Autumn 2020 Spirits Roundup

The nights are drawing in, the leaves are turning bronze. It can only mean one thing, Autumn is here. It’s my favourite time of year, not necessarily because it’s my birthday, but because… well I just love it. There’s just something warming about sipping a delicious, warming, premium tipple on a chilly evening and that’s what this blog post is all about, sharing with you the must haves for this Autumn.


Storywood Tequila Speyside 14 40% ABV To broaden ones horizons is to expand ones knowledge and acceptance of new experiences. Storywood Tequila Speyside 14 – will broaden your horizons. Born in Mexico and raised in Scotch whisky barrels, this majestic Añejo is a two-sided tequila. Within every amber sip hides notes of toasted oak, roasted nuts and treacle toffee. Harvested from the lowland region of Jalisco and combined with the natural spring water from Volcan de Tequila, that cascades down from the mountains. Like a mash up of your two favourite songs – this spirit juxtaposes Mexico and Scotland in a dram that will leave you  wondering why no one did this already. Drink neat, on ice – or try in an Old Fashioned for a moment of Mexico, and the nostalgia of a cold Scottish loch.

Masters of Malt – £56


Tequila 1800 Silver 38% ABV Having just finished Queen of The South (Netflix), I’ve strangely warmed to tequila as a sipping spirit, on the rocks with a slice of lime of course, and you know what… it’s definitely my new way forward. 1800® Silver is in fact the best selling 100% agave premium tequila and it’s clear to see why when you take in its clean and balanced flavour has hints of sweet prune and roasted pepper. 1800® Silver is double-distilled with a special selection of blended white tequilas adding delicious complexity and character.

Tesco – £30


El Rayo Plato Tequila 40% ABV If you’re tiring of GnT, you may want to try a TnT! No, we’re not trying to ‘blow’ your minds (excuse the pun), but rather open it to what is a unique, if not more refreshing way to enjoy a delicious long drink with tonic. But first, the elephant in the room here, El Rayo Plato Tequila has to be one of the most stylish bottles on the market, with its Art Deco appeal, it oozes class and sophistication, and that’s before you even get inside it! Open it up and you’ll get notes of pepper, pineapple and flowers, which breaks the mould of tequila as we’ve been conditioned to expect it. As recommended, we teamed with a premium tonic and a slice of grapefruit and WOW… smooth, balanced, delicious. Nothing more to say apart from try it for yourself folks, you won’t be sorry.

Direct from El Rayo – £40


Black Fire Tequila Liqueur 33% ABV

Black Fire Tequila liqueur is a Coffee-flavoured spirit that combines the punch of an after-dinner espresso with a digestif. If you’re seeking a safe coffee flavoured liqueur this is not for you – take a walk on the wildside and enjoy the Black Fire enigmatic flavour profile of coffee, chilli, vanilla and agave. Only for the brave it must first be tried straight and then experimented with. It adds a whole other flavour profile to an Espresso Martini – with the vibrance of the chilli adding to the tequila and joining together to leave you wanting more of this unique creation. This spirit is comforting and created using cold maceration and all natural extracts, which are employed to give a clean overall character. Finally the bottle is a site to behold with the aesthetics of a fantastical alchemy lab from a wizards quarters. It is also vegan-friendly.

Master of Malt £20.95


Cut To The Smoke Rum 40% ABV Long time fans of smoked spirits and peaty whiskys – we were ecstatic when we were made aware of Cut To The Smoke Rum, by Cut Rum. The first smoked Rum in the UK! With strong smoked flavour, hints of tobacco and early morning coffee – we fell in love with this down and dirty number – clearly designed for long term Rum connoisseurs looking for their next fix. Not only does this sip well on its own, but is an incredible component to your favourite Rum based cocktail – try a ‘Smoke Storm’ Cut to the Smoke Rum, Ginger Ale, Bitters and a slice of Lime. Delightful. Using American oak chips in their smoking method, the flavours combine to create a complex flavour and one of a kind, trendsetting Rum.

Masters of Malt – £26


Jack Ratt Lugger Rum 40% ABV The first thing that stands out about award winning Lugger Rum is the totally unique bottle. Before we knew it we’d been discussing its quirkiness for 10 mins before getting around to trialling its contents! Produced by Lyme Bay Winery in Devon, this is made with Caribbean rum aged in bourbon barrels and spiced with nutmeg, orange peel, clove and vanilla. On the tongue expect honey and caramel, with underlying banana. The subtle taste of vanilla together with the rich taste of the bourbon casks just makes it so/too easy to drink.  This is a BIG RUM in our books! There’s some interesting history here too… the name comes from Jack Rattenbury, a notorious smuggler in the west of England, and the type of fishing boat he would use to smuggle his contraband.

Master Of Malt – £35.95


Black Tot Finest Caribbean 46.2% ABV This is a funky little number bottled at 46.2% ABV by Elixir Distillers. Black Tot Finest Caribbean is in fact a blend of rums from Guyana, Barbados and Jamaica. On the nose, this is deep and punchy with a sweetened finish – pineapples, bananas and syrup. On the palette expect butter toffee, banana cream, apples and a dark chocolate. To finish, think mocha and roasted bananas. Light the fire, pour yourself a Black Tot over ice, find your favourite chair, close our eyes and instantly transport to very happy times in the Caribbean. To sum up… we like this, perhaps a little too much!

The Whisky Exchange – £40



Highclere Castle Gin 43.5% ABV
In a slim, royal blue glass bottle, this Highclere Castle Gin will sit perfectly in your home bar or drinks cabinet. If you are looking for a stable and supple flavour, the likes of which you have come to expect from higher quality Gins, Highclere Castle is perfect. Absolutely ideal for a classic Martini, Highclere will 100% compliment that bottle of fizz that’s been sat in the fridge looking for a partner.
The three stand out botanicals within this gin are orange peel, lavender and cardamon, and each has a fascinating history. The lavender has grown on the grounds since Roman times, the orange peel is taken from the victorian orangery and the cardamom was a staple used in the estates kitchen, by the Carnarvon family.
Interestingly the castle is also the setting for the well known ‘Downton Abbey’ – pick up a bottle of Highclere Castle for not only for it delightful taste, but also for its truly British heritage.
Master of Malt – £37.95


Adnams Quince Gin 40% ABV Back by popular demand – Adnams Quince Gin was part of their limited run of Gins in 2018 – now due to such great feedback Adnams have re-released it as part of their seasonal range. It is distilled using the ‘London Dry Gin’ method, where the botanicals are added directly to the spirit in the copper pot still. The spirit is then brought to bottling strength to achieve the fullest flavour – and this really shows with this drink. Deliciously fresh, sweet and tart at the same time – it sits wonderfully in a G&T, in a lemonade or in a glass of Prosecco. This one should be on your Christmas list – paired with an opulent cheeseboard and red grapes. £29.99


Masons Orange and Lime Leaf Gin 42% ABV Quite frankly, this is possibly the tastiest, best presented gin we’ve had in a long time. It is an absolute stunner! Starting with the packaging and bottle, this feels far more premium than the very reasonable £30 price tag, ‘big tick’. To taste… well, this tipple is a different level. The combination of these citrus flavours gives a perfectly balanced for a punchy and fragrant gin with a long finish. It’s easy to see why Masons have scored some of the world’s most prestigious awards including Gold Outstanding (with 98 points) at the International Wine & Spirits Competition and for the last 3 years and Gold at the World Gin Awards. Serve with a premium tonic and lime zest to garnish. You’re welcome!
Masons Distillery – £30


Dockyard Damson Gin 28% ABV First introduced to the Britain by the Romans, Damsons archaically called the “damascene” are a delightful little cousin of the plum. Copper Rivet Distillery have introduced this to their Dockyard Gin range – owing to early records showing that they were grown around Medway and were traded by a merchant located in the settlement of Strood, which just so happens to be within 5 miles of their distillery in Chatham. Copper Rivet distill a special gin with the harvested damsons’ peeps and skin, and rest the juice with the gin in Virgin American Oak barrels. This create a fabulously delicate tipple with a warm embrace of jammy sweetness to be enjoyed neat, over ice or added to your favourite mixer – we suggest a Fentimans victorian lemonade, garnished with fresh strawberries.
Master of Malt – £26.95


Cranes Cranberry Gin ABV 37.5% Handcrafted in Cambridgeshire in small batches, Cranes Cranberry Gin uses only natural ingredients and a whole new dimension to a ‘fresh GnT. It’s smooth, fruity and delightfully sharp as you’d expect with a cranberry drink. Couple it with a premium Indian tonic and you’ll immediately pick out the junipers followed by the fruity notes of the cranberry. If you like a dry finish then this should be on your wish list. The beautifully crimson liquid itself with its amazing tones will brighten up any drinks cabinet or bar too!

Amazon – £27


Warners Pink Berry & Double Juniper Non-Alcoholic Gin 0% ABV Non alcoholic gin is gaining in popularity. Hailing from the highly regarded Warner’s distillery in Northamptonshire, we trialled both the Pink Berry and Juniper Double Dry and have to say, both left a rather positive impression. With zero alcohol content, it may not be to all gin drinkers tastes, but once you taste it, you realise that it absolutely earns its place in the drinks cabinet. It’s all about the botanicals here, with the added bonus that you can drink as much as you like and forget about the potential for headaches! Pink Berry notes – fragrant & tangy, combining raspberries and blackcurrant sage with a kick from chilli, ginger and Szechuan pepper. Juniper Double Dry – herby juniper, with woody cinnamon and fragrant, zesty citrus, along with waves of cardamom spice. For the perfect serve: pour 50ml 0% Warners gin into a glass with ice and top up with 35ml of premium Mediterranean tonic water. Garnish with a slice of fresh orange and a slice of fresh ginger for a wonderfully refreshing non-alcoholic yet fully grown up drink.

Virgin Wines – £20


anCnoc Peatheart 46% ABV anCnoc Peatheart is true to its name. Peatiness can be controlled by the amount of peat burnt and the humidity of the barley. Peat smoke produces chemicals called phenols and it is by its phenol content that a whisky’s ‘peatiness’ can be measured. This phenol content is expressed as PPM (parts per million) and to ensure consistency, Peatheart uses barley, specified by the anCnoc Master Blender, malted to 40PPM. Cut by hand using traditional tools, peat is an essential part of the north and west Scottish uplands. This distillery celebrates its heritage in its Whisky. On the nose, the dram gives an initial smoky burst which gives-way to fruitiness. Then pears, citrus and notes of apple with just a touch of tobacco in the background. On the tongue you are presented with smoke laced with leather and sweet stewed apples with a very subtle hint of chocolate. There is simply no other way to enjoy this phenomenal dram than on its own, in your favourite glass.

Master of Malt – £52


Port Askaig 100° Proof  57.1% ABV
Trying Port Askaig is a sumptuous adventure, a powerful mystery, it is distilled in a ‘undisclosed’ location on the inner Hebrides islands of Islay. On the nose damp earthen tones, wet moss and eucalyptus. On the tongue is a sharp and salty tipple with citrus flavours and a hint of fresh peat. Finishing with a strong bold and lengthy smoked and peaty taste. However, the longer it sits in the glass the lighter characters are revealed, underneath the lemon tones. The ocean sea breeze also sticks around throughout. This is a solid (and strong) dram, a reliable go-to for those night where you seek something with a bit more character in your collection. We wouldn’t suggest adding anything to this, except water if you want to experiment with some of the more complex notes.
Master of Malt – £45.90


Glen Moray 12 (American Cask) 40% ABV This is a 12-year-old, entry level, single malt expression from Glen Moray’s Elgin Heritage range, which has been aged in American oak casks. For an award winning whisky in its class it represents really very good value. Glen Moray 12 is smooth, warming and rounded and not overly Smokey as you’d expect from a whisky aged in ex-bourbon barrels. On the tongue expect by fruits and toffee, finishing with blackcurrants, toffee and liquorice. Great work Glen Moray, this is an exceptional whisky for the price and a definite Autumn warmer.
Amazon – £33


The Whiskymaker’s Editions Colheita single malt 52% ABV Welcome to the first in a series of special-edition English single malts from The Lakes distillery in Cumbria. If you’re a fan of English whiskies, you’ll  not be disappointed with this drop. With its light sherry with a dash of porty redness, The Whiskymaker’s Editions Colheita is matured in a combination of ex-bourbon barrels and Colehita Port casks, offering aromas of cherries, plums and candied orange. The palate offers notes of prunes, stewed plums, warm cinnamon spice and soft cream. With a full bodied richness, this makes for a lovely lasting finish. With its creamy, stewed fruits, it feels like Christmas has come early. Love it. With just 5,400 limited edition bottles, you’re going to want to get in early folks!
The Lakes Distillery – £65



Noveltea 11% ABV We’re always one to try something new and pioneering – and Noveltea is up there with the latest methods to enliven the drinks market. Tea infused with alcohol – seems obvious when you think about it, but its just not been done, till now! We were lucky enough to sample their first limited edition – ‘Celebrate’ is made by blending the finest Scotch Whisky with a full bodied loose leaf black tea and infused with warming winter spices including cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. This beverage will suit a cold Winter night, warm fire and a good book – the taste is intricate due to Noveltea’s longer, gentler cold-brew process. Noveltea is a surprising combination of Britains classic beverages meeting in the middle to create something you didn’t know you needed. £24.95


Conkers Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur 25% ABV Coffee lovers look no further – this is a Coffee liqueur, but not as you know it. A tribute to the dramatic jammy fruitiness of a Grade 1 natural coffee, precisely roasted to deliver a bold coffee with liquorice and cocoa, whilst enhancing natural vanillas and hints of stoned fruits and caramel. This dram is a dream for caffeine addicts seeking a more complicated liqueur that is the night, to their day. On the nose it is mellow and malty with a classical earthy tonality you would expect, but on the tongue it hits with a dark chocolate, malty flavour with a hint of ripe berries – finishing with a caramel and coffee. Even better, it is available in decaf, so it won’t keep you up at night.

Master of Malt £30.95


Rogue Wave Vodka 40% ABV Aptly named after the Brewdog founders’ cousin – “One-Armed Alex” – with his good arm floating somewhere in the North Sea due to a freak fishing accident, Alex refused to be left swimming in circles, and instead dived head first into life. He laughed at doctors and went straight back to sailing, throwing fireworks at boats, just because. Revitalising his true ‘Rogue’ spirit. Rogue wave is a great Vodka, it is crisp and clean, with subtle notes of icing sugar and vanilla. It will work perfectly in a Martini and Bloody Mary, as well as neat with ice. It’s no news that the people at Brewdog are making waves with not only their sustainable ethos, but the technicality in which they produce each carefully crafted drink. Rogue Wave is distilled over 7 days, vapour passes through the World’s first triple-bubble copper pot still, before it hits the 19-metrerecification column. Extreme copper contact gives uncompromising quality, filtering just once, so the spirit keeps its soul. Love, love, love!
Brewdog – £21.95


Cazcabel Honey Liqueur 34%  Made with 100% natural honey and golden nectar, with earthy and dry Tequila blanco – Cazcabel Honey Liqueur is a warm and sweet taste of Mexico, with slight notes of smokiness and caramel. This is the type of Liqueur to bring out at the end of the night, whilst enjoying a long table side conversation after a hearty meal with friends. We especially like a ‘Yucatan Sour’ – Cazcabel Honey, lemon juice, egg white and orange bitters with an orange twist for garnish – this fits perfectly with dessert. Worth noting, if you have a sweet tooth, this is the kind of drink that will not last – so expect to explore the Cazcabel range or see this one on the shopping list more than once.
Master of Malt £25.45

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