Inside the Bottle: Why I love you…

I’ve had a number of draft versions of Inside the Bottle posts half-written in my draft folder since January, all waiting for me to finish them, or should I say “waiting for me to give them some attention?” C’est la vie.

Probably a mix of both to be honest with you, the words dance in my mind as I fall asleep, I wake knowing I should write something…but then the moment is gone once more. Something crops up, barging in on the thought I was in, robbing me of that moment to just think!!

What is love, really? Is it a feeling, is it being loved, is it loving someone? Some thing?

I think that sometimes the word “love” can be bandied about as being the “in thing”… but to me, love is special. To say “I love you” is such a wonderful thing, yet, I seldom say it unless I feel it in my heart and soul.

Three little words I’m very careful of saying.

I grew up not really knowing what love was, I never had that feeling of being cherished, even wanted. In latter years I’d told someone “I love you…”, their response came back as “I still love you pet”. I’ve questioned that a lot these last few months. Weighing up the past that hangs so heavily around my shoulders…pulling me back, dragging me down.

The realisation that all I remember & imagined from then till now, well, it’s true. Every fear. It’s too late to close the door on the skeletons. They fell to the floor as the questions I asked recently opened the closet doors. They’re all broken now. No putting them back together.

Then as I was falling asleep the other night, it came to me. Why do I love YOU?

I feel this way because even though I’ve seen you sitting there watching me, I’ve passed you by… but you let that be.

You’ve never judged me.

You allow me to indulge in you even if that’s a little indulgence…that’s okay. You let me be me… you have been there for me, waiting.

You’re the one I have turned to in good times. You’ve consoled me in the sad times, if I’ve needed you. You make me feel at ease, you relax me. You soothe my heart & help pull me into happy memories, the ones that make me smile. You make me feel mmmm…

You’ve never once “poked fun at me” for your own pathetic reasons. Your patience with me is unfaltering.. I’ve not dared touch you on occasion, for fear of taking advantage of the way you make me feel… but that’s okay. Nowt wrong with a little restraint eh?

You excite me. You tease me. You remind me of the freshest of days, sunny days, cuddle me close cold days. You’re teasing me right now, softly, I sense you. A delicious scent of vanilla, caramel and hints of chewy fruit and some honey… Oh I could gaze at your legs for hours, the way they hug the sides of the glass, almost reluctant to slip so slowly down the sides.

What’s that? Taste you? Oh go on then… lovely stewed fruits, maybe a little nutty. That’s okay. That lovely sweetness as I swallow, it reminds me of rich caramel sweeties, accompanied with a delicious black coffee. Mmmm, you know I have a soft spot for you. The finish is rich fruit.

You’re not alone, I have a soft spot for a few of you, you all sit there waiting for me to pick you up, give your cork a good tug, and eventually savour what’s in my glass. Perfect!!

Inside the Bottle: Togetherness

Today is World Mental Health Day.

We are all fully aware that this year has been a fraught one, a hard one, a test. And it’s only October. 

This got me thinking when I was lying in bed last night (hoping I’d sleep & therefore dream…and writing this) that sometimes this year has felt like togetherness has somehow fallen by the wayside. It has happened through circumstances beyond our control. I like having control.

The world has become so bitter, so bloody angry… and it’s sad. Really it is. 

Believe me, I’m not at all interested in politics, I guess that’s my upbringing, but I see that there is blame not only within different political parties, but also country against country too…and let’s face it we ain’t that big an island!! We should get along. 

I hasten to add, I don’t agree with what any “leader” has offered by way of “dealing” with these unprecedented times either. Almost daily I see complete and utter (I’ll be polite) muppets making their own rules…selfishly too, and perhaps at the possible cost of other’s lives. That’s what some people have come to…so I steer clear of the news. 

We need to avoid the misery and look for the good. Be calm in our thoughts. Look forward to better times once again…

But I digress.

There’s going to be whisky in here…

Well it’s Saturday now. It’s absolutely bloody chucking it down… But I’m sat in my car at a place I like to call my “thinking spot”, and I’m listening to music. I do think music soothes the soul… It can nourish the heart too. However daft that might sound. It does that for me. Some tunes are making me smile as I listen to them, others give me a strength, they spur me on. Give me faith in things… (NOT in a religious sense…) They are on my “thinking tunes” list for good reason. That’s all I’ll say.

It’s lovely and still out there. Staring into the distance, imagining the view zonder a city, sprawling hills replacing them. That would be nice. I guess that’s why I took some time out and headed to Dufftown again the other day. 

My first stop was the Mortlach Distillery, which is tucked down on the left hand side as I drive in. The sky was stunningly blue so I stopped to take a few pics. I do like snapping pics of the pagodas. When turning to leave I spotted the worm tubs at the back…didn’t manage to get a pic this time. I have just poured a little sample of the 20 year old Mortlach that I was kindly given by Colin (Dunn) in Stoke last year. The only other bottle I have is the Murray McDavid 1994 21 year old (Mission Gold) but it’s still not open yet.

Next an opportune visit to Glenfiddich and thankfully they had a space so I could enjoy a coffee (and a comfort break, lol) in their newly opened whisky lounge. I think it’s the right time of year to be inside…even with a mask. A roaring fire in the room with the bar. I think that had I stopped for a dram, they probably would have had to grab me a blanket and let me cuddle up on a chair and just soak it all in. Turn the lights off when you go… Bliss!!

Leaving the visitor centre and heading to the car, the heavens opened… and I had another distillery in my sights. This was the Glenrothes Distillery on Rothes. Despite the rain I jumped out to take some photos. The brave little ducks in a row were lovely to see as were the “distillertrees”… the beautiful colours of the leaves against the striking colour of the trunk and branches covered with Baudoinia Compniacensis aka distillery fungus. Not forgetting the distillery itself. If you’ve enjoyed any Glenrothes releases from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, then you’ll see the graveyard on the label and this is across the road from the distillery.

Hoping the weather would improve I took to the road again, passing a few more distilleries on the way, the last one I saw was BenRiach. I headed for the coast, and way (way) in the distance across the Cromarty Firth, far beyond what my eyes could see was the Invergordon Distillery.

It was then time to head home, en route stopping at the lovely picturesque Strathisla Distillery. I do love it from the back… and that’s where I headed. A little too early for the lights on the bridge to be one, but still lovely to see. I love seeing the back of it and have taken a few pics of this view over the years. 

I know others enjoy seeing these photos too, a lady on Twitter said “Just saying hi and thanks for the “postcards” while we stay put for now”, and if my visits and photos give some joy, then my work is done. 

So, I’ll finish with this thought, that while we cannot be together physically at this time, perhaps we can share moments through images & memories of a journey which will continue…one day. 

Inside the Bottle: Something to Make Me Smile

Inside the Bottle: Something to Make Me Smile

There are times when you just need to fall into a memory… fall into a feeling. In doing that the “arms” of that moment are holding you tight, and there is almost a sense of reassurance. I think we all need a little reassurance from time to time.

When I feel like that, I reach the point where I just settle into moments that feed my spirit. Feed my soul. Feed me. I tend to reach for something that soothes my soul and brings that knowing smile back to my lips during these times.

These bottles that I have, as I might have hinted at previously, they were all bought for a reason. The whisky that I had a dram of while “thinking” was one I bought from an auction, yes I probably paid a little more than I should have, and yes I probably shouldn’t have opened it as soon. But I did.

I think I had always wanted to own an XOP bottling from Douglas Laing, there is something about the presentation of the bottles, the wooden box, the label, the special something that lies Inside the Bottle. I’d read a blog about a 25 year old Aultmore, cask 11066, it was distilled in February 1990, and bottled in February 2016 at 54.4%.

This little beauty had spent its life in a Sherry Butt. Thankfully I managed to buy a sample online… I had an “oh…” moment when I opened it. The colour in that sample was so rich, it felt like it was saying “go on, open me up, take me…” just beckoning me. It had captured my heart… and after sampling it, the hunt was on. I had to find a bottle.

After a few months, I did indeed find a bottle…time to smile. It was mine. All mine. The day I opened it, well I took my time. There is nothing more satisfying than building anticipation…slowly breaking the seal, removing the stopper, “plop”… open. Oh that aroma.


What is revealed in these whiskies can take you off in to a dream… and maybe I’m silly or just always hoping, but I do believe dreams can come true. Sometimes, just sometimes all we need is a little patience and lot of hope. I am a serial daydreamer… and I am off in one while I write this, you do know you use more muscles to frown than you do to smile, so yes, I am smiling.

Ahhh the seductive aroma of rich fruit, caramel, black cherry and berries…full bodied and inviting, like the figure of a Rubenesque woman… I am sat with some moist fruitcake made with rich brown sugar. I have the scent from the bag of sultanas as it was waiting to go in the cake mix along with some deliciously stewed fruits. There are some lovely spices. Dusty dark chocolate makes an appearance on the senses. The empty glass echoes the aroma of sitting in a cosy drawing room, old books sit on the shelves… while sat reading, enjoying the comfort of a leather chair, whisky beside me, its scent filling the air around me. Is that someone bringing me a black coffee? A slight hint of tobacco from an old cigar tin I just found on a shelf. Heaven scent…smiles in a glass.


My thoughts have drifted off as I am enjoying the moment, a crackle from the fire brings me back to the here and now, the allure of wanting to taste it is too strong “if I don’t do this now, I might never do it…”

That first taste is so full, so moreish… and I know I love a nice mouthfeel. There is a little caramel there, maybe it’s a little burnt. Delightfully dark chocolate. Sherry soaked fruit, sultanas and raisin. Black tea bitterness. Black cherries and a little black pepper. A creak of leather as I shift to get a little more comfortable. I could spend hours with this, the finish is long… those flavours remaining on my lips, and my palate, well it just leaves me wanting more.

Smile, and the World Smiles With You… A Little Review of 2019

Smile, and the World Smiles With You…

While I was giving some consideration to the title of this blog, I was sat somewhere very quiet… my thoughts drifting to happy times, the times where a smile dances on my lips, and I feel at home in the thought and recollection of that moment.

Surely we all have those times? I’m blinking sure we need them!!

That’s what counts.


Whisky Life

If you have seen me out and about, then you know where I have been, and those places have been fun… and thorougly enjoyable (on occasion.)

I just wish some people would get off their bloody high horse’s and be… normal. Normal is good. I soooo love normal people. Better a giggle and a catch up, then being stood thinking “huh, why did I try?” Despite being shy, I will actually speak to strangers, people at bus stops etc., that simple interaction could be the only contact that person has, so kindness should prevail. Always.

I actually wrote something about this earlier in the year, the whisky side of life. You can have a read here: Inside the Bottle: Thinking


Real Life…

As I and other’s have posted recently, there are more links and numbers in this post by Sorren – there are those who are less fortunate than us, and times when people simply cannot see through the fog… the black dog biting at their ankles. Worries, pressures etc. etc.

These people need our not only support, but that of professionals. There is nothing sadder (or scarier) than seeing a family member or friend so troubled that they are looking for a way out, and when you cannot help them despite trying, you hope the help they need will come swiftly to allow them the strength to go on or the want to live.

Samaritans 116 123

Mind 0300 123 3393 or text 86463



IMG_2109Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Atom Brands for inviting me to be part of the Dram Good Club, the tastings and also the whisky advent calendar.. and my Whisky Santa present, it’s all been utterl-y delicious and utterl-y awesome!! A big hug to the “guv’nor” Dave for being Dave. Also, Emily and Ros too.

Steve Rush The Whisky Wire a huge amount of thanks to you too!! Thanks for allowing me to be part of the online tastings, both Twitter and Instagram… a fantastic way to develop both my knowledge and palate in the fine company of others.

Greg from Great Drams also, the tastings you had were fab too, especially the Dewar’s of Aberfeldy tasting, the 40 year old was delicious!!

Ant and Dec aka Andy and Stu for their humorous comments and general support and loveliness… their podcasts are more than well worth a listen too, even in bed. Ha ha!! Maybe that’s just me…

I have had some lovely distillery visits again in 2019. Having Speyside a stone’s throw away from me is wonderful and I’m very fortunate to be in a position to just get in my car and go… Meeting Rachel Barry, which felt like meeting an old friend while at BenRiach and online support of my blogs and thoughts has been fantastic too!!


I haven’t blogged quite as much as I wanted to, and I still have things to catch up with. That said, the whiskies I have tried, including those from my own collection (if I can call it that?) have been delcious to sit with…even ones I have had for a couple of years.

Some of my favourite tastings & thoughts from the year:

Auchentoshan Distillery Exclusive

Invergordon – 42 Year Old – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Boutique-y-licious Baby!

The English Whisky Company | Tweet Tasting

Thanks to Dominic Roskrow for agreeing to let me post my responses to the questions he’d asked me, and some lovely comments from Andy Watts –  If You Ask Me…

Glenfarclas 2003 Distillery Exclusive 2019

Bimber Distillery Tweet Tasting

Dumbarton 22 Year Old – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Three Ships 6 Year Old – Batch 1 – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

Icons of whisky Scotland 2020

So it was a huge surprise to see my name on the shortlist for “Communicator of the Year”!! Believe me, it was also a huge honour and delight to see it there too, thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me…even though I didn’t win, it’s the taking part that’s important too!! Congratulations of course to the winners!!



I know I love to drift off into daydreams, or spend time listening to music while looking through my photostream. Memories can evoke a feeling that gets you through the day (happy days, travel days, sad or lonesome days, whatever you feel days!! ((I’ve said before, you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely, though it’s also true that I like my time alone… there are subtle differences to each.))

It is escapism.

A smile can hide so much, yet a smile can also reveal so much… it can even be about being in the right place at the right time.

I know facing some people and situations this year has left me feeling stronger (about bloody time!!) and bollocks to the rest… I’ve spoken up, which was refreshing.

Sometimes we face hard times, but you can either succumb to them, or let them remind you that you are strong… stronger than you or I might think!!

Whisky in Bottles

I have been really lucky and fortunate to be able to buy some more bottles of whisky…and so much for me not buying any more, at least I’m sure that was what I said in June, July, August…?


Sweets for My Sweet

Sugar for my honey…

My whisky chocolates (with ample amounts of whisky deliciousness) have been so well received. Even the “Rene Yell” truffles…

Please don’t give up hope of trying them (as explained below, there were some constraints this year) and 2020 is just around the corner, and I am still here!! So keep your eye’s peeled…


To those that love to say “nom nom, it’s all gone !!” thanks for your custom and support throughout the year. And the feedback too of course.


To me, friendship is so important… to be able to have someone who listens to you, and to be able to be there for them also. To have someone to laugh with, be silly with, to honestly be myself with… this is what matters.

So, if you have been there, through the quiet times, the tough times, the smiley and memorable times… thank you. I truly mean that.

Life is full of uncertainty but that should’t ever stop us from trying.


A passion for change, a desire for more, a thirst for adventure, sheer determination, faith, call it whatever you need to. This can be all it takes to achieve something that could take your breath away!!

All that is left to say is this, Merry Christmas!! (Okay, maybe a little late… I was writing this on Tuesday morning while multitasking ((believe it or not, I was lost in nice thoughts while writing this.))

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and I wish you health, happiness and prosperity in 2020.

Love, Sarah ♥ x x x 

PS. click on the blue…they are links

PPS. thers’s a little more to read below the photographs

Real Life…If I should Explain?

It has been a funny old year…not so much funny ha ha, more odd and tiring funny. Due to the latter I have been taking action… You see, if you don’t respect yourself, then how can you expect others to?

Maybe I shouldn’t explain, there again, maybe I should…

Some can empathise as to how utterly debilitating this can be (taking its toll on your health for example – perhaps leaving you rundown and all that.) Others wouldn’t know empathy if it smacked them round the face with a wet fish!!!

Believe me, I am always always looking for the good things to come, being positive and upbeat. Being grateful and happy… however, there can be a sadness that breathes down your neck…lurking in the corner, waiting to pounce. Merely being reminded by someone that your lives have been tough the last 13 years can be the last thing you want to hear…

Pardon my French, but I really do wish it would just fuck off !!

A few weeks back we thought we were about to lose Mum, thankfully she has stabilised, but she is still so frail and poorly. You can feel so helpless in that all you can do is hold a hand, stroke her hair and talk to her, and hope she can hear the words of love that are being spoken to her.

It is also sad that I’ve lost contact with some… but that’s life.

Struggles and/or pressure can make us withdraw. Whether intentionally or not, maybe it’s what we need, or it just happens. That space. That time.

If I’ve not said hello, don’t turn your back on me. Whether figuratively or literally…I’ve had that done. It can make you feel less of yourself, if you allow it to. I think it says more about them than it does me… I’m not offended, I’m kinda just saying.

I’ve thought about friends and acquaintances, and those people I would normally see out and about at festivals. If I’ve not liked or commented on things, don’t think it’s because I’m not interested. I am. It’s just the way its been.

In life, we don’t only deal with ourselves, we are there for friends and loved ones. Work can become busy or things can happen, and you might forget about checking timelines or whatever…

But there is still a person there too. Thanks to those that do say hello… etc. Maybe you have to coax people out on occasion…some of you have.

Saying all that, I do hope you’ve had a good year. I hope you’ve been blessed with happiness and good times. I hope you’ve made memories to look back on later.

See y’all out there in 2020!!

Icons of Whisky – Scotland 2020

I’ve been whittled… and I’ve been shortlisted, and yesterday afternoon I realised that my name had been submitted in the Icons of Whisky Awards 2020. The category I am in is ‘Communicator of the Year’.

If you have already voted for me, then thank you. If you haven’t cast your vote yet, then please consider voting for me, I would be most grateful. I am very humbled to be in this category… the link is below.


Sarah – I’m a nomnomnominee…

Icons of Whisky Scotland 2020 Voting