to humankind, at the Master of Malt check out, and of course, I’ve granted tons of your wishes on social media. If you’ve been truly good this year, of course. And that’s not all. I’ve gifted three magnificent Super Wishes already!

And why stop there? There might only be 16 days until Christmas, but that’s a lot of time for everyone’s supernatural, omniscient, festive and heavily-bearded being. So keep wishing! And this week, if you’ve got a hankering for decades-old, delightfully textured and captivatingly complex stuff you can wish for…

… the fabulous Fettercairn 40 Year Old!

It’s Fettercairn 40 Year Old, #WhiskySanta’s next Super Wish!

I’m almost not ok with giving this one away. It’s sold out, highly sought-after, and worth a mammoth £3,093! It’s the very last bottle at MoM Towers, and if my chums here won’t let me keep hold of it to sip and savour after that aforementioned Big Flight, then I suppose it’s only right that it goes to one of you lovely lot. But you’ll have to wish for it!

Flavour-wise, it’s an absolute treat (MoM’s Kristy tasted it herself when Fettercairn released its new core range in 2018). If you’re not in the know, Fettercairn has become a little bit of a cult malt. To bring you up to speed, it’s a sister distillery to Dalmore and Jura, so there’s a load of history and expertise behind the whisky-making (its stills, with the striking cooling rings, are pretty cool too). But back to the flavour. It’s ex-bourbon matured, Apostoles sherry-finished (for a whopping five years) so there’s nuttiness galore, bitter dark chocolate, nutmeg spice, and delicious, leathery rancio notes. There’s a reason I’d like to keep this one for my #WhiskySanta stash…

But enough of that. If you want to get your wintery mittens on this really rather special bottle, then head on over to the Fettercairn 40 Year Old product page with haste. Hit the ‘Wish’ button, which will automagically produce a box with a pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Hit publish and voila! (If Instagram is your platform of choice you can wish there too, just be sure to use the #WhiskySanta hashtag. Or those non-omniscient folks at MoM just won’t see it. I pity them. And you, because your wish won’t count!). 

You have until the end of Thursday to get your wishes in. Then let the granting commence! #WhiskySanta out, for now…

UPDATE: I told you I’d do it, and now I’ve done it – I’ve gone and granted this superb Super Wish to Tim Matthews! Enjoy, Tim!

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#WhiskySanta’s Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old Super Wish!

It’s another wonderful week and #WhiskySanta is on a roll, so get ready for his third fabulous Super Wish. Well, well, if it isn’t my third #SuperWish! In between giving…

It’s another wonderful week and #WhiskySanta is on a roll, so get ready for his third fabulous Super Wish.

Well, well, if it isn’t my third #SuperWish! In between giving away £250,000-worth of delectable drinks, for this particular treat I managed to find the time to pop over to Islay to scout out something exceptionally tasty. If your mind has jumped to peaty treats galore, then spoiler alert! This one is fruity and creamy, which should narrow down which distillery the delicious liquid has come from. We’ll save the coal and ash for a certain someone’s stocking (not yours, obviously…).

Behold the marvellous Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old! It’s matured for an entire four decades in the Islay warehouses by the sea, which is a long old time….

Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old #WhiskySanta

It’s the magnificent Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old!

Sorry, I’m just imagining being holed up in the same place for 40 years. I know I only get out of the house for one day a year, but still. This particular whisky was actually in the casks for so long that they were forgotten about (they should make lists like me to help them remember), until the master blender stumbled across them whilst reviewing the warehouse ledgers. Before it’s bottled and boxed up, it’s blended with pure spring water from the peaty moorlands.

It’s pretty impressive. Flavour-wise, think berries and cream, toasted nuts, caramel and tropical fruit. Normally, this liquid gold would cost any regular whisky-loving human a whopping £1,750! Though, thanks to me, this marvellous week one lucky person is going to get it absolutely free.

If your mouths are watering like a reindeer’s around a carrot, then scoot on over to the Bunnahabhain 40 Year Old product page, and hit the ‘Wish’ button! You can’t miss it. There’s one more step. When you do this, a box will appear with a pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Publish that, and you’re all set! If you’re more of an Instagram fan (Insta-fan?) yourself, you can wish on there too, but just make sure you use the #WhiskySanta hashtag.

bunnahabhain 40 year old

Make haste, you have until Friday to wish for this tasty bottle!

Though the whisky spent a leisurely 40 years maturing, this is time-sensitive stuff, and you have until the end of Thursday to get those wishes in. What are you waiting for?!

While you’re busy wishing away, I’ll be unpacking from my travels. I wonder what the MoM minions will think of my new ‘I ♥ Islay’ t-shirt…

UPDATE: And just like that, I’ve gone and granted this spectacular Super Wish to Phillip Scott! Hope you enjoy incredible Islay whisky!

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#WhiskySanta’s Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar Super Wish!

#WhiskySanta has already granted one extraordinary wish, but he was only just getting started. The second Super Wish is here and it’s pretty amazing As I’m sure you all know,…

#WhiskySanta has already granted one extraordinary wish, but he was only just getting started. The second Super Wish is here and it’s pretty amazing

As I’m sure you all know, it’s not easy getting your hands on rare and remarkable booze, even if you are a marvellously omniscient and handsome festive fellow. Sometimes you wish all these tasty treats could be in one easy location, preferably some kind of seasonal box of treats. One that delivers you a daily dose of deliciousness, perhaps in dram form. You don’t want to overdo it. I once had too many mince pies in one sitting and the thought of another one… oh, who am I kidding? Anyway, while I tuck into another pack of Mr. Kipling’s finest, you can get wishing for the beauty I’ve just described. How is that possible? Because it’s The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar. That’s how.

Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar

The amazing Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar!

The Advent calendar includes 24 different wax-sealed glass drams of magnificent malts and exceptional blends by 21 distilleries from America, Japan and, of course, Scotland. What whisky fan wouldn’t love this? Ordinarily, this beauty would set you back £999.95, but for a lucky someone, it will cost absolutely nothing!

How can I be in with a chance to win all this loveliness?? Simple. Head to The Old and Rare Whisky Advent Calendar product page and you should see a shiny ‘Wish’ button. Click on that and a box will appear with a pre-populated Twitter or Facebook post. Press publish and voila, just like that you’ve made your wish! How does this work? Through complex technology befitting the current age we live in? Don’t be ridiculous. It’s magic, silly. Christmas magic. You can also wish on Instagram too if that especially appeals (just make sure you use the #WhiskySanta hashtag to make it easier for those delightful minions at MoM Towers). The deadline is the end of Thursday, folks!

Make your wish by Friday if you’d be into this sort of thing…

Now, I have a six-pack to tuck into (#pielife) while I stare at the windows of my own Advent calendar and resist tearing them open to see what delights are hidden behind them. Get wishing!

UPDATE: Would you believe it, I’ve only gone and granted this Super Wish! James Maddock, I do hope you enjoy your Old and Rare Advent Calendar!

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The Nightcap 22 November

This week on the Nightcap: The Macallan turns its distillery into a festive wonderland, register to vote and you’ll get a free drink, and stop worrying about your hangover: you’re…

This week on the Nightcap: The Macallan turns its distillery into a festive wonderland, register to vote and you’ll get a free drink, and stop worrying about your hangover: you’re only making it worse. 

We don’t know about you, but we’ve spent most of this week scavenging for firewood around the Master of Malt warehouse. At the first sign of a broken pallet out came the kindling vultures to squabble over scraps of pine and medium-density fibreboard to be hoarded and turned into life-giving heat later in the day. What a life! This is just a roundabout way of saying that it’s been properly cold this week. But it’s also the perfect weather to curl up by the fire with a dram of something rich and smooth, and revel in this week’s Nightcap. 

The blog went competition crazy this week with a chance to win tickets to see singer songwriter Jarrod Dickenson with Balcones whisky and with #WhiskySanta is giving away a bottle of Hennessy Paradis worth nearly £1,000. In non-competition news, our Jess tried The World Whisky Blend from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, and went to Seville to discover the Royal Salute 29 Year Old Pedro Ximénez. Meanwhile, Annie got acquainted with Dutch spirit genever, and spent five minutes with Dr Kirstie McCallum, the new head of whisky creation at Glen Moray. Adam tried a bourbon with a Japanese twist courtesy of Beam Suntory, and, clearly in a Kentucky frame of mind, spoke to Jackie Zykan, master taster for Old Forester. Kristy peered into her crystal ball to look at rum’s future with Lucy Cottrell from Dead Man’s Fingers; and Henry brought us news on the revival of Rosebank distillery and cooked up a hot cider cocktail to keep the cold out. 

That’s the week that was. On with The Nightcap!

Macallan60old

Some very rare Macallans like those in the Vietnamese collection

Whisky collection smashes record with £10m valuation

How much is your whisky collection worth? A few hundred quid? Maybe into the thousands? This week, Guinness World Records confirmed a Vietnamese collector was the delighted owner of the most valuable whisky collection in the world – weighing in at a mighty £10,770,635! The haul belongs to Mr Viet Nguyen Dinh Tuan of Ho Chi Minh City, and it was valued by the team at Rare Whisky 101. They reckon the figure could top £13,032,468, when you add on the 21% buyers’ premium if it was sold through a UK auctioneer. The collection features 535 bottles, including the only known complete Macallan Fine & Rare set, complete with three 1926 bottlings. Only forty were ever released! There are also 12 bottles of the oldest and most expensive Bowmore ever released (it fetched £300,000 at auction recently), and one of only 24 bottles of the 1919 vintage Springbank. Phew. Mr Viet has been building his collection for over 20 years. “For me, whisky collecting has been my life’s passion,” he says. “Every spare I moment I get, I’m searching auction sites and trading websites to find famous and rare whiskies from around the world. Clearly this requires a lot of patience and no shortage of tenacity, but I’m proud of my efforts. As for my collection, I have no intention of selling any of it. Not one bottle. In fact, I’ll continue to hunt for more old and rare bottles and add to and enrich it.” Wowzers!

Warehouse X Experiment 2 Barrels resize

“Careful Jed, it’s one of those experiential casks!”

Buffalo Trace Distillery completes second Warehouse X experiment

Cask ageing is still a perplexing business, but the team at the Buffalo Trace Distillery is attempting to break the process down using the specially-designed and mysteriously-monikered Warehouse X. The second experiment at the facility, which began in 2016, has just been completed. It focused on how temperature affects the ageing process. The warehouse’s four chambers were used to determine how barrel activity correlates with temperature changes, keeping two chambers constant and varying the other two chambers and leaving the breezeway unchanged. Buffalo Trace tracked temperature fluctuations, monitored barrel pressures and collected a total of 9.1 million data points. As a result, the distillery was able to confirm how temperature affects pressure, colour and flavour over a period of three years. After leaving Warehouse X, the barrels were rolled into a traditional warehouse to continue ageing, as was done with the first experiment. Built in 2013, Warehouse X was created to study the many variables that affect the bourbon maturation process, and Buffalo Trace is now almost a third of the way through a 20-year project to monitor numerous atmospheric elements, including natural light, temperature, humidity and air flow. The first experiment, which ended in 2016, focused on natural light. The next two-year experiment will begin soon to expand on the most recent findings, focusing on how temperature swings affect whiskey activity in the barrel. We’re intrigued to see what they find.

It’s David C. Stewart or DCS to his friends

The Balvenie unveils final DCS Compendium instalment

In brilliant but bittersweet news, Chapter Five of The Balvenie DCS Compendium has been unveiled. Why bittersweet? Because it’s the last of the series, so for one final time we all have the opportunity to gaze longingly at five unique and intriguing single-cask Balvenie expressions that none of us will ever taste. Titled ‘Malt Master’s Indulgence’, the rare vintages were selected by David C. Stewart MBE (hence DCS) for their significance to his career. Aged between 16 and 56 years, the selection includes The Balvenie’s oldest-ever bottling, the fragrant and sweet 1962 expression taken from a European oak oloroso hogshead, which commemorates Stewart’s very first year at the distillery. The longest-serving malt master in the whisky industry, who started the role back in 1974, commented on Chapter Five: “It takes a good deal of time to understand how each cask differs and how whisky maturation is affected by various wood types. You need confidence to select casks and know which are likely to achieve greatness. Working for a family company, I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the freedom to make stock decisions based on my preference and vision, with the free rein to pick casks and hold on to whisky, not always knowing what I’m going to do with it, for no other reason than thinking one day it will be extraordinary. For me, this is indulgence in its truest form.” As with past Chapters, Chapter Five is presented in a handcrafted, individually-numbered frame, with just 50 sets available worldwide. It also features The Balvenie DCS Compendium book depicting rare archive imagery from the distillery, along with information on each of the five chapters, which documents Stewart’s thought process in curating the Compendium. The Balvenie is also planning a series of celebratory events throughout 2020 to mark the completion of the project.

£2500 and you have to bottle it yourself.

Bottle your own 40-year-old at Aberfeldy Distillery

Heading up to the charming Aberfeldy Distillery? You can now hand-bottle the delightful Aberfeldy 40 Years Old! Directly from the cask. In the warehouse. Yes, that’s the oldest whisky the Highland whisky-makers have released to date. If that doesn’t get you excited, nothing will. In total, three single cask editions will be launched, all of which were first filled on 22nd August 1978 and matured in American oak, ex-bourbon hogsheads. “To find one cask at this venerable age, is extraordinary but to find three, is exceptional. Just think of the four decades of history these casks have slumbered through,” said malt master Stephanie Macleod. “The single cask is something that we at Aberfeldy bottle rarely – to have the honour of filling your very own bottle of our oldest and most exclusive whisky yet, is a truly special opportunity. The golden hallmarks of the distillery are evident; beautifully-balanced, elegant and well-mannered with peerless texture, perfectly expressed by these 40-year-old bottlings.” The whisky will be on sale for £2,500 a bottle, exclusively from the Aberfeldy Distillery.

Just some of the mouth-watering rums drunk on World Foursquare Day at Trailer Happiness in London

Barbados distillery honoured with inaugural World Foursquare Day

Rum lovers of London descended on Trailer Happiness in Notting Hill last Sunday (17 November) for the inaugural World Foursquare Day. The day was the idea of Facebook group Foursquare Rum Appreciation Society to celebrate the much-loved Barbados distillery. According to Foursquare brand ambassador Peter Holland, they chose 17 November because it “was the day that Foursquare Distillery and Heritage Park was officially opened by Sir David Seale [father of the owner, Richard], and the Prime Minister of Barbados Mr. Owen S. Arthur in 1996.” Holland organised the London event; there were rum cocktails, bottles from Holland’s own collection (including the ultra-rare Foursquare Triptych), and even a surprise appearance from the Seales themselves. There was also a well-attended event in Milton Keynes. Holland told us: “Next year, I think we will look to grow the event, and, perhaps in conjunction with the UK importers, see if we can get a few more bars involved across the UK. Increase the celebration, but try not to make it crass and commercial.” So put 17 November 2020 in your diary now.

Annabel Meikle, one of the judges at the Spirit of Speyside Awards

Top whiskies shortlisted for Spirit of Speyside Awards

Awards and whisky go together like bread and butter, and Speyside is about to get its fair share! Eight Speyside single malts have been shortlisted as finalists in the international Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards. The initial judging process took place earlier this month in the heart of Speyside (well, where else could it be?), where a panel of leading whisky experts carried out a blind tasting of 41 entries. A tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. However, it’s not the experts who get the final say. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards are the only industry awards in the world to give consumers the final vote. Over the next six months, the two finalists in each category will be put forward for judging by whisky drinkers all over the place, from the UK and Europe to India and Canada. Spanning four categories, this year’s finalists are Aberlour 10 Year Old and Cardhu 12 Year Old, Benromach 15 Year Old and Glenallachie 15 Year Old, Glenfiddich Grand Cru 23 Year Old and Glenfarclas 25 Year Old, and finally Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition and Cardhu Amber Rock. “It was almost impossible to pick just two finalists in each Awards category this year – the standard of whisky produced here in Speyside by our local craftsmen and women is truly exceptional,” said James Campbell, Chairman at The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. “We’re very much looking forward to opening up the judging to consumers over the next six months before celebrating the winners at what we believe is the finest whisky festival in the world.” You’ll have to wait a few months for the results, as the category winners will be announced at the opening of the 2020 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in late April.

Fairy lights from Robert Dyas at The Macallan

The Macallan Distillery goes festive

The team at the Macallan are pulling out all the stops to turn the award-winning distillery into a festive wonderland this Christmas. As you’d expect from such a luxury brand, this will be a little more lavish than neon Santas, plastic holly, and M&S mince pies. Instead, the decorations have been inspired by the character of the single malt with golden acorns, dried berries and a palette of sienna, gold, copper and black, colours traditionally associated with The Macallan”, no less. At the centre will be a “towering” 15 ft Christmas tree. But that’s not all. There will also be a special Christmas menu in the restaurant, seasonal Macallan cocktails like the Speyside Flip and the Clootie to be sipped, and a special after-hours dinner on Thursday 5 December. Stuart Cassells, general manager, commented: “We are incredibly proud of the success our new distillery experience has enjoyed since opening 18 months ago. But we want to be more than a fantastic visitor attraction. Our ambition is to become a key Speyside destination, a place where people from the local community and further afield want to return to again and again. We’re extremely excited about the exclusive experiences we are offering, from unique gifting options to our new brasserie and bar menus. We hope to attract visitors old and new and look forward to providing a warm welcome to The Macallan Estate this festive season.” Sounds magnificent, though we’d have been just as happy with M&S mince pies as long as there was some Macallan to wash them down with. Don’t tell #WhiskySanta…

Remember kids, don’t drink and vote

Free drink if you register to vote

Here’s a good way to combat voter apathy (and we are being asked to vote a lot more than normal). A free drink when you vote. Brilliant! Why did no one think of this before? Well, of course they did. In elections past, unscrupulous politicians would ply the electorate with booze to get them to vote the ‘right’ way. But this new initiative from the Lollipop group of venues around London, is not trying to corrupt, just get people to vote. Simply turn up at a Lollipop bar, like Journey on the King’s Road or Dear Sunny in Hackney, prove that you have registered to vote before 26 November (the closing date), and a free drink will be yours (full details and list of venues here).  Founder Seb Lyall had this to say: “We know how important it is for people of all ages and backgrounds to get out there and vote on December 12. These elections will have a significant impact on our industry and we want as wide a group of voices to be heard as possible.” Make sure, however, that you vote sober, or you never know who we might end up with.

We could be saying, ‘goodbye Joe to baijiu” (sorry)

Are we heading for a baijiu shortage?

Kweichow Moutai is one of the biggest baijiu brands on the planet – and this week, at its overseas distributors conference, the company suggested that the Chinese spirit is gaining such a following internationally that stock shortages are becoming a reality for the first time. “It’s one of the most significant changes we have seen in overseas markets since Moutai rebounded in the domestic market in 2016,” said Moutai Group chairman and party committee secretary Li Baofang. Baijiu is the most consumed spirit category in the world, although the vast, vast majority is drunk in China. This looks to be slowly shifting though – and from 2017-18, we saw a 650% uptick in sales here at MoM Towers, albeit from a teeny base. Keep an eye out for more baijiu in 2020 – if international supply can keep up with demand!

Don’t worry, be happy

And Finally… Worrying about your hangover ‘makes it worse’

We’re all about responsible drinking here at MoM Towers. Remember – sip, don’t gulp! But sometimes, a little overindulgence can happen. And new research from the University of Salford this week appears to confirm something we’ve had a little inkling about: worrying about a hangover makes it worse. It’s all linked to whether someone is likely to “catastrophise pain” or not. What’s that, we asked. Apparently it’s when you worry too much about the threat of pain, which makes you feel like you can’t manage it, and then dwell on how much something hurts. 86 people ages from 18 to 46 were quizzed about a recent time they’d had a drink (more gulping than sipping. Just don’t). The results showed a “significant relationship” between all that catastrophising and the severity of the hangover. Turns out there are actual dehydrated-related symptoms, but also stress-related ones, too – and the stress ones were more likely to get on that catastrophising. “These findings suggest the importance of cognitive coping strategies in how people experience hangovers after drinking alcohol,” said lead researcher, Sam Royle. “This may have implications in understanding behavioural responses to hangovers, and also for addiction research.” Good work, Sam. But the best way to avoid that hangover? Keep the booze consumption sensible in the first place! 

And with that in mind… Happy weekend, folks!

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