Melanies Birthday Treat

As you get older not only does one birthday seem to roll in to another but it gets harder to buy your loved one a Birthday Present , so we tend to take each other away for a weekend and give each other a little treat . This year i decided to take Melanie away to Grosmont in the North Yorkshire Moors for her Birthday , a couple of nights in the Station Tavern , i also booked a trip on the Heritage NYMR on one of their Pullman trains .

We arrived in Grosmont Late afternoon in glorious sunshine , The Tavern is right next to the railway station and has 3 rooms for accommodation , we’d took the Queen suite as it was the only one that looked over the station , it is quite a large room , well decorated with a few quirky features . Upon arrival we had a drink before settling into our room , after freshening up we returned to the bar to have a bite to eat and a few more drinks , the food we have to say is very tasty and of quite large portions , the menu has a good selection of standard pub fayre . I have to say this room has one of the best alarm clocks around , at 7.55am we were woken up to the sound of a steam train and it’s lovely whistle , this one being the visiting ‘Royal Scot’ .

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the view from our bedroom window and the ‘Alarm Clock’

5 or 10 mins later we had a Black Five giving us a reminder ! At 9am we went downstairs for a lovely breakfast , before heading out for a morning wander and a visit to the engine sheds . The town was heaving with visitors to see the ‘Royal Scot’.

We returned briefly to the hotel for a coffee and to change before heading back to the station to catch our train !

This Pullman had a special Scottish menu for the visit of the Royal Scot , For Starters Melanie had the Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon , i had the Scotch Broth , For the mains Melanie went for the Chicken Supreme and i had the Prime Roast Aberdeen Angus Sirloin . For the Puds Melanie had the Drambuie Trifle and i went for Cheese Board which came with a rather large dram of Whisky !

Hmmm……. Which wine……

Birthday Girl !

Pint of your Finest !

The meal was very good and the service was outstanding , It certainly was an experience traveling through one of the most beautiful areas in the UK in the lovely Pullman Coach being pulled by a Steam Engine ! We will be repeating it !!!!

We spent the evening in the bar of the Station Tavern before retiring to bed……

On the Sunday after another Alarm call from a Black Five and a superb Breakfast we bid farewell to Grosmont and went for a drive through the North Yorkshire Moors before heading home only stopping off at Nunnington Hall for a National Trust Scone……

One of the local residents showing off…….

Been a long time…..

Seems ages since i last put a post on here , don’t know why , could be laziness , could be I just didn’t have anything interesting enough to post , can’t really say…….

So lets play a little bit of catch up , i think it would be fair to say i’ve lost a little bit of interest in whisky (the way of the world has driven me to it , over-priced under-aged scotch holds no interest , don’t think that i’ve tasted anything recently that has made me go wow) luckily i have a cask to bottle later in the year that will probably make me go WOW! One bit of the whisky world i do still have an interest in is Canadian Whisky (i can just see Pauls face now with a WHAT! look on it…..), towards the end of last year Davin ( de Kergommeaux ) asked me to be one of the International Judges for the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards ( See Here )  , great fun and not as easy as it sounds , I’ll be posting up some tasting notes for some of my favourites in the not too distant future .

We also visited Edinburgh for a few nights during the Christmas period , wasn’t one of our best visits as the places we visited seemed to have lost interest in customer service and satisfaction , which is a shame as it used to be one of our favourite places to go , alas after this trip it will be visited less often…….

Our National Trust visits have continued , though in the Winter months there is less to visit , Wallington was open in the lead up to Christmas and decorated beautifully……

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We’ve also been visiting our feathered friends regularly at the Wellington Hide……

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Most of our favourite haunts reopen this very weekend so the NT Scone hunt will resume !

We had our first weekend away of the New Year as well , to one of our favourite haunts now , The Worth Valley , it was a beautiful Weekend and a good excuse to give our new motor a run out ,the replacement for Festa Stye…..

Melanie beside the new car at Oxenhope

Melanie beside the new car at Oxenhope


The Gorgeous Melanie at Oxenhope Station

The Gorgeous Melanie at Oxenhope Station

Our Steam Locomotive for the day……


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We enjoyed our day on the KWVR , chugging up and down the line enjoying a beer and a Prosecco (or two) . At the night time we went to The Brown Cow in Bingley for a meal , can recommend this place for good food and Fine Timothy Taylor Ales !

Hopefully i’ll be posting a bit more from now on , less whisky , more of our little adventures and lots of photos especially when i get my new Camera body…….

A Triple Amrut Taster

Postings have been fewer and farther between of late so to make up here are three new/recent releases from the Wonderful Indian Distillery based in Bangalore . 

Greedy Angels 12yo Chairman’s Reserve

ga_12Continuing on from the 8yo and 10yo we now have a 12yo Greedy Angels , definitely the oldest whisky from Amrut Distillery ! This one is bottled at 60% and limited to around 100 decanters .

This is extremely oily in the glass lots of lingering legs when swirled . The Nose is a fruity little beast , a cocktail of exotic ones , this particular fruit cocktail has a huge dollop of Vanilla custard on top with a finger of shortbread stuck in it for effect ! After a short while there’s a hint of chocolate  and a blast of wood spices , a delightful nose !

The palate again has the fruity blast , like a very thick condensed smoothy , a lovely spiciness along with a hint of the Amrut Liquorice , this is so damn good at 60% i’m very reluctant to put water into it…….. The finish is extremely long , spicy and a touch of wood (nice wood) . 

A wee touch of water actually doesn’t seem to do a lot , only increasing the volume of dram in the glass ! (which was a relief as i’ve seen water completely collapse ‘other’ older whiskies . )

To say this is a stunning dram would be a bit of an understatement , as with all other Amruts a great deal of care and attention has gone into it , it was definitely botlled at the right time !

Amrut Double Cask

Back at the end of February 2010 a group of Geordie Whisky enthusiasts gathered at The Hilton Hotel in Gateshead for the launch of a brand new Amrut release , Double cask . It’s the only Whisky release i’ve been to…….  Now 6 years on have Amrut released a 2nd edition , the first was two ex-bourbon casks aged 7 and 7 1/2yo , this one is one ex-bourbon 7yo (#3452 filled June 2009) and one PX-sherry 6yo ( #3803  filled May 2010 ) both made with unpeated Indian Malt , it was bottled in August 2016 at 46% .

This one is slightly darker than the 1st edition ! The PX cask definitely makes a difference….. Again very oily in the glass , the sherry is the first thing that catches the nose , lots of dark fruits and especially cherries , there is nothing subtle about this sherry nose !

The sherry is a tad more relaxed on the palate but is still the most prominent , again dark fruits with lots of cherries , eventually the Amrut traits do sneak past the sherry but the PX does dominate . The finish is very smooth , dry and very long and sherried with a touch of vanilla , spice and  liquorice .

Amrut sherry cask fans are going to love this (the intermediate Sherry Brigade) , i will say it’s dangerously smooth and quaffable , an ideal Christmas dram and very warming on a cold Autumn night .

Amrut Rye


Yes , Amrut Rye ! 100% pure Malted Rye , it says ‘Single Malt Whisky’ on the label and it is !  Made from European Rye and matured in New American Oak casks . I have to admit to having tried this before , in 2015 while we were visiting the Distillery , Ashok and Surrinder gave us a wee dram of this , not telling us what it was , we were gobsmacked by it ! So what is it like 14 months on ?

Bottled at 50% , the Nose is….. Rye , lovely warm Rye bread , surprisingly there is quite a bit of tropical fruit in it ( usually found in some of the more elderly Amruts i’ve found) , there is a touch of butterscotch after a while .

The palate is WOW !

The Rye explodes on it , there’s no other way to say it but it’s Rye , there is a slight hint of the tropical fruit on the palate but it’s super smooth rye 99% of the way . The finish is long, smooth Rye ( surprise surprise ) and spices , wonderful !

What can i say ? It’s not like Canadian Rye ( i love the stuff ) , it’s closer to Zuidam’s Millstone 100 Single Rye…… only better . It’s so easy drinking and very tasty .


Once again Amrut have come up with the goods , Surrinder you are some Man !

Thanks to Ashok for the samples .

Two 15yo Longmorns……

I like Longmorn , it’s the best Speyside ( and Non-Islay) Whisky by a mile in my humble opinion .

I like it so much that when i got a chance i bought a cask of new make with a group of like minded Longmorn lovers . I had a few bottle through my hands , especially SMWS bottlings ( oh to buy those ancient ex Sherry beauts again at the same price……) , today we’ll be sampling 2 15yo’s……IMG_0506Longmorn 15yo Bottled by Gordon and MacPhail  

Distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2014 at 43% , from Refill Cherry casks apparently , pale gold in colour , lots of ripe bananas and malt on the nose initially . Then rich vanilla custard with a huge dollop of marzipan , the palate kicks off a bit spicy , then progresses to a fruit cocktail with cream . The finish is again spicy and goes on a while for 43% .

An absolutely delightful Longmornt hat doesn’t disappoint even at 43% , so glad i picked this one up when i saw it at The Lindisfarne Winery!

Longmorn 15yo O.b.

THE Classic Longmorn , bottled at 45% and unfortunately no longer available . Golden Marmalade in colour , Once again the nose commences with malt , then digestive biscuits , loads of vanilla and a touch of the Longmorn fruitness . The palate is definitely a cocktail of fruit mixed in with a delightful spiciness . The dram flows smoothly across the mouth , the finish is long and extremely spicy .

The extra 2% certainly seems to make a difference giving it a tad extra punch .

Both are really good drams but the O.b. takes it with a bit more presence .   

A Scotsman in the North East……

Just lately in our spare time two things seems to have been occupying it , since we got a National Trust Membership  we’ve been GeoNationalTrustSconing quite a bit , ok we’ve been visiting a lot of their properties which usually involves having one of their gorgeous scones somewhere along the visit……

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IMG_0119  Mmmmm Scones……..

The other thing has been Photographing the Grand old Lady of Steam , The Flying Scotsman , she’s been in our area quite a bit of late but i’ve enjoying capturing her image for a long time now……..

scan_006A very old photo of her at The Central Station September 1975

The first time this year was up at Alnmouth on the 14th May 2016 , we were a bit far away to get any decent shots but it was a sight to behold !


Next time was a whole lot better ! She returned to the North East on the 11th June to do “The Tynesider” and we caught her on two stretches , first on the old Blyth and Tyne line in Bedlington and later on the same day on the East Coast Mainline at Plawsworth , County Durham .

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The last time was on the 10th July when she did a run from York to Carlisle , “The Waverley” , including a stretch along the Tyne Valley Railway…..

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IMG_0324-Edit-EditVideos are available HERE

The Last Barrels

Unfortunately this year we haven’t managed a trip to Canada (next year hopefully….) and to be honest i’ve missed it , One thing i have really missed , apart from the wonderful country and our good friends , is picking up a few Canadian Whiskies to bring home as there is a slight lack of them available in the UK ! Only Canadian Club is available here on a regular basis , although a well known UK online shop does carry a selection of USA Canadian releases the good ones tend to be at an inflated price . A few months ago – about the time we’d regularly visited Toronto in the previous two years –  a new release from Wisers was announced as an LCBO exclusive . This release was interesting in a few ways…….

last_barrelsIt was the Final Distillation by Distiller Jim Stanski before he moved up into Management at Hiram Walker * and it was made Bourbon style in the mash , In Canadian whisky the grains are distilled individually then blended later where as with this one the grains were blended before mashing them (  80% corn grist, 11% rye and 9% barley malt ) * .

Luckily for me our good friend Paul ( @MarkhamWhisky ) kindly offered to purchase and send over a bottle to my good self , you are a top man Paul ! So What’s it like……

Matured in used Bourbon Barrels for 14 years , the colour is of Olde Orange Marmalade , the nose is exquisite , a cross between a well aged Bourbon and Rye . To me there is still a strong presence of Rye . Bags of vanilla , freshly cut sawdust , wood spices and a Butterscotch sweetness , A joy on the nasal passages ! It is definite more bourbonesque on the palate , Again loads of vanilla and wood spices , not over-powering but very pleasant , the finish is long and spicy .

A Beautifully Different Canadian Whisky ! I just wish Wiser’s and several other Canadian Drams were more available this side of the pond , i’m sure they’d go down a storm….. Well i love them anyway ! 

* Additional info from Davin’s Wonderful Site