25 July 2017

Rum Insiders Interview - Ian Burrell

The Rum Experience

The Global Ambassador of Rum


How long have you been working in the rum industry?
I have been working in the industry for about 20 years. I started off working as a bartender, then as the UK’s first Rum brand ambassador and then as the World’s first global rum ambassador.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Creating the UK Rum Fest, the world’s first international Rum festival in London back in 2007. Before then, there were no rum events that attracted brands, aficionados, blenders and distillers to educate rum lovers through tastings, masterclasses and seminars. This October we will be hosting our 11th annual event.

Can you remember your first rum, and indeed what it was?
I can’t remember my first rum as I was four days old, but I’m told by mum that it was a 63% ABV Wray & Nephew Overproof rum. My mum is from Jamaica ;-)

What does rum mean to you?
To me it’s more than a spirit, it’s a way of life!

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Five years wiser than I am today ;)

What was your last rum?
I can’t remember as it was a VERY good night. But it was probably aged for several years and drunk neat.

Do you have a favourite rum and food pairing combination?
Rum and chocolate is a great combination, but I especially love rum and cold dry meats such as chorizo, ham, smoked beef and salami.

What’s your favourite rum based cocktail?
It’s hard to nail it down to one, but depending on my mood it would be either a Daiquiri, Rum Manhattan or Rum Old Fashioned.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the rum horizon?
True unadulterated premium rums. Especially from independent bottlers.

What’s the one rum you couldn’t live without?
The one in my glass, the next one or a FREE one ;)

Many thanks to Ian Burrell. Who will be our next Rum Insider? Click back soon to find out!

17 July 2017

Quick Fire Whisky Tasting Notes

Slane Irish Whiskey
Nose: Marks and Spencer's iced spiced buns - warm demerara caramel - cinnamon infused poached pears - Pink Lady apples - Tunnock's dark chocolate caramel wafer biscuits - vanilla fudge - Kirsch soaked Morello cherries - uncooked fruitcake mix - toasted oak - sweet musk - orange oil and something rather florally fresh.
Palate: Bourbon soaked sultanas – Dapple Dandy plums – pink grapefruit peel – lime zest - McVitie's Jamaica ginger cake – bread pudding – vanilla rich Chantilly cream - orange flavoured lollipops - grounds of white and black pepper – wood spice and the subtlest suggestions of freshly chopped mint.
Finish: A vivaciously moreish medium finish, that continues to tease the taste buds with its feisty fruity and sassily spiced wares.
Summary: A superb big bang for buck blended belter, from another new Irish whiskey brand, which is no doubt going to make the most exciting whisk(e)y category of the moment, thrive even further.
Marking Brown-Forman’s (the makers of Jack Daniel’s) first foray into the world of Irish Whiskey, Slane’s initial third party, triple cask blended release, is just a taster of what’s to come, ahead of its new distillery going into production this summer.

7 July 2017

The Botanist Gin Competition

In addition to all things whisk(e)y, we love nothing better than spreading the word of some of our other favourite spirits, and with summer in full swing, we’re well and truly in a “gin ginery, gin ginery, gin, gin, geree” frame of mind.
So to help you pour and explore some other sensational sips over the summer, we’re giving you the chance to win not only one of our favourite malternatives, but also one of our favourite gins, in the form of the multi award-winning Botanist Gin.
Produced at the Bruichladdich Distillery, The Botanist Gin is a progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of Islay. 22 hand-foraged local botanicals delicately augment nine berries, barks, seeds and peels during distillation.
Not only does The Botanist elevate a whole gaggle of gin based cocktails to the next level, in our opinion it makes for an outstanding G&T.
For your chance to win a bottle of this epic allrounder of a gin, click here and email us your contact details along with the phrase that dramming pays:
“The ginning is just beginning,
and I can’t wait for some
ginspired goodtimes!”
*Remember to mark the subject line of your email with: TheBotanistWin
If you’re on Twitter you can also follow us via @TheWhiskyWire and RT one of our related competition tweets for another chance to win!
Competition closes at 11:59 BST on July 24th 2017. You have to be aged 18 years or over to enter!

27 June 2017

Whisky Insiders Interview No.83 - Alwynne Gwilt

William Grant & Sons

The Balvenie UK Ambassador


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started writing about whisky back in 2011 through my website, Miss Whisky, so while I wasn’t technically working ‘in’ the whisky industry, I was definitely surrounded by it.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible experiences since entering the world of whisky so there have been many highlights! The first time I hosted the opening tasting at the Victoria Whisky Festival for almost 100 women is definitely one of them. I was on ‘home’ ground (having grown up in British Columbia, Canada) and the energy in the room was unbelievable. Most recently, having the opportunity to work with Michel Roux Jr on series two of The Balvenie Craftsmen’s Dinner has been fantastic. I’m a huge lover of food (travel and food are my next true life pleasures alongside whisky) and having the chance to work with someone so well known, and so incredibly skilled and respected at his craft, has been a joy.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Technically, the first whisky-based drink that caught my eye was Baileys – my mum used to put it in her coffee as a special treat at Christmas and I recall trying to have sneaky tastes of it! I progressed onto whisky and cola when I was 18, and after a bit of a rough next morning, vowed I’d never drink the stuff again! Luckily, a chance whisky tasting at Milroy’s in Soho in 2008 saved things, and while I don’t remember the exact whisky that changed my viewpoint, I do remember loving whisky in general from that night onwards.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky means friendship, it means joy, opportunity, travel and beautiful memories. I met my partner while on a whisky trip in Scotland, and have made friends around the world because of it so it’s much more than just a drink to me.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I’ve had quite a strange career path – from being a tried and tested journalist from the age of 16, to running my own business, to taking on a full-time position within the whisky industry. The last five years have been filled to the rafters with incredible experiences and opportunities, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be blessed enough in five years’ time to be able to look back with as much joy as I do sitting here now, reflecting on the last five.

What was your last dram?
A Balvenie Founder’s Reserve. I have been entertaining a group up at our distillery and brought along one of our old bottles that we don’t make any more to let everyone try something different. It was delicious and so drinkable – it doesn’t surprise me that it’s a classic!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I love whisky and chocolate, and it’s been something I’ve explored a fair amount over the past few years. I’m currently working with an amazing bean to bar chocolate producer called Pump Street Bakery – one of the only producers to carry out the full process here in the UK – and I love exploring the flavours and terroir of different chocolates, and how they go together. I also won’t say no to whisky and ice cream! Whether that’s whisky infused ice cream, or just whisky poured on top, it’s delicious any time of year.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
I have a lot of love for those rare moments when I can switch off, be at home with my other half, read a book or watch a great film and just pour a dram. It’ll often not be in a nosing glass, but maybe in a tumbler and maybe even with a large hunk of ice in it if it’s a big bold bourbon that needs a bit of taming. I don’t get a huge amount of time at home, and I love those moments of just properly relaxing, not worrying about tasting notes or anything. Just enjoying the space that I’m in at that time.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I’m as much of a fan of something new as the next person, but I think whisky still has a long way to go before it can get a wide appeal amongst a big demographic. Things are changing slowly but there is still a lot of misconception out there about whisky in general. So, my hope isn’t around the next big thing, but rather a growing education and love for whisky globally. The education side is something I enjoy most about my job and there are a lot of amazing ambassadors out there doing the same thing, so hopefully long may that continue!

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
An impossible question Mr Rush! I could never narrow down my love of whisky to one single dram – but that won’t be a surprise to many people. I’m the person ordering two starters instead of a main course at a restaurant because I like to keep trying more things, so this ethos fits with other parts of my life outside whisky.

Many thanks to Alwynne Gwilt. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!