Cotswolds Distillery

This day was a treat! It was a present to celebrate my birthday. The distillery is new; established 2014 with a goal to create single malt whisky. The amber nectar, Scotch, but not scotch – as it is English.

As it takes 3 years and a day to create whisky, we will have to wait to try their first drop although there are plenty of other spirits the wet our whistle – and they are a delight!

The distillery is nestled in a quaint little Cotswold village; turn the corner off the main road and you meet a small, 3 building farm. One is the shop; the second is the cook room, and the other is the cask room.

In the shop we are greeted and shown to a cinema room to discover where it all began. Mostly a story of a man with a passion and following it. After that we are taken to the cook room.

It was smaller than any other I had been too. Though I’ve never been to a distillery that young before. The explanations were great and the guide was funny and professional – a winning combination. First how they make their Gin. Then how they make their Whisky. The arrangement of flavours sounds amazing and only excited me more for the tasting at the end.

A quick run into the cask room where a selected number of their 1000+ casks are stored. If you want your own cask it will set you back around £3000 which seems like a bargain to me!

Now the finale, there was lots to offer from. First we tried their dry gin. Best in the world as I write this. Tasting it in 4 stages

Stage 1: Ttraight. Lovely and clean. Lavender running at the nose and your tongue.

Stage 2: Add Ice. This was my favourite. The gin isn’t filtered cold which adds to the theatre when you drop in a cube of ice. The gin clouds as the ice reacts to the citrus notes. This enhances the citrus. Pink Grapefruit shines through. What a stunning way to drink it.

Stage 3: Tonic. Recommended Fever tree, but only a little. This softens the taste and pepper begins to pop its warming head.

Stage 4: Add bitters. We had the choice of lavender or pink grapefruit. The lavender was a revelation. Floral for the win.

We were then given an explanation into their extensive list of delights.

  1. Single malt spirit – not a whisky, but an indication of what is to come.
  2. 1616 Gin
  3. Apple brandy
  4. Sherry
  5. Slow gin
  6. Espresso martini gin
  7. Crime liquor
  8. Spirit before the cask
  9. Spirit in ex-Bourbon
  10. Spirit in ex-red wine.

1,2,3 and 6 (because who doesn’t love that cocktail) were selected and none disappointed. So much so we came home with the 1616 and Espresso Martini. The dry gin was also a no  and found its way into our bag also.

As someone who drinks whisky (fairly) regularly the 12 month single malt spirit was exciting. Taste of whisky but with freshness. Zingy and fruity. If this is what is to come of my reserved bottle of single malt then I will be a very happy man.

The espresso martini was exactly how I remember them, recently in a bar in Glasgow I necked a few back and that one small shot brought the memories flooding back. On the plus side I didn’t have to wait for your man from cocktail to make it this time!

The 1616 was special. Gin aged for 3 months in a cask to give it some colour. How un-gin! But it was brilliant. A gem. A sweet and warming blend of gin with mind warping thoughts of whisky due to the colour.

We could have stayed there all day. Sadly we were driving and the next tour was about to begin.

The place was excellent. The tour guide exceptional in their knowledge and enthusiasm – Sorry for making you ruin the cork on your Scapa. I’m glad I only live 40mins away, anyone who visits me now will be coming with me to try the rest!

Looking forward to my reserved bottle of the 3 year, I’m bottle number 4254. Take good care of it, and add an extra few drops if you can!

Spotify is Amazing

My Music of 2016

So last year Spotify did something amazing. Maybe they have done it before; I don’t know. I only just started with it last year. At 26, self-confessed geek and lover of tech. I can be quite slow sometimes to adopt technology and social media. Anyway, I digress.

Spotify early one morning sent me an email.

“Your 2016 in Music”

How intriguing. As I read through frantically, waiting for the images to load on what appeared to be the WiFi slowly waking up for the day I saw that Spotify, rather kindly, have created a playlist of all my most listened to music in 2016. This was epic. It was an interesting mix. New and Old. In total there where around 100 songs. I’m not going to talk about them all – that will take all day. Instead, I’m going to pick out a selection. If you want to listen to it click the link here.

Highlights:

Wolves of Winter – Biffy Clyro

This is from Biffy’s latest album. I’m a long-time lover of these guys and his song, for me, reminds me of what I love about them. Catchy music, Great Guitar and Lyrics you and ill sing forever. I will write more on these guys soon. I have a lot to say!

Waitin’ on a sunny day – Bruce Springsteen

2016, rather shockingly, was my first time seeing the Boss. My friends have told me how great his gigs are and they were not wrong. In Glasgow, sunshine often doesn’t rear its warm fuzzy little head and often, like the title, we are waiting.

This day, it was a scorcher. Glorious blue sky. As we all waiting in the crowd for the man himself (and the e-street band, of course) wondering what he would play first thoughts turned to this song.

He obviously was listening – this was the first song.

This song will always remind me of that day, that gig, and the sunshine.

Misery Business – Paramore

Paramore, I admit it. I love them. Still do. The tunes are brilliant, the drums are off the chart and this Riot, the album Misery business is from, will always get me going. It puts me in a good mood. It elevates me and helps me focus on tasks.

This is also my Guitar Hero Jam if anyone is interested.

Catfish Blues – Gary Clark Jnr

I have only recently learnt of this guy, he is a wizard on the guitar and plays the blues as well as some of the greats blues guitarists of yester-year. This song is the one that got me interested in GC Jnr. Amazing what you can find when you just search “blues” on Spotify. Well done Sir!

Lemonworld – The National

The National. A university love for me. Never stopped listening to them basically for 4 years. This song’s intro is my text tone. To strums on a guitar that sound depressing but fill me with joy. I eagerly await their next stuff.

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder

So I’m a 90’s kid. I loved Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. I wanted to be the White Ranger so badly as a kid. The movie, which is brilliant if you haven’t seen it features this song as they all jump out of an aeroplane in the beginning of the movie (Tommy, the white ranger, does it with a snowboard – that’s how cool he is and why I wanted to be him). Ok, in the movie it is the Red Hot Chili Peppers version, but Stevie is the man. His music is amazing and this is one of a few on the playlist.

Why does it always rain on me? – Travis

I play guitar, I was in a school band – like most people my age where I grew up. Our first gig, a School Battle of The Bands, we played this song. I’m also Scottish, so I grew up listening to Travis and asking myself this…a lot.

Walk – Ludovico Einaudi

Einaudi is someone I would LOVE to see live. His music transcends and takes me to a thought provoking place like very few others can do. This song reminds me of Hans Zimmer soundtracks with the small high pitched notes cascading through the song like they have no rhythm; except they do. They walk through the song like they are afraid, but trust the rest of the music to carry them. Like the rest of the band are pushing them forward. Telling them it is going to be alright. Like a Father/ Mother to their child.

Tilted – Christine and the Queens

This song dominated last year. In the charts it was adored. It is great. The music is what pop has missed recently and I can’t wait for more!

O, and her dancing is off the charts good.

So, there you have it. My favourite songs of 2016 and a few good reasons why. If you haven’t heard of any of them – listen. Meet new artists which may affect you as they have me. I will post more on some of these artists soon.

Leave a comment if you like any of the music or have new artist I should listen to.

Mean well, Speak well, Do well.

X

Figuring Out Life – Day 1

Today was the start of a new dawn, a new life. Lets figure it out!

Me, my life and I have managed so far to whisp through life following in the footsteps of others. Often those footstep have led me to the right place, a happy place. Coasting could be one way of describing it.

Coasting is ok if you are happy. Emotions make us; and happiness is key. A quote I have read recently which maybe was the catalyst. “If you are busy doing nothing, when do you know you have finished?” something like that. It made me think about the stuff I do, and how often I do nothing. Using this nothing time I want to share my interests.

I’m pushing myself out there now – Looking at me, talking about my life, reviewing my interests. Following in the footsteps of people who have pioneered this new wave.

My skill set lies in Engineering. That is what I’m trained at. I spent 5 years studying to get my Masters and currently put it to (hopefully) good use. Throughout school I have always been into art and being creative. I’m hoping this will kick start this creative side of me and see where it takes me.