As Autumn starts to set in and the early evenings cooler and certainly darker, it really does start to feel like the time of year that truly lends itself to a dram outdoors. Whether you’re in front of a roaring fire at home, enjoying a bonfire, fishing, shooting, or whilst on a country walk, a good Scotch makes a very welcome companion.
Recently, I was delighted to be asked if I would join a walk from the outskirts of Sheffield in to the Peak District. The walk was organised by Penny Lee of Walking Whisky Wellness and was lead by Tomo Thompson of The Path Less Travelled.
The Peak District National Park was the first National Park in the UK and we are very lucky to have it on our doorstep. Tomo regularly arranges and leads walks in and around the Peaks so made the perfect guide.
We were joined by a dozen or so wonderful folk, mainly from Sheffield but some from a little further afield and the idea was to share ideas, to network, and to enjoy the bright autumn afternoon along the banks of the Porter Brook with intermittent drams along the way and goodies from La Coppola Deli to warm our cockles.
Peak District Holidays
If you are arranging a holiday in the Peak District, we can host a whisky tasting in your holiday home or a tasting in your holiday accommodation for you and your guests. Call David on 07875 405 980 or click here to send us a message.
The Peak District has many large self catering houses, click here to see some of the best of them at Party Houses UK.
The above five awesome photos are credited to Department Two who joined us as guests on the walk.
We had a lovely list of whiskies for our guests to try. Tomo took time to find the perfect places for us to stop and enjoy a dram. I wanted to find drams that really did lend themselves to the outdoors in Autumn, here is the set list:
The above fab four photos are courtesy of Make It Matte Black
La Coppola Deli – Sheffield
I love Sheffield for many reasons, the parks, the village vibe, the pubs, the ale, the food, the craic and most of all the people. Like Glasgow, like Stoke you’ll find the friendliest folk in these cities steeped in an industrial past.
The wonderful guys at La Coppola treated us to a very tasty and warming spread once we returned from our walk, blankets, hot drinks and a fire were very welcome after our long walk. We enjoyed all sort of goodies including meats, cheeses, Italian pastries and breads. I’m looking forward to heading back to the award winning La Coppola in the near future to host a tasting there so watch our events page for more info!
The Ultimate Outdoor Whisky
So what is the best whisky for enjoying in the countryside? As ever, there is no such thing as ‘the best’ but I like to think the extremes of flavour profiles usually fit the bill.
Last night at a bonfire at a friends house up in the hills above Buxton and deepest darkest Peak District National Park, I shared a dram with my friend who doesn’t usually take to peaty / smokey whiskies. “Oh, what’s this!?’ he asked, and was amazed when I revealed that it was Laphroaig 10 year old, as peaty whiskies go, up there with the best in terms of phenols and certainly more than a match for neighbours Ardbeg and Lagavulin on Islay. He loved the Laphroaig because of the big smokey aroma and flavours, he loved it because it nosed of the outdoors and bonfires and autumn nights.
The best whiskies remind you of somewhere, someone or something. To me, Laphroaig smells of old wax jackets, of smouldering damp leaf fires, remnant smoke from fading fireworks and most of all bonfires. To me it is the perfect outdoor dram.
I also think the big rich, sweet, sherry matured drams like Bunnahabhain Stiuireadair are really great enjoyed outdoors when the weather is cooler. Sherry matured whisky like this comes across all Christmas Day, spicey, with coffee and toffee notes and always with a long finish with the faintest hint of fading peat smoke. Awesome.