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Twelve finalists have been selected to compete in this year’s Malt Mastermind and the competition looks stronger than ever as bartenders from renowned venues including The Dorchester, Boisdale of Canary Wharf and The Devil’s Advocate in Edinburgh step up to compete for the title.
The competition, which is now in its fifth year, will test contestants on their creativity, whisky knowledge and passion for bartending. The finalists will create their signature serve using Glenfiddich 14 Year Old, Glenfiddich 15 Year Old or Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Distillery Edition, before taking part in an additional challenge, which will be revealed on the day.
Each contestant will be judged by an expert panel comprised of whisky expert and former Malt Mastermind judge, Mark Thomson, Kirsten Grant Meikle, a William Grant family member and Director of Prestige at the company, and Roman Foltan from the ‘World’s Best Bar’, The Artesian.
The twelve finalists including ‘wild card’ entry Jamie Ireland from the 2013 competition, will compete for the prestigious title at Callooh Callay on Monday 17th November. The bartender who is named Malt Mastermind will win a weekend stay in Dufftown including a VIP distillery experience, £1,000 and the prestigious Glenfiddich trophy.
Judge and whisky expert, Mark Thomson commented: “This is an exciting year to be involved with Malt Mastermind as we’ve had more entries than ever and the calibre of entrants is astoundingly high. The finalists’ serves reflect Glenfiddich’s ruthlessly premium values but demonstrate that whisky is evolving and the on-trade is evolving with it. The level of creativity demonstrated by the applicants has been overwhelming and choosing 12 finalists out of so many strong entries was genuinely difficult.
“Having Kirsten and Roman on board adds another interesting element to the 2014 competition and a lot more pressure for the bartenders as they will need to impress two of the industry’s biggest whisky experts. Let’s see what they’ve got!”
The twelve finalists are:
1. Jamie Ireland, Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh (Wildcard entry from 2013 competition)
2. Ernest Reid, Boisdale of Canary Wharf, London
3. Alex Palumbo, Plateau, London
4. Andrea Signanini, The Bar at The Dorchester, London
5. Dominic Willox, The Tippling House, Aberdeen
6. Henry Yates, The Boilermaker, Nottingham
7. Isabella Newman, The Earl, Bath
8. Steve Georgiou, Bourne and Hollingsworth, London
9. Keivan Nemati, The Zetter Townhouse, London
10. Alix Nardella, Dandelyan, London
11. Ali Reynolds, Hawksmoor Spitalfields, London
12. Michael Lynch, The Devil’s Advocate, Edinburgh
The Malt Mastermind 2014 winner will be announced on Tuesday 18th November 2014.
Ballantine’s has launched the Ballantine’s Golf Club – unique in that it’s an online Golf Club!
Inspired by golf and its lifestyle, it is aimed at those who share an appreciation of golf and a love of fine whisky.
Ian Poulter is the Club’s inaugural Captain and the website is now live and ready for members to open its doors for the first time at www.ballantinesgolfclub.com.
Membership to the Ballantine’s Golf Club is completely free-of-charge and gives golf fans around the world access to exclusive content, invitational events, whisky tastings, VIP hospitality and a range of member rewards, as well as the coveted opportunity to learn from top players and participate in a member-only global golf tournament.
Club Captain Ian Poulter hosted a launch event at the Lake Malaren Golf Club on the eve of the BMW Masters Tournament, at which Ballantine’s is the Official Whisky of the prestigious tournament.
The inspirational golf star, who was joined by celebrated Chinese golfer, Liang Wen-Chong in unveiling the Ballantine’s Golf Club, showcased highlights of the exclusive golf content hosted on the new website to the world’s media, including the first view in China of his revered ‘Moment of Truth’ film, conceived by Ballantine’s and first showcased when plans for the Ballantine’s Golf Club were announced earlier this year.
The online club presents a wide range of contemporary and exciting golf content, appealing to golf enthusiasts who want to get behind-the-scenes of the sport and learn something new, whilst having the opportunity to win ‘money-can’t-buy’ rewards. These rewards include exclusive signed Ian Poulter prints, beautifully crafted handmade golf clubs from Vega and Ryder Cup official prints, painted and signed by world renowned golf artist, Graeme Baxter.
Throughout the season, www.ballantinesgolfclub.com will be updated with further exclusive content including ‘Shotmakers’, which features swing and course management tips from professionals, ‘Captain’s Diary’ updates from Ian Poulter, ‘Off-Course Portraits’ documenting the unique lives of successful individuals in the world of golf, and golf style articles from leading fashion journalists.
Ian Poulter said: “It is an honour to be the Founding Captain of the Ballantine’s Golf Club. Ballantine’s has long had an association with golf and it’s fantastic to be a part of a truly unique club where, like me, the members will share an appreciation of whisky and the spirit of the sport.”
Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s added: “We have a tremendous heritage in golf dating back to 1960 and the Ballantine’s Golf Club now takes our presence in the sport to the next level. In addition to our continued support for tournaments across the golfing calendar, the introduction of the Ballantine’s Golf Club will allow us to reach an increasing number of golf fans who share an appreciation of good whisky, with new and exciting content that has been created with them in mind, all around the world.”
The Midleton Distillery has unveiled Midleton Very Rare 30th Anniversary Pearl Edition – an exclusive, limited edition created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the expression heralded by many whisk(e)y experts as the pinnacle of Irish whiskey.
A true Irish masterpiece and a perfectly balanced exemplar of the Midleton Very Rare style, Pearl Edition is the result of a collaboration between Master Distiller, Brian Nation, and Barry Crockett, Master Distiller Emeritus, who share between them more than 60 years’ distilling experience at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork.
Barry and Brian personally selected a 1984 Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey and a 1981 grain whiskey respectively to blend into a whiskey of exceptional quality. As is tradition, both whiskeys have been matured in American oak barrels, which after 30 years have imparted luscious vanilla and delicate honey flavours.
Local artisans have collaborated to provide exceptional and authentic packaging for the expression, befitting its outstanding quality and rarity. Each presentation pack is bespoke; the Leadbetter family of glassblowers from Jerpoint Glass Studio, Co. Kilkenny, has shaped each bottle individually, which sits in a grand box fashioned from the mightiest Irish oak by some of Ireland’s most-skilled, wood craftspeople from Co. Wexford. The case houses a limited edition, celebratory booklet and a hand-blown miniature of Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition to allow whiskey lovers to taste and share the whiskey without opening the full bottle.
Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition continues the tradition of featuring the signature of the creator on the label. As Master Distiller Emeritus, Barry Crockett returned to craft the expression with Master Distiller Brian Nation, the bottle features both names in recognition of their joint creation.
Brian said: “Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition has been 30 years in the making; 30 years of craft, 30 years of tradition and 30 years of patience. The liquid, its bottle and the presentation box are examples of the finest Irish craftsmanship, and offer whiskey aficionados the ultimate Irish whiskey experience by perfectly capturing our Irish heritage as we look to the future. Pearl Edition sets a new benchmark for Midleton Very Rare and the distillery’s Prestige Collection, as we continue to craft innovative whiskeys to further enhance the Irish whiskey renaissance.”
Barry Crockett, Master Distiller Emeritus, added: “Few things are worth coming out of retirement for, but the opportunity to be a part of the creation of Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition is certainly one of them. The whiskey is Midleton’s most prized possession and represents the greatest milestone since I crafted the first ever edition of Midleton Very Rare back in 1984. It is an honour to be a part of this release and Ireland’s rich distilling heritage, and I hope discerning drinkers and whiskey enthusiasts cherish every drop.”
With only 117 bottles in existence, Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition will be available in Ireland, UK, France, Germany and China, priced at €6,000 or equivalent, from November 2014.
Midleton Very Rare Pearl Edition tasting notes:
The initial fresh herbal notes of crushed garden mint and rosemary, are a testament to the quality of the ex-bourbon barrels in which this whiskey has rested for many years. Soft honey sweetness along with beeswax shows its antique character, while hints of gingerbread combine with toasted oak to compliment some pot still spices.
The soft silky mouth coating is initially honey sweet, then the fresh herbal flavours follow through with a touch of menthol. The spicy notes concentrate, staying sweet with cinnamon and liquorice before the toasted oak adds to the complexity.
The succulence of the herbs and spices is very slow to fade.
London bartender, Myles Davies, of the recently opened Hixter Bankside has collaborated with Jameson Irish Whiskey, creating a cocktail over the last few months by ageing his creation in a Jameson-seasoned barrel.
The cocktail, Autumn Leaves is available for £9.50 and will be on sale at Hixter Bankside until the barrel runs dry.
The cocktail is created by mixing Jameson Irish Whiskey, sweet Vermouth and an apple aperitif from Somerset, and then ageing the mix for several weeks within a Jameson barrel from the distillery in Midleton, Cork. The maturation process in the barrels imparts additional vanilla and wood flavours into the drink, as well as creating a more rounded flavour profile.
Born in New York in the early 1900s, the practice of barrel-ageing cocktails has enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years, and has been led by renowned bartenders including Tony Conigliaro. These cocktails are typically aged in the barrel for six to eight weeks to allow the extraction of wood compounds, the evaporation of volatile compounds and the oxidation of cocktail components, which results in a softer, more rounded drink.
The barrel itself was originally a 200-litre Jameson barrel, which was dismantled and then painstakingly re-assembled by 5th generation Jameson Master Cooper, Ger Buckley, into a 15-litre barrel for Myles’ aged cocktail creation. The barrel will be on display in the bar at Hixter Bankside.
Autumn Leaves recipe and method:
3 parts Jameson Irish Whiskey
2 parts sweet vermouth
1 part Kingston Black (apple aperitif)
Mix through with ice, add a few drops of liquorice bittersand strain into coupe glass or similar.
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