Feels Like Home

Oh fu… lipping heck, I needed that!!

I feel like I’ve been locked up for months…in truth, I have been. I’ve been hidden from life.

I know I’m not the only one.

Well, I was up at the crack of dawn, in fairness I always am. I love the peace, the clarity that comes with the quiet…time to think and be. I did my housework, and thought “you know what, I need to go and drive more than 5 miles today..” So I did.

So I set off, albeit with some trepidation, we all know there are people out there reluctant to toe the line. Well here’s the news… just do it. Where’s the harm in it?!! Mask on and just get on with it.


Dufftown greeted me with sun as I pulled into the car park at Glenfiddich, it felt like it was as happy to see me as I was it.

I’m really not good at missing things… not good at all.

To visit Glenfiddich now, should really book in advance. I hadn’t planned to go in as I hadn’t booked ahead. Yet the lady outside the centre in the car park said it would be okay as long as I did the necessary…after my temperature was taken, and my details were left I headed for the visitor centre. After using the hand sanitiser and putting my mask on, I went in.

Hi honey, I’m home.

That might sound silly, or odd or OTT but… it’s true.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned, it has been 127 days since I last stepped into a distillery…

I like the Glenfiddich distillery, maybe I more than like it… it’s one of those places. I passed the time with the lady in the visitor centre.

I asked about the bottle your own. It’s more of a label your own at present, and that’s understandable. And it’s something we need to accept at the moment. C’est la vie. I didn’t spoil myself. Not this time. There’ll be others.

They have a little marquee outside the back of the centre, this has been created so you can have a coffee or a bite to eat. I took advantage of this and sat in the sun… letting the sun kiss my cheeks. I needed that too!!

I liked the number plate of the car near mine…just do it!!


Afterwards I went for a drive, passing the Balvenie and past the Craigellachie distillery and on to Aberlour. Then along past GlenAllachie and Glenfarclas. All closed, but still there. That’s the main thing.

Then it was time to drive back. A little day out that lifted my spirits and brought a smile to my heart.

Inside the Bottle: In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

In England’s Green and Pleasant Land: Inside the Bottle

When I think of England, I think of home. I do believe they say home is where the (my) heart is… and that is true.

So, when I think of England, I return to memories of childhood. Happy memories.

Day trips on the moors, walks on the beach. I remember sitting and collecting cowries and small fossils on the shoreline when the tide was out. I never lived far from the sea, at one point it was the end of my street. The other it was a walk along a path, sand dunes and then the sea.


I often think of the lady who lived next door to me when I was a little girl… She always made me feel loved, and to recall that with fondness even today, makes me smile. She had a dappled wooden rocking horse on the landing, one flight up. It was a special treat when she would allow me to go up and ride on the toy her grown up daughters used to use. She used to sit me astride her lap and sing “ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross” with a giggling pigtailed me bobbing up and down on her knee. I also attended infant school in the town, and there I was given a little ballerina which had broken off inside one of the dinner ladies jewellery boxes. I danced and twirled and imagined I was the one in the pretty pink tutu and dancing to my heart’s content…


For one reason or another I have been thinking of England more and more. Don’t ask me why… seriously, don’t. But, Cleveland was my home. A small Victorian seaside town at that. I once met/saw Kevin Keegan there, but, I was too much of a little Smoggy to care, but I believe I was dragged along by my older sister.

I think I digressed a tad…this is about whisky!! English Whisky at that…and that’s what was sat beside me as I took some time out to rest in memories from the the past.


My whisky consultant Sorren, https://ocdwhisky.com/ invited me to an online tasting for the English Whisky Company as part of the Whisky Circus (which is his creation.) You can catch up with it over on YouTube. But finish reading this first…

Well, this was going to be an opportunity to sample a new release. Did also you know that Sorren is also an ambassador for The English Whisky Company too? He is. So who better to lead us on this little journey…? This was the oldest age statement release so far from the The English Whisky Distillery.

So thank you Sorren for introducing me to this bottle. Of course I have one, it came free with a bag of crips!!

You know me, I like the number 11.

Yeah really… apart from the legs 11 thing, I bought a house which is number 11, and I signed for and collected the keys for the property on the 11th of November 2011, at 11:11 am. Even the solicitor was amused.

Oh yes, this glass beside me…the contents were distilled in 1st and 2nd fill ex-bourbon casks from Jim Beam. The release comes from a make up of 10 different casks, one of which was peated.

The nose is so inviting… I really noticed this yesterday. It was sat on my coffee table beside me, and the aroma of apples, like an apple danish, and vanilla came to greet my senses. There’s a lovely light hint of wood and a little pepperiness. There was a lovely floral freshness too, reminds me of my garden first thing in the morning, especially now the flowers are in bloom…a hint of cherry too.

Another memory pops up, school sports day in 1981. My chums sitting on a fence, random poorly shot photographs taken against the walls in the playground. The time was coming to leave, to move somewhere new. This felt so alien… I kissed the four walls of my bedroom the afternoon I left our family home. After a night in a hotel near the airport, I would be flying to an unknown life.

This was me leaving England.


The scent of the whisky is pulling me back… sip me please. The palate is quite smooth. The fruit is there…apples and a twist of something a little citrusy. There’s a little oaky spice and I love that. A lovely vanillary note too. A little kick of pepper. It’s a little drying, but that’s okay.

The finish is warm and as you swallow it remains a tad dry… I like this. There’s a woody note too, so that’s me happy and smiling!! Thanks for introducing me to this Sorren!!


So, yes, a trip down memory lane. A trip enjoyed with a rather good whisky in my hand. I know these memories make me smile, maybe it was childhood, maybe it’s just they were my earliest memories… but I needed that.

Whisky Legs

So, I went to the bingo once… and had I not agreed prior to going in to split the winnings four ways, then I would have come out with a bulging handbag…yes me, I had basically just sat down and won £125 straight away, followed by another £100. I don’t remember the others winning, so they were pleased I came. Lucky me… Anyway that was off on a slight tangent… what in the name of hell has that got to do with whisky? During that evening the caller had shouted number 11, legs eleven. See where I am going with this? If you don’t, then give yourself a shake!!

Whisky legs then, some refer to them as tears, but to me that is just a little too sad. Other’s call them legs; whisky legs.

Have you ever really taken a moment to look at your glass when you pour yourself a dram, as you gently swirl it in the glass and hold it to the light, you will notice the “legs”. Basically this is about the alcohol having a lower surface tension than water. Some can be quite thin and disappear almost instantly, while other’s are there long enough to enjoy them and take a quick pic… they can be quite mesmerising, especially in a whisky you love.

Then we have certain people (me) who posts pics with the tags #legs #legs11 and #whiskylegs.. at 11am, obviously, but why? Well I won’t tell you the one reason, the real reason. I have explained that to those that matter. What I can tell you is that it is by no means a recent thing. I’ve been doing it for years, yet now there is a playful correlation between them and whisky, hence the tags. I’ve even had mentions of my appreciation of them on podcasts! That’s what brings a smile to my face.

Now I do know some of you like them, yes even the ladies among us. There was a time that I had some pretty low comments… least said, soonest mended. I have been at festivals and some have asked “are you Smiley Smoggy?” yep because of my legs, and that’s okay, I’m not trying to be a perve magnet. I guess I have an internal barometer of what I will and won’t do… does it offend people? I am not sure, if it does then they must leave the house either blinkered or blindfolded so as to avoid women in skirts… I mean how dare they show their legs?!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha… (Believe me I have had weirder comments nipping to my local whisky shop!!)

The other thing is, they might just raise a smile!! That really can only be a good thing, and that along with the odd whisky reference is why I do it… life is full of enough misery and angst, so why not try to brighten people’s days and give them a reason to smile? Hey they do call me Smiley Smoggy you know!! 🙂 Ha! I nearly said something there…

Then we have the “actual whisky legs”, those in glasses, and I love those photos. They show the colour and the legs and I’m the one lucky to be sat with them as the aroma fills the air and it beckons me to take it in my hand and sip… and I love it!!

So whatever your thoughts are, enjoy them for what they are, lovely photos of whisky in glasses. Or the leg’s of a whisky lover trying to make people smile.

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.





Inside the Bottle – That Boutique-y Whisky Company

That Boutique-y Whisky Company, the Why of It…for Me

Okay, so this is kind of about what this independent bottler means to me. The little That Boutique-y Whisky Company part of this journey that I am on…maybe a glimpse inside the bottle too…

I guess that those of you who have seen my other articles will have read that my passion for their releases has kinda been a growing thing since 2016… and I like that. I like it a lot.

It all started on a sunny day in York in September, though truth be told my interest had piqued before that. However, I hadn’t actually tried any releases before that day.

To me That Boutique-y Whisky Company was funky labels and intrigue up until that point. Then I met the guv’nor* (and Kat too) and he introduced me to them…

I tried some wonderful releases that day…, and yes I will be honest, that day really was a huge turning point for me. I think the ones that struck me were the North British 27 year old batch 3, and also the Aberlour 23 year old batch 4. Things my palate hadn’t known, that’s not because I hadn’t tried whisky before, just distilleries I hadn’t tried before.

It was the start of something special… There is nothing better and this is probably something that sounds a bit daft, but there is nothing better than finding the one that you’ve been looking for!!

However, back then I really wasn’t in a position to buy myself to the odd treat, but now that I can, I do, and who’s counting?!! Some of them just fall into my hands (and I have very capable hands)…and sometimes I watch and wait, or go on the hunt.. et voila! it is there, and if I am able to buy it, I do. So my humble little collection (I think I need to call it that now…) has some lovely releases for me to open in the future.

To me it’s the whole package that I love about That Boutique-y Whisky Company, from the friendly faces of friends who have actually engaged with me and told me something about what I am about to sample as they pour, to the labels.

I have had the pleasure of meeting the artist Emily Chappell in London a couple of years back, you can read a bit about her here: about Emily and well, she was kind enough to give me a set of the cards which depict various labels. Each label tells a story, and I love that. Some brands have changed their image recently, and some are just lost on me now. Plain and to the point is my thing… or these. Maybe it’s the frustrated 17 year old inside me that did her work experience in a graphics studio, who was then unable to take it further (my school sucked).., or maybe it’s the fact that I still love to draw. There are times where I can let my hands express my feelings, on paper or iPad, or wherever, but these “speak” to me. These labels also adorn the walls of my home… some of them belong to some of the releases that I own, some are from festivals where I have tried the whiskies, but most importantly of all, they are reminders of times and events that bring a smile to my face.

In collecting these bottles from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, which I do so I can enjoy them, I have accept that I probably paid a little too much on some (that happens), and I have also found some absolute bargains too… I guess that shows it works both ways. I was going to nip and count them, but that’s not important, what is important to me is that they are there, even the empty ones. Each and every one of them has a tale to tell… actually, I just had a think, all my bottles have a story attached, not just the Boutique-y releases. I’m not sure if my affinity with them is due to the reasons above, you know them being a massive part of my journey, but I feel I have one. I am a fangirl…

The Dram Good Club is a blast too… so many opportunities to tempt your palate. Christmas was fun as well. I have actually purchased the advent calendar previously – the wondering about what is hidden behind the door each day, and if you avoid Twitter or various social media till you open it, then you will indeed be in for a surprise! Ha ha.

My favourite is the one of which I have finished and thoroughly savoured every scent and aroma that it delivered, and when it touches my lips, and that delicious liquid glides effortlessly across my palate, I fall in love again and again… 

B L I S S 

So anyway, to those of you who might see me on social media, this is what makes me tick in regards to That Boutique-y Whisky Company, my once upon a time neighbours at a whisky festival.

If you haven’t tried any of their releases but have the opportunity to do so, then do try them, you won’t be disappointed.  There is something for every whisky lover and every pocket too!!

*the “guv’nor” for those of you that don’t know, is Dave Worthington.

Whisky, Fudge, Fun & Beards…

An Evening with Two Auchentoshans – That Boutique-y Whisky Company