I am far from a whisky fan. In fact, I can’t even stand to smell the stuff. Luckily, though, Euan (clue is in the name) is – by genetics – a whisky fan. Being Scottish and all. Whether it’s actually in their blood, or whether it’s because they feel they have to like whisky, we’ll never know. (Except that it’s the latter…). Annnyway, because of our gin tasting sessions, the Ever After gin lounge gets a lot of attention. But, Ever After also has a whisky lounge, and there hasn’t been a whole lot on the whisky side of things. So, it’s time I gave you some whisky tasting notes!
While Euan had the task of whisky tasting last week (I say task, I mean pleasure), I did some research. He tried two Scottish whiskies; Laphroaig Lore and Glenmorangie Spios, and I filled my brain with info.
ABOUT LAPHROAIG LORE SCOTCH WHISKY
Laphroaig Lore whisky is made on Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, since 1815. There are (apparently) very unique elements that make Laphroaig the whisky it is. The Kilbride Stream, hand-cut peat, floor malted barley, cold-smoking kilns, mash tuns, copper alchemy and the subtlety of oak aging. Each and every stage crucial in producing the most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies.
They have a fantastic website with loads of info about their process and history. Take a look!
EUAN’S LAPHROAIG LORE TASTING NOTES
On the nose: Rich and smokey with a slight sweetness that is probably vanilla. “An alcoholic bonfire of flavours” (Euan’s words, not mine…).
Taste: A very rich flavour. Initially spicy with a blast of peaty-ness, but moves towards a sweeter taste.
Finish: Quite a dry finish with a spicy yet sweet lingering aftertaste.
Colour: Rusty gold/dark honey.
ABOUT GLENMORANGIE SPIOS SINGLE MALT SCOTTISH WHISKY
Glenmorangie was created in 1843 in the Scottish highlands. The distillery is home to the tallest stills in Scotland at 8 metres high. This means that only the very lightest and purest vapours make it to the top, therefore giving a smoother, more elegant whisky (or so I am told).
A trend in whisky making at the moment is blending the traditional scotch whiskies with other types of whisky – American for example – and, in the case of Glenfiddich, even IPA beers. Fun fact: Glenmorangie Spìos is the first Glenmorangie whisky ever to be fully matured in American ex-rye whisky casks…
You can learn more about this history and distilling process on their website.
Let’s see what Euan thought.
EUAN’S GLENMORANGIE SPIOS TASTING NOTES
On the nose: Toffee flavours with hints of vanilla and spice.
Taste: Another rich flavour with medium sweetness due to a fruity taste, picking up on hints of cherry.
Finish: The rich taste lingers to the end, with a spicy oak finish.
Colour: Light gold.
Hopefully you’ve learnt something from all this whisky stuff! Now, take a tour of Ever After’s whisky & cigar lounge… And if you’re more into the gin, check out my last gin blog post.
Another month, another gin! This time we were sampling a gin I’d never heard of before; Sabatini Gin. (If you’re unfamiliar with my gin blog posts, then catchup with number 1 here).
I am completely in love with the story behind this gin. Italy is one of my favourite countries, and I spent a lot of my childhood roaming around Tuscany. So when I realised this gin was from the heart of Tuscany, I was thrilled.
In 2015, the Sabatini family made their gin dream into a reality. They made Sabatini gin using botanicals from the heart of Tuscany, combined with the sacred rules of traditional English distillation. Most of the botanicals are grown on the family’s own land, showcasing their passion for Tuscany (and their passion for gin!).
You can read more about the Sabatini family and their gin on their website.
Now for the fun part! Euan tasted the gin straight first of all, and commented on it’s initial softness with a light and ‘lemony’ favour, followed by a sweet finish.
Euan did a little bit of research prior to our tasting session, and discovered that the gin’s recommended garnishes are either lemon or rosemary. As a result, we tried one glass with lemon and one glass with rosemary and compared the results.
I found Sabatini gin incredibly easy to drink, and (despite already being in love with it because it’s from Tuscany) I did absolutely love it. It was really smooth, and I actually found it very pleasant with lemon (I don’t usually like gin & tonics with lemon), but I definitely preferred it with the rosemary. The two different garnishes brought out completely different elements of the gin. The lemon made it sweeter, whereas the rosemary made it fresher.
Euan thought much the same; pleasant and very drinkable. He, however, preferred it with the lemon (each to their own, I guess…). He would recommend it as a summer gin for ‘everyone’. I agreed. It had enough of a kick that a strong-gin drinker would enjoy it, but wasn’t so overpowering that someone who preferred milder gins wouldn’t enjoy it. Somewhere in the middle, let’s say!
I think the branding for Sabatini is effective. It’s not super bold and ‘in-your-face’, therefore might not stand out on a shelf. However, I think the colours of the glass – to create the illusion of the Tuscan hills and blue sky – is super (and the trees at the bottom are really sweet). I also like the simplicity of the letters, letting the bottle do most of the talking.
For this particular gin, Euan recommends a Classic Tom Collins as the cocktail of choice. A simple and easy-to-make cocktail which emphasises the qualities of the gin.
50ml Sabatini Gin
1/2 a freshly squeezed lemon
25ml (max) sugar syrup
Lemon to garnish
Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and pour in the gin. Squeeze the lemon, add the sugar syrup and stir thoroughly. Top up with soda water, and garnish with a lemon slice (or two). You can also shake the gin, lemon, and sugar syrup, and strain into a glass over ice (if you want to show off your cocktail shaking skills!).
It’s a little late, I know, but there has been so much going on recently that I’m only just sitting down to really focus on a few blog posts! As you (probably) already know, I exhibited at a couple of wedding fayres in October & November (catchup with the blog posts about them here and here), and I met some super wonderful fellow wedding suppliers. Here are a couple I wanted to talk about, and (in case you missed it!) but video summary is at the end also!
The Word Forest Organisation
The Word Forest Organisation is something that I have never come across before, but I seriously like the idea. There are a number of ways you can use their company, but essentially the end result being you have your very own ‘wedding forest’ planted. I mean, how fab is that?! Instead of asking for wedding gifts, you can ask your guests to buy you a tree on your selected plot of land in Kenya. 100 guests = 100 trees. AmAZing! Or you could gift the trees to your guests/bridesmaids/ushers etc as wedding favours, again, brilliant idea! And the Word Forest Organisation do it all for you (no travelling to Kenya required!). I honestly think this is such a fantastic company who are doing a wonderful thing, and they are also a registered charity which is just the icing on the cake really. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but a really unique idea if it’s your kind of thing.
I’m still undecided about wedding magicians… Are they the next big thing or are they suitable for only specific types of weddings? Not sure! I’d love to hear what you think though, especially if you’ve had/are having a magician at your wedding, or you’ve been to a wedding with one.
I did, however, come across a magician who I really liked and thought had a great act. He was called Dan Brazier and he performed a card trick on me which, I have to say, was pretty impressive. I thought he was dressed suitable and was well presented which is, of course, very important as any form of entertainer!
The Illustrated Invitation
Lastly (I’m very excited about this one!) was a lady who was next to me at the Bath wedding fayre and her company was just to die for! Basically, they can sketch your wedding venue or church and then have the image printed on invitations/envelopes/save the dates, etc etc, and you can also purchase a framed illustration of your venue. I mean, wow! Not only do I love the idea, their style was gorgeous and simplistic which worked perfectly. The calligraphy is stunning across all their products and the drawings are in black and white which is all you need on stationary. I honestly love this company and I am 100% keeping them in mind for when I get married!
So there are my three favourite wedding suppliers from the two wedding fayres! Here are the links to their websites, and also the link to my video summarising them all.
Ginspiration; is there any better type of inspo? An integral part of any wedding planning is research… Which is where the gin-tasting you may have seen on social media comes in. A venue who I work closely with, Ever After on Dartmoor, have just launched their brand new pop-up lounges (to read more about them, click here). I’m super excited! The furniture and decor are all fabulous and I can’t wait to see the lounges in full swing (hopefully at every summer wedding next year… 2018 couples…?). But it’s not just about the aesthetics (although they are great), it’s also about the drink.
To ensure the best gins, champagnes, and whiskeys get selected for the lounges one (obviously) needs to try them first… So venue owner Nicola assigned me and Mr Lila Bailey the task (how taxing a task it was…).
For this ginspiration blog post we’re focusing on the rye gin ‘Napue’ from the Kyrö distillery in Finland.
Napue gin was voted as “The World’s Best Gin for Gin & Tonic” by the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in 2015 and in 2016 Napue won the gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirit Competition premium gin-series.
(You can find out more about the distillery and the gin itself of the distillery website.)
So those are a few facts, and you can find out loads more on their website. But the important stuff is what we thought when we tried the gin. It can have more awards than La La Land had Oscar nominations, but if the consumer doesn’t like it then what’s the point?
Luckily for Napue gin, we loved it. My right-hand-man, Mr Lila Bailey, and gin lover; Euan, and I had a tasting session and we came up with some feedback about the gin.
Euan firstly tried the gin straight and he could taste a good blend of pine needles and juniper berries with and warm & spicy edge which was sharp and punchy. Strong but enjoyable.
We then made the gin with tonic, one glass with lime and one with cucumber to see what a difference the garnishes made.
With the tonic, Euan felt it was a very clean and smooth gin, and I came to the same conclusion. We both tried the gin with lime and then with cucumber and it was definitely better with the cucumber. The aftertaste was complimented by the cucumber, and the fresh/clean taste of the gin didn’t work so well with the lime. Euan, however, concluded that his preference of garnish for this particular gin would be a sprig of rosemary.
We asked ourselves the question ‘would we order it in a restaurant?’. Euan figured the napue gin ranked higher than a lot of standard gins in his opinion, and he would definitely consider choosing it at a restaurant. I would absolutely choose it in a restaurant, however I would specifically request it to be served with cucumber as I didn’t enjoy it with the lime.
Discussion of what we pictured whilst drinking the gin was an important part of the tasting notes too. Napue gin had me picturing a mountain-top scene amongst the snow and pine trees. Whilst Euan thought of a wet/dewey winter’s morning looking over a woodland valley.
Another comment I had (although not relevant to the taste, but still part of the ginspiration) was the look of the bottle and the label. I thought it was bold, simplistic, and eye-catching, and (somehow) reflected the taste of the gin through it’s appearance. I suppose it’s not something I can quite put my finger on, by nevertheless it’d certainly stand out on a shelf which (let’s face it) is half the battle!
So there you have our take on this up-and-coming rye gin… I bet you want to try it for yourself now, am I right?