After one of the greatest montages in motion picture history (the training sequence in Rocky IV), came the epic fight between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago (a fight that ended with a victorious Stallone and also what looked like the beginning of the end of the Cold War).
A similar title fight took place in the whisky world last year, when Bruichladdich flexed its peaty muscles with Octomore, and Ardbeg came back with a well-placed right hook in the form of Supernova – the peatiest Ardbeg yet - weighing in with peating levels of over 100ppm!
The interesting thing was Bruichladdich’s riposte – Octomore 02.1, a monstrously phenolic whisky at 140ppm. The odd thing is, it just doesn’t knock your socks off like Supernova does. The ‘Laddie just doesn’t seem as punchy, and perhaps this is because Bruichladdich’s style is much lighter and fruitier than Ardbeg.
When we first tasted Supernova we were beguiled by the medium weight nose of toffee and tequila. It leads you into a false sense of security. What comes next is a palate entry of mescal, smoked paprika and iodine, and then it develops into the biggest chili hit you’ll ever experience in the world of spirits. It’s just mind-blowing! More...
Alchemy is one of Science’s earliest precursors; it is the tool the ancients used in the search of the three most desirable treasures known to mankind: gold, eternal life, and infinite knowledge.
The early Arab chemists - more conjurers and cooks than scientists - were obsessed with Alchemy’s elusive rewards, but they remained unattainable. They did, however, make one great discovery: alcohol – without which there’d be no whisky!More...
Signatory came up with an excellent game plan: find the best
single cask whiskies in Scotland,
and package them beautifully. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been very successful.
The range is staggeringly large, with an enormous breadth of
whiskies from all sorts of Scotch distilleries; some silent, many still up and
running, some grain whiskies and some from the most legendary distilleries in
There are several different Signatory lines, but the jewel
in the crown is the Cask Strength Collection. The range consists of natural
cask strength whiskies, almost all of which are from single casks. Every time
we’ve tried anything from the range we’ve been consistently delighted, so
imagine our joy when a set of 5 samples arrived through the letter box!More...
We’re proud to announce that we now stock whiskies from Adelphi. Over the years we’ve had the good fortune to sample quite a few Adelphi bottlings, and we’ve been very impressed, so we were thrilled when the new bottles arrived.
The Adelphi Distillery is actually one of the lost distilleries of Scotland, which operated from 1826 to around 1907. In 1880, the distillery was acquired by Messrs A. Walker and Co and it was Walker’s great-grandson, Jamie Walker, who restored the Adelphi name in 1993, but this time not as a distillery, as an independent bottler.More...
This Friday will be St George’s Day and, as always, it’s a great excuse for some unabashed celebration of all things blighty. With flights across Europe pretty much written off for some time, we can only employ our trademark stiff upper lip and make the best of this glorious sunshine that’s been sweeping the nation.
It’s important to remember St George’s greatest deed, and so we’ll kick start this with the tale of St George and the dragon…
The story begins - according to medieval bestseller Jaobus de Voragine’s classic The Golden Legend - once upon a time in ancient Libya, in a place called Silene. More...
Kilchoman has firmly cemented itself as a member of that most exclusive club of distilleries… a club whose members release whisky which sells out instantaneously.
Now we’re up to the third release of single malt from Kilchoman having had the Inaugural and Autumn 2009 releases (both aged for roughly 3 years and finished for a few months in Oloroso sherry butts).
The distillery (to the very west of Islay) is one of Scotland’s very smallest, producing some 90,000 to 100,000 litres of alcohol per year – the whisky is rare and, by proxy, sure to sell out quickly.
The Spring 2010 release was matured in fresh Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels for 3 years before a finish in what the distillers describe as “very active” Oloroso sherry butts. This was then vatted with another four casks of refill bourbon matured spirit before being brought down to bottling strength with water from the Octofad Farm on the Rhinns of Islay. More...
When we flung open the MoM shutters this morning we were greeted with the sound of birds chirping and children playing as blissful sunshine poured into the room.
We’ve earned this summer, having had the coldest winter for 31 years! Just imagine our chagrin last year, when the Met Office promised us a “barbecue summer” and instead we were given drizzle, and lots of it.
Positive Weather Solutions (who have been a tad more reliable than the Met Office and have a pleasingly optimistic name) have predicted Summer 2010 to be a record breaker, with a good chance of temperatures exceeding 2003’s high of 38.5C. This is good news indeed. More...
Old whiskies have always commanded respect from the drinking public. It is widely thought that the older the whisky, the better. Distilleries have always pushed for this, because they can demand higher prices, and the increased rarity of old whisky has helped cement their éclat. At Master of Malt, we think whiskies have a life span; some require a lot of ageing to reach their peak, and others need only a few years. There are some very young whiskies which have reached their full potential very early in life; Ardbeg 10 is an awe-inspiring single malt and we’ve only got good things to say about the 3 year old English Whisky Chapter 6!
It is undeniable, however, that there is something very special about extensively aged malt. We’ve been lucky enough to taste some great 40 year old whisky recently.
A single cask 40 year old Glenfarclas had this impression on us:
Judging the Book by Its Cover
You might remember, a couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Highland Park Earl Magnus. As we watched it fly off our shelves we got talking about packaging, and how important it is for luxury commodities – especially whisky. (NB we’re by no means saying we think it was all style and no substance - the whisky was great, scrumptious even!)
Anyhoo, there’s been a recent spate of success stories, from imperialistic decanters to cartoons and artistic fonts. Now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, but there were those who did it first, and did it well.
One of the innovators was Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company. The trio were friends and whisky connoisseurs - brothers Jon and Mark Geary, and David Robertson of Macallan fame – and their whisky was a far cry from some of the passé and overly conservative malts around at the time. To make doubly sure everyone knew this, the whiskies were given downright modish names; The Smooth Sweeter One and The Rich Spicy One, bedecked with caricatures of swarming beehives and Middle Eastern marketplaces of Hessian sacks filled with loose spices.More...
It’s a very dreary Friday afternoon here at MoM towers. We’ve gone from a horrid frost at the beginning of the week to a grim, drizzly day today, and we’re in desperate need of a little cheering up! Luckily we have just the thing! A consignment of the new – well ok, not that new – Yamazaki Sherry Cask - a beautifully dark whisky limited to 16,000 bottles worldwide.
Sherry Cask was launched in late 2009, and although there have been sherry matured whiskies from Yamazaki before, this has a higher outturn and is slightly more youthful – it being made of whiskies of around 12 to 15 years of age.
Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery, and the first cask ever to be filled was a sherry cask. To this day, Spanish oak is specially selected from northern Spain, before the local coopers turn them into giant, 500 litre butts. They are then taken to Jerez in southern Spain for a three year seasoning with rich Oloroso sherry.