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Week in pictures: 16 – 22 September

This week in pictures features an red ochre, autumnal flavour with a Rioja Masters tasting, a red sky over Scotland, a trip to Gleneagles, and a ‘bloody gin’ in York for Halloween.

Rioja Masters

This week saw db‘s annual Global Rioja Masters competition judged in London, a number of outstanding wines were tasted, with some awarded Masters medals. Look out for a round-up of all the medallists next month.


A vibrant sky showcases Jura’s beachside malt whisky distillery as it gets ready to celebrate sixty years of success this week, culminating in the island’s annual Music Festival.

Located off the west coast of Scotland, Jura Single Malt Whisky has helped to rejuvenate the island’s tiny community.


Douglas Blyde visited “glorious playground”, Gleneagles on Tuesday evening coinciding with it being ranked 32nd best hotel in the world at the inaugural World’s 50 Best Hotels ceremony, having already scooped the “Art of Hospitality Award”. His itinerary included a degustation of cocktails across the property’s two foremost bars, which form but two of 11 hospitality outlets spanning the 850-acre resort in Auchterarder. Here, drinks are created under the considered supervision of Head of Bars, Michele Mariotti, formerly of Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, and in London, Blue Bar at The Berkeley, Sosharu (RIP), and The Savoy.

At the walkaround counter of the grand, pillared Century Bar, which is managed by River Wood (formerly of Heckfield Place) a highlight from the just launched menu included “Breezy”, an unusual yet very successful, Champagne cocktail evocative of the come hither scent of freshly fried fish and chips. Deploying the technique of fat washing, it combined a caper and dill cordial suggestive of tartare sauce, with French fries-enhanced gin. Meanwhile, at the simultaneously cosy and chic, David Collins-designed American Bar, managed by Emilio Giovinazzi (formerly of TRUMP Turnberry) the Juniper martini, starring a choice of Tuscan, Serbian, or Macedonian juniper, is served in a bespoke glass created by designer, Richard Brendon, its crook measured to perfectly encapsulate an olive.

Blyde also tried a savoury, even gamey 11 year old whisky made in collaboration with the nearby Glenturret Distillery, limited to 750 bottles, and the quartet of the latest “Pursuits” releases, bottled by Elixir, limited to 191 sets, including a 26 year old from the gone, but not forgotten Imperial distillery, suggesting autumn grass, resin and blackcurrant tisane. Other UK properties in the 50 Best Hotels list included Claridge’s (No.16), The Connaught (No.22), NoMad (No.46) and The Savoy (No.47).

Glencairn Crystal

Kenny Tweeddale, new product development manager at Glencairn Crystal presented Callum McSorley, winner of The McIlvanney Prize, with a giant Glencairn Glass trophy this week.

The Scottish family glassware company, Glencairn Crystal, has once again sponsored this year’s McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year and the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year, with its famous Glencairn Glass for whisky.

The winners were announced at the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival which took place over the weekend from 15th – 17th September in Stirling. This year’s winner of The McIlvanney Prize is debut author, Callum McSorley for Squeaky Clean (Pushkin Press) and the Debut Prize was awarded to Kate Foster for The Maiden (Mantle).

York Gin

A scary tour guide in ‘Europe’s most haunted city’ has launched a ‘bloodthirsty’ gin in time for spooky season. So-called ‘Mad Alice’ and her Bloody Tour of York have teamed up with York Gin to create a ‘Bloody Orange’ gin. Several nights each week, Mad Alice takes guests on a walking tour of York’s centuries of blood-curdling stories and legends. They are entertained and scared out of their wits in equal measure.

These stories provide the inspiration for the gin which comes in a blood-red bottle with a striking ‘blood-splattered’ label featuring a drawing of Mad Alice herself. A limited number of bottles will also have a red waxed seal, embossed with the York Gin seal, giving the bottle an extra gothic and spooky twist.

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