The following originally appeared on Food Digital on December 5, 2011:
Entrusting your latest whisky product to a group of bloggers* might sound like a risky proposition but the masterminds at Master of Malt, an online spirits company based outside of London, England, have never shied away from a challenge. They also have an immense sense of fun in an occasionally staid business (now there’s an understatement!). Take a moment to read about Professor Ampleforth’s Proprietary Barley Spirit Drink and you’ll quickly get the sense that they might be having just a little too much fun.
Back in the Spring of this year, Master of Malt sent blending kits to ten prominent whisky bloggers. The remit was simple: create the best, blended whisky from a range of grain and malt base whiskies, regional flavor builders, and top quality dressing malts. The recipes would then be submitted to Master of Malt and 1oz (3cl) sample drams would be sold to the public who, in turn, would get to vote for the winner. The winner would then be bottled and sold this Holiday Season.
The competition brought about a unanimous winner and while it was being blended and married the focus turned to naming and labeling. The bloggers agreed that the blend should be named after the Patron Saint of the internet, St Isadore (the encyclopedic Archbishop of Seville who’s life bridged the 6th and 7th centuries). A competition for a label design (these bloggers are writers, not artists, which quickly became apparent!) resulted in a quirky and humorous submission that has more than its fair share of clever internet references.
The blend has now gone on sale and is, aptly for this time of year, a wee cracker! It’s in the Islay style, so a little smoky, with a creamy mouth-feel and a little peppery warmth. Ideal for a chilly winter’s evening. If you’re interested in checking it out for yourself, you can find it here.
Additionally, if you’ve ever dreamed of blending your own whisky then you’ll be very pleased to know that the very same blending kits that were sent to the ten bloggers are now available for purchase from Master of Malt. After playing with the kit for a while and crafting the perfect recipe you, too, can send in your recipe and have Master of Malt bottle your blend. Now there’s something to get the man or woman in your life who has everything!
*Disclaimer: I’m one of the motley crew (Guid Scotch Drink). The others are The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society, Whisky for Everyone, Whisky Magazine, Whiskycast, Glasgow’s Whisky (and Ale), Whisky For Everyone, Connosr, Edinburgh Whisky Blog, and Dr Whisky.