Whisky Tastings in The Peak District

Bunnahabhain Warehouse Tour

 

Enjoy a Whisky Tasting In Your Holiday Accommodation

If you are getting together with friends for a break in the Peak District, have us come to you and we’ll host a fun and informative whisky tasting in your holiday accommodation. Prices start from as little as £18 per person for me to come along and host a very special tasting for you. I used to manage one of the largest distilleries in Scotland so when I host a tasting it is authentic and the perfect opportunity for guests to learn from an industry expert, as well as to enjoy damn fine whisky of course!

The Peak District is the perfect destination for large groups to get together, whether it be a family gathering, a stag or hen party or a business meeting, there are dozens of large self catering houses available for hire on a weekly basis or just for a weekend. We regularly host stag party whisky tastings as well as hen party gin tastings, in the peak district and throughout the UK.

Whisky Tastings in Your Peak District Holiday House

We are based in the Peak District so it is easy for us to get to any location within the national park. If you book me to host a whisky tasting in your holiday accommodation I bring along all the glasses, tasting notes, and of course the single malt whiskies and set up in plenty of time for your guests getting together for the tasting.

If you would like to contact to enquire about a private whisky tasting, please complete the form below and we will be back to you as soon as possible! Alternatively please call David on 07875 405 980.

 

Whisky Tasting

 

Peak District Whisky Tasting

The Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park is a wonderful place to holiday, with breathtaking scenery and activities galore for all the family to enjoy. The Peak District became the first national park in the UK in 1951, and with excellent transport links coupled with its proximity to Manchester, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby, Sheffield, Birmingham, the M1 and the M6, it attracts millions of visitors every year.

The Peak District is the perfect destination for large groups to get together, whether it be a family gathering, a stag or hen party or a business meeting, there are dozens of large self catering houses available for hire on a weekly basis or just for a weekend.

Peak District Activities

There is so much to see and do in the Peak District, there really is something for everyone. There are miles of paths to explore, market towns to visit like Buxton, Bakewell, Leek and Ashbourne and many places of historic interest. Outdoor activities such as climbing, sailing, canoeing are very popular.

Fishing in the Peak District

The Peak District is one of the best places to fish in the UK. Many rivers rise in the hills above Leek and Buxton. Within only a couple of miles of each other the rivers Wye, Dove, Dane, Manifold, Goyt and Churnet all emerge and start their long journeys towards the sea. Having so many mountain rivers makes the peak district the fly fisherman’s paradise. The rivers of Derbyshire and Staffordshire are world famous for Trout and Grayling not least because of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton.

We can arrange fly fishing for you, we can also arrange fishing guides. Please contact us for more information or to arrange fly fishing.

Peak District Gin Tastings

Links to Large Self Catering Houses in the Peak District

Peak Venues: www.peakvenues.co.uk

Peak Venues have many quality large group self catering houses in the Peak District National Park. They have houses that can accommodate 2 to 43 guests. Celebrate birthdays, wedding anniversaries, hen weekends, stag weekends, family reunions, corporate breaks in fabulous rural or village locations.

Large Accommodation Stag party hen party

 

Party Houses: www.partyhouses.co.uk

Party Houses have many top quality large self catering houses in the Peak District and across the Midlands. Again these venues are perfect for family gatherings, corporate breaks and special occasions.

Large Accomodation Stag Party Hen Party

We hope to see you in the Peak District soon!

David

 

 

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

Guided Islay Experience Podcast Interview – The Yorkshire Gent

I was hosting a whisky tasting event at a lovely venue in Leeds in March where I had the pleasure of meeting Rob from The Yorkshire Gent website. Rob is a keen whisky enthusiast and a fly fisherman so he was keen to hear all about Fly Fish Islay as well as understanding exactly what we do at Distilled Events.

We have hosted Guided Islay Distillery Experiences for many years but myself and my good friend Glen Pointon also take anglers, especially anglers who appreciate single malt whisky, to Islay on week long fly fishing trips. Rob has kept an eye on Glen’s antics on Facebook over the years and was keen to interview us both whilst we were on Islay in April hosting our first Guided Islay Fly Fishing Experience of 2017.

Islay Fishing Trip

The interview took place very late one evening as the guests were relaxing in front of the spitting fire with large glasses of Bunnahabhain and Laphroaig single malt whiskies. Rob had originally suggested that we record the interview over skype but the weather had turned very stormy and our internet was disrupted to we had to record it over the phone, which I think adds to the remote feel.

During the interview we talk about why Islay is such an amazing destination for the whisky and / or fly fishing enthusiast. We talk about how we came to set up Fly Fish Islay and how guests join us on a Guided Islay Fly Fishing Experience. Glen talks in-depth about what to expect from the fishing and what tactics he finds to work best as well as offering a comparison between Scottish loch style fishing and English stillwater fishing. I also talk about how I ended up living and working on Islay in the whisky industry.

Pour a dram and enjoy.

Please click the logo below to go to the podcast:

Join Us on a Guided Islay Experience

We would love to host your trip to Islay, whether it be to enjoy the fishing, to visit distilleries, or maybe for a little bit of both! If you are interested in joining one of our guided experiences or if you would like us to arrange a bespoke trip for you and your friends or colleagues, please call David on 07875 405 980 or get in touch via our contact page.

Bespoke Islay Whisky Tours With Distilled Events

Feis Ile 2018

The first time you visit Islay is a magical experience, there is nowhere in the British Isles quite like it. I first visited in 2005, having fallen in love with a whisky called Caol Ila a couple of years before. I didn’t think I liked whisky, until the then landlord of my favourite pub, The Earl Grey in Leek, thrust a glass of Caol Ila in my hand. I nosed it, tasted it, and right there Islay introduced herself to me and it was a life changing moment. Little did I know that ten years later I would be the Distillery Manager of Caol Ila.

There is nowhere quite like Islay not least because of the fact that there are no less than 8 working distilleries on this relatively small island. There is so much to see, from important historical sites such as Finlaggan to the beautiful, empty Atlantic beaches at Machir Bay and Saligo. The scenery is breathtaking and the wildlife abundant, you are more likely to see golden eagle and white tailed sea eagle here than anywhere else in the United Kingdom. Islay has become the eagle island.

If you are a lover of seafood, there is plenty to wet the appetite on Islay. The local fishing fleet brings in crab, lobster and all kinds of shellfish on a daily basis, and there are always oysters available for those who wish to try them as fresh as possible straight from the brine.

Why Join Us on an Islay Whisky Trip?

Islay is the perfect base for any holiday. If you have a week or two to spare, and if you are intending to return again, then you can spend your week leisurely exploring the island, visiting distilleries, joining a tour or two, and sampling the local delicacies and drams.

If on the other hand you want to pack as much in to your trip as possible, whatever your time constraints may be, to visit as many distilleries as possible and enjoy the very best of distillery tastings and experiences whilst seeing as much Islay as possible, we can host and plan your trip for you.

Fresh Local Islay Seafood

If you join us on an Islay whisky trip, and take part in our Guided Islay Distilleries Experience your accommodation is a very comfortable, spacious, traditional Scottish sporting estate house with roaring fires and beautiful spaces to relax with a dram with friends in the evenings. The house is very well equipped and we ensure that it is packed with all the provisions that you need. On our most recent trip, guests enjoyed a seafood banquet, all freshly caught local shellfish, matched perfectly with Islay whiskies.

Islay whisky tour

Each of our Islay whisky tours is different. Many of our trips are bespoke to our clients requirements. Some of our guests like to relax in front of the fire after a busy day visiting distilleries, and we’ll enjoy dinner there. Other guests prefer to enjoy the hospitality of local pubs and restaurants, meeting the locals and enjoying traditional Islay music. Whichever you prefer, we can arrange it for you.

Islay Whisky Distillery Tours and Experiences

We carefully plan your itinerary to ensure that you get the very best use of your time whilst on Islay. We try to fit in as many of the special distillery tours, warehouse experiences and tastings as possible on each Islay whisky tour. Each of the 8 distilleries has a visitor centre and each offer tours and experiences from a simple guided tour of the distillery to an in-depth masterclass with someone who works at the distillery.

Distillery Tours

On a distillery tour you spend about an hour walking through a distillery with a very knowledgable tour guide. Your guide will show you how the whisky makes the very special journey from field to table. After the tour you will enjoy drams with your guide and then be able to ask any questions that you may have about the process and the whisky.

Distillery Warehouse Experiences

We love warehouses, they are the most wonderful, atmospheric places. Each cask sleeping on an Islay warehouse is a piece of history. Each cask end has its own story to tell. Spending time in a traditional dunnage warehouse is an absolute treat, and when you are back at home enjoying a Islay dram, it is to these warehouses that you will be magically transported such an impact they have on your senses. Dunnage warehouses are often earthen floored, the atmosphere is damp and full of sea air, and whisky vapours from the casks of course, otherwise known as the angels share. We like to take guests to Lagavulin where the legend of Lagavulin, Iain MacArthur is your host on the warehouse experience. We also like to take guest to Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich where similar wonderful experiences can be enjoyed, at Bunnahabhain guests also have the opportunity to fill their own bottles straight from the cask.

Islay Whisky Tastings and Masterclasses

In between visits to distilleries, I will be on hand to answer any questions that you might have about distilling on Islay and the whisky industry in general. Guests enjoy masterclasses where we taste rare single cask whiskies and distillery only bottlings from each of the distilleries. I’m often accompanied by my infamous wooden sample box containing rare delights from the past, and one or two cask strength drams.

Islay Whisky Tour

Islay Whisky Tour

Your Transport Whilst on Islay

We arrange transport for our guests while they are on Islay. We work closely with a local coach company when designing each itinerary to ensure that your Islay whisky trip runs smoothly and that your time is used efficiently. All of the drivers are extremely friendly and knowledgable, some have even worked at Islay distilleries. I always accompany guests on the coach so that I can point out places of interest as we travel between distilleries and so that I can answer any questions that guests might have. We ask guests to make their own travel arrangements to Islay, whether by ferry or plane, and we then collect from the ferry terminal or Islay airport.

Islay whisky tours

Other Islay Activities

It isn’t all about the whisky (although most of it is!). There are many other activities that we can arrange for our guests. As well as sightseeing, guests can enjoy bird watching, sea safaris, fishing, shooting and stalking. All of these can be included in your itinerary should you wish. Each of our bespoke Islay whisky tours is different and we can quote to include as many activities as you like.

Book Your Bespoke Islay Whisky Trip

If you are interested in joining us for an Islay whisky trip of a lifetime on one of our Guided Islay Whisky Experiences please get in touch. We can answer all your questions about arranging your special trip to Islay. We can put together a suggested itinerary for you, just let us know the duration of the trip you require, how many guests will be in your party, any dates that you have in mind, and we will set to work!

Call David on 07875 405 980 or send an email to david@distilledevents.co.uk for more information or to book a bespoke Guided Islay Distilleries Experience.

We would love to host your very special trip on Islay, we hope to see you there soon.

Slainte

David

Islay whisky tripIslay Whisky TourIslay Whisky TourIslay Whisky Tour

Islay – An Incredible Experience

Stag party whisky tastings

 

We’ve been lucky enough to live and work on the magical Hebridean Isle of Islay. After owning and managing our own busy Wine Shop in Leek, Staffordshire, and after launching our own brand of Single Malt Whisky, I was given the opportunity of managing the visitor centre experiences at Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distilleries and later of managing Caol Ila itself.

Our home was the old Exciseman’s house at Caol Ila Distillery, on summer days the view along the Sound of Islay (Caol Ila) was breathtaking, on winter days one storm followed another up the Sound. The scenery and wildlife was incredible. Seeing white tailed sea eagle, golden eagle and otter was almost a daily occurrence.

As well as my love for the breathtaking Islay scenery, the great whiskies and wonderful people, I also fell in love with the fishing. There can’t be many places in Europe or maybe even the world where the keen angler has such ease of access to so many different species of fish such as brown trout, salmon, bass and my favourite, the elsewhere ellusive sea trout.

 

The Sound of Islay

My love of Islay began in the late 1990s. There’s a fantastic pub in Leek called The Earl Grey Inn, under its current ownership it is famed for its many real and craft ales, service and friendliness. In the 90’s it was famous for its peculiar interior, its toilets, its rather eccentric clientelle and its extensive range of single malt whiskies thanks to the landlord’s enthusiasm for the product. I had only recently tasted single malts and didn’t think I liked them, I thought they all tasted the same, I thought they all tasted like whisky. Until one evening when John thrust a glass of Caol Ila 12 year old into my hand and instructed me to taste it. I will never forget that moment and it was a life changing one.

The Isle of Islay introduced herself to me through that glass of Caol Ila 12 year old. The intense, smokey aromas and flavours told me about where this incredibly complex whisky had been made, it told me about Islay, and I had to visit.

In the coming years at The Wine Shop, we began to bottle whisky, lots of it, and most of it from Islay. We bottled everything, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bruichladdich and even Port Ellen. We were lucky enough to get the chance to bottle some incredible whiskies, and this in turn took us to Islay, exhibiting our single cask bottlings each year at the Islay Festival of Malt and Music and delivering them to shops and bars on the island so that they could be enjoyed by many visiting enthusiasts.

In June 2012, I was given the chance to work at Lagavulin and Caol Ila Distilleries and I jumped at the chance. 8 months later I was joined by Leonie and Heather, once the Wine Shop had been sold. Leonie joined Kilchoman Distillery where she managed the busy visitor centre and Heather enrolled at the local primary school with circa 25 other pupils.

Lagavulin Distillery

Caol Ila Distillery

We had an incredible time on Islay and met and worked with lots of wonderful people. The experience we had will never be forgotten and was truly life changing. As a whisky enthusiast, to end up working at the distillery where your favourite whisky is produced is absolutely Living The Dream.

Islay is the true whisky Isle and there are currently 8 working distilleries on the island with advanced plans for at least 2 more to be built in the next couple of years.

Islay is often thought of as the island that produces the heavily peated drams, but actually, it is the array of different spirit characters produced by each of the distilleries which makes it so diverse and therefore of such interest to the whisky enthusiast. Anyone who has tasted Bunnahabhain 12 year old and then compared it to Laphroaig 10 year old or Lagavulin 16 year old will understand that.

Because of my love for Islay, my tastings will always have an element of Islay bias. We are however hosting a series tasting events in the near future that feature single malt whiskies exclusively from Islay. During the tasting, as well as experiencing many whiskies from the Isle of Islay, I’ll be talking about whisky production and maturation, and give an overview of each of the distilleries on Islay. I’ll also be touching on controversial issues such as the dreaded question about water, ice and other additives!

It would be great to see you at one of our future events and to share a dram with you. Please click on the links below if you would like to find out more about our Islay Malt Whisky Tastings or to buy tickets.

Click here for our upcoming events.

 

Slainte

David