Tag Archives: scotland

My top 3 whiskies…

I’ve been immersing myself in the whisky world for a wee while now.  The favourites are starting to make an appearance.  Here’s the whiskies that have made it into my top 3, so far…

#1    Highland Park- 12 year old–  Love it! Actually love it! This whisky has instantly made it to the top spot.

A slight peatiness works on this wonderful whisky.  It gives the whisky an extra edge and makes it come alive.

Tend to find the Islay malts are too smoky- so much so, I feel, it destroys the aromas/flavours.  However, just a touch gives a whisky character.

Water brings out a spicy sensation and takes Highland Park to a whole new level.

 

 

 

 

#2  Balvenie – Doublewood. 12 yr old

Smooth.. smooth.. smooth.  Notes of caramel, sherry, sweetness and an oakiness. A very pleasant whisky.

Apparently, aged for 10 years in bourbon casks, and then aged for another two years in sherry casks.

A variety of flavours develops as you drink it overtime, which makes it a magical whisky. Even the after tastes surprise you by unexpected offerings of coconut and spice.

 

 

 

 

#3 Macallan Gold

Bursting with fruitiness- apples and raisins, and accompanied by a touch of honey.

I feel  Macallan Gold has a long lasting finish.  Not many other whiskies follow suit. There is a strength to this whisky. A great companion that offers both oaky tastes and subtle sweetness.

 

 

The ones that didn’t make the cut…

Royal Brackla (it nearly did), 

Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glengoyne, Laphroaig, Tallisker, Glenfarclas 

Now that i’m getting a feel for whiskies from the different regions.  I’m discovering your choice of whisky really depends on the mood you are in at the time.  If i’m out with friends – Highland Park brings the kick you need.  On the other hand, chilling out at home- Balvenie does the trick…

What’s currently making your top 3 whisky list?

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Mixing whisky with stars…

Really? I know!  What a bizarre (but fun) combination…

Last week, I went along with a friend from work (Alastair- big whisky and science fan) to a whisky/science evening at the Glasgow Science Centre.

The night kicked off with whisky tasting…

Rod from the Good Spirits Company talked us through each whisky (list below).  A scientist would occasionally step in to chat about ‘molecules’?  atoms?

I’m not going to lie- the more whisky I had the more my brain shut off to molecule chat.

We were then taken into the planetarium and blanketed with a night sky full of stars.  Stunning!  We learned about all the star constellations.. big dipper/cooking pot.

In all seriousness though, it was beautiful to see… especially after 6 drams!!   🙂

The list of whiskies from the night (courtesy of Rod’s Twitter account – @rodbodtoo)

If my memory serves me right, i’m sure my favourite was number 4. Ever tried any of these?

Whisky makes you do strange things… at one point I felt I was levitating in

the room…

that’s because…

I was levitating… in the room…

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Anyhooo, last week was my first week in my new job at The Macallan.  Loving it so far! Lovely people and lots of information to learn and take in! Exciting times!  More on my Macallan adventures in future posts 🙂

Have a fabulous whiskified week.

Slainte!

Related links-

http://www.thegoodspiritsco.com

http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org

Glengoyne Distillery and Edinburgh whisky meet ups

A short 30 minute bus trip from Glasgow Buchanan bus station, passing intertwining hills and windy country roads…  BANG! You’ve reached your destination…. The Glengoyne Distillery.

Discovered in 1833, it is known for its beautiful setting just outside Loch Lomond. Glengoyne is considered a Highland Single Malt, the distillery sits on the highland line and its warehouses (across the road) sit on the Lowlands.

The distillery is also parallel to the famous walk of the West Highland Way. Many walkers have a tendency to combine their walk with a visit to the distillery.  Apparently, Glengoyne leave a whisky bottle on the fence for the walkers to take a swig from as they pass it.  A nice wee personal touch.

The waters used by the whisky comes from the Glengoyne Burn, which flows from the Dumgoyne hill into the distillery grounds.  This is where the tour begins before a short walk to the distillery itself.

I’d recommend taking the gold medal or chocolate tour, where you also get to taste four Glengoyne whisky bottles. Oh, and a free Glencairn glass thrown in as  well… standard. 🙂

Always wonder what the point is in visiting a distillery without tasting their whisky?  It’s a bit like going to the cinema and walking out half way through the film.  The tasting completes the whole experience.

Note to remember:  I paid roughly £26 for the gold medal tour. I only discovered afterwards the same tour was on groupon for half price.  Always jump on the site before you go so you’re not missing out on juicy deals.

What makes Glengoyne whisky different?

They don’t use peat smoke to dry the barley.

Glengoyne Whisky tasting 

Glengyone 12 year old- vanilla, toffee, apples, coconut

Glengoyne 15 year old –  citrusy, dry, fruity, apples, cinnamon

Glengoyne 18 year old – oaky, apples, sweeter, slightly spicy

Glengoyne 21 year old –  known as the ‘big bad boy’ rich, spicy,   100% sherry cask matured. Nutty, rich, apples, cinnamon.  Out of the three this was my favourite- rich, spicy and warm.

Everytime I added drips of water to Glengoyne whisky I felt it weakened the flavours.

 

Edinburgh ‘monthly malty’ meet up

As well as immersing myself in the whisky world, I also want to surround myself with whisky enthusiasts.  What better way to do this than through social media.  I came across a ‘monthly malt’ group, in Edinburgh, on the Meet Up app.  Organised by Justine, the group meet up (obviously) every month in a different place, whether its a pub, tasting session or whisky and cheese night.

Last night it was at the Athletic Arms- 15 minutes away from Haymarket. Really enjoyed it and was great to spend the evening with lovely people.  Who would have known people from Edinburgh could be so nice?  I joke! 🙂

The Athletic Arms had a huge list of whisky options £2.50 a time. Bargain!

I went for…

Glenfiddich 18 year old–  smooth, very smooth, caramel, toffee and fruity

Glenmorangie midwinter nights dram (limited edition) – it was ok. Not as smooth as the Glenfiddich.  This made me want to try something different. So the next one was the…

Laphroaig 18 year double cask (Islay)– Wow!  The beast of all whisky beasts I’ve tried so far. Very strong smelling, very smoky and very spicy.  I wasn’t actually averse to it.  This also made me discover Islay single malts will be the most likely whisky that I’ll add a splash of water.

 

Until next time… Slainte!

What scotch whisky character would you take to a party?

Shortly, I’ll be launching myself into the whisky industry.  My blog will be taking a new direction and whisky will be making a big appearance, alongside communications chat.

I’ve recently been immersing myself in the land of whisky, with an aim to learn and understand as much as I can about this magical potion. There are loads of expert whisky blogs out there, but I haven’t come across many that cater for the beginner…

Join me on my newbie adventures, what I’ll learn, and the places I go to find out all about Scotland’s famous tipple.

If you’re a novice to whisky and need to find a starting point…

The Scotch whisky experience (Edinburgh)

…is a good place to start!!

http://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk

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It’s located on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, a stone throw away from Edinburgh Castle.

The tour begins with a barrel ride taking you through the whisky making process (I’ll cover more of this on distillery visits).

Afterwards, you are invited into a room for a sensory experience to learn about the Scotch whisky regions. The scratch and sniff cards help define the characteristics of each area…  They also act as a teaser before the taster session.

 

It’s good to start with scotch whisky in the different regions.

 Scotch whisky characters 

I like to think of the different regions as whisky characters at a party.  They are all different and each bring something to the table. It’s a great way to remember them and also makes it more fun!!

What type of whisky characters would you take to a party?

 

 

  • Highland:  Spicy and full bodied in the north.  Light and fruity in the South. Honey, caramel, vanilla, floral finish  
  • Speyside:  Sweet aromas and rich flavours. Known for it’s sherry casks, particularly the Macallan. Sweeeeeet!    Toffee, floral notes, apple, pear, honey, grassy
  • Islay: Peated and strong flavoured whisky. There are many layers to an Islay malt, very complex, very peaty, very smoky!!
  • Lowland:  Light bodied and mild.  Grassy notes, ginger, honeysuckle
  • Campbeltown: Peaty, salty, fruity, vanilla, smoky 

My verdict:  Who would I bring to a party?  Speyside!  All about the quality, rich and sweet. Let’s face it… he’s pretty cool as well 🙂

Although, just like the Highland character… sometimes it can depend on your own mood!

 

What to do when setting up a social enterprise

On Friday, I attended my last Big Lottery event… ever!  Strive (a support network for social enterprises in East Lothian) held their quarterly network meeting. I couldn’t think of a better event to bring my Big Lottery outreach adventures to an end.

The network is full of inspiring social entrepreneurs looking to make a difference. It’s one of the most enthusiastic, supportive and positive member networks I’ve came across.

Setting up a social enterprise is a marvelous concept.  Passionate people who want to give back and do good tend to go down this route.  Social enterprises operate as a business.  However, any profits made are reinvested back into the organisation to support the people/communities they are helping.

Epic social enterprise example:

Social Bite- http://www.social-bite.co.uk

Support networks 

If you’re thinking of setting up a social enterprise, there are many organisations out there to support you. Here’s a few to get you started

http://www.strive.me.uk/about/ (East Lothian)

http://www.the-sse.org/schools/scotland/ (Scotland wide)

http://www.socialenterprisescotland.org.uk (Scotland wide)

http://www.firstport.org.uk (Scotland wide)

http://www.entrepreneurial-spark.com (apply to take part in a start up business programme)

https://fsen.squarespace.com/support-organisations/ (Scotland wide)

Funding

You can apply to Awards For All for start up costs, which includes running costs for the first year of your organisation:

http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/awardsforallscotland

Firstport also provide funding opportunities along with advice and business support:

http://www.firstport.org.uk

Funding Scotland offers an array of funding opportunities in Scotland:

http://www.fundingscotland.com

It can be a lonely and isolating process when you start a business.  Get yourself connected, both on and offline, and make sure you surround yourself with people who will always support you.

Happy social enterprising!

How to get out of your social media rut

Some groups think to stay ahead of the game they constantly need to schedule daily content to engage and encourage their followers. This is all very well if you have interesting and engaging content to run with…

However if you find yourself searching for anything so you can just tweet/post for the sake of it. Wrong move!

dugOne way to tell is how long you ponder over a tweet. If you’re still sitting there 5 minutes later. Ding ding ding.. That’s your warning sign!

Giving into the pressure of pushing out similar daily content not only creates bland tweets/posts but it also weakens the interest of your followers. ,

 

Top Tips

Here are a few suggestions you can take to prevent falling into the trap of bland daily predictable posts:

1) The more the merrier… the more volunteers/ employees that have access to your socialhands media accounts, the more creative and interesting tweets you will get.

If you want to monitor who tweets what, (especially if you start engaging with people) ask those involved to include their name or initials at the end of a tweet. You may still have one person who coordinates and manages your networks. Just don’t restrict your social media activity to one person.

 

2) Learn something new… even in your spare time! If you love social media as much as you think you do. You will go out your way to learn new skills. There is so much out there, the internet has everything you need to know… whether you want to start creating videos, podcasts, imagery or music. Skills are transferable, you might not realise at the time. But when you’re blessed with a spark of inspiration, you will have the skills to draw upon. Be creative and test things out.

3) Connect with similar people/groups not just in internet land but in real life.  Inspiration doesn’t just come from searching on the internet. If you’re working in a charity/volunteering for a group- go out your way to make real connections. You will be amazed how much inspiration you get just by making a little effort.

 

4) Don’t overthink! Social media is real! Keep it natural. Go with the flow, sometimes intuition makes an appearance and you know the right thing to say in a given moment. Tweets like these will be more authentic and appealing.

 

funny monkey5) Be silly! We all want a bit of fun on social media. When scrolling through your updates… what grabs your attention first? An amusing monkey image or a bland organisational update?

Obviously there is a balance. Just don’t take things too seriously on your networks all the time.  If you want to capture your audience, experiment every now and again…take risks!

 

 

 

There are no rules! You aren’t expected to update when there is nothing to say. Take the pressure off. Keep it real:)