Inside the Bottle: Thoughts

I guess this is kind of whisky related, in as much as I was pondering these thoughts below as I took myself for a walk on New Year’s Day.

I went and sat by the river and poured a Jura 21 year old, I raised my glass to absent friends and loved ones…(you know who I mean, the people who are there for you.)

And I sat and thought about all the little moments that made me smile the last couple of years…and I reckon we should all make time to sit and reflect on the good that still exists out there.

Anyway. Earlier today I posted this elsewhere and I thought I’d share it here too (though in both cases with some slight trepidation.)

This whisky journey I’ve dipped my toes in and the people I have met, well it can be a lovely community to be a part of…and my thoughts kind of resonate with me and this small part of my life…

I’m grateful for so many things…

A bird tweeting its little heart out (whatever time of year), proves that life is good and goes on.

A stranger returning the smile you gave them, it shows that kindness prevails.

A friendly hand on your shoulder, gives reassurance to you.

A hug to know you’re cared for, missed or a welcome sight…

A message that means you’re thought of, in that one moment or throughout the day.

To be grateful for things that cost nothing and can mean so much is a beautiful thing. We can all appreciate that.

Saying thank you. Holding a door open for someone. Offering a listening ear. Opening bottles for people.. Just being there for someone.

I used to be a serial apologiser…sorry this. Sorry that. And that’s not right either. Be truly sorry if you cause hurt, as apologies should be a request for forgiveness…

I’m thankful for friendship, I’m thankful for the support I receive and the listening ears that allow me to work out the things I feel I cannot change (easily.) Or that allow me to flourish and open.

I don’t expect solutions. Just an “I hear you”, and “I’m there for you”… “can I help you?” I do the same. We are all in this together.

I’ve been knocked for my “deep thoughts” and I’ve been ignored or berated for my feelings… but if we do not think or feel, then we are not human.

Compassion. Empathy. Understanding. Love. Being caring. These are important.

We need to check how we speak to others. We need to speak kindly or just not bother. Why cause hurt? Why not spread love and good feelings?

They say sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never harm us.

Sadly it’s all too easy to allow them to….and you can go into free-fall when anger or angry words are staring you in the face or are spoken again. So you quiet yourself and you retreat to a place of hopes and dreams.

Then you start to awaken to new ideas…

You begin walking another path. Your thoughts turn to gratitude and thankfulness and appreciation. It might have started as a distraction, but it can give you so much more. You understand that you’re grateful for the bed in which you sleep as it allows you to rest. The clean water you take for granted is the water of life (and whisky) etc. etc…(as examples.) The people you hold dear and allow you to be the real you are suddenly right there in front of you.

And those that caused hurt disappear as if a figure walking into fog… they’re gone.

We all, each one of us have problems and fears.

We each have our ways of dealing with them…

We also have hopes and dreams…

Just do it with friends…

Inside the Bottle: Distilled: 1970 Bottled: 2017

Inside the Bottle… or my thoughts, the what’s inside me. You know the drill.

Well now that was 2017 (okay, nearly, but not quite)…

So how can I encapsulate the year in one word? Enlightening.

I have already written a blog about this year Inside the Bottle: A Year of Smiles (and Whisky) however this is more of reflection of the other things…

Read on if you will, if not, see you in 2018…

I have learnt a lot about myself and others this year. On a “not disclosing owt level”, there are a number of people that have really opened my eyes… some in a good way and some in an “are you for real?” way.

Those that have done it in a good way, I applaud you, for you are the ones that make life the fun rich journey it should be…  nuff said.

I do feel that kindness and rubbing along nicely with people should be the way of life. *Deleted text is below.

I have learned to speak my thoughts, or perhaps to allow them to come out…

I have actually learnt to bite my tongue too 😉

I have discovered (been given at festivals etc.) some wonderful whiskies to try and this has been a delicious experience, to name but a few:

Claxton’s – Glenrothes 19 years old

Murray McDavid – Mission Gold Mortlach 1994 – 21 years old

Douglas Laing XOP Aultmore 1990 – 25 years old

Auchentoshan (a few)

Glen Moray 1994 Sherry Cask Finish

GlenDronach (a few)

Etc. etc… and I really need to lay my hands on some of the above.

I’m looking forward to a whisky / whisky fudge, fun filled year. You up for it?

So what more is there to say than this, I look forward to 2018 with a smile and open arms.

Image result for be yourself be happy smile

Or just people who make you smile.

Thanks for this year, love Sarah x

*The bit I cut from above 

Sadly though this is not always the case…sometimes it can return too late to make a difference.

Things change, people change. Change changes people.

Inside the Bottle: Dreams and Wishes

You know that feeling you get when you stumble across a bottle you’ve been wanting for a long time? Maybe it’s one that you have had before and maybe it is one that you have heard is so good, you just have to have one… the whole “ooh” of it. The “er, should I / shouldn’t I” (ooh heck) “sod it” type moment?

Yep. You know what I mean, then you a) check your bank account in eager hope that there’s a little more in there than you thought vs. b) just do it… Just do it.

Maybe you’ve just been damned lucky to discover it, it being slightly obscured from view. Or perhaps it was on’t t’internet? And it was there just saying “go on, buy me” or “bid for me”. So we do / did. Or you do / did. You take the chance!

Then the excitement kicks in as the waiting starts.. and the “I hope it’s not Hermes* delivering it” dilemma (have you ever tried to locate one of their deliveries??) as you know the likelihood of getting it on said day would be a miracle. Will it be as good as we have imagined it in our mind..?

We wait.

We will worry about that item until it is safe in our hands.

We then check the package. Sign for it. Carefully open it up. Personally, I relish the moment of having it there in front of me, marvelling at what is in my hands. And I enjoy that moment. You might even cherish it. I know I do.

I have had a few of these moments this year, and I know why, and they make me smile…

This is where I digress… I was writing the about the above and it got me thinking…

I might come across as a “to hell with it” sort of person. And yes I have my spontaneous moments when I just decided to take myself away from it all. A day to think, or be. The odd day to smile, or just be. You get the idea… However, I also have times where I really know what I want / need / dream of / crave / desire / must do / would be good for me…and can I do what I must to set the wheels in motion? Can I put one foot in front of the other and get on with it? Can I heckers!!

I can hum and hey over decisions for years…

I think spontaneity needs to become my guide (more often.) The little part inside me that says just do it. Just try.

Well I seem to accomplish this with some things… ((a bit like iheartwhisky fudge (once I’ve had the “ooh heck, sod it” thought.))

Maybe I just need to try a little harder?

All I know is this…

                                            dreams can come true, and

                                                                                                    wishes can come true….

*insert other couriers as applicable

Inside the Bottle: Taste(s)

If any of you have read my past posts, then you will have noted that I have previously touched on taste(s) and how they can change…

I used to be a teeny bit of a peat freak, but apart from the odd one or two I still like them I guess,  but my tastes have changed. Or perhaps it is more likely that my palate has developed to enjoy something different? Something slightly more pleasing to my palate, maybe a little smoke but definitley more on the sherry cask side of things. 

This has all been quite an interesting journey. The fact that we all have our own senses and tastes and ways of describing what we have in our hands. And with encouragement doing just that. Is there really a right and wrong way? Is it right that some may lambast others for trying something they wouldn’t normally or perhaps question what they describe? That’s probably a no right there.

It’s all a journey of trial and error if error is the right word… it’s about enjoying the moments. It’s about having the courage to just say what’s on your mind. And hoping that someone somewhere senses something akin to you. Then I guess it’s a confirmation of sorts that you’re on the right tracks…. perhaps?


Inside The Bottle: Opinions and Choices

Sometimes you have too much thinking time…or perhaps you have the time to think, to just kind of question things?

Anyway something that’s been making me ponder for more than a while is opinion, or opinions, maybe even choices and decisions? We have the opinions that are given to us. Sometimes we ask for opinions, and others…well they’re foisted upon us on us in such a manner that it’s akin to staple gunning you to a sheet of plywood. Then choices? Can’t please everyone! Ouch.

Stay there. Listen. And accept.

But should we? We all have our own opinions – would the world not be a boring hideous place if we all agreed, all felt the same? Things change. Tastes change. People change.

Variety is the spice of life…or so they say.

I feel this blog covers many areas of my life. I’ve spent many years being agreeable for the sake of peace…and I rather feel this really isn’t all that healthy or in my best interests. This is true of whisky and how or what we perceive it to be, or what our palates allow us to taste.

I have sort of touched on this in other blogs too. The fact that we have to in some cases learn or be brave enough to just speak as we find, or type as we taste.

There will always be that one person (or group) that has / have a well honed / well seasoned sense of nosing and tasting. There will be those who quietly reflect on what is in their hand and test and tease themselves in order to understand and learn what a particular region / distillery / grain / wood / finish gives them. I think I might fall into this category. Then we have the (assuredly) confident, who do have a far better sense of what they are experiencing, who have probably had the pleasure of sampling many whiskies over many years. The type of person that you can learn from. Take tips from. But have no fear, I am sure they question themselves too (on occasion)?

We perhaps have the “I know I am right” brigade too. Those who instinctively pounce on other’s opinions. Those who feel the opinions and choices of others are automatically incorrect and they must let you know. And you WILL listen…

Things change. People change. Tastes change.

I used to loathe some whiskies… I had a few awful bottles over the years. They gave me nothing, and were quite uninteresting and unpalatable drams.


Now. Well now I have had a few different expressions or bottlings and this has allowed me to in some cases have a complete turnaround. On occasion this has amused me as I feel I might have missed out on some interesting tastes and moments… Hindsight eh?

Now to digress..

I think the crux of this piece is that this is all* a journey… It should be a journey of discovery & adventure. It should be intertwined with friendship and joie de vivre. Spit out that which taints your (whisky or otherwise) palate and embrace the delicious offerings that want to delight you. Be spontaneous.

Try Fujikai. Don’t try Fujikai. Cherish the last drops of whisky in a memorable bottle…or don’t. Love Jura or hate Jura (yes, I’ve seen the ones that don’t like it, however I DO.)

I am a lapsed fan and a proud Diurach.. Pass me a bottle of the 21 year old and sit with me in front of a fireplace on a Winter’s night and I am sure I will rekindle my smile. Love peat or hate peat. I’ll keep popping back to it. Because some days call for it. Some call for the wonderful comfort of a beautiful “sherry bomb”. But it is our choice. Variety as I said is the spice of life.

Whether we are ladies or gents, we all have a place, and a voice. Just be kind.

*Life in general. This is not a dress rehearsal. Cock up. Laugh. Smile. Live.



Inside the Bottle: When Life Gives You Whisky…

You take a step to explore.. you try, you taste, you let it linger and enjoy the moments.

The colour can capture you. Draw you in, entice you. Tease you. Make you wonder and think about what the contents might reveal.

Then the nose. Appreciating what you have in your hand. Exploring its depths with each inhalation. Finding the words to describe the scents that are opening in your glass. Questioning if you’ve given it enough time to open and reveal itself. Hoping that the palate will match or enhance the senses…

The palate and that first tentative sip as the glass touches your lip and the liquid gently fills your mouth and hopefully delights your tastebuds. Did it deliver what you imagined it would? Has it made you smile as the flavours coat and move across your tongue? Has the anticipation of something wonderful paid off? And the finish. Does it warm you? Does that moment fill you with wishes. Does it pull you back into a moment. A daydream perhaps? Maybe it gives you a thirst to want more. To explore more. To know more.

These whiskies we find. The truly special ones that we dare not finish as we might not have another opportunity to sample and appreciate. Those are the truly special ones.

I hope to find more x


Inside the Bottle – Senses Teased & Stories Unfold

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my childhood recently…I think there are a couple of things Mum used to say to me that always come back and comfort me and make me smile.

The first is that being the seventh child Mum had decided by that point to stop using “baby words” like doggy, horsey, or whatever. She often said “I taught you to use proper words, and when you started talking, you didn’t stop”. The other memory I recall was being called a little helper by Mum (she of course used a Dutch word.) This stemmed from always tidying and helping others. Which of course I still do today.

I am the “if you need me and I can help, I will come running” type. I guess that’s why some offer me gardening and jet washing jobs? 🙂

Yet, the former is the thought that sticks with me most.

I love to talk.

It’s not always easy as sometimes the words stick in my throat…(as the old enemy raises its head and steals my confidence) but if you know me, really know the real me, then the words will flow.

Over the few years I’ve learnt when not to talk. And this stifles me.

I’ve written recently that there are some things that just encourage and beg the words to fall easy like from key to screen… or perhaps tumble gently from my lips as I’m stood telling you a story with passion, with grace, with excitement at an “I get that” moment… or with the hope you’ll listen. Just that. Listen.

I am going somewhere with this… the key in the excitement is the topic. I’m never going to wax lyrical if I don’t need to. Some things can be said more succinctly if it’s something we have all probably tried or experienced, why? because of that. If I stumble upon a new burger that let’s for arguments sake say it contains a most delicate and intriguing array of spices that when you’re served it, it actually piqued your interest and got your senses craving what’s in front of you. Then I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you about the restaurant and the waiter who laughed as I dropped my napkin, spilled my wine, or returned a smile.

I’ll tell you its colour, its texture, how juicy it is…how it took me back to a time or a place or a daydream. I’ll tell you how it made me feel. I’ll tell you it’s oh so good as it’s waiting for me to sink my teeth in as a dribble of its juicy centre falls to the plate. Because, after all, who wants dry manky meat in a run down cafe?

I’d convey all this in the hope that it would excite you enough to go and find one yourself because it’s something that makes me feel like I’ve found the Holy Grail.

But at other times a few words simply say enough. I went to McDonalds today. Had a double bacon burger. Never had one before. Nice and tasty. I’ll try something else next time. Or a delicious coffee, you know from Starbucks…need I say more?

If it hits the spot and we’ve mostly all had experience of it then to me describing it as it is is enough?

It all comes down to confidence, and the subject…if I have the time and I know people will listen, then I will tell you a story, and regale you with details and, sights, sounds and scents. I will smile and and share with you the moments that made me smile, the moment will then become a memory to look back on. And then hopefully smile again…

Am I glad Mum taught me how to speak properly? Yes, of course I am. Perhaps I just wish I had someone who wanted to hear my words…Whatever the case, I have a phone full of notes and moments, some I share(d) and some I shall keep to myself…

So I do hope you enjoy reading my festival stories, the odd tastings, mishaps and reads like this. I guess these all show the real


Inside the Bottle – Why Choose That Bottle?

I guess this is something that I think a lot about, especially when I look at the whiskies I have.

The why?

Initially I think it was from visiting distilleries and enjoying one of their whiskies, then it was maybe a suggestion from someone to try something different. Then there’s the old “it was on offer, so I thought I’d give it a bash!” (To note: this can sometimes result in a less costly mistake, yet still a mistake.)

Way back in my early twenties when I started to drink, I was a Rolling Rock, Diamond White, followed by JD and Diet Coke type of girl…this then went to some real ales, then developed into wine, then I completely stopped drinking for a good number of years. It seemed a bottle of wine would be opened but with early starts and travel the next morning there was no point in having more than a small glass. Then remembering you still had it a few days later and by then it wasn’t any good. So I stopped drinking.

Then I guess my interest in a relaxing drink started again with a glass of wine and maybe a dram. This was to be Jura. Origin and Superstition, Elixir when it was released. The wonderful Jura 21 year old and the Diurach’s Own bottlings. And I guess that and bottles of beer I was sorted. Yet the last couple of years the ale started to slide and red wine started going to my head more easily so slowly but surely whisky started to make more and more of an appearance.

This takes me to the here and now.

Now I tend to read websites and learn what might be worthy of trying, or from friends and acquaintances.

Visiting distilleries still leads to new discoveries, as do the whisky festivals that I attend. Having the opportunity to sample so many different whiskies under one roof, pouring away the odd one that just doesn’t deliver and savouring those that just leave their mark. And from that, then seeing what else is out there.

It’s becoming an interesting journey developing an appreciation of what I want to spend my hard earned cash on, and my time with.

I think from reading my blog you’ll know what some of my favourite distilleries are, as well as independent bottlers. So, long may it continue…