Bunnahabhain 1991 16yo Feis Ile

It’s been a while since i’ve done a whisky review (infact added anything to the Blog…..) but in the trying times i’ve decided to raid the whisky cupboard and open something special that will be appreciated by Melanie as well as myself , I’ve always had one philosophy regarding whisky you can’t take it with you when you go so you may as well drink it so you can at least have appreciated it…… No matter what it’s value is on the secondary market…….

So to the Whisky…….


This was bottled for the 2007 Feis Ile (you can read about it HERE ) I can’t remember the price of it but at the time it would have been very reasonable as at this point in time the Bottle Chasers hadn’t really influenced the Primary market prices . Filled on the 28th January 1991 , Cask 276 was one of 100 assorted types filled that day but was the only Spanish Sherry Hogshead amongst them and to make things even better it was an oloroso cask  . Now Sherry and Bunnahabhain are a match made in heaven (see No. 2 , 5 , 6 and 38 HERE  ) , so this one shouldn’t disappoint……

One of 190 bottles , it has an ABV of 54% and was bottled on the 1st May 2007 .

Colour – A Beautiful Amber .

Nose – At first a smooth sherry , none of this sulphur crap , then a slight hint of smoke , Christmas cake dough , a touch of sweetness and a hint of dark fruits .The sherry is the dominant factor on the nose .

Palate – A Perfect palate , smooth sherry , dark fruits (plums , raspberries , blackberries ) , The Bunnahabhain Sweetness , Cola Cubes and thankfully again none of the ‘S’ word .

Finish – A beautifully long and sherried finish , smooth , has a bit of a chew to it , an absolute Joy !

Well…… another perfect Sherried Bunnahabhain , Class in a Glass !

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…..) ……

(Click on Photos to see Full Size)

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…….

Holiday Tasting Notes……

Seeing we’re taking it easy (me not driving anywhere….) on the first bit of this holiday and it’s a wee bit wet thought i’d Spend the afternoon watching the trains go by whilst writing up some tasting notes of samples provided by my good buddy Bobby B . A fairly mixed bag…….

Longmorn 2012 7yo 58.3% (Our Own Cask) 

Yes the last cask in my portfolio has reached 7yo , from a Bourbon Barrel (with recharred ends according to Mr Logan) . Pale straw in colour , the initial nose proves its youthfulness, there is still a few years of maturing to go, the Longmorn character is there , to say it’s a bit of a fruit bomb is an understatement, citrus, exotic fruits, vanilla , absolutely gorgeous!

The palate is silky smooth with a symphony of fruity delights , wow, the finish is long ,peppery, loads of spices , Magnificent !!!

To say we have scored for another brilliant cask would be stating the obvious but I wouldn’t have expected anything else from a Longmorn !

Berry Bros Sherry Cask Matured Blended Malt

Have no idea what is actually in this one but it was bottled at 44.2% , a deep Amber in colour, the nose is indeed sherried, there is a touch of sulphur (not a good sign….) but no distinguishing features. The palate has the usual sherry features, Christmas Cake etc , but nothing to let on its origin . Finish is long and sherried. A decent enough dram let down by sulphur on the initial nose , but I have to say it’s not a patch on the Blue Hanger Batch 4 which is the bench mark imho for BBR Blended Malts formerly known as Vatted…..

A.D. Rattray 8yo Royal Brackla

Not a malt I’m not that well acquainted with , apparently it was finished in a Calvados cask for 18 months (which makes me think straight away there was something wrong with the original cask and/or spirit…..) and bottled at 56.2% , a brightish gold in colour, the nose is a bit strange , presumably the calvados, quite sweet but nothing outstanding. The palate is even weirder, sweet and spirity, the finish is……. i’ll Pass on it……. Not one to dash out and buy a bottle of IMO 

Wolfburn Morven (Lightly Peated) 

A new malt to my palate , no age statement given , bottled at 46% , very pale straw in colour, on the nose it’s definitely peaty ! Sort of young Islay in the Laphroaig area. The palate is pleasant enough , no nastiness, a rather enjoyable Peated dram , finish is smooth , peaty and longish. Not bad but if I wanted a dram like this i’d look to Islay and probably a Laphroaig……

Whiskybroker 10yo Fettercairn

Bottled at 56.5% , bright gold in colour and presumably from an ex-bourbon cask given the number of bottles . Lovely fresh nose , lots of vanilla , gorgeous fruitiness and maltiness. Great Start ! The palate continues the niceness of this dram again fruity and malty , wonderful! The finish continues on the previous themes , grand stuff !

Taking the Longmorn out of the equation (for bias sake….) this has been my favourite dram so far !

Whiskybroker 9yo Ardmore

Distilled 20/10/2009 and bottled at 58.4% after 12 months finishing in an ex-oloroso cask , the colour is a light amber . The nose is a nice mixture of the Ardmore peatiness and sherry , the palate is also extremely enjoyable , again a nice mixture of both flavours and very balanced, the finish is lovely and long . A very good dram , well finished by Martin , another dram I could have gone for ! 

Before I move on to the last two drams I have to say (and Bobby knows this , probably why he keeps sending me them…..) I’m not a huge fan of Arran Malt whisky , I thought it had huge potential when I first visited it in the 90’s but to say i’ve Been underwhelmed by it is a huge understatement……

Arran 18yo 52.9%

Not a great deal of detail about this one , bright gold in colour, the nose is pleasant enough , getting jam rolly polly and custard , a strong maltiness , the palate continues the jaminess (strawberry) , the finish is long and spicy . A pleasant dram , probably one of the better Arrans i’ve Had .

Whiskybroker 10yo Arran 

From a Sherry Hoggie, bottled at 57.4%, a light mahogany in colour, very Christmas Cake on the nose , slight maltiness, but not a lot else . Again on the palate it’s Christmas Cake and sherry but no distinguishing features…… The finish is long and sherried , what I don’t get about Arran are the distillery characteristics, this could be any dram , there’s nothing to say it’s from Arran , a session dram that would please an undiscerning drammer, preferred the first one to be honest…….

So as this tasting session has progressed the sun has come out , I’ve had a N.E.R T2 , a S.R. Schools Class and a B.R. Class 37 go by , turning into a perfect Afternoon!

Tornado’s Wensleydale Valentine Cream Tea

If there’s one thing we both enjoy it’s a journey along a beautiful Heritage Railway behind a Steam Engine , throw in a meal or a Cream Tea and we’re in Hog-Heaven !

Recently A1 Peppercorn Pacific ‘Tornado’ visited the Wensleydale Railway in North Yorkshire and offered a Valentines Cream Tea trip along the line and we thought it would be rude not to……

(Click on the photos to see full Size)

Starting at Leeming Bar the line goes through some of the wonderful scenery in North Yorkshire to Redmire on the Edge of the North Yorkshire Dales National Park .

We were offered a lovely selection of Sandwiches and cakes along the way and i also pre-ordered a bottle of Prosecco for my lovely Woman beforehand . It was a glorious day for a journey up the line , There was a Water stop (for the Engine) at Leyburn where we could see the improvements going on to install a new passing loop . Always a pleasure to travel on the Wensleydale !

Canadian Whisky , more raving….. Part 1

Last November The Organiser of the Canadian Whisky Awards , Author of the  Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert , Webmaster of canadianwhisky.org , all round good Egg and Long time Friend Davin de Kergommeaux invited me to be one of the judges in the 2019 CWA’s . Loving Canadian Whisky as i do , it was a huge Honour to be asked back for the 3rd year running to participate . It was also a very daunting task to taste blind 111 whiskies in about 4 weeks…….


We don’t get to know what whisky is what until after the Awards Ceremony has taken place at The Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia in January , you can see this years results HERE  . Congratulations to Davin on another sucessful Awards , it’s growing stronger year by year , I’m sure nexts years 10th Anniversary will be the best yet !  Here are a few notes i’ve made from a some of this years entrants , more to follow in the future…..

Lot No. 40 11yo Caskstrength Second Edition 58.4%

A Limited edition of 4020 Bottles , I love the standard edition (which is available in the UK) unfortunately this one isn’t available in the UK ( wish it was , how about it Corby ?) . Where do i begin with this one ? A lovely Amber colour , The nose is a lovely hot rye bread toast with butter sprinkled with a multitude of ground spices  there is a nice oakiness about it with a touch of vanilla in the background . To say that you can sit and sniff this for an eternity is an understatement……..

The Rye hit on the palate is unbelievable , huge doesn’t do it justice ! There is a fruitiness sitting alongside the Rye , The spices bounce along hand in hand with the rye , bottling it at 58.4% lifts Lot No.40 to another level . The finish is extremely long , it goes on and on and on…… It gives us all that was experienced on the nose and palate .

By now you may have gathered that i like this…… This may just be Rye Whisky at it’s Greatest , another dram ? Go on, go on , go on…….. (Many Thanks to Paul for getting me a bottle of this !)

Forty Creek 22yo Rye

Just announced as ‘Whisky of the Year’ and ‘Best Rye’ in the 2019 Canadian Whisky Awards , I’ve enjoyed a lot of Forty Creeks releases since i started my journey into Canadian Whisky . Slightly reserved nose at first compared to the Lot No.40 CS , then eventually the Rye bursts through , more refined than the previous bust ya nose CS , a beautiful rye sensation , not as spicy but extremely well balanced on the nose . Silky smooth across the palate , lots of rye , oak spices and caramel . The finish is medium – long with toffee / Millionaires Shortbread and a slight rye bitterness .

A thoroughly enjoyable dram , more relaxed than the Lot no.40 CS (after all it is twice the age ) , Recommended !

Canadian Club 41yo

Canadian Club is a funny one in the UK , for many a long year this was the only ‘Canadian’ you could get here and usually it was drowned with a mixer (reminds me of the old joke …. Dean Martin saw a sign saying ‘Drink Canada Dry , so he did…..) .

Now this on the other hand is a serious dram ( Connoisseur Whisky of the Year [domestic] in the 2019 CWA’s ) , The nose is so relaxed , if it was anymore relaxed it would be horizontal , everything i’d expect from a Canadian – butterscotch , corn , very subtle spices and a distant oak . The palate is smooth as a babys bum , surprisingly there seems to be an excess of grain , a bit more spiciness than the nose but it is very balanced and slides across the tongue no bother . The Finish is probably the best bit , it is so long and complex , rye , grain , spiciness….. exceptional !

A marvellous dram , does the Country proud !

J.P.Wiser’s 35yo

This one won Connoisseur Whisky of the Year [Multi market] at this years CWA’s . This is the oldest whisky Wiser’s have released , from ex-bourbon barrels i believe , i do like their releases , the 18 being a particular favourite . This has a very good complexity and balance on the nose , a light rye , butterscotch and grain . There is also a slight fruitiness . The palate is graceful , all of the nose with an added spiciness . As Austin (Powers) would say ‘Yeah Baby !’ , The finish is long and spicy and surprisingly chewy (i.e. it makes you want to chew when you’ve got nothing to chew on…..) .

Another excellent aged Canadian , goes down extremely well with Side 2 of 2112 !

Gooderhams and Worts ‘Eleven Souls’

This one won Best Blended Whisky of the Year this year , I’ve enjoyed the 2 previous G&W releases (both have been available in the UK) ‘Four Grains’ and ‘Little Trinity’ . The reason for it’s name ? Apparently Eleven different whisky components were blended for this release using various distillation methods and five grains (malted and unmalted rye, Brasetto rye, red winter wheat, malted and unmalted barley and double-distilled corn whisky) aged in new white oak, ex bourbon casks or Canadian whisky casks….. Easy for you to say !  The nose is very complex (with the above recipe so it should be !) lots of grain and rye , butterscotch and oak . The palate has added spiciness and a very good balance , the finish is long and complex .

If this became available in the UK i definitely go for it , a lovely addition to the G&W range !

Shelter Point Montford DL 46%

(Award of Excellence – Innovation winner) Shelter Point is Based on Vancouver Island and was established in 2011 . This is a Single Grain bottled at 46% . The nose in fudge going on Butterscotch , There’s almost a Christmassy cake feel to it , Dried fruits / Cake dough . The palate has again a christmas cake feel to it , it is quite chewy , toffee , Spices (mostly of the oak type) and silky smooth . The finish is long and sweet (honey) , Spicy , Actually it has a finish that is very akin to Amrut !

A really nice dram that if i’m being honest i’d never heard of….. Not your usual Canadian but up there with the best !  

Alumni Whisky Series Wendel Clark

This is from a series celebrating Local (Ontario ? ) Ice Hockey Players and Supports the retired Players Community . 100% Rye bottled at 41.6% after 11 years in ex-bourbon barrels . Yup the nose is rye , Gotta love 100% rye ! Hot buttered rye toast along with Spices , On the palate the rye theme continues with avengence , Wood spices and a great chewiness , this rolls across the mouth beautifully . The finish is gorgeous well long , pepper and spices and a nice oakiness .

This dram is incredible , i loved Lot No.40 when i tried it (still do !) , i was gobsmacked by Lot No.40 CS when i finally got to try it , this falls somewhere in between , another one i’d happily part good money with for a bottle or 6…… 

Alumni Whisky Series Lanny McDonald

Another one dedicated to a former Hockey player , this one is ‘Wheat Forward’ (which i take it means there’s more wheat in the Blend….) . matured for 9 years and bottled at 40% . the nose is very subtle , a touch of oak , spices and is quite dry , the plate comes in a bit stronger , again spicy , a little bit sweet (honey ?) a touch of fruit and sawdust . The finish is long with a big Rye hit and Spices , another cracking dram !

Another one i’d probaly go for if i was ‘Local’ to it’s release .

North of 7 4 Grain

From Ottawa’s First Distillery , this comprises of whisky distilled from 4 Grains (Corn, Wheat, Rye and Barley) , Simples ! Bottled at 45% it is a delightful Dark amber colour in the glass , The nose is quite complex , the usual ‘Canadian’ , fudge toffee , vanilla , saw dust , rye and spices . On the palate we have more of the same followed by a very long Rye finish with pepper and cask spices .

A very delightful dram , carrying on a great Canadian tradition .

Shelter Point Double Barreled Single Malt 50%

As the name suggests this has been finished in a second cask , after 6 and a half years in American Oak the whisky is transfered to French oak wine barrels (Previously holding Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir ) for 1993 Hours (!?!?) . Needless to say the nose starts off very fruity then turns into a delicious hot buttered toast , a touch of wood spices follows . The palate starts of with Fresh Cream Apple Turnover then progesses to dark berries with spices . The finish is long , peppery , chewy and once again it reminds me of Amrut , which definitely isn’t a bad thing !

I’m impressed with this lots output !

Wayne Gretzky No.99 Red Cask Whisky

(Whisky Value Domestic Winner) Based in Niagara on the Lake (Lovely place , been there , beautiful old town surround by lots of winerys , hoping to return one day…..) Wayne Gretzky is (according to the Google Search….) a retired Ice Hockey  Player who opened a winery that has open a distillery in it but the brand is now owned by Andrew Peller (who owns Peller Estates – a very fine producer of Wine) ! The spirit consists of Malted Rye, Unmalted Rye and Corn matured for 3 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Gretzky wine casks for an undisclosed period . The nose is fruity , primerially  dark fruits , the rye is well hidden but it is there , along with vanilla and toffee . The rye burst through on the palate along with a soft fruitiness , sawdust and wood spices . The finish is decent enough , medium , rye and pepper .

A very respectable dram , one for a good session , thoroughly enjoyable !

Black Velvet Onyx

A 12yo bottled at 40% and apparently available in the UK……. Strong on the rye on the nose (no complaints from me….) but has all the other Canadian redeeming features ( toffee , Vanilla etc ) , The palate is silky smooth (which is what they boast ) and very subtle , nice balance of the well known traits of this type of whisky . The finish is short but extremely pleasant .

For anyone trying Canadian whisky for the first time this would be a good place to start , giving you an idea of what to expect in the future but with a beautiful smooth taste . Excellent dram for the beginner and a nice easy sipper for the well seasoned dramster . 

Playing Catch Up and a Superb New Year Break

Over the past 12-18 months i’ve been very lazy with the posts on this Blog . Sometimes due to having nothing decent to say , sometimes due to looking after the Wife when she broke her Arm and Shoulder , Sometimes due to changing jobs twice but mostly due to not being bothered ! I’ve continued with my Photography over the period still posting to my Flickr Account (here) , hopefully now i can post happenings here at a more frequent rate !

Since the Summer Holiday we’ve actually had a day trip back to the NYMR (Melanies first trip out without the dreaded sling i think….. ) 

(Click on Photos to see full size )

In the middle of November we returned to another old stomping ground , The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway , a grand day was had riding up and down the line quaffing a few drinks , we also had a meal at possibly our Favourite pub ever , The Brown Cow in Bingley . If you like good food and a choice of 7 Timmy Taylors Ales , that’s the place for you !

Along the way we also did a few visits to local hotspots , either just for a drive or to view the winter wildlife , Trips included to Hauxley Beach and Nature Reserve , Gosforth Park Nature Reserve and Budle Bay……. 

About a week before Christmas i had a bright idea ( normally Melanies the one with the Bright Ideas…..) that it might be a good idea to go away for New Year , luckily the Cottage we had in the summer was still available so we booked it for 4 Nights !

New Year in Levisham

Sunday 30th Dec

We travelled down early as we’d booked Sunday Lunch in The Horseshoe Inn in Levisham Village (which is up the hill from where we were staying) , It’s another cracking pub in Yorkshire , the food is amazing . After being suitable fed we headed down to the Cottage to check in , The owners Kay and David certainly hadn’t held back on making us feel welcome , not only were there decorations there were Mince Pies , Seasonal Nuts , Crackers , Hot Chocolate and Marshmallows , a Dundee Cake and a Bottle of Prosecco awaiting our arrival ! After unpacking we headed down to the station to watch the trains coming and going……

The Evening was spent in front of the Log burner with a dram or two for me and a wine for Melanie……

Monday 31st Dec

We took advantage of the available train service and took a little trip up to Grosmont, well technically down to Pickering then up to Grosmont….. It was a beautiful day for a ride in Gods own Country with my Wife looking as gorgeous as ever .

The Locomotive pulling our train was the ex- NER T2 / LNER Q6 / BR 6F 63395 , it was actually a Pullman Train but we were just in the Ex-BR Mark 1 Carriage . Luckily there was a Buffet Coach on so we were able to enjoy a drink or two on our journey .

Returning to the cottage late afternoon , we saw the New Year in with a few drinks infront of the Log Burner !

Tuesday 1st January 2019

We had a quiet New Years day , a bit of a lie in , Breakfast then a walk up to Skelton Tower on the Moors .

After our invigorating walk we were ready for our New Year Meal…..

Another night infront of the Burner with a drink or two finished of the day .

Wednesday 2nd January

Our final Day of the Stay and we headed off to Scarborough for a breath of Sea air and a bite to eat.

We ended up at one of our favourite eateries in Scarboro’ , Ask on the Harbour front .

After a thoroughly enjoyable meal we headed off for a drive across the moors and ended up in Grosmont for a drink at The Station Tavern . We headed back to the cottage to pack up our stuff and settle down for another relaxing night in front of the Wood Burner !

Thursday 3rd January

So it was time to head back to Newcastle after a very relaxing New Year in Levisham , We agreed that it had been the best New Year trip we’d had in a very long time , a quiet oasis in a beautiful bit of Yorkshire . Many thanks to Kay and David for going that extra yard to make the stay special .

Hopefully now i’ll get back into my blog stride !

Summer Holidays 2018 – Return to Newton Dale

This year we took our Holidays a bit later from our usual time , as it happened it was a blessing in disguise as if we’d took it at our normal time we probably would have had to cancel it as early in the summer Melanie broke her right humerus in 3 places ! We had to change our plans as she still wasn’t fit enough to do the planned walking so it ended up a lot more relaxing than usual !

We were returning to an area we got to know quite well last summer , Newton Dale or to be more precise Levisham Station , literally a stones throw (50yds ) from The North Yorkshire Moors Railway Station . Arriving on Early Friday Afternoon after a Lunch stop at the Fox and Rabbit in Lockton , our place of residence would be ‘The Rowntree Cottage’ at Grove House .

(Click on Photo’s to see Full size)

I have to say it is one of the best Cottages we’ve stayed in , Beautifully decorated , well equiped , spotless and in a wonderful location . There was a lovely welcoming pack includinf a very tasty Homemade Yorkshire Tea Cake . You will notice that a lot of the photos are of the Locomotives of the NYMR , this is partly due to the lack of wlking and the close proximity to the Station and the view out of the back of the cottage from the patio / shared garden at the back !


The View from the back of the Cottage

After watching the last of the early evening trains we settled down for a quiet evening , a few drinks and lisening to the local Tawny Owls calling each other…..

The next day (Saturday) we went for our first (of many) trips on the railway , up to Grosmont for a wander and Lunch in the Station Tavern .

Standard Class 4 arriving at Levisham and the Q6 under test at Grosmont shed

Repton exiting Grosmont Tunnel and passing the Engine Shed

Class 26 and Class 37 at Grosmont

It was back to the Cottage for a few beers and Wines…..

The Sunday was spent visiting Pickering , having a cracking Sunday Lunch in the Black Swan and then picking up supplies in the town , a few more trains were watched at Levisham…..

Class 26 approaching Levisham

The Monday was spent on the Railway again with a trip to Whitby and back , there is no better way to spend a day than travelling just about the full length of the line , watching the world go by with a couple of beers along the way…….

Tuesday we were a bit more adventurous on our travels , we headed off to Yorkshires only Single Malt Distillery in Hunmanby , The Spirit of Yorkshire  .We got there just in time to do the Lunchtime Tour , It’s a bit of a strange distillery as the Brewing is done up at the Sister Brewery , The Wold Top , then is transported down to the Distillery for fermenting and distilling ! While we were on the tour we bumped into an old friend Joe Clark who is the Whisky Director at the Distillery . During the tour we tried the New Make (Extremely Fruity and Dangerously Drinkable) , At the end we got to try ‘The Work in Progress’  3 bottlings of blended spirit they’ve released , Blended by Joes fair hands , they will actually have whisky come next May when it reaches 3yo , They were all very good , 001 was my Favourite , 002 was Melanies (neither are available now ) but 003 still is . After having a bite to eat in their cafe , Joe treat us to a tasting of a cask or 3 , Most of the casks are stored up at the Brewery but they keep a few in the Distillery , the Bourbon barrel we tried was nice with a chocolatey overtone and the 2yo Oloroso and Fino casks were stunning !
They are doing a great job , they have an excellent New Make and are using outstanding wood
.One to watch in the future !

The Gannet is the Symbol of the Distillery due to the proximity of the RSPB Reserve at Bempton Cliffs and see we were close to it and members of the RSPB it would have been rude not to visit it !

Afterwards we went for a drive through Bridlington (don’t think i’ve been there before….) , it was nice day in the Yorkshire Wolds , bumping into an old friend and trying a nice whisky to be !

 Wednesday was spent in Scarborough with Lunch in Ask looking over The Harbour , then it was across the road to The Harbour Bar for pudding , A Knickerbocker Glory !

Thursday was back on the train , this time to Goathland……..

Class 37 arriving in Levisham

Lunch was in ‘The Aidensfield Arms’ then it was a walk down the Rail Trail to Beck Hole and a visit to a pub we’ve been wanting to visit for a while , The Birch Hall Inn .

It’s a small but old pub , a bit like sitting in someones front room and the ‘bar’ is a serving hatch , it’s very popular and i can see why . It was also time for our tradition ‘Selfie on a Train’ , this one in a Classy 1930’s LNER Teak Coach .

Eric Treacy in Grosmont and visiting Spam Can ’92 Squadron’ on Shed

Friday was a quiet day , apart from watching the trains , drinking on the sunny patio and getting a rather nice Lemon Drizzle cake off the cottage owners !

Eric Treacy again……

On the 2nd Saturday we had a drive up to Beck Hole to visit The Model Centre and a visit to Moorgates to watch the trains go by…..

Not the famous one…..

On the Sunday we had a ‘Moorlanders Pullman’ Booked from Grosmont , so that was two return trips on the Railway (one can never do too many trips on the NYMR…..) So it was Levisham – Grosmont , Then Grosmont – Pickering Return on the Pullman and then Grosmont – Levisham ! Once again the Pullman Meal was superb , Melanie went for the Chicken Tikka Starter and i had the Salmon and Prawn Parcels , We both had the Topside of Beef mains and Melanie went for the Fruit Crumble for Pudding and i had the Lemon Meringue Pie . Always a beautiful way to spend a sunny Sunday Afternoon……

The Second Week was the quieter of the Two……

On the Monday Melanie took me out to Scarborough for my Birthday Meal , to ask again , then we had a lovely early evening drive back over the moors via Whitby .

Tuesday we just chilled out in the Cottage photographing trains , before heading off to The Buck Inn in Thornton le Dale for something to eat .

On the Wednesday we took one last train ride to Whitby , then headed up to our ‘Local’ (1 1/2 miles away) in Levisham Village , The Horseshoe Inn , for an Evening Meal . We tried to eat here last year but could never get in , we now know why , the food and service is fantastic !

For the penultimate day of the Holiday we drove up to Grosmont for one last visit and ended up having a sarnie in The Old School Coffee Shop , well worth a visit , lovely sarnies ! Also threw up some more photo opportunities …….

Later on we headed over to the Fox and Rabbit in Lockton for a bite to eat after packing up the suitcases ready for the early departure on Friday Morning .

Even though we didn’t quite have the Holiday we were originally planning we had a brilliant time in a beautiful place , the weather was pretty good over the two weeks apart from a couple of wet and windy days (we seem to get off lightly compared to the rest of the country) , The owners of the Cottage , Kay and David , are wonderful , they can’t do enough to make you feel so welcome . As i said earlier , it is one of the best Cottages we’ve stayed in , Beautifully decorated , well equiped , spotless and in a wonderful location . So good we are returning next summer , just a little bit earlier……

Spirit of Islay Port Charlotte 15yo

This is the 3rd and final Port Charlotte Cask I’ve been involved with , this one was purchased by members of the Long Gone ‘Spirit of Islay’ Yahoo Club / Group . This cask was a Refill Sherry Hogshead filled and purchased in 2002 , Cask No.1161 is cost £1050 , originally 20 shares were issued at £105 but one shareholder holding 2 shares has since vanished….

Originally warehoused at Bruichladdich , the cask was moved to Whiskybrokers site in Creetown to make it easier for bottling just over a year ago , Bruichladdich would only send the bottles to one delivery address . At one point in it’s life I thought it was going to have to be reracked as it’s maturation wasn’t progressing but it seemed to spring into life .

The cask was bottled on the 1st of May 2018 at 60.2% abv , we got 254 75cl bottles out of it , each share receives 14 bottles .(it was bottled in 75cl’s because a third of it was been sent to the USA ) .

(click on Images to see full size)

The Costs for this Bottling……

The Original Purchase of shares.   ……………………………………………….£105

Extra warehousing at Bruichladdich) ……………………..……………………..£5.72

Transportation of Cask from Islay……………………………………………… £17.68

1 Years Warehousing at Creetown….……………………………………………£17.19

Final Warehousing in Creetown ………………………………………………  …£0.58

Bottling costs ………………………………………………………………….  £92.32

Duty and VAT…………………………………………………………………. £443.28

VAT on original purchase of Cask………………………..……………………..£23.48

Total………………………………………………………………………….. £705.25

So the cost per bottle is (total divided by 28)……………..………………… £25.19

So how does it Taste ?

Colour – Amber

Nose – Smoke loads of it , a very subtle sherriness , cream toffee , the nose isn’t over-powering given it’s strength .

Palate – Wow ! a lovely peatiness perfectly balanced with the sherry , Again no clue to it’s strength , the old cola cubes are there (good sign of a classy sherry to me ) , a slight touch of christmas cake , Peppermint / Menthol appears after a little while . 

Finish – Long , Chewy , good hit of sherry and peat .

Comment – I’m really really happy with this , Martin said the cask was well and truly gone when they’d emptied it , well the spirit seems to have gotten the best out of it and it has ended up perfectly balanced . Nice Sherriness mixing with the peat . I think i may be getting sworn at again by Serge…… 


The Trio of Port Charlottes

5 Down , 2 to go…..


Animal Magic

Once again i’ve been seriously neglecting this blog ! Since my last posting we’ve been doing a lot of walking up The Northumbrian Coast , joined the RSPB , joined the Natural History Society of Northumbria (NHSN) but given up our membership of the National Trust . 

The main reason for joining the NHSN was to gain access to the Gosforth Park Nature Reserve as it’s not open to the general public apart from when they hold an open day .

During the recent bad weather we’ve had quite a few different visitors to out Back Garden Feeders , including some Reed Buntings and a Yellowhammer……

(Click on the Photos to see full size) 

One bird we weren’t expecting was a Female Sparrowhawk ! Obviously attracted by the possibility of a feed itself……

We’ve also been attracting quite a few Goldfinches…..

Last Weekend , on Easter Sunday , we went to the Gosforth Park Nature Reserve for the first time , this is one bit of Gosforth Park i’d never seen before , i grew up playing in the Park itself and i have to say it is an amazing little nature reserve . It consists of a shallow lake, extensive reed beds and mixed woodland backing on to the back of the Race Course , there are a few Hides to relax in and watch the wildlife . On the lake there was a good mixture of Waterfowl……

Greylag Geese

Little Grebe

Tufted Duck

On our wanders we came across a trio of Roe Deer , one of which appeared to be expecting……

At the Hide near the entrance they had a rather large feeding station which had the usual suspects…..

My Favourite of the Day !

We’re already looking forward to our return , Hopefully we’ll be able to get photos of the Kingfisher and Long-tailed Tit the next time !

We’ve also being paying visits to the Northumberland Wildlife Trusts Hides at The Big Waters Nature Reserve ……

More Photos are available on my Flickr Page HERE

A Grand Day Out

Suffering from North Yorkshire Moors withdrawl symptoms , we decided to head down to the Railway for a day out , the weather looked (and was ) a bit mixed but we never let a bit rain dampen our day…… We got down to Pickering in plenty of time for the 12pm train to Whitby . We took the road via Castleton and Hutton to travel to Pickering rather than the A171 / A169 , wilder and definitely more beautiful ! After a Sausage Butty in the Station Cafe we awaited arrival of our train , just as it did the heavens opened up……

(Click on photos to see Full Size)

Our train today was the Black 5 45212 , Actually made on Tyneside at the old Armstrong Whitworth Factory at the end of 1935 . 

As always a Steam train arriving is always a majestic sight , even in a heavy downpour…..

The train was actually quite busy esapecially for the week after the school holidays had ended , So off we went up the moors to Whitby , the weather actually cleared for the rest of the day once we reached Goathland where we passed the other ‘Black 5’ on the line working the Afternnon Pullman….

We also got to take the obligatory ‘Train Selfie’

On returning to Pickering we headed off to Levisham to pass a bit of time before going off for something to eat and managed to catch the same Locomotive on it’s las run back up to Grosmont .

After a lovely meal at the Fox and Rabbit in Lockton we headed back home……