Tag Archives: Oceanic

Master of Malt – Drinks by the Drams plus one review – The Master of Malt 12yr Arran Single Cask

Master of Malt

In case you are not familiar, Master of Malt is a spirits shop based in East Sussex, UK.  “MoM” (as may people lovingly refer to them as) specializes in the sales of malt whisky (be it Scotch, Irish, American, Japanese, Swedish, Australian and Kiwi, Welsh, Indian or Canadian) – they do it all.  They’re also getting into other fine spirits such as Rums, Gin, Vodka, etc…

These men and women are true Masters!

Something new for Master of Malt, and the wide world of whisky sales in general, is their innovation of selling 3cl sized samples of many of their whiskies!  They now offer, not just for the distillery owned bottles, but samples of their exclusive bottlings as well.  Very smart on their part if’n you ask me.  The program is called “Drinks by the Dram” and they have many whisky expression available for you to try (for a small fee) before you buy the full bottle.  Click here to check out their offering.

I got my hands on some of their samples (mainly of their exclusive expressions) and… do these samples look cool or what?  Even my wife thought they were “cute”.

Being that I have about 10 or 12 of these samples sitting at home, I thought that I should start opening, tasting and reviewing these cuties.  So I will get them into my regular rotation and see if I can review a new Master of Malt expression every Tuesday (for the next 10-12 weeks).

Just a note here: when I refer to the “Master of Malt expressions”, I want you to know that these are not simply whisky blends that they concoct.  No, these (or, at least many of them) are single cask, cask strength whiskies.  So when they come out with a new bottle, chances are there’s 200-400 bottles per chosen cask, and once those bottles are gone, you’ll never see them again.  These MoM bottlings are truly unique.

Here is a review of their 26yr Bowmore I did a short while back – amazing stuff!

With regards to the samples in question, and in the “spirit” of full disclosure, I will tell you that these 3cl sweeties were gifted to me by Master of Malt for analytical and reviewing purposes.  My guess is that most of these whiskies are going to be quite nice but, if I find one I don’t care for, I will say so (heck, just look at the first Bruichladdich review I did).  These are unbiased and independent reviews.

Master of Malt Arran 12yr

Without further ado, I now begin my weekly review of the Master of Malt exclusive bottlings (or the samples thereof):

Islands region – Master of Malt Exclusive Single Cask Arran 12yr – 54.7%ABV –  700ml bottle – £45 (as stated above, you can also get a 3cl sample of this one)

On the nose Big nose, soapy (not like Bowmore but soapy still, castile?), apples, sandalwood and ocean breeze, tamarind juice and a touch of smoke (my imagination?)

On the mouth Big chewy caramels!  A touch of chocolate (milk), orange, fantastic.

Can’t get past the caramels; I don’t want to actually (this reminds me as to why I seek out the caramel squares in a box of chocolates).

Finish Decent length, the milky caramel goodness remains, you’d never know this is a cask strength Arran, warming but not burning in any way.

In sum The palate and finish are delectably delicious, the balance is slightly off (from the nose to the palate/finish) but the palate and finish by themselves make up for it in ways you would not believe!

This would be a nice springtime whisky but could also warm you up in the Autumn and winter seasons.

MacKillop’s Choice Highland Park Single Cask 1981/2006 – Independent bottling

Islands – 56.3%ABV – 700ml bottle – Price ?? I could not find this bottle available at any of the shops I frequent – Thanks to “O.K.” for the sample! (Note: the picture shown is for the 1985 version, not the 1981 as I had tasted)

This will be sort of a shorter review today.  Or at least, the lead up to the actual tasting.  Truth be told, this one took a lot out of me.  The whisky (specifically, the nose) was quite demanding and I’m not sure I was up to the challenge.  Yes, I think I gave it a fair shake (or maybe I gave myself the shake) but it took a while for all to be revealed.

They say good things come to those who wait.  Maybe I was too impatient.  You can decide for yourself…

On the noseMan, this whisky needs some time to open up.  A few minutes and some nice cherry notes are revealed along with an overall saltiness to it – quite oceanic but at high tide, not a fishy low tide type ocean scent to it.

The nose is brisk and has just a mere hint of smoke (think pipe tobbaco – fragrant).  A few extra minutes and the nose opens more giving me some nice orange notes (Mineola to be exact, very tart).  With a few drops of water some buttery notes come out and it get ever so floral.  I love this nose but I had to dig and wait quite a bit for the scents to show themselves.

On the mouthHold on here, this is quite a departure from the nose.  The flavors are not subtle here, you don’t have to work quite as hard – fresh grassy notes and bitter fruits, a good amount of pepper (think cayenne with out the burn).

I think I need to add some water here (it did wonders for the nose) — the mouth feel gets chewy and some white pepper comes out as does something quite sweet thought I can’t put my finger on it.

Finish A long finish.  The orangey notes remain as does the pepper.

In sumPart of me felt like a paranormal investigator here.  I knew I had a “spirit” nearby but the nose made me want to scream “Show Yourself!!”  Thank G-d for the palate and finish though, it really came through.  In the end, a nice single cask whisky but I’m not sure it was worth all the trouble.