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The-Eccentric-History-of-Berry-Brothers-and-Rudd-Part-III

by Michael Orson     3. July 2014 10:47

Berry Brothers and Rudd

In 1920, Berry’s was joined by Hugh Rudd, a lover of Bordeaux and German wines. Such an essential part of the business, Hugh Rudd’s name was officially added to the door when the firm became a limited company in the 1940s.

The Second World War raged on, and tragedy struck when two of the partners lost their sons: Francis Berry’s son George Gilbert died leading a charge against in the enemy in North Africa; and Hugh Rudd’s son Brian was killed in action in Italy at just 20 years of age.

No. 3 was never hit directly during the London bombings, though the top floors were badly burnt. The shop itself escaped too much damage thanks to the old wooden shutters which protected the shopfront. Years later, during the 2011 London Riots, these shutters were put to use for a second time (though, in my opinion, Pomerol probably wasn’t on the agenda).

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part II

by Michael Orson     2. July 2014 15:17

Berry Brothers and Rudd

The first George Berry was born in 1787 and, at the impressionable age of 16, made the two-day journey from Exeter to London, in which city he remained. He would become an extremely successful merchant, maintaining a clear focus on wine and spirits – a tradition continued by his sons George Jr. and Henry – the original “Berry Brothers” who took the helm in 1845.

Berry’s young life was not without event. In 1838, he signed up as a special constable during the Chartist riots, alongside his friend, the future Napoleon III. Years later, whilst in exile in London, Napoleon used the very cellars at No. 3 to hold secret meetings. Two storeys below terra, the marvellous stone-walled chamber bears his name, and is home to a collection of ancient bottles from centuries ago, back when a member of the gentry would have his own glass bottle stamped with his seal. The sealed bottles would be taken to No.3 to be filled with wine or spirit, and returned when they were empty. Napoleon’s own bottle still stands in one corner.

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The Eccentric History of Berry Brothers and Rudd -- Part I

by Michael Orson     1. July 2014 11:03

Berry Brothers and Rudd

Earlier this year, I became rather enamoured with what is arguably the drinks world’s most prestigious address – No. 3 St James’s – home to the wine and spirits merchant, Berry Brothers and Rudd (known henceforth variously as BBR or Berry’s).

This springtime love affair all started with a ‘three martini lunch’ on a surprisingly balmy day in February. I arrived fashionably late at No. 3 and climbed a steep wooden staircase through a locked door at the back of the shop to meet a group of familiar faces from spirits retail. The event’s hosts were BBR’s charming spirits man, Doug McIvor, and Glenrothes’ brand ambassador and gifted raconteur, Ronnie Cox.

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Callooh Callay - Bar Review

by Michael Orson     11. April 2014 11:56

Callooh Callay

The streets of Shoreditch are roamed by tight-chino’d packs of hip London youth, gyring and gimbling in the wabe like those slithy toves in Lewis Caroll’s brilliant work of nonsense, Jabberwocky. Fitting, it will transpire, that cobbly little Rivington Street’s Callooh Callay should be named after the poem. I must confess I remember little of my first visit (an ill-fated absinthe tasting some years ago), and thinking up preconceptions at Callooh Callay is nigh-on impossible.

In the main bar there’s that kind of Victorian chic thing that a lot of cocktail bars go in for, only, not quite. And then you walk through the wardrobe at the far end (I promised myself I wouldn’t use the term “Narnia-esque”), and you’ll find a hidden secondary lounge area, replete with gaudy Vegas-style leafy centrepiece, barbershop sign, and bathroom bedecked with old tape cassettes. And then there’s the Oyster Card-themed menu, which is something else entirely.

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Taste The World’s Rarest, Most-Expensive Whiskies… For Free

by Michael Orson     1. April 2014 09:46

Joculus Snift

Imagine a world where you could taste any whisky you wanted, instantly, for free, and in the comfort of your own multi-million-pound caravan-home or luxury yachts-vessel. And just picture yourself, if you will, browsing an immense digital library with fine single malts flashing majestically before your very eyes like that bit in Minority Report.

The time is 9pm, the day is today, and you’re sitting in a wingback chesterfield armchair. It’s slightly old – still maintains its shape, but the burgundy leather has become softer and more forgiving. In essence, you’re the mayor of comfort city. It’s liquor o’clock, and Mrs Hammersworth, the nice lady who looks after you, is strapping a slightly cumbersome though thoroughly modern-looking headset onto your face. The device, pictured below, is the groundbreaking “Joculus Snift” – a unique multi-sensory media experience which stimulates four of the five senses with state-of-the-art (SOTA) technology.

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Categories : News | Old | Rare | Whisky


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The Whip - Bar Review

by Michael Orson     26. February 2014 11:30

The Whip bar

The Whip at The Running Horse Pub
50 Davies Street, London, W1K 5JE
Tel: 020 7493 1275
Nearest Tube: Bond Street
Monday to Saturday, 12-11pm

Hunter S Thompson’s famous Kentucky Derby inkings were in my mind last Saturday as I climbed the stairs to The Whip in Mayfair – a newly opened bar which carries on the equestrian theme of partner operation, The Running Horse (located downstairs). Brandishing some serious bourbons, the menu is a mouthwatering selection of Derby classics – Mint Juleps were in order, and The Whip’s elegantly styled confines were a suitable location.

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Breaking News: A New Distillery to be Built on Skye!

by Michael Orson     21. February 2014 16:38

Skye Distillery

Townspeople – I bear exciting and groundbreaking whisky news.

It’s not often we see the launch of a new malt whisky distillery, what with the tremendous setup and operational costs, and the sheer difficulty of actually doing the thing, but, as of yesterday, it was announced that there will be a new distillery on the Isle of Skye, named Torabhaig.

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Glenmorangie Companta

by Michael Orson     28. January 2014 16:09

Glenmorangie Companta

Glenmorangie’s Private Edition range really took the spotlight this year when Jim Murray named the 19 year old, Ealanta, World Whisky of the Year 2014. Jim claimed Ealanta stole the show “because it went out and did something very different: not only did it blow [him] away with its deftness, beauty and elegance, but it gave an aroma and taste profile completely new to [him] in over 30 years of tasting whisky”. High praise indeed.

Soon after, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Dr Bill Lumsden, faced the unenviable challenge of creating a follow-up. After such a coveted title, any successor malt would surely pale in comparison, or at least one might think. We were expecting intensity of flavour, perhaps a big dose of sherry this time? Well, rather that playing it safe, Bill took the somewhat risky decision of releasing a red wine finish – something we’ve seen a lot of over the years, but very rarely done well. In fact, put bluntly, most of the time red wine ruins whisky. I won’t name names*, but we’ve all had an “experimental” whisky buggered up by overdosing with wine casks that have perhaps unnecessary pedigree (aside from marketing purposes, why anyone feels the need to finish in First Growth casks is beyond my understanding!). So – how would Bill’s latest fare?

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Macallan in Lalique "The Spiritual Home"

by Michael Orson     3. January 2014 17:54

The Macallan Lalique

More or less every time I write a blog post, I ask management for permission to use the phrase "hells-a-poppin'"...

I get shot down mercilessly every time.

Well, the renowned whiskym'n at The Macallan have only gone and released part five in their legendary Lalique Six Pillars Collection. Each single malt in the ultra-super-deluxe-premium range is made from exceedingly rare old stock, and bottled in decanters designed and created by the famous French crystal house, Lalique. If ever there was a time for the term hells-a-poppin', surely now is it.

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For Christmas this year…

by Michael Orson     4. December 2013 11:02

Dear Santa

With plans to make Christmas 2013 closely resemble a night out with Charles Bukowski during his downtime, I’ve been thinking hard about what booze I want. Historically, I would have written to Santa Claus, but I recently read a thought-provoking essay by biologist Dickie Dawkins and now no longer believe in his existence. This, then, is an open letter to anyone who knows me and wants to get me the boozes.

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