Master of Malt Mystery Speysides

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Distillery/Brand: Master of Malt | Region: Speyside | ABV: 43

On the eve of my 40th birthday I wanted to do something different but just couldn’t figure out what.

Finally after much rummaging through my bar and in the back of my closet I discovered three samples from Master of Malt of their mystery Speyside series.

The first was the 30 year old (5th Edition), the second a 40 year old (2nd Edition) and the 50 year old (4th Edition). I had ordered these 30ml samples a while ago and completely forgot about them.

Until now that is.

Master of Malt are accomplished independent bottlers, apart from being overly priced online retailers, and I generally consider their wares worthy of being sampled.

These mystery Speysiders by Master of Malt come in different ages and are acquired from different distilleries. If someone knows what goes into these please let me know. I will be forever very grateful.

Below are my notes on all three which were sampled in succession.

Speyside 30 Years (5th Edition) – 43%

Nose (23/25) : Mild sherry. Orange zest. Marzipan. Touch of oak. Cumin. Grains. Some oatmeal. Hard boiled sweets. Lychee bubblegum. Pineapple. This is quite a wonderful nose.

Palate (22/25) : Mangos. Mangos. Mangos. In fact there is a Pakistani breed of mango called the Sindhri and this is what it smells like. So much fruit in this. Bananas. Then mild spices. Milk chocolate. And there’s that mango again. Very nice.

Finish (23/25) : Mild spices. Little oily. Some oak. What I like is that it goes down without a trace and 30 seconds later comes straight back up.

Balance (22/25)

Overall a very nice whisky. My score is 90 points

Speyside 40 Years (2nd Edition) – 43%

Nose (24/25) : Deep sherry. Ginger. Cinnamon. Dark chocolate. Hint of oak. Cocoa beans. Coffee leaves. Under-ripe red berries. Dark warm Manuka honey. Prunes. Touch of sea salt. Coca cola. Orange. This is one of the finest Speyside noses I’ve come across. So robust without even a hint of tiredness. The oak stays strong and the spirit comes through.

Palate (23/25) : Chocolate. Fruit cake. Cinnamon. Coffee beans. All spice. Brownies. Nice crisp palate. All flavors on point. Could it have been a little more complex? Sure. But still pretty darn good.

Finish (23/25) : Coffee. Apple. Oak.

Balance (24/25)

This is a gorgeously flavored whisky. Not a single day of it’s 40 year life seems like it was lethargic. Still a spring in it’s step. Love it!

My score is 94 points.

Speyside 50 Years (4th Edition) – 43%

I was going to start this description by saying that this was probably my oldest whisky that I’ve tasted and then I remembered that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling a dram of the 64 year old Dalmore Trinitas. So in your face 50 years!

Nose (22/25) : Apricot. Lot of fruit. Light sherry. Light honey. Pineapple. French toast. Feels quite fresh though I feel that maybe the flavors are literally on the verge of fading. They haven’t but might have any second. White wine Chardonay. Maple syrup. Pears. Guava. And the tiniest and I mean tiniest whisp of smoke.

Palate (22/25) : Very smooth. Digestive biscuits. Tropical fruits. That tiny tiny smoke again. Mild spices. Milk chocolate. Soft fruits. Sweets. Nice smooth palate. I still feel, like the nose, the palate was just about going to fall out but it didn’t. Still a very nice tasting whisky.

Finish (22/25) : tropical fruits. Very mild spices.

Balance (22/25)

Good dram. Just because it’s 50 years old doesn’t make it sublime, mind you. I’ve had better but I’ve had far more worse. And with that I give it 88 points.

This now concludes my homage to the three decades on my 40th birthday which, by the way, just came in as I was writing this review.

I’m glad I brought in this little milestone doing what I enjoy doing the most.


The Lost Distilleries Blend – Batch 4

Lost Distilleries Blend Batch4
Distillery/Brand: The Lost Distilleries Blend | ABV: 50.9% | Color: Pale Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 21 | Balance: 20 | Rating: 84

OK. First off. I’m not a whisky snob. I like blends as much as single malts as much as bourbons as much as grain whisky. I do not thumb my nose at anything. If it tastes good it has my approval.

So let’s get that out of the way.

And at the same time I try my hardest not to be influenced by anyone. Be it awards or distinguished whisky critics. The latter being the toughest thing for me.

And so I found it a little hard to put together my review of the multi-award winning, critic loving Lost Distilleries Blend Batch 4.

Master of Malt are fast becoming extremely competent independent bottlers. This includes their Master of Malt bottlings, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, The Secret Distilleries, The Lost Distilleries and not to mention their own Vodka, liqueurs and bitters. So these guys know what they’re doing.

The Lost Distilleries Blend series is, as the name suggests, spirit from closed distilleries put together in a blend. No ages are given and neither are percentage of whiskies inside it. On the face of it I think it’s a brilliant idea. Very marketable.

The batch four includes whiskies from Rosebank, Littlemill, Imperial, Mosstowie, Glen Keith and Port Ellen.

Nose: Very sweet. Overripe mangoes and apricots. Vanilla and chocolate orange with a wisp of smoke (Port Ellen?). Custard. Dry sherry. Hint of wood polish and a sprinkle of very mild green herbs. Smells very Speyside-y to me. In a nice way.

Palate: Spicy. Much too spicy. Almost enough to overpower. I don’t like that. Some mild honey. Orange sponge cake. Apple strudel with cherry on top. But again lop sided spice.

Finish: Long. Mixed fruit salad.

The nose is decent enough. Nothing out of the ordinary that would make me go damn. The palate is simply not in sync for me. The finish is OK.

I really, really tried to like this. Multiple sittings. Letting it breathe for longer. Just didn’t cut it.

What did make a difference was water. A few drops and the bouquet just erupts in an explosion of vanilla. Nothing but vanilla every where. The palate mellow. The custard becomes stronger and sweeter. The finish more fruity.

I’m guessing the panel at the WWA dropped some water in this. But I’m going to have to mark it straight.

Rating: 84

Benrinnes 14 Year Single Cask 1998 Master of Malt


Distillery/Brand: Benrinnes
Region: Speyside
ABV: 55%
Color: Deep Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 23
Balance: 22

The guys over at Master of Malt are quite accomplished independent bottlers and their range of self-titled single cask releases are supposed to be quite delightful.

So I was glad to finally make acquaintance with this 14 year old sherried Speysider from Benrinnes.

Distilled in 1998 it spent 14 years in a sherry butt before being bottled at 55% as one of 570 bottles. And I tell you this is a damn fine whisky.

Nose: Lemony sweet and sharp watermelon at first. Allow it to breathe for a dollop of warm toffee, cloves and cinnamon. There are rum soaked bananas sprinkled with salt and lovely drying Vermouth.

Palate: Citrus first and then a chocolate spice rack on the heels of stewed peaches and red grapes. The flavors are on point and made that much more intense with the high alcohol strength and that much more delicious with the creamy mouthfeel.

Finish: Gorgeously long with lip smacking spices.

This is quite a fantastic drop and just goes to show how good the guys over at Master of Malt really are.

Rating: 90