Tullamore DEW Tweet Tasting

Wednesday March 7th saw a group of avid whisky fans take part in a tweet tasting with Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire and @TullamoreDEW

From their website… “Tullamore D.E.W. is the original triple distilled, triple blend whiskey. Known the world over for its smooth and gentle complexity. Tullamore D.E.W. is named after Daniel E. Williams, the man who decided that true craft could only come from the True Character and insisted that his whiskey was made accordingly.” A tale of character.

And I love the quote too:

“SUCCESS COMES NOT TO THOSE WHO DESIRE IT MOST, BUT TO THOSE WHO CARE DEEPLY ABOUT WHAT THEY DO AND FEEL COMPELLED TO CREATE”

So what treats were we about to partake in? The line up was as follows: XO Rum Cask, 14 year old, 18 year old and the Original.

The rum Cask XO was sweet with a bit of caramel and vanilla and a twist of citrus. The palate was sweet, but dark with treacle toffee. The finish was delicious with vanilla and spices.

We then moved onto the 14 year old.  Initially pear drops but as it’s opening it’s turning towards warm apple cake with lovely caramel and sweetness. Very soft on the nose. I then detected a sort of hot chocolate powder too (before you add milk) then that hint of pear comes back. Well we all love a nice pear…don’t we? It had quite a light mouthfeel. Plenty of vanilla and still some fruity flavours. Smooth.

Add another four years and we then sampled the 18 year old, fruity and juicy. I’m thinking galia melon. Vanilla and a lovely almost talc like softness. Letting it open further, there was a nice caramel and a soft fleeting hint of worn / warm leather. Hmm I’m enjoying nosing this…

It has a nice rich feel on the mouth. It’s just teasing enough to make your mouth water a little…always a plus point with me. The fruit flavours remain with lovely woody flavours. A little pepper too.

The last dram of the evening was the Original, this is triple ditilled in a combination of ex-bourbon and sherry casks. This was very light on the nose as opposed to the others…caramel and vanilla a fresh scent on the nose.

The  palate is delivering some spice and fruit now (cherry tunes?)

At this point I had to duck out, but what an interesting journey into Tullamore DEW.

I think my order of preference was: 14/18 then the Original/XO rum cask. Another insight into Irish whiskey that was fab!

Another lovely evening in the company of friends all delighting in this journey of whisky…

Thanks for the opportunity Steve and Tullamore 🙂

IHEARTWHISKY Fudge is One…

Sooooo…  iheartwhisky is officially one year old today (7th April 2018.)

And what a year its been, and its been a good one too. I’ve loved every minute. What started of as a “can I?” has turned into an “I am!!” and that makes me smile.

I’ve not only been selling to family and friends, but I’ve been invited to festivals and a fair too… and all I can say is thank you for your custom (and hashtag Geordie)).

However, there are some people I’d like to say an extra special thanks to. They’ve had my back, they’ve stood bedside me, they’ve encouraged me to be brave and helped me carry on. They’ve seen me sparkle when I start to talk about my passion and not once let me down.

So, here we go:

Elton…thanks for listening and for your feedback, encouragement and tasting notes and saying way back when to “go for it”.

Sorren…thank you so so much for your support and guidance…and for all your help, advice and humour, and “nom nom it’s all gone!! too, which is now part of the packaging of course…

Now the “other” Dave. Guv’nor…you’ve always RT and tweeted your fudge pics, thank you also for your support and backing.

Lovely kind Jeannine…thank you for your lovely tweets and your friendship. You’ve given me some wonderful support and opportunities.

Ant and Dec…stop speaking with your mouths full, but do keep enjoying the fudge 🙂

Graham and Fay, thank you for the opportunities you gave me last year. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Colin (Dunn)… thank you for your help and humour, and for what we were able to do at Newcastle and Stourbridge because of it. And Adrian from Claxton’s too. Thank you for your support also.

Eddie and Amanda, being able to bring my whisky fudge to your festivals has really helped me to move forward too…

Lastly, John (jwbassman_) who assisted in bringing my scribbled designs to life in the shape of business cards and then when the idea of the banner was born.

Sarah x

PS…If I have missed anyone out, please know it’s not intententional.

A Trip to Speyside

Sunday saw me taking a trip to Speyside…well it’s the right thing to do when it’s on your doorstep surely?

It really was a gorgeous sunny day and I doubt I’ll ever tire of the stunning views that greet you, as well as on the drive there.

It was supposed to be a quick bite of lunch, however if you have the chance to visit the visitor centres too, then this is also a must…

So, the first stop was at Glenfiddich (going back always makes me smile…) and they probably have the best ladies toilets…that Noble Isle whisky & water hand-soap is simply amazing too. I just love that fragrance.

Lunch was delicious, Cullen Skink (yet I like it more than it likes me (it’s a dairy thing)) however it was lovely. I’d toyed with a dram, but lunch appeared to be a hurried event.

I then went to browse around the visitor centre, glassware, frames, scarves and most importantly whisky. After having a little nose of the bottle your own Glenfiddich 15 year old, I decided to buy one. I always love the experience of being able to do something a little different…a little more special. These are the moments I recall…

So whisky safely stashed in the car it was time for a trip to Aberlour.

I’ll be honest, I was a little disappointed and will say I was a little lost for words when I found out I was unable to purchase the bottles I had gone there to buy…and I really do hope they have a change of heart. To me, the opportunity of buying a distillery own bottling is a pleasure…a treat, something special. But I do still love Aberlour as I left with a bottle of the A’bunadh Batch 60 (after having been offered a little taste.)

I must send them a box of Aberlour A’bunadh fudge… well without them it wouldn’t be possible.

Five minutes later saw a drive by visit to Glenfarclas, another favourite of mine. I’ll go back soon (when it’s open.)

Then it was time for home…but first a pit stop at the Malt Barn at Glenfiddich for coffee (and a dram for me…)

I opted for The Balvenie Single Cask 15 year old which was a tad sharp on the nose, but a lovely palate. I’d perused the whisky menu over lunch, and I’d said there were a few I’d really want to try, but I think they’d need to leave me the keys and see me in the morning… Real fire, sofa, whisky…and time. Perfect.

Well I can dream.

I popped into a shop on the way home, looking for something entirely different but left with a bottle of Glen Moray Chardonnay Cask finish.

Then it was time for home, bottles and a couple of new glasses in tow.

Would the Real Dave Please Stand Up! Hairlarious…

Well now it’s been a little while since I graced you all with my words and thoughts, and seeing as I’ve got a few hours to spare before I fly away home, I thought I’d put my thumbs to good use. And now I’m catching up and properly finishing it off…

So, what’s been happening? Well I’ve had two fun weekends away and a lovely tasting in between.

Last weekend saw me in Newcastle at the other side of the table… yes I was selling whisky fudge and serving some whisky on the iheartwhisky stand along with the help of Sorren (ocdwhisky) and the kindness of Adrian (Claxton’s) and the ever so funny and lovely Colin Dunn (Talisker.) Thanks again to you all…. you really have helped make it even better than it already was.

Fine drams were poured, the Talisker 10 year old alongside Claxton’s Glentauchers 20 year and an 11 year old Linkwood as well as some Glen Moray whisky we we had both supplied ourselves. What a thirsty bunch!

As you’re all probably aware, I have attended festivals with fudge before now, squeezing in to a little space here and there…but this time, well this time was bigger. So what was new? The banner was new…a few discussions and ideas were thought out before I went ahead and ordered one. I think this definitely helped people to locate the table…after all my boxes are small even though they are filled with lovely treats so it was to draw people in.

A not too early start on the Saturday (I came down the day before) saw me travelling a short distance to the Civic Centre, and thanks to Guy my table was alongside Talisker and as a bonus I had Murray McDavid on the other side…what a treat! So I quickly set up while the faces of friends started to appear to do the exact same thing. All too soon it was time for the doors to open to waiting whisky fans who it has to be said on the whole were a lovely bunch. A lot of fudge was sold and sampled with the benefit of having Talisker on the neighbouring table with David (and later Sorren.)

It was handy Talisker were next door so people were able to try the Talisker 10 fudge along with the whisky. People also enjoyed the Glen Moray Elgin Classic and Elgin Classic Sherry Cask Finish along with the matching fudge. It was great to talk about why I do what I do as well as also meeting new people, and this is a big part of why I do it too.

It was lovely to meet some new people, Derek Custer and his Dad. Then Scott Munro too, and yes there were a few more…and apologies to the person who followed me and was instantly faced with my Policeman’s helmet tweet… Ha ha.

Who else did I say hello to? Ben ‘adramaday’ Bowers, Ant and Dec (Andy & Stu aka This Is My Dram), Alex (Mackmyra), David & Wendy (whiskeytumblers) and Craig.

It was then time to head back North and prepare for another weekend away (the following weekend), this time to Stourbridge for The Midlands Whisky Festival. So it was get home. Make fudge, pack a suitcase and fly!

It was such a gorgeous day when I eventually got to Stourbridge, a balmy 12 degrees which was nice to sit in in the beer garden with a Glenfiddich… yum yum.

It was then time to go and find the hall so a quick nip into Nickolls & Perks pointed us in the right direction whisky and fudge in tow. It was lovely bumping into Colin (Dunn.)

So we found the table and got set up.

The evening session was great fun… the iheartwhisky sandwich was between That Boutique-y Whisky Company and Kilkerran. Lucky us.

It was a quick evening.

The Saturday session was soon upon us, so it was breakfast, grab more fudge and head back to the hall. Not sure what happened to Sorren, was it too much Talisker the weekend before? Was it a full moon? Or had Dave suggested he needed a beard to work on the Boutique-y stand? Probably the latter, however it was hairlarious… I even bought emergency olives in order to find out which one was which?

Saturday was hectic. Lots of people as well as some delicious whisky discoveries too. I managed to buy a couple of bottles from the samples I tried from That Boutique-y Whisky Company so I was pleased about that. I also toyed with buying the Douglas Laing XOP Invergordon 51 year old….

Saw some familiar faces dotting about too. It was great to meet David and Jerome (Nickolls & Perks) Andy Watts (@thewhiskymaker) all the way from SA. Graham Ward too and thank you so much for the samples, hope you enjoy the Claxton’s Glenrothes 1997!

Mark from Malt Review, Edward Milner. Andy Purslow. The lovely Eddie Mullen and Matt… and Neil Rowley too.

Sadly all too soon it was time to say farewell… and wish everyone safe journeys home in the snow.

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by and laughed and chatted and bought fudge. Those that supported me… thank you, you helped make this possible.

This only begs one question?

When’s the next one?

FORGOTTEN SCOTTISH PRINCESS HONOURED WITH PIONEERING BLEND OF SCOTCH AND DUTCH WHISKY

The Winter Queen whisky honours remarkable legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark.
Latest release from innovative Fusion Whisky and Adelphi partnership that celebrates historical Scots and their influence on the world.  First blend of Scotch and Dutch whisky from firm that pioneered ‘fusion’ concept of international blends using Scotch with Japanese and Indian whiskies.

SHE was the Scottish princess with Queen Elizabeth I for godmother, destined for a lifetime of exile in The Hague, and is the forgotten link between the Stuart and Hanoverian thrones.

Now the legacy of Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of King James VI and I, is being honoured by a unique new whisky made from a pioneering blend of Scotch and Dutch single malt whisky.

Edinburgh-based Fusion Whisky said its new Winter Queen whisky “celebrated the story and honoured the memory” of Elizabeth Stuart, who was born in Fife in 1596, but spent most of life in The Hague.

Fusion Whisky Director Graham Langley said: “Elizabeth’s story is a superb one, and certainly deserving of a wider audience. Our Winter Queen whisky serves to honour this forgotten Scottish princess and to bring greater awareness to her remarkable life and influence.”

As eldest daughter to King James VI and I and Queen Anne of Denmark, Elizabeth was always destined for a place in the history books. While still a child, she was caught up in the web of intrigue during the infamous Gunpowder Plot. At 16 she was married to Elector Palatine Frederick V and the couple moved to Bohemia, where they reigned. But after a year the couple were besieged and forced to flee Prague, earning the couple the moniker, the Winter King and Queen.

Elizabeth spent the next 40 years living in The Hague, campaigning for her lost lands and establishing a royal court that became an artistic and diplomatic hub whose influence extended across Europe. She also became a figurehead for the thousands of Scottish mercenaries based in the Netherlands.

Dr Nadine Akkerman of Leiden University is the leading authority on Elizabeth Stuart. She said: “More politically cunning than her grandmother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and more belligerent than her godmother, Elizabeth I, she never relinquished the title Queen of Bohemia, even though she spent upwards of forty years in exile in The Hague after but a year in Prague.”

Dr Akkerman said that the thousands of letters Elizabeth wrote to statesmen and stateswomen, generals, lieutenants, ambassadors and other diplomats, showed the complex, witty and influential character of Elizabeth, whom history has largely overlooked.

She added: “During her years in exile, she changed court culture in the Netherlands and was matriarch to a family that included artists, warriors, natural philosophers and one queen mother: George I was her grandson.

The Winter Queen is the third character-led blend of international whisky launched by Fusion Whisky. Working in partnership with the acclaimed Adelphi, Fusion Whisky has established itself as a pioneer of premium blends made using Scotch and international whisky to honour remarkable Scots.

Its iconic Glover whisky was made by blending Scotch with rare Hanyu whisky from Japan in celebration of Thomas Blake Glover, the so-called “Scottish samurai”. Glover, who is better known in his adopted Japan than in his homeland, played a critical role in the country’s industrialisation, and had a part in the foundation of Mitsubishi and Kirin Group. He was the first non-Japanese person to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Japan’s highest civic honour.

Last year the firm released The E&K whisky, which was made using Scotch and Indian whisky from Amrut Distillery in honour of the “Walking Viceroy”, Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine. Bruce served as Viceroy of India under Queen Victoria in the late 19th century, and pushed for greater infrastructure and economic growth, including the construction of 4000 miles of railway during his term of office and linking all the major Indian cities for the first time, creating a railway network of more than 20,000 miles.

Fusion Whisky’s latest title, The Winter Queen, was made using Scotch from Longmorn and Glenrothes distilleries, blended with malt whisky from the renowned Dutch Distillery Zuidam. The recipe was created by Adelphi’s managing director and master blender Alex Bruce.

Adelphi Distillery's Winter Queen whisky.

Adelphi Distillery’s Winter Queen whisky. Edinburgh. 13 Feb 2018. Copyright photo by Tina Norris 07775 593 830 No unauthorised use including web use. ©Tina Norris 2018 Contact: 07775 593 830 info@tinanorris.co.uk

Mr Bruce said: “By taking whiskies matured in different climates, we have been able to create a very new and innovative style. Like the historical characters we honour, these whiskies are themselves pioneers, challenging expectations of what blended whisky is. Crucially, these whiskies are also products of international partnerships and friendships. We’re very proud of it!”

Say it with Something Sweet on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming…

This is a chance to show you care, say “I love you”, or just to share a little something sweet with someone special. What better way to show you care than gifting them some delicious whisky fudge that comes in a lovely box with hearts all over it?

As I have rather a soft spot for the GlenDronach distillery and some of you have a fondness for something a little smokey I will be making the following whisky fudge:

GlenDronach Cask Strength – Batch 5

Caol Ila – 12 Year Old

Fudge will be posted out on Friday 9th February, and please remember I can only sell in the UK amd EU.


Important Information

INGREDIENTS: Golden Caster Sugar, Sweetened Condensed Milk (Whole Milk and Sugar), Butter (from Milk and Salt) Whisky

For Allergens see ingredients in bold

The freshly made fudge has a shelf life of 3 weeks… but believe me it won’t take that long before I hear you say “nom nom…it’s all gone!!”….

Boxes are £5.50 per 200g box, plus p+p (normally £3.90 up to two boxes…I will let you know the cost directly should you order more.)

Order Form: https://goo.gl/forms/9u8OkoHkNZAyAKZH3

The Clydeside Distillery and National Whisky Festival – Glasgow

I decided to breach the city limits and headed for Glasgow for the National Whisky Festival, and while I was down I also took in a tour of the recently opened Clydeside Distillery.

Not only was it an early start, it was also a bitterly cold day… Lots of beautiful snowy scenes around Perth and Stirling and I was in the best place to enjoy them, from the train. Oh and Glasgow…you could have put the heating on!

I took a taxi to the Clydeside Distillery and was immediately greeted by smiling faces from the staff there…it always makes such a difference when people are happy in what they are doing. I won’t give all the secrets away, as you really ought to go and have a visit yourself. All I can say is that it is informative, from the history of the docks themselves right through to today’s production. I even spotted a fallen angel’s halo on the wall.

I had to duck out during the tasting at the end (sorry about that) as I had to make my way over to SWG3 and upon discovering the footbridge was as icy as hell, I reluctantly took a taxi (it was not at all far – but it’s the bruised bits vs. safe and sound.)

Glass and programme in hand it was time to find some warmth. Which I did eventually… It was nice to see some familiar faces and some new ones too.

Started the afternoon saying hello to Alex from Mackmyra whose jacket I would have happily nicked! Did I say it was cold? I then spotted Paul from Spey Whisky, shortly followed by Iain and Emma from Glen Moray. It was nice catching up with Dean from Murray McDavid too and Blair Bowman. Had a few nice drams while doing the rounds, had some Hive from Wemyss Malts. Some rather yummy Glen Moray 30 year old from Murray McDavid 🙂 and the 1994 Sherry Cask Finish from Glen Moray. I also tried the Fraiser liqueur which was a bit too sweet for me, but nice to try all the same. I quite enjoyed the Douglas Laing single grain Strathclyde 20 year old.

I also managed to track down Fiona and had a nice little chat with her too.

Then it was time to head back up the road. Yesterday wasn’t so much about new whiskies, it was about something else…