Laphroaig – Another Awesome Islay Dram

Islay Distillery Tours

I love peaty Islay whiskies. I used to be in charge of Caol Ila which makes 6.7 million ltrs* of peaty spirit a year so I should like peaty whisky. Caol Ila was always one of my favourite single malt whiskies before I moved to Islay so to become manager was a dream come true for me.

*That’s not strictly true as Caol Ila often produces unpeated spirit for a month or two a year. Typically known as Highland Caol Ila because the resulting spirit is made in the highland style, you can see cask ends with the word ‘Highland’ stencilled on to them in the lovely Victorian dunnage warehouse on site.

Laphroaig

I do however have a love of other Islay single malt whiskies. I have always enjoyed the majority of bottlings produced by Laphroaig, not least the rich, sweet and smokey, everyday 10 year old Laphroaig single malt whisky.

Islay Distillery Tours

 

Islay Whisky Tastings

I often show Laphroaig in my whisky tastings. It isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and I certainly wouldn’t give it to someone who was only just embarking on their journey into the wonderful world of whiskies, or to someone who had never tried single malt whisky before. For those who like a smokey peaty dram though this is an absolute belter, and of all the whiskies on Islay, when you put your nose into a glass of Laphroaig or Caol Ila (peated), there can be no mistake as to the provenance of the spirit. Islay introduces herself to the imbiber, is to the point, and instantly recognisable.

The Laphroaig Advert

Laphroaig is a marmite whisky. You love it or hate it. During my whisky tastings, I often talk about one of their recent adverts which in my opinion is the best whisky advert there has ever been. It is great to see a few old faces on the video too, old friends like Ginger Willie and farmer Sandy make an appearance.

Laphroaig Distillery Tours

We regularly arrange bespoke Guided Islay Distillery Experiences where we look after groups of guests on a week long or sometimes shorter basis. We provide all food, accommodation and transport once guests are on Islay.

You can find out about our Guided Islay Distillery Experiences by clicking here. As part of our experiences we always like to take guests to Laphroaig not least because of it’s beautiful situation in Laphroaig Bay, but also because it has a fantastic visitor centre with a good selection of tours and tastings to choose from. We also like to take guests to Laphroaig because it is one of the only distilleries on Islay to malt some of it’s own barley on it’s traditional malt floors.

You can check out Laphroaig Distillery website here and find out more information about their awesome whiskies, distillery visitor centre, and tour times by clicking here.

Islay Distillery Tour

All pics courtesy of Joe Scrivens of One Little Daisy Photography. Joe joined us on one of our Guided Islay Distillery Experiences. You can see all of the other fantastic photos that he took during the trip by clicking here.

Hope to see you on Islay soon!

Slainte and happy drams!

David

david@distilledevents.co.uk

Gin Tastings in Nottingham

We are delighted to have teamed up with Alea Casino in Nottingham to offer an all year round calendar of gin tasting events in the fabulous Bar Esquina. (Don’t worry whisky enthusiasts! We’ll be hosting whisky tastings too!)

We host gin tastings throughout the UK. We also host gin and whisky tastings for private parties and at corporate events. Please click here to contact us if you would like to discuss the possibility of us hosting a gin tasting at your private party or corporate event. Our private gin tasting events are the perfect solution for your office Christmas party!

Gin Tastings Nottingham

During our Gin & Canapes Tasting Experiences in Bar Esquina, guests will taste 6 gins neat before preparing the perfect serve gin & tonic with garnishes as suggested by the distillers. Each G&T will be enjoyed with an array of carefully paired canapes specially selected and prepared for the evening.

Our events are fun and informative and are enjoyed by those both new to the wonderful world of gin and by seasoned enthusiasts.

We have two gin tastings coming up in the near future at Alea Casino Nottingham. Please click on the relevant link below for more information or to book tickets:

Gin and Canapes Tasting Experience, Thursday 9th November.

Gin and Canapes Tasting Experience, Thursday 7th December.

Please share this post with your gin loving friends and scroll down for more information about what to expect at our gin tastings.

corporate gin tastings

Our Gin Tasting Events

When you join one of our gin tasting events you can expect it to be a little different. Having worked in the distilling industry for many years, I know that the distiller who has painstakingly crafted the gin before you, wants you to be able to taste the spirit and to appreciate the difference between their gin and those produced by their competitors. The spirit is the heart and soul of any distillery, whether it be destined for a fine single malt whisky or for a premium London dry gin.

Nosing and Tasting Gin

At the beginning of our tasting I talk guests through the rationale of the choice of glassware that I like to use in comparative spirit tastings. I then demonstrate how to nose, taste and evaluate spirit.  I then ask guests to spend a few minutes nosing the neat gins, and to make a note of any aromas that they detect, there are no right or wrong answers, what one person gets will be completely different to the next.

We nose each of the gins ‘blind’, we don’t reveal the brand name of the gin until later, we then go on to having a taste of each neat gin, again to see if guests identify any particular flavours. We then prepare the gin and tonic using garnishes as suggested by the distiller and enjoy our first drink.

Gin tasting in your home

The Gin Garnish and Tonics

I prepare the garnishes as suggested by the distillers for the ‘perfect serve’ for each gin. We always suggest to guests that they should perhaps taste the gin and tonic before garnishing. I believe some garnishes can totally over power the flavour of the gin. I don’t see the point in spending £40 on a special bottle of gin only to mask its character by adding heavily flavoured garnishes or tonic. I think it is similar in a way to how we drink single malt whisky. There is nothing wrong with adding  a large dollop of coca cola to your £50 single malt whisky, it’s just that the end product will taste exactly the same as it would if you had used a £12 blended whisky from the supermarket.

I adopt a similar approach with the choice of tonic for my tastings. There are many tonics on the market to choose from and It is great that people have their own favourites and that it is encouraging consumers to explore the gin category. During a tasting however, it is important that each spirit is tasted in exactly the same way, using the same glassware, some would argue without garnish, and if tonic is being used, exactly the same product for each serve. More often than not, my choice of tonic for my gin tasting events is good old straight forward Fever Tree tonic water.

Once each gin & tonic has been prepared and tasted, I talk about the gin brand and the history of the distillers who make it. I’ll also talk about the production process and botanicals, both traditional and local, used to make each gin.

Gin Tastings at home

We hope that you will join us at Alea Casino in Nottingham or at one of our other forthcoming gin tasting events.

We hope to see you at a tasting soon!

Chin chin

David

Gin Tasting

Gin Tasting

Nips and Nibbles Whisky Tasting at The Bulls Head Alton

Last night it was off to the lovely Staffordshire Moorlands village of Alton in the beautiful Churnet Valley a stones throw from the famous Alton Towers theme park. The recently reopened Bulls Head is now owned and managed by James and Gemma Miller, and it is a credit to them. There has clearly been a lot of effort not to mention expense put in to renovating and rejuvenating this old pub. There is an eclectic range of whisky, brandy and gin on the back bar, and many delicious craft beers from breweries such as Siren and Beavertown for the ale enthusiast.

We had decided to pair the whiskies with a little food so Gemma and the team prepared very generous platters of meats and cheeses.

Whisky Tasting Staffordshire

It was great to see a few familiar faces including a few returning whisky fans who had been at a previous tasting I hosted up the road at the White Hart Inn a few months ago, and others who were fans and collectors of the old Queen of the Moorlands Single Malt Whiskies that we bottled years ago.

As always I was keen to show a range of drams from across Scotland, but as quite often happens, I couldn’t help being a little biased towards the Isle of Islay in my selection.

Islay Whisky

Whisky Tasting Set List

Aberlour 10 Year Old Highland (Speyside) single malt, Pernod Ricard 40% – On arrival guests were treated to an Aberlour as a palate teaser. This approachable Speysider is matured in both American and European oak, the sherry having a huge influence on the resulting character.

Old Pulteney 12 year old Highland (Wick) single malt, Inver House Distillers, 40% – Another very approachable dram from what was until recently the most northerly mainland distillery. Matured for 12 years in Bourbon casks near to the coast, this whisky definitely has maritime influence along with the vanilla, citrus fruits and developing nutty and chocolatey flavours.

Balmenach Connoisseurs Choice 2008 Speyside (Cromdale nr Grantown on Spey) single malt, Inver House Distillers but bottled by Gordon & Macphail, Elgin, 46% – Our first independently bottled whisky of the evening and slightly stronger than the previous two. This 8 year old expression was matured in refill sherry butts and Bourbon barrels with natural colour and no chill filtration. Loads of vanilla custard and apples on the nose and bananas, orange and chocolate on the palate.

Scallywag Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky Speyside (A number of malt distilleries), Douglas Laing, 46% – Another independent bottling but this time a vatted malt whisky from various distilleries in Speyside. This was a firm favourite with our guests, this full bodied and sweet dram had all the hallmarks of sherry butt maturation with Christmas cake, toffee, and raisins being predominant.

Bunnahabhain 12 year old Islay single malt, Distell, 46.3% – Matured for a minimum of 12 years in the finest of Bourbon hogsheads and sherry butts in Victorian dunnage warehouses right by the Sound of Islay and taking on a huge maritime influence as well as presenting classic rich sweet sherry character, this dram has always been a firm favourite of mine and it didn’t disappoint this evening.

Islay Distillery Tour

Caol Ila Distillers Edition Bottled 2015 Islay single malt, Diageo, 43% – Having been the Distillery Manager at Caol Ila for a number of years I often like to include a dram from the wonderful Caol Ila range. I decided to treat my guests to the Caol Ila Distillers Edition which has my initials on the label. This is one of my all time favourite whiskies. Matured in Bourbon hogsheads for 12 years then finished in moscatel sweet wine casks, this dram has all the acidic, citrusy, peaty flavours of the classic 12 year old but with an extra dimension of ripe oranges and rich sweetness. Perfect served with the smoke cheese on the platters.

As We Get It Islay Single Malt Islay, Ian MacLeod Distillers, 61.2% – The first time I tasted this wonderful Islay whisky I was absolutely blown away. I showed it at my masterclasses at the Islay Whisky Festival and all my guests there really enjoyed it. I had a little left so thought I’d show it at The Bulls Head. The provenance of this whisky is not declared, nor is the age. I would guess that the whisky is around 6 or 7 years old and from either Caol Ila or Bowmore. This dram is incredibly peaty and acidic with a wonderful parmo violet thing going on on the palate. Both bizarre and beautiful at the same time!

 

We are hoping to be back at The Bulls Head in the near future. There was talk of a special event for Burns Night so please watch this space!

Whisky Tasting Events

If you would like us to host a whisky tasting for your customers at your venue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send us an email via our contact page or call David on 07875 405 980

We hope to see you at one of our tasting events soon!

Slainte

David

Gin Tasting Experience, Sanctuary Ale House, Hartshill, 18th September

We are really looking forward to our gin tasting at Sanctuary Ale House in later this month (18th). This is a cracking wee micro pub in Hartshill in the heart of the Staffordshire Potteries. This fantastic venue owned and managed by Caroline and Steve is home to a wonderful range of tasty craft and real ales, ciders and of course an ever expanding range of wonderful gins from around the United Kingdom and further afield.

We host gin tastings in Staffordshire and throughout the UK. We also host gin and whisky tastings for private parties and at corporate events.

Gin Tasting Experience 18th September

During our Gin Tasting Experience, guests will taste 6 gins neat before preparing the perfect serve gin & tonic with garnishes as suggested by the distillers. Our events are fun and informative and are enjoyed by those both new to the wonderful world of gin and by seasoned enthusiasts!

There are only a few tickets remaining for this exclusive tasting experience, please click here to grab yours!

Please share this post with your gin loving friends and scroll down for more information about what to expect at our gin tastings.

Gin tasting in your home

Our Gin Tasting Events

When you join one of our gin tasting events you can expect it to be a little different. Having worked in the distilling industry for many years, we know that the distiller who has painstakingly crafted the gin before you, wants you to be able to taste the spirit and to appreciate the difference between their gin and those produced by their competitors. The spirit is the heart and soul of any distillery, whether it be destined for a fine single malt whisky or for a premium London dry gin.

Nosing and Tasting Gin

At the beginning of our tasting I talk guests through the rationale of the choice of glassware that I like to use in comparative spirit tastings. I then demonstrate how to nose, taste and evaluate spirit.  I then ask guests to spend a few minutes nosing the neat gins, and to make a note of any aromas that they detect, there are no right or wrong answers, what one person gets will be completely different to the next.

We nose each of the gins ‘blind’, I don’t reveal the brand name of the gin until later, we then go on to having a taste of each neat gin, again to see if guests identify any particular flavours. We then prepare the gin and tonic using garnishes as suggested by the distiller and enjoy our first drink.

corporate gin tastings

The Gin Garnish and Tonics

I prepare the garnishes as suggested by the distillers for the ‘perfect serve’ for each gin. I always suggest to guests that they should perhaps taste the gin and tonic before garnishing. I believe some garnishes can totally over power the flavour of the gin. I don’t see the point in spending £40 on a special bottle of gin only to mask its character by adding heavily flavoured garnishes or tonic. I think it is similar in a way to how we drink single malt whisky. There is nothing wrong with adding  a large dollop of coca cola to your £50 single malt whisky, it’s just that the end product will taste exactly the same as it would if you had used a £12 blended whisky from the supermarket.

I adopt a similar approach with the choice of tonic for my tastings. There are many tonics on the market to choose from and It is great that people have their own favourites and that it is encouraging consumers to explore the gin category. During a tasting however, it is important that each spirit is tasted in exactly the same way, using the same glassware, some would argue without garnish, and if tonic is being used, exactly the same product for each serve. More often than not, my choice of tonic for my gin tasting events is good old straight forward Fever Tree tonic water.

Once each gin & tonic has been prepared and tasted, I talk about the gin brand and the history of the distillers who make it. I’ll also talk about the production process and botanicals, both traditional and local, used to make each gin.

gin tastings in your home

We hope that you will join us at the Sanctuary Ale House, or at one of our other forthcoming gin tasting events. We are also hosting a gin tasting at Spout Brew House in Leek on Halloween, 31st October, so if you want to avoid the tricks and enjoy the treats, click here to buy tickets!

Tickets for the gin tasting at Sanctuary Ale House, Hartshill, 18th September can be purchased here.

We hope to see you at a tasting soon!

Chin chin

David

Gin Tastings Near You!

Gin tasting in your home

We are looking forward to a busy period of gin tastings in the next few weeks, all of which feature awesome craft gins from Scotland and England. We hope that you will join us on one of our gin tasting events, we can also arrange gin tastings in your own home for you and your friends.

Our Gin Tastings

Our gin tastings are a little different. We talk about gins from a distillers point of view. We are not bartenders, mixologists or brand ambassadors. We’ve worked at the coal face of spirit distilling, we understand the industry, the history and the production processes that make our spirits, whether they be wonderful craft London Gins or very special single malt whiskies.

Here is what to expect at our Gin Tasting Experiences:

  • A demonstration of how to nose and taste spirit
  • The benefits of careful choice of glassware
  • A short explanation of the history of the gin industry
  • A look into how gin is made
  • You’ll enjoy a virtual distillery tour
  • Guests taste 6 craft gins neat before mixing the perfect serve gin and tonic with garnishes as suggested by the distillers

gin tastings in your home

The Rise of Craft Gin

The craft gin business is booming right now. Every venue that we visit to host tasting events has dozens of beautifully designed bottles on their shelves. Many of the gins have their own glasses to show off their particular gins, with their very own perfect serves. In our local pubs on a Friday and Saturday night, many more people are making a gin and tonic their tipple of choice.

During the last 20 or so years, when it comes to alcoholic drinks, as consumers we’ve been much more willing to explore flavours, especially strong and different flavours. We are much more willing to spend a little more on premium luxury drinks products, we are entertaining more at home, and we are enjoying sharing these with friends, whether they be classy single malt whiskies or premium craft gins.

corporate gin tastings

The whisky industry is flat out in production, never before has the UKs number one food export been in such demand. New craft distilleries are opening all over the United Kingdom and are distilling gin as well as whisky. By law, Scotch whisky must be matured for a minimum of 3 years in oak casks, which can have a serious cash flow implication particularly if your lovely new build distillery has just cost you £20million pounds to build. As soon as your distillery is built and your stills in operation, gin can be distilled, bottled and off to market within days, and cash can reach the till almost from day one of your new adventure whilst your whisky casks sleep in their warehouses.

Forthcoming Gin Tastings

We host gin tastings all over the UK. Every month there will be gin tasting experiences on our tasting and events page. Please click here to see our forthcoming events including gin tastings near you.

We are hosting Gin Tasting Experiences at The Holy Inadequate in Etruria on Wednesday 23rd August, and at Spout Brew House in Leek on Tuesday 29th August.

In September we are delighted to be hosting a Gin Tasting Experience at The Sanctuary Ale House in Hartshill which is very handy for the good folk of Newcastle under Lyme and we hope to see you all there!

Click here for tickets for the Gin Tasting Experience at The Sanctuary Ale House, Hartshill.

Gin tasting in your home

Gin tastings at home

Gins

We always show 6 gins at our Gin Tasting Experiences. Guests taste them all neat before mixing the perfect serve gin and tonic. Having worked at distilleries, we know that distillers want you to be able to taste their spirit, we will be mixing their suggested perfect serve whilst ensuring that we don’t over garnish or use tonics with over powering flavours. The spirit, whether it be gin or new make spirit for whisky, is the character and soul of the distillery and it is always important to ensure that it is not lost.

All of our gins in the near future will feature One Gin, Cadenhead’s Old Raj Saffron Infused Dry Gin (55%abv) and The Botanist Islay Gin. We lived and worked on the Isle of Islay in Scotland and Botanist gin is very close to our hearts as it is distilled on this beautiful island!

Gin Tastings at home

 

If you would like any further information about our scheduled tasting events or if you would like to discuss the possibility of us hosting a tasting in your own home, at your party or at your corporate event, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Cheers!