Master of Malt Whisky Blog

Old Forester whiskey names distillery manager for multi-million dollar site

Its historic distillery build is well under way, we’ve seen the stills get delivered, and now American whiskey brand Old Forester has named its first distillery manager to take the reins at its new site.

Juan Merizalde Carrillo will manage the new $45 million-dollar distillery, due to open in spring 2018. He joins the wider Old Forester team which includes president Campbell Brown, master taster Jackie Zykan, and Chris Morris, who is master distiller across parent company Brown-Forman (you may know him best for his Woodford Reserve creations).

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Categories : American Whiskey
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With Halloween looming, check out these spine-chilling spirits…

Whether you’re in full-on costume-designing mode or plan on spending Halloween hiding from trick-or-treaters, we’ve rounded up some suitably spooky spirits to toast the occasion.

What does Halloween mean to you? Perhaps you’re hosting some kind of mystical moonlit bash (in which case we can definitely help), or maybe, like many others, you’ll be sat inside quietly cursing the doorbell with a drink in hand (we can also help with this). Whichever way you like to play it, have a read through our hot picks for some spooky and spirited inspiration that won’t murder your bank balance.

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Categories : Gin, Irish Whiskey, Rum, Scotch Whisky, Vodka
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The Diageo Special Releases 2017 Tasting Set is here!

Big Diageo Special Releases fan? Wish there was a way to sample the whole caboodle in one go? You’re in luck – prayers and petitions have worked and the Diageo Special Releases 2017 Tasting Set is now a thing!

The Special Releases drum up quite the following when the whiskies are unveiled each year. Love or loathe the concept, we bet your Twitterbooks feeds are packed with opinions and tasting notes as the liquid is revealed. With the 2017 outturn featuring the likes of Port Ellen, Brora, an unusual blended malt, and the oldest whisky ever bottled by Diageo (Port Dundas 52yo), this autumn saw Special Releases perhaps pack the biggest punch yet.
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The UK is drinking less Scotch and it’s (mostly) the government’s fault

Apparently we Brits are drinking less Scotch whisky. And not just a little bit less, either – we collectively bought one million fewer bottles last year. I mean, not anyone that we know, but the figures don’t lie.

According to HMRC, 36.7 million bottles of tasty, tasty whisky were released for sale in the first six months of 2017, down 2.6% when compared to the same period in 2016. This is particularly disappointing when you consider that since 2015 sales have gradually been increasing off the back of years of decline. So, what’s going on?

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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The Macallan Edition No. 3: Blending whisky and perfumery

What do perfume and Scotch whisky have in common? Much, much more than you’d think – as The Macallan Edition No. 3, the newest bottling in the distillery’s acclaimed series, demonstrates.

Last night we hightailed it down to luxury London hotel The Connaught (the fourth best cocktail hangout in the world, or so say the folk at 50 Best Bars) to sample the latest release from The Macallan’s Edition series. We were expecting a whisky tasting – what we actually got was an eye-opening (nose-broadening?) journey into scent, and its relationship with spirit.

After enjoying a spritz-style welcome drink at the Champagne bar, we were invited into a larger room, ushered in by Sietse Offringa, The Macallan’s head of education. “Tonight,” he announced, “we’ll let you have a peek inside our whisky kitchen.”
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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Colonel EH Taylor Four Grain 12yo top in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018

The “sheer undiluted beauty” of Colonel EH Taylor Four Grain Bottled in Bond Aged 12 Years has nabbed it the title of world’s best whisky in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018.

Just as it says on the tin, the expression is made using a quartet of grains – corn, rye, wheat and malted barley – and scored 97.5 out of 100 in Murray’s nose-taste-finish-balance assessment system.

“Nothing could match the astonishing beauty of its surprisingly delicate weight and complexity combined,” Murray said of the whiskey. “It was though time stood still in the tasting room; I just knew…”
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Categories : American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Whisky, World Whisky
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Rosebank: What’s next for the iconic distillery?

Twenty-four hours on from one of the biggest Scotch whisky announcements of the year – challenged only by news of Port Ellen and Brora‘s revival a mere day before – we caught up with Ian Macleod‘s operations director, Gordon Doctor, for the 4-1-1 on Rosebank‘s comeback.

Before we go any further, we can confirm that at the time of writing no further closed distilleries have been lined up for a grand reopening (the way this week is going you just never know!). In any case, it’s safe to say the next few years will be definitive for Scotch whisky as this trinity of cult favourites fires up its (new) stills for the first time in decades.

Rumours of a Rosebank revival have been circulating for some time, so it was the identity of brand’s new owner that came as the biggest shock to most. Ian Macleod’s name was especially surprising, since until recently Rosebank’s previous owner Diageo held trademark rights, and Scottish Canals possessed the land it once resided on.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Dram good news! Rosebank to rise from the ashes

Rosebank

Tell ya what, it’s a great week to be a mothballed Scotch whisky distillery – Ian Macleod Distillers has announced it will be resurrecting beloved Lowland single malt Rosebank.

Yesterday the whisky world went wild at the news that Diageo would be dusting off the doormats at its silent Port Ellen and Brora sites. Now, in possibly the most epic “hold my dram” move of all time, the folk at Ian Macleod Distillers have revealed plans to revive cherished Falkirk-based distillery Rosebank, located on the banks of the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Ian Macleod Distillers’ managing director, Leonard Russell, called the venture a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity. “Rosebank is one of the most respected and sought-after single malts in the world,” he enthused. “As such, this is an extraordinarily exciting project for us.”

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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Once you’ve checked in, do you check out the travel retail spirits?

Jetting off somewhere exotic? Milling around in departures? Put down the giant Toblerone and step away from designer perfume – the travel retail spirits department is likely worth a visit…

A departure lounge is a strange little experience, isn’t it? You’re stuck in limbo, not quite on holiday, not quite home, held in a large brightly-lit pen where everything is perpetually open.

The most marvellous thing about it, we’re sure you’ll agree, is the spirits department. Here our favourite producers become daring, rolling out exclusive (and often, unusual) line extensions and creative sampling stations – virtual reality distillery tour, anyone?

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Categories : Irish Whiskey, Liqueurs, Scotch Whisky, Vermouth
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Port Ellen and Brora to reopen by 2020 – yes, really!

*MEGA WHISKY NEWS KLAXON*

The rumours are true! Two of Scotland’s most iconic closed whisky distilleries, Port Ellen and Brora, are to be brought back to life by 2020, to the jubilation of whisky geeks the world over.

It hardly needs stating that these most beloved of Scotch whisky distilleries – Port Ellen on Islay, a few miles from Lagavulin, and Brora on the remote eastern coast of Sutherland, adjacent to Clynelish – have garnered a cult-like following in the 34 years since their closure; their highly sought-after bottlings (which often command four-digit prices on the secondary market) an integral part of the Diageo Special Releases programme.

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Categories : Scotch Whisky
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