Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…
Our story starts in the early eighties with the birth of three young boys who would go on to become great friends. Despite following very different academic and career paths en route, they built Master of Malt together and became fellow travellers on a mission.
Two of these boys, Justin and Ben, were born on exactly the same day so were, literally, friends in the crib. The third, Tom, would cross their paths as a seven year old.
The years passed with scraped knees, hair-raising escapades, and all the usual trials of youth; until, as happens with all youngsters, their tastes and temptations became altogether more adult. We’re talking, of course, about the wonders of the grape and the grain. We’re talking about booze.
It wasn’t long before these blossoming adolescents shunned the world of commodity lager, and developed an interest in fine spirits – single malt whisky in particular. This journey of discovery was made so much easier by virtue of Justin’s family having a close relationship with a whisky shop based in nearby Tunbridge Wells – Master of Malt.
Master of Malt originally started trading in 1985 as an independent bottler, fulfilling orders for single malt whiskies from the world’s best distilleries (something we still do, to award-winning effect) via mail order (we don’t do this anymore, thanks to the advent of the interwebs).
Rum is such an evocative spirit. It transforms, transcends and instantly transports the drinker to the sun-washed shores of the West Indies; white sands, palm trees and blue seas. It always has a sense of joviality, in part thanks to its Caribbean origins, and also because of the unabashed decadence surrounding a libation made from sugar.
Whisky (or whiskey) is produced in various guises all over the world. Japanese Whisky, Irish Whiskey and American Whiskeys (including Bourbon) are challenging Scotch Whisky, with of them many winning notable awards and accolades. Meanwhile, whiskies from countries as diverse as India, Canada, Sweden, Wales, Taiwan and England are also becoming increasingly noteworthy in both quality and abundance.
Synonymous with British culture, gin is in the midst of a boom and is today enjoyed worldwide, most commonly in a Gin & Tonic or a Martini. In essence, it is a spirit with a predominant flavour of juniper berries, which account for its tangy crispness and refreshing attributes - and we've got the best gin selection around.
Vodka is enjoyed around the globe thanks to its incredible versatility and, surprisingly, even its variation of flavour. Whilst typically enjoyed in the West as a means of adding spirit to mixed drinks, thanks to the superb quality and attention-to-detail found in craft vodkas, flavoursome, premium and small-batch options—not to mention flavoured vodka—is really burgeoning on the drinks scene.
What is tequila? Well, it is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, 65 km (40 miles) northwest of Guadalajara, and in the highlands (Los Altos) of the western Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila is most often made at a 38% alcohol content (76 US proof) but can be produced between 35-55% ABV.