A Sailing trip to remember…

Hope everyone out there is having a wonderful February!

We just finished a fun and eventful 10-day sailing trip from the east to west coast of Florida! It was full of mostly fun and sometimes stressful times. We had friends and family popping on and off at different times during the trip. Made for some good laughs.

To get from where we were in south Palm Beach to Clearwater, we had to cut right through the centre of Florida. Locking through was a blast and managed well by the lock keepers. When we hit historic Okeechobee, it was rough and chilly, the Navionics failed to detect shoals there as well. That proved to be slightly problematic, but luckily our crew could handle what was thrown at them! My son was with us for a couple different legs of the trip, it was almost like he could bend the boat and the waters to his will! Poseidon hath blessed some with control over the waters. 🙂

Despite the weather being sometimes sunny and others record cold, it did not take away from amazing scenery! The wildlife was another stand out! Plenty of tropical birds, and when we made it to the west coast, we had dolphins following us a good distance. Amazingly fun to watch. Some of the memorable stops were Cabbage Key, Longboat Key and the final lock was a campground run by the Army Corps of Engineers.

A trip like that wouldn’t be complete without some good cigars and tasty drams. We were able to enjoy a variety of Bolivar, Alec Bradley and of course Inca Nation! On the whisky side to compliment our smokes we had our Stalla Dhu Islay, Saorsa, and some delicious Springbank!

Here’s to more adventures!



Arran Whisky!

If you have not yet gotten a hold of or seen Arran’s redesign from last year, you should change that! Last year the brand went over a complete design overhaul. Brand new bespoke bottles, with new labels and gift tubes. The redesign is like a breath of fresh air. This new look comes after the opening of their new distillery at Lagg, the south side of the island. With Arran distillery situated at Lochranza on the north, they decided it was a perfect time to for a rebrand to make a clear distinction between the spirits made on both ends of the island.

‘We’ve taken inspiration from the elements that make Lochranza so special to produce a unique and beautiful new pack, which does justice to the liquid it contains.’ Says James Mactaggart, distillery manager at Arran. They have incorporated natural materials and colour tones across all of the packaging. The simple clean design suits this this delicious whisky.

The core range is going to consist of their much loved 10 YO and Quarter cask ‘The Bothy’ expression. In addition to those two, they have added a couple of new exciting expressions. 1) The Barrel Reserve which is 100% Bourbon Barrel matured and 2) a sherry matured ‘The Bodega’. The last two that have taken on the rebrand are their aged 18 & 21 yr olds.

We definitely look forward to more from the Isle of Arran distillers. Until then grab a bottle for yourself!

Slanje, Ron

TOP 10 WHISKIES OF 2019 – NO. 1

Top 10 Whiskies of 2019 – No. 1

Balvenie 17 Year Old Doublewood – 70cl 43% – £86.99

My No.1 for 2019 is the stunning expression from Balvenie. To craft The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old, Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE returned to one of his most celebrated achievements – consecutive maturation in two different types of cask, a process often referred to as ‘cask finishing’.

Tasting Notes:
Nose: Elegant and complex oak, vanilla, honeyed sweetness and a hint of green apple.
Palate: Sweet with dried fruits, sherbet spice, toasted almonds and cinnamon, layered with a richness of creamy toffee notes and traces of oak and deep vanilla.
Finish: Vanilla oak, honey and spicy sweetness.

Slanje, Ron

TOP 10 WHISKIES OF 2019 – NO. 2

Top 10 Whiskies of 2019 – No. 2

Suntory Hibiki Harmony Japanese Blended Whisky – 70cl 43%£64.99

A stunning Japanese whisky at No.2, Hibiki Japanese Harmony is the perfect introduction to Japanese whisky. Pure and noble, it offers a transparency of taste that allows for all of this whisky’s complexities to be revealed simultaneously.

Nose: Aromas of marmalade, orange blossom and apricot jam, held together with a subtle spiciness, giving a hint of cinnamon and clove. Elegant.
Palate: The generous fruit continues on to the palate, with oranges and apricots in abundance. There’s a little peppery spice, but the soft, succulent fruit takes hold. Nice balance, and nicely crafted.
Finish: The spiciness takes over from the fruit and lingers, along with a little barrel char.
Comment: Something of a baby compared with much older Hibiki bottlings, this retains the classic soft, elegant orange-blossom character and generous fruitiness, with a little spice to help things along.

Slanje, Ron

TOP 10 WHISKIES OF 2019 – NO. 3

Top 10 Whiskies of 2019 – No. 3

Stalla Dhu Cask Strength Truthbetold 22 – 54.4% 70cl£185.00

Our newest cask strength bottling comes in strong at No.3

Some famous distilleries are fiercely protective of their whiskies and adapted a process called tea-spooning; as in adding a teaspoon of another malt.

This is so ‘Independent Bottlers’ cannot call it a Single Malt or use the Distillery name.

This exceptional cask in its previous incarnations was known as ‘Wardhead’ and clues to its identity lie within the label.

Tasting Notes:
Colour: Gold, startling, shiny, sparkling
Nose: Exotic fruits, butterscotch, vanilla
Palate: Soft sophisticated spice, toffee touches, lovely lingering long finish.

Slanje, Ron