Award-winning Tomatin Single Malt are set to host the Lockdown Whisky Festival alongside industry leading whisky brands

27th March 2020 – Tomatin Single Malt will be hosting the world’s first Lockdown Whisky Festival this April, alongside an array of whisky brands including Glen Moray, Arran and BenRiach, with a view to bringing enjoyment to the general public and the whisky industry which, like many others, has faced event cancellations and postponements in recent weeks.

The festival will be live-streamed on Tomatin’s own YouTube channel on the 4th April from 2pm til 5pm (GMT) and will be hosted by independent whisky influencer, Aqvavitae. The virtual whisky festival will see brand ambassadors from multiple international producers unite to engage with the global audience. Brands to appear on the livestream include Adelphi, Arran, BenRiach, Cù Bòcan, GlenAllachie, Glencadam, Glen Moray, Kilkerran, Kilchoman, Paul John, Tomintoul and of course, Tomatin.

Scott Adamson, Global Brands Ambassador at Tomatin Distillery said: “The greatest benefit to organising the Lockdown Whisky Festival is that it’s virtual, so we can bring the community together to enjoy and learn from some of the best distilleries in the industry, all from the comfort of home at a time when staying in and staying safe has never been more important.

“It’s exciting to be the first distillery to host a virtual whisky festival and we’re thankful for the other distilleries who have chosen to get involved and support it. We will be encouraging viewers to use #LockdownWhiskyFestival on social when they raise a dram with us next week.”

Aqvavitae, an independent whisky influencer, will be hosting the entirety of the livestream, asking questions and hosting the festival as we virtually explore the expressions on offer during each brand’s mini showcase.

Roy (Youtube: @Aqvavitae) said: “Following weeks of unfortunate postponements and cancellations, it’s really refreshing to be part of the world’s first virtual whisky festival. Spearheaded by Tomatin, what we lose in not sharing the same space we gain in global reach and inclusion. It’s great to see so many distilleries and producers coming together in the spirit of sharing to realise this. Can’t wait!”

The Lockdown Whisky Festival will begin streaming from 2-5pm GMT on 4th April on the Tomatin Distillery YouTube Channel

Glenrothes 21 Year Old 1997

The Whisky Broker – Glenrothes 21 Year Old 1997

This is the Glenrothes 21 year old 1997 from The Whisky Broker. This was distilled in 30/09/1997. It was firstly in an Oloroso Sherry Butt till 27/09/2017 – then an Oloroso Sherry Hogshead, and bottled in 21/02/2019. This came from cask number 15128. No colouring has been added, and the whisky has not been chill filtered.

My whisky consultant pointed me in the direction of The Whisky Broker… funnily enough they had some offers on, “buy a bag of Space Raiders and receive a bottle of the Galloway Series Glenrothes 21 year old for free!!”

So I did.

This isn’t the first independent bottling from the Glenrothes Distillery that I have bought, there have been more. The Claxton’s release seems to have almost become a benchmark…rightly or wrongly, but hey, it’s about what I love that matters..: Claxton’s Glenrothes 1997 – 19 Year Old

The Whisky

The nose had hints of milk chocolate, and a little tobacco. A fleeting minty freshness. It had hints of coffee, followed by dried fruits and a slight hint of orange. There was a little candle wax. There’s a little aroma from the pages of the old book that’s open next to me, you know? Plus a little soft brown sugar, and the teeniest pinch of nutmeg. This a cask strength whisky – 55.8% vol.

The palate delivers an oaky peppery warmth initially. The dried fruit is there, a little nuttiness in the background. There’s a hint of liquorice (think imps..) it’s got a hint of oak too. Ever so slightly drying. But for me there was just something missing… some real body perhaps?

The finish is spicy with some dried fruits remaining.

Just Thinking

It has actually been quite a while since I wrote these notes, so I feel another pour is on the cards.

We all know that whisky can be about the way we are feeling when we sit down with it. Were we in a happy place, and all felt / feels good in the world? Was it the day you bumped your car, were you feeling low? Did you have the sniffles etc. etc?

When I open new bottles, I am filled with excitement, and sometimes some apprehension too.  I think of course this is because I have had other bottlings that were utterly and completely “right up my street!!”

Well just as I arrived back earlier, I poured myself another dram of this, just to see if anything has changed against my initial thoughts… and I think those thoughts are correct, maybe it’s because I love the other bottling so much, or…?


Don’t get me wrong, this is a nice dram, and now I have opened it, it will be enjoyed.





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!!

Inside the Bottle: Auchentoshan Distillery Exclusive

Auchentoshan distillery and their delicious exclusives have been on my radar for a few years now. I have also been fortunate to have secured some bottlings from auctions as well as having them posted to me… yes a little expensive, but you gotta do what you gotta do. You know?

I managed to visit the Auchentoshan Distillery in 2018, and it was more than worth the wait, and I was lucky to enjoy a tour for one. I absolutely loved having the opportunity to use a valinch to bottle my own… that little beauty was cask #4485 which is a first fill Oloroso cask, which in my opinion is one that takes me to a lovely place when I pour myself a dram.

The distillery was built in 1800, changing hands over the years it was eventually bought by Eadie Cairns in 1969 who rebuilt it completely.

In 1984 it was then sold to Morrison Bowmore, which then saw investment from Suntory in 1989 before acquiring 100% of its holdings in 1994.

The merger between Beam Inc. and Suntory (Holdings Ltd.) created Beam Suntory who are now the owners.

Do you remember the first time your lips were touched with something that made you smile? The time that you had, you know, the one where you spent it with something that heightened your senses, and everything kind of made sense…?

I can.

I had just celebrated a milestone with my company, and rather than a rolled gold pen… I opted for travel vouchers and took myself off to the Lake District, or more precisely Keswick for a week away from life.

I had a gorgeous little cottage with a massive bed, a fire and wonderful views. All for me…. and it was just what I needed.


Once I had finally mastered the art of lighting a fire, the room was aglow with the flames, just me, some music and peace. I poured myself a dram, and yes I smiled.

I was doing something I hadn’t done before…or probably something I hadn’t ‘consciously’ done before… I was aware I was intrigued by the colour; dark copper and mahogany. An aroma was filling the air around me.. it was full of dark fruit, a hint of leather, coffee, dark chocolate, candied orange and more… then I heard a whisper, it was telling me to sip.

I did, and I kind of fell in love with what I had in my hand… bliss!!

I’ve been captivated by a few whiskies now, and I know it is because these take me back to times I want to remember… or to daydreams or whatever.

I often use terms like ‘smiles in a glass’, or ‘smiles in a bottle’ and that’s a true sentiment.


I am sentimental, and that’s okay. Quiet days and quiet times lead me to these recollections. Whether I have had my dram at a festival, a tasting, at home, or I’ve taken to enjoy in a hotel room, there are those that keep me thinking ‘I want more, much much more’… anyway, I’ve poured a dram… I’m off for one of those moments…!!

This review took me Inside the Bottle...

This Auchentoshan Distillery Exclusive – was distilled on the 13th February 2008, and bottled in May 2019, it’s 10 years old and was in a first fill Oloroso Sherry butt. It is a mighty 61.1%…

This has a lovely rich mahogany colour.

A deliciously deep plum and stewed fruit aroma greets your senses… There is some fig too… and black cherry. There’s a hint of soft brown sugar. A lovely scent of wood. A lovely sweetness is drawing me in. Coffee and leather make an appearance too.

The palate is full and rich…lovely cake spices, bitter dark chocolate, with caramel. Burnt sugar. Dark fruits, and delicious woody spice. Orange rind. Coffee again… a pleasant mouthfeel.

The finish is reassuringly good. Dark chocolate and dark fruits remain.

Despite the cask strength I don’t add water, I enjoy whiskies like this as they come. I delight in what they reveal to me over and over again…different times give different pleasures.


That Boutique-y Advent Calendar – Days 12 – 15

That Boutique-y Whisky Company | That Boutique-y Advent Calendar Days 12 – 15

Ho ho ho!! Time for a little review of days 12 – 15 of that Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar. We have been travelling around a bit the past few days from Longmorn to Ireland… time for a dram after all that!!

Day 12 – Longmorn 10 year old – Batch 3 – 48.3% vol.

Longmorn distillery is a stones throw from BenRiach distillery and the keen eyed should be able to spot it from the road on your way past.

From their website we can find this information about the label drawn by Emily Chappell:

“Back in 1894, the Longmorn distillery was founded in Speyside. Four years later, the founder John Duff founded a second distillery a couple hundred metres from Longmorn, called Longmorn 2: Electric Boogaloo (maybe not that last part, but it was called Longmorn 2 until it became BenRiach). The two distilleries worked together, and eventually had a private railroad built between them to transport barley, peat and other sundries. In fact, if you visit Longmorn today, you’ll find a steam engine in the distillery – a sneak peek of which you can see on our Longmorn label”.

The Whisky

Victoria sponge cake and vanilla initially. A nice spicy nose and it’s quite light and floral…a drizzle of honey. Also, there’s a hint of orange… lots of sweet notes.

Lots of sweetness greets the palate, with caramel and a lot of warming spices. This is really quite fruity with a bitterness to it (not a bad thing.) It’s a little drying. The finish is woody…spices leave a lingering warmth.

Day 13  – Ben Nevis –23 year old – Batch 10 – 48% vol.

Ben Nevis Distillery is in Fort William, Lochaber. Nestled I guess you could say at the foot of Ben Nevis… should you decide to climb Ben Nevis, then enjoy the breathtaking views from the summit (should the weather be on your side.)

Back in the mid nineties I actually climbed Ben Nevis (1,345 m and the highest mountain in the British Isles) twice in the space of a month, and three times within the same year… but only once was I treated to those spectacular views.

The Whisky

So, I think this is my second Ben Nevis dram that I have tried, the nose had quite a strange kind of metallic scent briefly, but it’s fruity. Sort of getting a biscuity note. A little waxy…sweet but not too sweet.

Kind of getting a waxy note initially. There’s some nice fruit, but it feels like it flattens on the palate…mocha bitterness.. plenty of spice mulling around. Getting some citrus too.

The finish is warming and a little citrusy.

Day 14  – Irish Single Malt 13 year old – Batch 2 – 48.4% vol.

My lovely horse… drink, feck, arse, girls… down with this sort of thing !! It’s all gone a bit Father Ted as the money was only resting in my bank account. Day 14 is the Irish Single Malt.

The Whisky

The nose, well this has me feeling fruity… strawberries and apples, vanilla biscuits. And it’s fresh and almost like being outside lying on the grass, probably on Craggy Island.

The palate is fruit again, and sweetness. A deep richness with cake spices. And a little woody spice creeping in… it’s quite a pleasant mouthful, as the Bishop said to the actress…

The finish is ginger and spices…ever so slightly drying. A kiss of fruit too.

I would say go on, go on, go on, go on….buy it, but sadly it is sold out.

Day 15  – Islay #3 13 year old – Batch 4 – 48.6% vol.

Day 15 is from Islay and the label has gone back to the future, if you read the t-shirts, you’ll see not only are they names of Islay distilleries, but they also spell Living Room Whisky.

“Jon and Mike from LivingRoom Whisky celebrating their sci-fi-tastic victory at That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s “Islay Ultra Competition Showdown Throwdown Extravaganza To The Extreme Lucky Best Time.”

I am also luck to have a large canvas of this (which I won, hanging in my kitchen.)

The Whisky

Leather notes and Savlon… greet the senses. It’s like being sat beside a bonfire, some apples and mixed fruit wrapped in foil cooking in the embers add some sweetness.

The palate, woah… the fruit has soaked up that smokiness from the fire. It’s sweet, but there’s a lot of warmth in the mouth. The smoky flavours remain on the palate… with a little sourness too.

Many thanks to Atom Brands for this Boutique-y Whisky Advent Calendar.

For alternative thoughts on these whiskies, visit