Ardbeg Lord of the Isles

Ardbeg Lord of the Isles

The final bottle of the 25th Wedding Anniversary Special……..

A 25yo (sometimes a little older….) Ardbeg that was first bottled in 2001 at 46% , when first released it cost on or around the £100 mark . Bearing in mind how much it was and how rare old Ardbegs were , i have Abiding memories of it being given out like it was going out of fashion at a couple of Ardbeg Days at the Feis Ile…….

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Another one with a beautiful Golden Colour , On the nose the ‘Ardbeg-dine’ is very light , slight fruitiness with a bit of citrus , the nose is more akin to the later 70’s than the early to mid 70’s , quite reserved for an ardbeg to be honest . On the palate we get something more Ardbeggie , lemon , a touch of creamy chocolate / coffee , the Ardbeg-dine more prominent , a proper 70’s Ardbeg Mouthfeel . The finish is long with all of the above . This is a later LOTI (L4) , it’s still a good dram but it’s not quite what i remember of the other (earlier ?) LOTI’s i’ve had .

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Laphroaig 25yo 2013 Cask Strength Edition

The fifth and penultimate 25th Wedding Anniversary bottling…….

Bottled 6 years ago in 2013 at 45.1% , We’d previously had a 25 at the distillery back in 2011 on my 50th birthday (the 48.6% one) which was very impressive but the previous ones to that we’d tried had been disappointing .

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Pale Gold in colour , The initial nose is quite reserved to start with , smells like a watered down 10yo , quite farm yardy , grassy with a touch of peat , a bit of a let down for a laphroaig to be honest . Luckily the palate comes roaring in with ‘Peaty Laphroaig’ ! that’s better , it’s actually quite smooth and velvety (in a funny sort of way) but with the Laphroaig punch , iodine / seaweed , there’s also the Farm yard thing but with a touch of nettles .The finish is medium (for a Laphroaig ) but has that Farm Yard / Nettles , Antiseptic thing going on . Being used to the Cask Strength 10yo at first i was (in a strange way) slightly disappointed , then i reread my notes on the last 25 i tried and it was fairly similar apart from the Sherry , just don’t think of the 10yo CS when trying it……. 

Brora SMWS 61.2(0)

The fourth in our 25th Wedding Anniversary series…..

Another SMWS bottling , This one came up in a tasting in Newcastle , to my great surprise , The label has a miss-print , it says 61.2 but it should say 61.20 ! Distilled in February 1978 and bottled in February 2004 at 57% , it has the label name “Marmalade on burnt toast” .

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Polished Gold in Colour , The nose is definitely Brora ! The Brora medicinalness and smoke , You could be on the seashore with a barbeque going piling the spices on the steak . The palate continues with the coastal medicinalness , it glides across the tongue , they don’t make peated whisky like this anymore! The finish is exceptionally long with all of the above plus , at last , the marmalade ! The only thing i can add is This does not disappoint !

Caol Ila SMWS 53.98

The third of the Anniversary bottlings…….

This is from a time when we were a very active member of the SMWS , Going to regular tastings , lots of visits to The Vaults , their bottle prices were very good value and they hadn’t gone stupid with bottling lots of sulphured whisky……. 53.98 is a 25yo distilled in January 1980 and bottled in December 2005 at 60.4% , it was given the label name “Peat , tar and liquorice” .

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The colour of Polished Gold , The nose is quite closed to start with , then there’s a very strong hint of Toffee (!?!?) , The Caol ilaness finally starts coming through , the distinct peatiness . It’s when you get it in the mouth the full ‘Caol Ila’ finally emerges , it is a flavour you only get from this distillery , germolene antiseptic , coastal , iodine / seaweed . It all follows through onto a very long gorgeous finish . Another brilliant CI that doesn’t taste like it’s 60.4% , Superb , just the nose can let it down a bit……  

Bunnahabhain XXV

The second of the 25th Wedding Anniversary bottlings……

Bunnahabhain ages well , we’ve had one’s well into their 30’s in the past , this one is a 25yo bottled at 46.3% . I think i bought this on one of my last visits to the distillery (2014 or before….) .

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What a wonderful colour out of the bottle! A Gorgeous Polished Mahogany , The first thing you notice on the nose is Sherry , lots of it , this is the Proverbial liquid Christmas Cake , dried fruits , spices , marzipan , vanilla etc etc . There is sea air and the Bunnahabhain ‘Sweetness’ – the Edinburgh Rock Confectioners Sugar . The palate pretty much replicates the nose with the addition of lots of dark fruits , The finish is very long , very satisfying with a very juicy sherriness mixing with a lingering spiciness , quite chewy as well . Another corker of an aged sherried Bunnahabhain , cracking stuff !!!

Douglas Laing ‘Directors Cut’ 25yo Longmorn

The first of the 25th Wedding Anniversary Bottle Reviews……

From my favourite Speyside Distillery , Longmorn , this Indy bottling from Douglas Laing was distilled in April 1989 and bottled in June 2014 at 54.2% . Longmorn seems to be one of them distilleries that get even better with age .

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 The Colour of ripe straw (pale gold) , the nose is a cornucopia of exotic fruits (as expected of a Longmorn) , there is Honey , spices , a nice maltiness and a touch of freshly cut meadows . The palate is soft , smooth and velvety , Again lots of fruits , spices and a touch of oak . The finish is long with Cinnamon Apple pie and Vanilla Custard . A delicious malt , as a Longmorn should be , the only thing i would say is it hasn’t got the ‘umph’ that the older SMWS Longmorns had but it’s still worth the investment !

It Was 25 Years Ago Today………

It’s hard to believe that 25 Years Ago Today , 30th July 1994 , I married the Special Woman in my life ! Just over 2 years after we started dating (at her Birthday Party ) We tied the knot at St Peter’s Church , Monkseaton . It was a very special Day surrounded by our Family and friends . Music wise , Melanie walked up the aisle to ‘Sheep may safely graze’ and we left the church to ‘ The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ (We wanted to go against the norm…..) ……

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The Nervous Bridegroom


Our Nieces ,Vicky Claire and Laura

Well scrubbed up Friends !

Signing our lives away ?

MLeaving the scene of the crime……

Going out into the big wide world as a couple for the first time

Second Kiss as a wedded Couple

After the Marriage Ceremony , we departed the church in a White Roller for the Reception at The Magnesia Bank in North Shields , after a few more Photos we tucked in to a fantastic meal and a drink or two…….

Looking into the Future…….

The Love of my Life !

We headed home to have a wee rest and a change of clothes……

Slightly more relaxed……

One of us Slightly more Relaxed……

The Nightime ‘Do’ was at The Magnesia Bank as well , where we danced and drank the night away accompanied by good music and a Lightning storm over the Tyne . The ‘First Dance’ was the big hit of the year from the big film of the year , Wet Wet Wet’s ‘Love is all Around’ (we did actually ask for Love shack by the B52’s for the first dance – none of this slow dance stuff for us , still don’t know why the DJ went for the Wets….. – we did eventually get to see the faded sign by the side of the road….. ) . We went to see ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ on our honeymoon at the extremely hot , sweaty and quirky ‘Hollywood Plaza’ Cinema .

The First Dance !

The Happy Couple !

After a day’s rest on the Sunday , we headed off to Scarborough for the Honeymoon , basically seeing how many times we could visit the Harbour Bar for Knickerbocker Glorys….. We did do other stuff in between , honest……

Loves Young Dream in the Italian Gardens in our Super Aerosmith T-shirts

The Gorgeous Love of my life !

It doesn’t feel like 5 minutes since we tied the knot , Melanie isn’t only the love of my life , she’s my best friend and my Soul Mate , it , as in all marriages , hasn’t always been perfect  but i would not change a minute of it , she is a very special woman and she’s been my rock through whatever life has thrown at us , I love her with all my heart , here’s to the next 25 years my darling !


Seeing it’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary i’ve Opened some special bottles i’ve Been holding back to celebrate…….