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?


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…

Glen Moray Distillery

What do you do when you get up in the morning and decide to take a very last minute couple of days off?

Well you decide to go to Glen Moray Distillery…or at least I did.

It was good to get something whisky related back in my system. You know? Yeah, course you do.

I was on the tour with a nice couple from deepest darkest England. They have one of my business cards, so it’ll be nice if they get in touch for some fudge 🙂

The tour itself was really good, had a bit of a chat with a couple of the guys there too (they were funny.) Then lots of nosing the lovely casks which were sleeping in the warehouse.

I also bought a bottle of whisky too, seemed like a good idea…so I’m now the happy smiley owner of a bottle of the 1994 Bourbon Cask…and a new bag.

It was nice to chat to Emma & Iain too of course 🙂

The Essence of Suntory Whisky for Pre-Order at dekantā

Due for release on 27 February 2018, The Essence of Suntory collection includes three brand new expressions from the Japanese whisky giant, now available for worldwide delivery from Japanese spirit specialists dekantā. Shoppers at dekantā will be among the first to own and experience these limited release whiskies, as the world’s largest e-commerce retailer for high end Japanese spirits is one of few, if not the only, online stores stocking the new The Essence of Suntory releases.

Cask strength, limited releases, of single malt and single grain whiskies, The Essence of Suntory expressions offer surprising takes on produce from favourite Japanese whisky distilleries. The branding of this bottle range has moved away from the iconic Suntory branding of their other single malt ranges, Yamazaki and Hakushu, in both shape, colour and labelling. With slim bottles and label designs showcasing modern Japanese art, they exemplify a fresh, adventurous new look for Suntory.

The Essence of Suntory Single Malt Yamazaki Peated Malt 2018 12 year old (500ml, 49% ABV) offers sweet berry notes and acidity joined by the influence of gentle smoke. The Essence of Suntory Single Grain Hakushu Rye Type 2018 (500ml, 57% ABV) is aged for 4 years, a surprising single grain, rye expression from Hakushu. The use of rye brings a rich, deep spice to pair with the green, fruity Hakushu character, offering a whisky with great balance. The Essence of Suntory Single Grain Chita Wine Cask 4 year Finish 2018 (500ml, 49% ABV) is a rare 16 year old single grain whisky, which has spent 4 years finishing in a wine cask, resulting in plum-influenced sweet and sour notes on the palate, with a smooth mouthfeel and mellow aroma.

“We have always prided ourselves on being able to bring an authentic Japanese whisky and cultural experience to customers worldwide, that they would only otherwise find on a visit to Japan,” said Founder Makiyo Masa. “We’re delighted to offer these extremely exclusive limited release bottles to fans of Japanese whisky worldwide and congratulate Suntory on their creativity, which has brought such exciting diversity to their offering of Japanese whiskies.”

The Essence of Suntory Whisky – Yamazaki Peated Malt 2018, The Essence of Suntory Whisky Hakushu Rye Type 2018 and The Essence of Suntory Whisky – Chita Wine Cask 4 Year Finish 2018 are available for pre-order from the dekantā website, with worldwide shipping beginning in March. Quantities are limited and the bottles are expected to sell out quickly.

Isle of Arran Distillers announce Burns Unbroke Events

Isle of Arran Distillers, sponsors of Burns Unbroke, a brand new multi-arts Robert Burns Festival have announced a series of masterclasses at the inaugural celebration, and a cocktail reception on the opening night of the Festival.

To be held on the 26th January, 1st February, 15th February and 1st March, the masterclass tastings will include a selection of expressions from the award-winning Arran Malt range including the Robert Burns Malt – the only whisky officially endorsed by the World Burns Federation.

Under the tutelage of the experienced, friendly staff from the Isle of Arran Distillery Festival goers will have the chance to taste the ‘Arran Waters’ with five drams of the Arran Malt, as well as the delicious Arran liqueur, discovering the inspiration and craft behind each. You will be guaranteed an informal and enjoyable evening.

Running at the Summerhall in Edinburgh for six weeks from the 25th January 2018, the program for Burns Unbroke will celebrate the plethora of artistic and performing talent in Scotland, and beyond, through the prism offered by new interpretations of the life and work of Robert Burns. The opening night of the Festival take place on Wednesday 24th January for press.

Invited guests will be welcomed at the evening reception by two bespoke cocktails created for Arran Whisky by Glasgow agency The Drink Cabinet, who specialise in experiential events in the drinks industry. Using Arran Whisky’s Robert Burns Malt, the specialists from The Drinks Cabinet will offer guests the chance to taste two delicious cocktails inspired by the Bard himself, a most fitting way to kick start the Burns Unbroke Festival celebrations.

The Isle of Arran Distillery is a headline sponsor of Burns Unbroke alongside Creative Scotland and Scotland.org.

James MacTaggart, Master Distiller at Isle of Arran Distillery, said: “As the producer of the official Robert Burns Malt, we were delighted to be involved in a festival that shares our passion for the poet.

“At Arran, we regard whisky making as a form of story telling. Each of our expressions take inspiration from the landscape, history and legends of the island we call home.

“We’re really looking forward to sharing these stories with festival goers and, of course, raising a glass to the Bard.”

Sheilagh Tennant, Burns Unbroke Director, says “Just as ‘ freedom an’ whisky gang thegither’, so to does Burns Unbroke and a quality dram.

“The Arran masterclasses will be a great chance for people to learn more about the history and heritage of our national drink, and we are looking forward to enjoying the cocktails inspired by their whisky and Burns himself on our opening night.”

Burns Unbroke open to press and invited guests on Wedneday 24th January and runs at Summerhall from 25 January – 10 March 2018, with the majority of performance events focussed around the weekend of 26-28 January.

The Arran masterclasses will be held in the Anatomy Lecture Theatre of Summerhall at 6:30pm on four dates; 26th January, 1st February, 15th February and 1st March 2018. Tickets are priced at £10 which includes five tasting drams and a cream liqueur. The tasting lasts approx. 1hr 30mins.

Tickets are available here.