East London Liquor Company + Death’s Door Spirits Limited Edition Collaboration Gin Available

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DEATH’S DOOR COMES TO EAST LONDON

East London Liquor Company and Death’s Door Spirits of Wisconsin, last month announced a collaborative distillation project to take place on Friday 9 October, 2015 and this one-off is still available! The respective head distillers Tom Hills and Brian Ellison produced a single gin batch of 150 bottles in honour of London Cocktail Week, using Death’s Door signature three botanicals – juniper, coriander and fennel from the USA – and East London’s 100% British wheat distillate.

TRANS-ATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP

Available through Master of Malt, the extremely limited bottles are numbered and adorned with a special label signed by both of the innovative, expert distillers.

Founder and President of Death’s Door Distillery, Ellison says; “Our company was created on collaboration when we began working with the farmers on Washington Island (Wis.) in 2005 to grow our organic hard red winter wheat and harvesting wild juniper berries. Fast-forward to October 2015 when we have the opportunity to distil with one of the newest and most intriguing gin distilleries in the UK on a single batch gin. It is an exciting opportunity, and we invite the industry to join us to celebrate this unique partnership.”

Founder of East London Liquor Company, Alex Wolpert says, “We are excited to have created this limited edition gin with the incredible team at Death’s Door Spirits. This is a perfectly matched partnership, with both distilleries placing value on exceptional quality, independence, innovation and honesty”.

The World’s First Educational Range Of Whisky Just Got Bigger

Maverick Drinks Reference Series

Maverick Drinks is proud to announce the release of 9 additions to the world’s first educational whisky range, Reference Series. The range of blended malt whiskies was first launched earlier this year, and showcases the effects of various production techniques and ingredients used to make Scotch.

The initial range of Reference Series comprises three blended malt whiskies which progress from Series I to III with increasing levels of old, rare Scotch in the mix. This shows whisky drinkers the effects of the ageing process – a much-debated topic in the whisky world which can now be understood under more-controlled conditions.

There are now three extensions to the Reference Series: Extension .1, which takes a portion of the blend and finishes it in a fresh 50 litre cask previously used to hold Pedro Ximénez Sherry; Extension .2, which includes 10% heavily peated Islay Single Malt in the blend; and Extension .3, which includes the colouring agent, E150a, aka Spirit Caramel.

You can now sample these extensions against the original range. For example, you can enjoy Reference Series I.1 – the most youthful whisky in the initial range, with a portion of the blend matured in top-quality Pedro Ximénez casks against Reference Series I. Or you could compare it with II.1 or III.1 – whiskies with increasingly high proportions of old, rare Scotch in the mix, with the same percentage of the blend finished in dessert Sherry casks.

This gives whisky lovers the chance to compare the effects of using dessert Sherry maturation. The extensions .2 and .3 will also be available across the initial range, allowing connoisseurs to compare the effects of both the ageing process, as well as either spirit caramel or the addition of peat – a luxury hitherto unavailable for those outside of the whisky industry.

Reference Series I, II and III have been praised by critics and whisky lovers alike. Esteemed blog WhiskyFun.com’s Serge Valentin, for example, gave glowing reviews of the three whiskies, awarding an impressive 83, 88 and 88 points respectively.

Ask your favourite retailers for the Reference Series whiskies or buy online now from Master of Malt.

Buy Bottled Cocktails From World-renowned Mixologist Mr Lyan

Bonfire-Old-Fashioned

Maverick Drinks is proud to announce the official release of Mr Lyan’s Cocktails – a unique range of innovative bottled cocktails created by Ryan Chetiyawardana A.K.A Mr Lyan, owner of London’s legendary White Lyan bar.

Featuring great packaging designed by Natasha Chetiyawardana’s company Bow & Arrow using Mr Lyan’s hand drawn illustrations, Mr Lyan’s Cocktails are ideal in any setting and can be served simply by chilling and pouring, or serving long with your favourite mixer.

The range includes cocktails for all moods and occasions, such as the decadent ‘Candlelit Manhattan’ (£46.95 RRP), which is made with Mr Lyan’s long-aged bourbon, bitters, vermouth and candle-wax. Presented in a wax lined bottle, the wax provides a lingering richness to the drink and adds a luxurious finish.

The ‘Spotless Martini’ (£27.95 RRP) brings the magic of a sophisticated aperitif to any scenario – without the need of any paraphernalia, or faff. This phenomenal twist on the classic cocktail is made with Mr Lyan’s aromatic gin, citrus bitters (which can replace the traditional twist), and a buttery green distillate made from olives and vermouth. The result is an incredible take on this familiar favourite – elevated to new levels, but to be enjoyed everyday.

Also in the range are further twists on favourite classics; the ‘Bonfire Old Fashioned’ (£26.95 RRP) mixes Mr Lyan’s Scotch with a rare, smoky lapsang souchong tea and a touch of cola bitters, whilst the ‘Diamond Rickey’ (£26.95 RRP) lifts zestiness from Mr Lyan’s gin with lime and grapefruit distillates and an almond & lime ‘falernum’ liqueur. Finally, the ‘Rainy Day Spritz’ (£29.95 RRP) – a perfect aperitif mixed with soda, white wine and/or prosecco – marries a raspberry distillate with bitter rhubarb and a blend of vermouths.

Mr Lyan first pioneered bottled cocktails in his East London bar, White Lyan. White Lyan opened in 2013 to spectacular fanfare and rave reviews. Ryan Chetiyawardana’s first solo venture is, as you might expect, rather extraordinary, using no citrus, ice, fruit or other perishables, and almost no branded products. His fantastic cocktails and innovative techniques garnered the title Best New International Cocktail Bar at the 2014 Spirit Awards, Innovator of The Year at the 2014 Imbibe awards and attracted the attention of celebrities such as Jay Z and Beyonce.

Mr Lyan’s Cocktails will be available online at Master of Malt and Selfridges.

Drinks By The Dram Tasting Notes

That Boutique-y Whisky Company

If you’re on Twitter within the drinks trade, or indeed a fan of whisky, you may have heard or even been part of a new trend called Tweet Tastings. Despite my involvement in the trade, I’ve never come to be a part of one of these – until now!

Well, kind of.

Due to prior commitments, I was unavailable to take part and mull over five drams with my fellow Manchester Whisky Club members. But with a promise to founder Andy, I would review them each in due course – and here we are.

Each of the five drams come from ‘That Boutique-y Whisky Company’, a portfolio masterminded by online retailer Master of Malt. They bottle Scotch Single Malt Whiskies from a variety of renowned distilleries in limited batches. These whiskies are then adorned with comic-book style labels which feature prominent figures from the whisky industry upon them. They also lack the feature of an age-statement due to each batch being dependent on the parcels of stock received, so it is entirely possible that there could be an age difference of thirty years! 

So how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Tomintoul Batch 1 – 47.8%

Creamy marzipan on the nose, with a slight freshness about it. Subtle flavours on the palate to begin, but livens and develops with bursts of cinnamon and pepper. Mellows slightly near the end, but it’s a long, lingering and slightly dry finish.

Arran Batch 2 – 49.4%

Hints of salt develop on the nose, with citrus darting around. Lots of fresh fruit on the palate, mixed with chocolate and fudge flavours with a creamy texture. Long.

Benrinnes Batch 2 – 49.5%

A dry nut and fruit aroma on the nose, with a honey finish coming through. Lots of sherry flavours on the palate, with some kicks of oak, molasses and toffee. A little spice on the finish draws the dram out.

The Secret Distillery Batch 1 – 55.4%

Subtle sherry with hints of fresh coffee beans on the nose. A rich palate with lots of pepper, dry almond and bursts of warm sherry. An incredibly long finish.

Aultmore Batch 2 – 56%

Lots of subtle citrus zests, with a hint oak coming through on the nose. A rich spice on the palate to begin with, with some vanilla making its way into the mix. Some kicks of fruit near the end, but a powerful spice finish prevails.

Some real crackers here, with personal highlights being the Benrinnes Batch 2 and Arran Batch 2. There’s plenty of other names to look out for in the portfolio, including The Macallan, Highland Park, Bowmore and Auchentoshan. Well worth at least one in your collection, just for the labels alone sometimes!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cocktail Of The Week – Bloody Thyme

The latest Cocktail of the Week by collaborator and Head Barmen at the Vineyard at Stockcross David Coveney is an adaption of his own ‘The Bloody Roesemary’ that replaced the vodka found within  a Bloody Mary with house infused rosemary gin. This time though he changed the rosemary to thyme and used Martin Millers gin.

Bloody Thyme
Bloody Thyme

Bloody Thyme

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients – 

50 ml Martin Millers and thyme infused
Yellow tomato juice
Horseradish sauce (with added white wine vinegar, black pepper and sea salt)
2 drops Master of Malt Naga Chilli Bitters
2 drops The Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

Method – 

Combine all the ingredients within an ice filled shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into an ice filled glass.

 

Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin Tasting Notes

Cream Gin

The Victorian era heralded many a trend in the world of gin. Old Tom springs to mind these days as part of a resurgence in all things classic, but the team behind top bars such as The Worship Street Whistling Shop have launched a gin that is inspired by the cream gins of the Victorian gin palaces.

The base of one of their signature cocktails, The Black Cat’s Martini, the team developed the Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin at the bar by using fresh cream that macerated into a citrus gin base selected specially for the product. It’s then cold-distilled under vacuum. Essentially, the cream is a botanical to create a rich, creamy yet clear spirit, using 100 ml of cream per 70 cl bottle. This process slightly differs to the original Victorian method of mixing with cream and sugar and then left to infuse.

The London dry gin was developed by the team at Fluid Movement (operators of London bars Purl and Dach & Sons) and working alongside drinks supplier Master of Malt .As mentioned, the Cream Gin was originally created for the signature Black Cat’s Martini at the Worship Street Whistling Shop, which mixes the gin with dry vermouth, but now, it’s available for all to try. So with this, I give to you my tasting notes –

Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin – 43.8%

Heavy vanilla on the nose but levels out with aromas of soft, fresh cream. The palate experiences a creamy, velvet texture with a very soft beginning. Develops into a slight sweetness but with an ultimate lingering pepper ending.

Not a bad tipple at all when sipped. As mentioned, the cream gin is the base to the bar’s signature cocktail, so it only makes sense to show it you –

The Black Cat's Martini
The Black Cat’s Martini

The Black Cat’s Martini 

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients – 

50 ml Cream Gin
5 ml Dry Vermouth
One radish to garnish

Method – 

Fill a mixing beaker or pint glass with ice and pour in the Dry Vermouth. Next add the Cream Gin and stir for 45-50 seconds to chill and dilute the Martini. Strain the mixture into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with a radish.

or

Cream Gin Fizz

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients –

50 ml Cream Gin
35 ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
5 ml Olive Oil
15 ml Sugar Syrup
1 Egg White (Optional)
Vanilla Salt
Soda Water
Vanilla Bitters

Method – 

Put a pinch of Vanilla Salt into a shaker with the Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Cream Gin, Sugar Syrup and the Egg White. Next, shake the mixture to aerate it and the egg white starts to foam. Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously until condensation appears on the outside of the shaker. Strain into a glass and top up with the Soda Water. Snap and twist the rind of a lemon and place on top. Finally a pipette of Vanilla Bitters can be added to release more flavour.

The unusual can sometimes be the best, Master of Malt prove that, plus if the Victorians loved it, why can’t we?!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Compass Box

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Everyone always loves something a bit special. Gift boxes, limited editions, a good deal – all a worthy reason to treat yourself. If you’re a lover of whisky, you may have come across a relatively new, yet established company named Compass Box. This is a company I have personally known about since the beginning of my career, but only really came to venture towards each expression in the past two years. Now though, I look forward to trying anything that these guys spring up on us all.

So who are Compass Box?

An American named John Glaser entered the world of Scottish whisky, after spending many a year in the wine trade. After working with one of the biggest brands in the world, Johnnie Walker, in 2000, he created what we know today – Compass Box Whisky Company. The reason? John wanted to create a great Scottish whisky that can be approachable to a wide range of consumers.  With this, the company buy individual casks and focus on creating a craftsman-like boutique product. None of their bottlings are chill-filtered and no colouring is added, and to round it off, they are all married exclusively in American oak.

Now I’ve been lucky enough to try the majority of the Compass Box range through various events and festivals, so below, I give to you my tasting notes on each –

Great King Street – 43%

Named after the street in Edinburgh where Compass Box is registered, it’s made combining 3 malt whiskies (two Northern Highland one Speyside) and 1 single grain whisky (Lowland) in never-before-used French oak barrels and American oak barrels. On the nose, a heavy scent of vanilla, citrus and some dried fruits with a sweet aroma hitting overall. As it moves onto your palate, fruity flavours gently hit your tongue which develops into vanilla, raisin and citrus. A creamy whisky that gives a long after-taste with a hint of spice.

Great King Street Glasgow Blend – 43%

Released in 2014. Soft honey and rose on the nose with smoke and strawberry jam combining well, followed with an underlining sweetness. Immediate fudge sweetness followed by a toffee smoke on the palate, plenty of light peat elements and hints of dry spice.Kicks of oak, bold, fresh peat creating a slightly dry citrus finish.

compass boxOak Cross – 43%

A Highland single malt whisky that’s vatted with a mix of 3 different malts for 12 months. The cask itself is a combination of French and American oak barrels, hence the name ‘Oak Cross’. On the nose it’s very light and sweet with a slight peat aroma emanating. The sweetness returns to the palate with vanilla notes making their way as well. A brief hit on the throat which gives a slow after-taste.

Spice Tree – 46%

Again another vatted malt from 3 single malts for a period of 24 months. The same cask process as ‘Oak Cross’ are used however they are burnt on the inside. Fruit aromas on the nose with a rich, spicy flavour igniting the palate that evolves into a lively well-rounded after-taste.

Peat Monster – 46%

3 single malts (two Isles and a Speyside) are vatted together in American oak casks to produce a soft, peaty aroma on the nose. Hints of smoke arise as the palate senses a light, sweet whisky with a slight spice and floral hints which goes into a lingering smoky finish. Not as harsh as expected!

Hedonism – 43%

First whisky to be created by Compass Box, a combination of grain whiskies in American casks that lasts for 20 years. A 100% grain whisky, rich flavours of coconut, toffee and vanilla create a creamy sensation on both the nose and palate, with the hints of grain in the background. A slight spicy end that gives a tingle towards the after-taste.

Orangerie – 40%

An infusion of Scotch whisky and the natural ingredients of orange peel and spices for a period of 3 weeks, this unique spirit can’t be named as a Scotch whisky due to its involvement of different ingredients. On the nose it gives a short orange aroma with a smooth orange, vanilla and subtle spice taste on the palate that balance well to create a clean, fresh feeling.

Flaming Heart – 48.9%

Combined peaty smokiness with the richness of French oak aging. A bold nose of smoke and peat but mellows quickly. A good combination of citrus and vanilla on the palate with a dry spice and smoke ending. Unfortunately discontinued.

The Entertainer –

Light on the nose with peat aromas noticeable and a whisp of soft corn. Rather sharp on the palate however with a slight kick of spice with makes your mouth water every time.

Eleuthera – 48.9%

Compass Box very first vatted malt, it combined 15yr malt whisky from the village of Brora with 12 yr malt from the village of Port Askaig. Slight pear aroma on the nose with a subtle floral scent following. Soft on the palate with a smooth offering of smoke which develops into a slight bitter end. Unfortunately discontinued.

Asyla – 40%

The most awarded bottle in the range. A light nose with soft aromas of green apple. Very smooth once on the palate but develops into a lingering spice that warms the apple flavours. Long.

If you ever have the chance to try something new, or indeed come across Compass Box in your bar, you will find an expression to suit your taste. The beauty of Compass Box is that they have given vision form a consumer’s point of view, what people actually want from whisky. And they’ve done it well. Grab a dram today.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Manchester Whisky Club Review – January

MCR Whisky Club

It came as rather a surprise to find out that Manchester is lacking a whisky club. For a city that hosts a yearly Whisky Festival with a packed crowd, there’s no shortage of interest of the subject, but to cater for those who want to meet up regularly for a chat with like-minded fans a club had to be formed.

So here we are.

The inaugural meeting of the Manchester Whisky Club, held at the Lass O’Gowrie, heralded the dawn of a new age so to speak, and even for myself, the chance to experience a couple of drams yet to grace my presence. Hosted by founder Andy Duckworth, we touched on what to expect from the club, as well as how it will all be ran. Then to the important stuff, the whiskies. No technical wording in sight, just the basic information that whether you’re a novice or professional, you’ll understand easily. Perfect for a get-together dram!

Onto the five showcased – each from a different whisky region of Scotland –

Bladnoch 10yr – 46% – Lowland

A rich raisin and dark chocolate nose with soft caramel following through. A sharp beginning on the palate but rounds off with flavours of wood and spice to create a long finish.

Arran 14yr – 46% – Island

Dry notes of vanilla and toffee on the nose but a good hit of toffee on the palate. Chocolate and spice develops a rich sweetness on the finish.

Bowmore Single Cask
Bowmore Single Cask Batch #1

Dalwhinnie 1992 Distillers Edition – 43% – Highland

Soft nose of green apples and pears that develops into a slightly sharp beginning on the palate. Mellows on the second sip into a spicy but short finish.

GlenDronach 15yr ‘Revival’ – 46% – Speyside

A nose of soft sherry but with a kick of sweetness. Coffee and hints of orange on the palate that mellow nicely on a lingering finish.

Bowmore Single Cask Batch #1, Independent Bottling By ‘That Boutiqye-y Whisky Company’ – 48.7% – Islay

High aroma of peat on the nose leading to a sharp palate. Sherry and citrus mix and mellow quickly, but develops again with hints of smoak.

Some real power-hitters in the line-up, but for me, and against what seemed to be the clear favourite of the Bowmore Single Cask, i stumped for the Bladnoch 10yr. The nose for me won my vote – captivating.

Meeting on the last Thursday of every month will be a highlight of mine now, especially as once again I can try something new in February – Tomatin whisky. There is however a waiting list for the club, but don’t fear, if the first meet is anything to go by, you’ll be clambering for available spaces.

Thanks to Katharine Sullivan who also brought along to the meet a splash of the following –

Port Dundas 20yr –  57.4%

Lots of spice on the nose with a fresh musty herbal aroma following. Rather sharp start on the palate with a powerful hit of rye and hints of white fruit. Creates a long finish.

Join Manchester Whisky Club here or follow them on Twitter at @MCRWhiskyClub and Facebook.

Check out the rest of the photos of the first meet via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bathtub Gin Tasting Notes

Unique. One word to describe the nod to traditional styled gin that came before the art of distillation. The 21st century has brought the forgotten trend of producing ‘gin in a bathtub’ back into the limelight, with Professor Cornelius Ampleforth the forerunner.

The gin is made in ‘ultra-small’ batches of only 30 to 60 bottles at a time, using a process that involves taking a very fine copper pot still spirit, which is infused with an array of botanicals including Juniper, Orange Peel, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cloves and Cardamom. The result is one of the only cold-compounded gins currently available. When it comes to packaging, it doesn’t get much better than this either. In fact, the packaging was very much inspired by the fact the gin was so traditionally-made. The bottles are wrapped in brown paper, and feature a print of a beautiful hand-drawing, conjuring up images of the Victorian apothecaries of old. The bottle necks are wrapped with flax twine, which is made using 19th century methods, and each bottle is individually hand-dipped in black sealing wax.

So what to expect from this Victorian style gin?

Bathtub Gin

Bathtub Gin – 43.4%

Fresh juniper with a slight citrus aroma and a light juniper scent combining well on the nose. The palate is introduced to a slight raw kick of juniper but develops into a creamy texture and a long, slightly dry finish.
You can only purchase Bathtub Gin via the guys at Master of Malt, or Selfridges – although there’s an obvious price difference.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

Please note, all information of Bathtub Gin has been taken from MasterofMalt.com – tasting notes are my own.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.