Some whiskies can be said to have a 'coastal' or 'maritime' character, and invariably these are also whiskies that I absolutely love. In fact, these seaside malts are the reason I became interested in whisky in the first place, and the very best examples are still probably my favourite spirits in the world. This is personal taste, of course, and whilst I love most of the gods' rich tapestry of whisky flavour profiles, I just happen to be a sucker for the Neptunian ones. So, consider me your Neil Oliver as we embark on a journey of discovery and also consider exactly how is it that some malts seemingly take on the very taste of the coast. This, is whisky on the edge... *Cue music*
This range was born almost 6 months ago with the release of the initial ‘Reference’ Blended Malt Whiskies I, II, and III, and have received some lovely reviews from all over the web – not least of which from Serge of Whiskyfun who rated the initial batch from 83-88 points.
The theory is initially simple – we took 4 components (2 blended malt and 2 single malt), and as the range progressed from I to III, the proportion of older whisky went up. This was designed to give us all an insight into the way that age affects whisky.
Today, however, is where it all really starts to get fun.
Earlier this week, Amy Hopkins over at the Spirits Business posted a fantastic article that really spoke to us here at Master of Malt, all about the most famous mousers at distilleries around the world. If you had any doubts about cats being the best animal ever, then these brave feline warriors ought to cement their place at the top of the "Best Animal Podium". (If you were wondering, pugs are a close second, followed by bumblebees.)
But why does a distillery need a cat? You can understand other job roles like Master Blender, Maltster and Warehouse Manager being vital for the day to day tasks, but a cat?
This is (at this stage) just a rumour.
But there are rumours, and there are rumours. I’d be inclined to say that I’m probably over 90% that this is happening.
I’ve now heard sufficient rumblings about it to make me comfortable in simply repeating what I can already find online (including a rather marvellous entry from the state of Florida that’s clearly more focused on freedom of information than Ardbeg’s Brand agency).
Wellity, wellity, wellity…as you may have read yesterday, our day began with the Balvenie Boys driving the Malt Mobile away from the Master of Malt cottage at 6.30am with minimal protest from me. It shall surely end with a dip in the hot tub.
Our day officially began at around 10am, with Ben rousing us by shouting, ‘wake up!’ all throughout the house. I did not find this pleasing. Justin had spent the early morning hours hoovering some foxy midges that had managed to creep their way into his bedroom, but didn’t seem to worse for the wear. More...
Islay isn’t a very large island, in fact it only takes up a couple of hundred square miles. But somehow this mysterious, peat-laden isle is home to some of the most popular, colossal distilleries in Scotland.
Now the whisky world is buzzing with excitement, as a new, artisan distillery has begun producing single malt. Peaty, pungent and characterful single malt no less.
The distillery is Kilchoman, sited on a small farmstead to the West of Islay. It’s a small and traditional distillery, sourcing its ingredients from the surrounding countryside. It even boasts its own malting floors.
After being entirely stunned by the exceptional inaugural release, we couldn’t wait for what lay in store.