Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Happy 120th birthday, Glen Moray! Part 1: The innovator

Last week we travelled up to Speyside to join Elgin-based distillery Glen Moray for its 120th birthday celebrations. But far from looking backwards, we discovered a disruptively modern trailblazer with a whole host of unexpected developments going on behind the scenes…

1897: William McKinley became the 25th US president. Horror classic Dracula by Bram Stoker was published. The UK got its first-ever official bus service. And the Glen Moray distillery fired up its stills for the very first time.

Booze-making on the site can actually be traced back to 1830: before the first stills arrived, the land, tucked in on the edge of Elgin, was home to the Elgin West Brewery. The first spirit ran on 13 September 1897, and from day one the distillery’s made use of some pretty unusual casks – more on that later. Exactly 120 years after that first distillation we retraced the founders’ steps through the distillery, and then partied in style…
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Chivas The Blend returns to London!

Live in London? Fancy yourself as a bit of a whisky blender? Hightail it down to Bethnal Green this autumn and join the Chivas Regal team to channel your inner master blender at pop-up Chivas The Blend.

Earlier this week we stopped in at Searcys at The Gherkin for a sneak preview of what the Chivas Regal UK team has up its sleeves this autumn – and it’s pretty fun if you see yourself as a budding whisky blender.

Following the success of its 2016 Chivas The Blend pop-up, the team has decided to bring back the concept for another year, and it all kicks off at London Cocktail Week from 2 October, at 133 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG.

The aim isn’t just to have a good time. Whisky might be growing in popularity, but blended Scotch in particular sometimes gets a bit of a raw deal – and the Chivas team wants to change that.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The Diageo Special Releases 2017 whiskies are here!

It’s one of the most highly anticipated whisky events of the year – the Diageo Special Releases 2017 series is now available for pre-order!

Last month we revealed details of the 10 whiskies in the Special Releases line-up for 2017 – and the contingent does not disappoint. From the oldest-ever Diageo bottling* to a blended malt featuring all 28 of the drinks group’s operational Scotch distilleries, there’s a whole host of incredible whisky goodness going on.

What’s more, there’s a very exciting addition for 2017. For the first time, Drinks by the Dram has teamed up with Diageo to make all ten of the expressions available through the marvellous medium that is a tasting set. All 10! In a tasting set!! Hallelujah to the whisky gods.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Raise a glass! Scotch whisky distilleries attract more visitors than ever

An incredible 1.7 million of us headed to Scotch whisky distilleries in 2017 – were you one of the growing numbers of whisky tourists?

Checking out a Scotch whisky distillery in the flesh is the dream of many – and more of us than ever are making a journey to Speyside, Islay, the Highlands and/or beyond. Over 1.7 million people checked into a Scotch distillery in 2016 – that’s an impressive 8% year-on-year increase.

Even more excitingly, over half of the 123 distilleries across Scotland now welcome members of the public – a thrilling figure if, like us, stillhouses and maturation warehouses rank as highly as far-flung beaches when it comes to dream holiday destinations.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Buffalo Trace Distillery brings 1800s whiskey-making literally to life!

Buffalo Trace Distillery has outdone itself again – its National Historic Landmark Distillery doors are open once more, and this time whiskey fans can look back in time in spectacular fashion.

F.A.O of all who consider themselves among the esteemed mass of whiskey folk – Buffalo Trace Distillery has some truly good news. The bourbon brand has revealed details of another (this is the sixth!) set of personal and unique tours, rich with the kind of whiskey history that gets all of us in that giddy, geeky state.

For those unaware of the distillery that has received more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskeys (for shame), Buffalo Trace Distillery is an American family-owned operation based out of Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. With a tradition that dates back to 1786, the distillery is fully operational, producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site. If that isn’t enough for you, the site of these tours is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now, Buffalo Trace Distillery invites visitors to feast their senses (and possibly livers, we’ll get onto that later) on three new sites, two of which had never been open to the public for touring before. How much are flights to Kentucky?
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Categories : American Whiskey
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Three cheers for New Zealand’s Scotch GI!

Great news for Scotch whisky drinkers! The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is making in-roads to protect our favourite tipple over in New Zealand – and it’s a crucial move for imbibers the world over.

What makes Scotch a Scotch? The rules are set to become even clearer for whisky fans in New Zealand after the SWA applied to join the geographical indication (GI) register in the country. GIs are that bit of legal wizardry that not only defines a product’s characteristics, but protects it from counterfeiting, too. Not the most thrilling thing to think about while indulging in a dram, but vitally important nonetheless.

Made in Scotland – check. Only using water, cereals, yeast – of course. Matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks – absolutely. The fundamentals of Scotch whisky are pretty easy to reel off for enthusiasts, and they form the basis of Scotch whisky’s GI. But why are they important?
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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This is not a drill – spirit-filled Advent Calendars available to pre-order now!

Drinks by the Dram has released its 2017 range of brilliantly boozy Advent Calendars into the wild – pre-order yours now!

Drinks by the Dram has unveiled its bumper range of Advent Calendars for 2017 – and the range is bigger and better than ever. From whisky and gin to Cognac, Tequila and many, many more, every calendar is filled to the brim with 24 different 30ml samples of deliciousness. What’s more, you can pre-order yours right this very moment with but a mere click of the mouse!!

Every calendar contains 24 different wax-sealed drams, one behind each window, collectively adding up to an Advent Calendar of much magnificence. We’ve got The Whisky Advent Calendar, The Ginvent Calendar, The Rum Advent Calendar, The Tequila Advent Calendar, and many more up our sleeves to make sure the Christmas spirit is well and truly flowing this December.
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Categories : Absinthe, American Whiskey, Armagnac, Cognac, Gin, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, Rum, Scotch Whisky, Tequila, Vodka, Whisky
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Master of Malt Dram Club – September 2017

The turn of September brings about cooler weather, colourful leaves, dinner pies and another month of Master of Malt’s Dram Club! Let’s see what’s in store for members in September.
 

It happens every year. Someone in the office accidentally glances at a calendar and an announces with surprise “Goodness gracious, it’s September already!” This plants a silent seed of panic in the heart of every living being in ear-shot, because somehow it’s bloomin’ September already. Set that panic aside for one moment, however, as there’s some joy that comes with that scary fact – another month of our Dram Club!

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Categories : Gin, News, Rum, Whisky
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Cognac, anyone? Exports of the spirit reach epic new heights

As Cognac sales hit record highs, we take a look at the the shape of the historic spirits category today, and explore its tastiness in cocktail form…

Dust off those old bottles – Cognac is officially cool again. Those in the know never doubted the allure of this fancy French brandy, produced around the town of the same name in Western France. But following a tentative revival after a tough few years, it’s emphatic: Cognac shipments have hit record highs, and we’re drinking more of the revered spirit than ever.

According to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (the BNIC, or the official people who monitor the product. Kind of like the Scotch Whisky Association – or SWA), 190 million bottles were shipped in the 2016/17 year*. That record count is up by 10% – the equivalent of 520,000 bottles sent out every single day.
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Categories : Cognac, News
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The tasty trio: New Master of Malt Single Cask Series whiskies revealed!

They say good things come in threes and today’s dose of deliciousness is a trio of Malt Single Cask Series expressions – incredible single cask Scotch whisky bottlings from some of Scotland’s most exciting distilleries. And yes, that includes a Port Ellen!

We love independently-bottled spirits. Someone – in this case, our ace buying team – has gone out of their way to pick out and purchase each cask because it’s got a real point of difference. Want to experience a whole different aspect of a distillery’s character? Check out independently bottled single casks. They act as a snapshot in time – quirks and eccentricities blended out in a brand’s usual vatting and marrying processes shine through. Each is unique – and in the case of these three, our latest Master of Malt Single Cask Series releases, downright delicious.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky, Whisky
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