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...
We know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the results of the £1,500 Glenfarclas prize draw, and we’re pleased to say that this morning, one lucky customer has been drawn from the 250 entrants, and will shortly receive the prize of a bottle of single-cask 40 year old Glenfarclas.
So, without further ado, the lucky winner is order number 1266770 - Mr Eamon Roque.
Congratulations to Eamon, who will be receiving his bottle within a few days, and to those who sadly didn’t win this time, keep your eyes on the site, as we’ll be holding another prize draw in not too long.
For now though – why not have a look at our new headline offer – the spectacular Bowmore 26yo.
The Chaps at Master of Malt
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.
In 1975, the Old Bushmills distillery laid down some very special “private casks” of whiskey to be bottled for the new millennium. Straight from the cask, with just a little water added, these would be unfiltered, single cask whiskey. This is Bushmills Millennium Malt
With Bushmills you’ll typically find flavours like sweet barley and fruit and the whiskey is silky and creamy in true Irish style. The 10 and 16 year olds have both seen sherry casks lending a nutty, raisin-like character, this character is very different in the Millennium Malt due to the exclusive American white oak maturation.
We recently got hold of a consignment of this rare old whiskey, and wanted to find out more about it. As you’d expect, single cask Bushmills like this is rare stuff indeed, with very little to be found. We think some of you will want to consider this as an investment malt and, based on market performance, it certainly makes sense. Limited edition Irish whiskey can appreciate remarkably well and old editions of Jameson and Midleton have massively increased in value over the last few years.
After many weeks of unsubstantiated rumblings about a new bottling from Ardbeg, the rumours can finally be dispelled.
Upon visiting Ardbeg’s website, one discovers an absolutely intriguing page, reminding us more than a little bit of Scooby-doo cartoons of yesteryear.
Many of you will be familiar with Ardbeg Serendipity; a 12 year old blended malt that sprung, rather fortuitously, from a little carelessness at the bottling plant. A few casks of very old Ardbeg were accidentally vatted with a small portion of young Glen Moray (a distillery which was also under Glenmorangie PLC’s umbrella at the time).
It’s the sort of story that sparks controversy. Perhaps it was indeed a little too serendipitous and might sound more like the work of a well paid marketing department than that of a hapless blender. At least a great whisky came out of it – which is the bottom line after all.
When John Glaser of Compass Box created Lady Luck, the inspiration was “a lucky blend." Sound familiar?
John vatted 25 and 29 year old casks of Caol Ila - a malt known for its oily, smoky character - and some 14 year old Imperial – a sweet, smoky Speyside. It sounds like the perfect marriage, let’s find out…
The Bruichladdich distillery is Islay’s most radical and its innovative practices have brought to bear over 130 different whiskies since the new ownership took the helm at the turn of the millennium; by no means is this your traditional, old fashioned Islay Scotch distiller.
With this in mind, it seems almost odd that Scotland’s oldest pot still is to be reinstated at the distillery and returned to its former grandeur once more. “Wash Still Number One” was originally commissioned in 1880 by the Harvey brothers – the founders of Bruichladdich.
It’s interesting, and wonderful, to be in the company of whisky lovers. The air full of the bonhomie and personality that make a whisky show such great fun. There’s also a common trait amongst the enthusiasts; an ingrained appreciation for life’s small luxuries and, ultimately, the understanding that life’s luxuries all take time to reach fruition, and take time still to enjoy fully.
Without getting too “zen” about it all, it can be very satisfying to allow yourself to slow down and relax once in a while, and it is this strange “enlightenment” (too far?) that poses as a very fitting metaphor in James Graham’s latest play, The Whisky Taster.
With a demanding London as a bustling backcloth, Graham’s narrative follows Nicola and Barney, both marketing professionals, attempting to boost sales of a vodka brand.
Nicola, played by Kate O’Flynn, embodies the extroverted, fearless saleswoman persona. Samuel Barnett’s Barney is her polar opposite, whose shy reticence is compensated by the double-edge blade of his synaesthesia: a condition whereby sensory observations manifest themselves as colours.
As the Poet’s birthday approaches, literally hundreds of e-mails turn up in our inbox asking about the best whisky to buy for Burns’ night.
It’s far from a daft request, as the matching of the Burns’ night staple, haggis, with an appropriate whisky is not at all easy.
Whisky writers Dave Broom and Charlie Maclean both cite Talisker 10 year old as their drink of choice with the “chieft ain o' the puddin-race”. This choice makes a lot of sense, as the peppery nature of the dram helps to accentuate the peppery seasoning of the haggis. Some can find the intense peatiness a bit much though.
We decided to come up with some of our own suggestions. So, our mouths watering, we came up with a selection of drams to wash down a bite of haggis. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like work!
A pilgrim’s journey…
During the last bout of horrid weather, a conversation started at MoM headquarters. As we gazed out at the murky skies and the last dirty slush from the snow, we were all dreaming of a good holiday somewhere, and it really got us thinking.
One of our favourite spots in all the world is Speyside, because it’s such a beautiful area with stunning scenery. Equally compelling, if not more so: Speyside is home to most of the distilleries in Scotland! Such legends as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Macallan and Glenfarclas reside here, making it a great place to visit if you enjoy a good single malt.