Glenfiddich #01 IPA Experiment Twitter Tasting

Last night saw us taking part in the Glenfiddich Experimental IPA #01 tasting on Twitter. This is a Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky which was finished off for 3 months in casks that formerly held IPA. The whisky is 43% abv. Also accompanying the whisky was a bottle of Brew 2. This was in fact the IPA which is used to season the casks for the whiskies.

The whisky itself had a lovely golden colour with fresh fruit and a delicately floral note.

Juicy apples and pear with vanilla, and this felt smooth in the mouth. Having poured some into a fresh glass for the serve I was rewarded with some fresh scents of orange and honey, and along with it the Challenger hops started to come through.

On the palate there was ginger and caramel with honey. Touches of spice with hops and the citrus fruit with some oak from the casks.

We then moved on to Brew Two. This was the IPA that was developed and brewed to season the oak casks. This had a distinct orange colour which I wasn’t expecting. Not sure why.

The nose was lemon and hops (obviously) but it was bitter. I could definitely taste those flavours in the whisky albeit to a lesser extent.

Someome asked if I was a beer drinker. This gave me a “been there, done that, bought the t… CAMRA badge and won the bar runner” moment. So yes, I’ve been a beer / real ale drinker. From Bishop’s Finger to Wobbly Bob, Fraoch and even sampling some brews from the “new kids on the block” type breweries, but guess my palate has changed as I just don’t drink them anymore.

Anyway, I digress, this IPA just wasn’t for me. But it told a story.

Now was the time to unleash the blood orange peel from its packet and gently coat the rim of a glass with its flavour before giving it a final twist as it met the IPA whisky and some ice…

I think I finished by saying it was an interesting opportunity to try something different. The IPA explained the tastes in the whisky and the serve highlighted the tastes.

The only whisky serves / cocktails I’ve enjoyed thus far are The Whiskey Jar Manchester G&T which starts off having the glass laced with Laphroaig 10 and the Big Peat Smoky Sour.

Thanks as always to Steve from @thewhiskywire for the opportunity.

Carsebridge 52 Year Old – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

On Saturday 8th April I finally sat down with this dram. And no dry train dramas of my trip down to Newcastle…and the likelihood of an escort from the train by the BTP…  just me and this sample (see my Newcastle Festival blog for the story.)

I have had this since last year so thought I really should open it and see what was inside the bottle.

This was a release from That Boutique-y Whisky Company and it is the Carsebridge 52 year old, Batch 1 and is a Single Grain Scotch Whisky.

Golden colour

The nose is fruity. Along with that there is vanilla and sweet fudge. Grain comes through on the nose and a touch of fleeting treacle. I got a little Caramac bar and maybe a little waft of advocaat. 

Smooth but full on the palate. Caramel and some vanilla again. A gentle warmth but something else is there. Something I’m finding it hard to describe… with a nice finish which continues to give you that sweetness.

Please note these are my thoughts (rightly to wrongly) of the whisky sampled – Sarah

Claxton’s The Single Cask – BenRinnes 19 year old

Lucky old me had a lovely surprise package arrive this afternoon, and who doesn’t like one of them? The label read “Claxton’s” and a smile crept across my lips in anticipation of seeing what was inside…

For those of you unfamiliar with their releases, an excerpt from the Claxton’s website:

In the early years of Scotland’s ancient and most world-renowned industry, many merchants bought single casks of whisky and bottled them as they were, preserving their unique character and flavour. As a family-owned, independent company bound to no single distiller, Claxton’s proudly continue this ancient tradition by hand-selecting individual casks that reach only the highest benchmark.

The marriage of wood and spirit in a cask creates a unique flavour and aroma. As each release of Claxton’s is bottled straight from a single cask, this individuality is preserved and no two bottlings are ever completely alike. This means each release offers the opportunity to discover rare whiskies with exquisite and truly individual tastes which may never be repeated in quite the same way again.

At Claxton’s, the approach of bottling whiskies in their most original form is born from generations of exploration and appreciation of ‘Uisge Beatha’ (the traditional Gaelic term for whisky, meaning water of life). Not a single precious drop has been chill-filtered or has any added colouring, preserving the original flavour of the whisky. Every release is only bottled when the balance between cask influence and spirit is perfect, no matter how long this may take. Claxton’s value quality of taste and aroma above all else…”

Inside my delivery was a rather lovely sample of a BenRinnes Single Malt, this was matured in a hogshead cask and is 19 years old.

This has a lovely deep golden colour.

The nose is very fruity and floral, almost perfumed and it really sits well with me. A smear of vanilla and a touch of cream with a tiny bit of fresh orange. Sugar and spice.. and all things nice. The fruit just keeps coming back to draw me in.

Time for a sip. There’s some pepper there, and some malt. The spice just tingles gently in the mouth and it tends to make your juices flow. Some burnt sugar maybe, which gives it a tempered bitterness. The finish is warm and woody with lingering warmth from the heat of the spice and a slightly sweet yet bitter cocoa at the end. As I finish this review, I am sat just enjoying some last unexpected sweet flavours.

Thanks to Claxton’s for the sample 🙂

Please note these are my thoughts (rightly to wrongly) of the whisky sampled – Sarah

The Glenfiddich Distillery and Aberlour Distillery Tour

Last Sunday I decided it was time to escape the city limits and go where the views are breathtaking and the air is smattered with the remnants of the Angel’s Share…yes I was heading to a couple of Speyside distilleries…

On the way there was a reminder of a distillery I want to visit again this year, The GlenDronach. A definite must redo visit.


What a gorgeous day as the first view of Ben Rinnes welcomed us to Moray (there’s a signpost.) Clear views and hopes of some delicious discoveries filled my mind.


So the next stop was going to be The Glenfiddich for lunch. If you haven’t been for a tour, or even popping in for lunch. Then it’s a must do. You’ll enjoy the tour and a wee treat in the shop or the Malt Barn restaurant which also has a fine selection of drams on offer. As well as a delicious selection of food. I had already decided what to have, the Cullen Skink and as always it was superb!

After a quick browse round the distillery shop – accompanied by willpower it was time to head off to the Aberlour distillery.

Emma the guide gave us a very interesting and informative tour of the distillery and told us of its wonderful history and not only that but of the village itself. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only thing from Middlesbrough as I looked at the steel beams in the dunnage warehouse (lol.)

We had a fab tasting at the end which included the new make spirit at 63.5 abv. This would help clear anyone’s sinuses. It was nice trying the A’bunadh again but I have to say the winner for me was this and yes I’ve taken a bottle home 🙂

A Remarkable Regional Mix Up! Instagram Tasting

I was very lucky to have received a lovely email inviting me to a series of online Whisky & Cocktail tastings on Instagram…what a treat! This was to include two whiskies which I had been eager to try, Timourous Beastie and Big Peat.

March 21st quickly arrived and after a quick trip to Tesco for ice cubes, I was ready to go.

It was great fun interacting with everyone and making two cocktails up as we went along, the first was an Old Fashioned using Timorous Beastie, Angostura Bitters (cutest teeny bottle ever) with ice, and the second the Smoky Whisky Sour with Big Peat. This was made using the sugar syrup, lemon juice, some powdered egg white and Big Peat. I have to say this cocktail more than hit the spot, the smokiness of the whisky against the sour of the lemon and the sweetness of the syrup was an absolute delight!

Thanks to Jan and Douglas Laing / Remarkable Malts for a wonderfully tasty and memorable evening…

UK vs. USA Twitter Tasting

On the 22nd March I had the opportunity of taking part in the UK vs. USA twitter tasting. This would consist of two rounds between Glen Grant and Wild Turkey.

Round 1 –

Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky – 10 year old 40% abv


Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey – 50.5% abv

First whisky of the evening was the Glen Grant 10 year old. The colour was rich and golden, and the nose was light and fruity. Barley and custard creams delighted the palate along with apples and pears. Vanilla ad sweet custard with the feintest waft of nail polish remover (not a bad thing.)

The palate delivered a wonderful apple crumble with delicious custard, pears and a malty flavour. A bit earthy but with cinnamon, sweeties and perhaps some strawberry foams. The finish was dry, and that malt remained. It was slightly bitter with a touch of black pepper and a slight warmth.

Next up was the Wild Turkey 101 bourbon whiskey with its amber colour. This delivered a lovely vanilla, zesty orange with spices and caramel. It reminded me a little of the perfume “Opium”…I got a hint of something delicious on the nose that I still can’t put a name to. Oak and custard also make a delicious appearance.

The palate was bold & brashy heat with some spice and bitter cocoa. The finish was delicious with peppery oak.

Round 2

Glen Grant Single Malt Scotch Whisky – 12 year old 43% abv


Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey – 40.5% abv

First up in round 2 was the Glen Grant 12 year old. A lovely bright gold. The nose delivered pear drops with some apple and honey. Vanilla accompanied a wonderfully fruity scent with something reminiscent of tea, and saccharine with a slight perfume and a touch of menthol. The palate was apple pie and with some sweet custard again and a wee sprinkling of spice. This had a long fruity finish.

And last but not least was the Wild Turkey Rye whiskey with its vanilla and oaky smoky nose and its rich deep yet bitter palate. The finish was oak and burnt caramel and sugar, sweet yet bitter.

I have to say it was round 1 for me. And a very close split between the Glen Grant and the Wild Turkey Whiskey. Both had their plus points and both equally enjoyable.

Thanks to Steve from the Whisky Wire for the samples and to Glen Grant and Wild Turkey Whiskey – thanks too!

Slàinte 🙂IMG_4103

Douglas Laing Reveals the Old Particular “Consortium of Cards” Collection

Imagine my surprise! I returned home from a lovely time in Newcastle to an intriguing padded brown envelope from Douglas Laing. And as the title tells you, inside there was a new release from them. This is the first limited edition within the Old Particular range, and it is themed around a deck of playing cards, with four releases planned in 2017.

The series has launched with the “Queen of the Hebrides”, an Old Particular Laphroaig.

This particular single malt whisky is 18 years old and 50% abv.

First of all you notice the lovely golden colour of the whisky.

The nose is unmistakingly Laphroaig, with sweet smoke, there’s treacle toffee too, a bitter sweetness which I can’t fully describe, and old leather. It’s soft and creamy and very enticing.


The peated smokey flavour slips effortlessly into your mouth, you know its there, but it’s not too intense. There’s a smoothness and it’s sweet but at times there it is.. a touch of intensity as it just tinges the insides of your cheeks and react by gently drawing them in, to savour it on the palate.

The finish is warm and delicious, the smoke remains there on the palate.

Some whiskies take me to moments, be they real or not. Simply taking some time out of the here and now and slipping off to somewhere else can be the most wonderful experience… perfect!

I’d like to say a huge thanks to Douglas Laing for sending me this sample.