Master of Malt Whisky Blog

The Nightcap: 23 March

It’s Friday, team! In this week’s edition of The Nightcap we take in not one but two super-rare, eyewateringly priced whiskies, count the cost of all that drunk shopping, eye up a gin diploma (yes, really) and even dip our toes into the world of interior design all in the name of English sparkling wine. Blame Pantone.

But before we get stuck in, let’s recap the biggest stories from the week in booze over on the blog. We started proceedings with a quick trip to Australia when we chatted to Starward’s founder David Vitale, exploring the meaning of ‘distinctly Australian whisky’. Then we checked our diaries and realised Easter is incoming. Eschew those chocolate eggs – we’ve got the best alternatives with an ABV rating instead! We also gave you a Battle of the Blends update and invited you to join the judging panel, before we hopped over to Texas for a Balcones bulletin as the brand marks its 10th anniversary year. If that’s not enough, we sent our Adam on a magical mystery evening courtesy of Glenlivet Code, AND we won a super-duper award – Icons of Whisky Global Online Retailer of the Year!

Caught your breath? Good, because we’re about to kick off again. And be warned… you might want to be sitting down when you read the prices of the first two whiskies…

Categories : Gin, News, Scotch Whisky, Wine
Read the full story (no comments)

Master of Malt scoops 2018 Global Online Retailer of the Year title!

It is with tremendous pride (and some hysterical over excitement) that we can announce some marvellous news. Tonight was the Whisky Magazine Awards, with the winners of the World Whiskies Awards and Icons of Whisky announced, including the global online retailer title. And guess what? We only went and bloody well won it!

This award means a LOT to us. We absolutely love whisky (obvs) and we really, really care about sharing its delectable tastiness with the world. This is the perfect accolade to sum up our passions, and it’s incredible to get our mitts on the trophy again!

Categories : News, Whisky
Read the full story (one comment)

Glenliv-and-let Die: MoM on a mission to crack The Glenlivet Code

Glenlivet Code

The Glenlivet Code is another bottling from the Scotch whisky superstar released without any cask information or tasting notes. MoM travelled to the launch night at Black Rock Bar in London to see if we could help decipher this dastardly dram.

Tinker, Alpha, Cipher, Code

They’ve only gone and done it again. This is not the first time the legendary Glenlivet distillery has released a mysterious single malt Scotch whisky, as those who remember the the intriguing Alpha and Cipher expressions can attest. The Glenlivet Code is the third instalment in a series that simply places an opaque black bottle before the industry and general public and invites them to see if they have what it takes to ‘unlock the spirit’.

The idea behind the project is that the total lack of information will allow a drinker to experience the whisky without any potential preconceived notions about its flavour and character. You can’t simply look at the cask information, or the colour, to fill in the gaps. All we know about the mysterious bottling is that it was created using malted barley and it was made at the Speyside distillery.


Categories : News, Scotch Whisky, Tasting Notes
Read the full story (no comments)

And the Teeling Irish Whiskey one-of-a-kind decanter winner is…


We love Irish whiskey all year round, but in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day we rarely reach for anything else. So we were thrilled to team up with Teeling Whiskey Company to offer one lucky winner a super-duper, one-of-a-kind 1991 single cask decanter to mark the 2018 occasion!

Up for grabs was a specially-created-just-for-you decanter of Teeling Irish Whiskey, hand-drawn by Teeling master distiller Alex Chasko from a 1991 cask he’d personally selected. Not only would the decanter bear Chasko’s signature, but the label would also carry the winner’s name. Exciting indeed!

Funnily enough, we had LOADS of interest in this competition. One-of-a-kind personalised decanters don’t grow on trees, after all. And it’s even more exciting when you know the whiskey inside will be incredible!


Categories : Irish Whiskey
Read the full story (no comments)

Ten years of Balcones with head distiller Jared Himstedt!

It’s been 10 whole years since pioneering Texas distillery Balcones burst onto the American craft distilling scene! Here, head distiller Jared Himstedt reflects on a decade of experimental whisky-making (without the ‘e’), details his anniversary creation Texas Rye, and reveals why future projects mean the best of Balcones is yet to come…

From humble beginnings in an old welding shop under a bridge in Waco (operated by a team with no distilling experience to speak of, using equipment they built by hand), to a 65,000 square foot site almost 25 times the size, in 10 short years Balcones has quickly become a force to be reckoned with.

When the team set up shop, the US craft whisk(e)y scene was still very much in its infancy. Meticulous about each step of the distilling process, from grain varieties to fermentation processes to maturation choices, Balcones dared to be different from the very beginning; crafting the first ever Texan whisky, Texas Single Malt, and the world’s first blue corn whisky, True Blue.


Categories : American Whiskey
Read the full story (one comment)

Join the Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 3 Judging Panel!

It’s that time of year again – not Easter, but Battle of the Blends! We’ve once again teamed up with Whisky Magazine to host the contest for a third year, and WE NEED YOU AND YOUR PALATE!

Yep, we need YOU to join the judging panel. How, you may ask? Simply snap up a 1p (yes, 1p. Your eyes do not deceive you.) Battle of the Blends Challenge No. 3 Judging Set, and get ready to choose your favourite blend!

What is this Battle of the Blends we speak of? If you’re not a Whisky Magazine reader, let’s bring you up to speed. This is the third edition of the head-to-head battle, where two talented whisky industry types take a cask and come up with their own expertly and intricately crafted blend in it. The precious liquids are then swiftly drammed by Drinks by the Dram, whisked to MoM HQ, and then securely packaged to be sent out to our illustrious judging panel, who then decide who will be crowned the Battle of the Blends Challenge No.3 champion!

Categories : Whisky
Read the full story (no comments)

Top 10 boozy alternative to Easter eggs!


Apparently it’s Easter already. Quite frankly, this is madness! As 2018 proceeds to run away from us all, we’ve elected to make this the easiest Easter ever: by compiling a list of spectacular spirits and cracking chocolate-based delights in one eggsellent* blog. What more could you need?!

It’s Easter people – and that means chocolate eggs, an enormous rabbit making an annual appearance for reasons I’ve never had fully explained to me, and a four day weekend(!)**. But not all of us want to spend the bonus time down the aisle of a supermarket, surrounded by screeching children high on sugar, trying to decide which marginally different brand of Easter-themed confectionery we’ll shamefully gorge in one sitting (again…).

So, we’ve decided to come up with 10 amazing alcoholic alternatives to save you the time and effort of the Easter egg hunt this year. Below you’ll find all manner of delicious goodness, whether it’s downright chocolate decadence, bonafide classics of their categories, or subtle, suggestive spirits. We start, as well we might, with a particularly fine bottle of Scotch…


Categories : Beer, Gin, Liqueurs, News, Scotch Whisky, Vodka, Wine
Read the full story (no comments)

The stars align: 10 years of Starward whisky

Gone are the days where the word whisk(e)y solely referred to liquid produced in Scotland, Ireland, or America. Today, a fresh wave of whisky-makers across the globe, with their unique climates and natural resources, are offering malt fans a taste of regionality. David Vitale, founder of Australian whisky brand Starward, delves into the inner-workings of his distillery down-under…

When he founded Starward back in 2007, David Vitale penned the concept “a distinctly Australian whisky” in his notebook, and set out to define what that meant. Ultimately, he wanted a whisky that was “as distinctive as peat is to Islay whisky, in an approachable fashion”.

“We could have gone down the wattle or eucalypt path, but it wouldn’t have tasted all that great,” muses Vitale, who earned his whisky stripes working for Bill Lark at Tasmania’s Lark Distillery. “It had to be something that you could share with friends that wasn’t going to be an acquired taste or something you cross off your bucket list and then move on.

“With hindsight it’s bloody obvious that we should be using wine barrels to do that, but at the time it was a big leap of faith. If we could crack that nut, we’d have a whisky that’s more Australian than Scotch is Scottish.”

Categories : World Whisky
Read the full story (no comments)

The Nightcap: 16 March


In this week’s edition of The Nightcap, Jim Beam fills its fifteen millionth bourbon barrel, a nineties boy band muses its first foray into Tequila, and a bar in the US crafts a cocktail stirred by sound…

But first things first, we couldn’t help but notice that there’s a little celebration happening this weekend called St Patrick’s Day. Perhaps you’re usually a green pint kinda person – and hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we are also green pint kinda people – and you’re looking to bolster your drinks repertoire. Perhaps you’re throwing a big bash and you want to impress people with Ireland-related knowledge. Perhaps you love Irish people more than anything in the world. Perhaps you are Irish. Maybe you just like reading things.

Whichever category you fit into, there’s a blog for that. This week we looked at the past, present and future of poitín, along with some cracking cocktail suggestions and top bottlings. We delved into the world of Irish gin and celebrated the best that the category has to offer. Then we admired the deliciousness that is Irish cream liqueurs, and showed you why you should be drinking them Right Now.

We also caught up with Alex Chasko, master distiller at Teeling Whiskey Company, to talk Irish whiskey innovations, on-site developments, and what the influx of new distilleries means for the sector, and chatted with Waterford Distillery’s CEO and founder Mark Reynier as he distills the ‘world’s first’ biodynamic Irish whiskey.

So loads, then. But wait! There were even more developments from the world of drinks this week. We’ve got the highlights right here…


Categories : News
Read the full story (one comment)

Q&A: Teeling Whisky Company’s Alex Chasko!

With St Patrick’s Day coming up on 17 March, it seems as good a time as any to catch up with Teeling Whiskey Company’s master distiller, Alex Chasko. We get the latest from the Irish whiskey distillery, and talk progressiveness in production, on-site developments, and what the influx of new distilleries means for the sector.

Are we entering the golden age of Irish whiskey? It certainly seems so. Historically there have been just four distilleries on the island of Ireland: Midleton, Bushmills, Kilbeggan and Cooley. Now there are 18 up and running, with another 16 at the planning permission stage. Growth is poised to be tremendous – and with so many new players coming on to the scene, the character of the category could shift significantly.

One of the newer players – yet with historic roots which can be traced back to 1782 – is the Dublin-based Teeling Distillery. Officially opened in 2015 by brothers Jack and Stephen Teeling, the distillery identifies as “progressive”, with a whopping 25% of its output dedicated to whiskey experiments. Its expressions are pretty tasty, too.

Teeling’s distiller is Alex Chasko, an Oregon-born Heriot-Watt Brewing & Distilling graduate who joined the company from Cooley in 2012. Who better to talk us through the Teeling operations, and give his view on the rapidly transforming Irish whiskey sector of today? Grab a dram (Irish, of course), pull up a pew and let’s get stuck in…

Don’t forget, until St Patrick’s Day you can get £5 off a bottle of Teeling Single Malt, AND win a totally one-of-a-kind fancy-pants single cask expression selected and bottled by Alex himself!


Categories : Irish Whiskey
Read the full story (one comment)