Speaking with Chris Walster, our in-house whisky expert, he discusses how whisky can be for all, making it the perfect surprise gift this Mother’s Day.

I can remember my great-grandma having a “port and lemon”, my grandma would celebrate with a sherry, usually Harvey’s Bristol Cream or with a “Snowball” an Advocaat and lemonade (Advocaat is great on vanilla ice-cream), my mother drank “Babycham” and my wife drinks a “G&T”, whilst my daughters seem to prefer a prosecco, or on a rare occasion a Southern Comfort and lemonade. A quick straw poll in the office seems to confirm that ladies seem to prefer sweeter drinks or do not have much interest in alcoholic drinks except perhaps a cocktail or glass of wine. Most of these drinks are either sweet and/or lowish in alcohol. Something on the whole whisky is not. Or is it?

Go to a whisky club or festival and the fairer sex is notable for its absence. But those who are there seem to enjoy themselves as much as any other attendee, but it would seem clear that whisky is not a favoured drink for women (compared to the number of men at these events). Perhaps this is cultural, and they simply have never tried whisky?

If your mother is already a fan of whisky, then buying a favourite bottle is simply a matter of contacting your usual retailer and purchasing one. But what if she is not a fan or never tried whisky before? You could be miserable and buy her a bottle she’s unlikely to enjoy, but you will, safe in the knowledge that at least there will be a decent whisky to drink when you visit. Whilst cynical, it might encourage you to visit more often, something she is likely to appreciate. 

But how might you approach buying a whisky she would enjoy and introducing her to the wonderful world of whisky? It might lead to there being a selection of good whiskies when you visit. A win-win for all. Let’s see if there is an approach which would increase your chance of buying a bottle that would be appreciated. 

There are three basic ideas that might help and combining the three may provide the best chance of success.

Reducing the alcohol content (ABV)

The simplest thing to do is add water to dilute the ABV. When I first came across cask strength whiskies, I recall being advised to dilute to 35% ABV. Recently I read an article which stated that Master Blenders never taste whisky above 40% ABV and some will only drink it at 20% ABV, they’ll dilute the whisky with water. As someone who prefers to drink their cask strength whisky either neat or with a few drops of water this got me thinking. 

I’m not a great fan of adding water into my whisky glass because there is a good chance I’ll either increase the spiciness or the woody flavours. Neither of which I like particularly and can overwhelm the other flavours. Master Blenders adding water seems rather counterintuitive, how do they know they’ve the perfect “formula” if the whisky is “tainted”? But, certainly in my youth, most if not all bars in Scotland would provide jugs of water or taps for customers to add to their whisky “to taste”. What’s going on?

I suspect the issue is where I live in England. The water coming out of the tap is chemically different (in simplest terms think of soft and hard water) to that used by the distillery and interacts with the flavours in a different way to that intended by the distillery. The solution is to find a bottled water with a composition as close to the distillery’s source as possible. When I have done this, it certainly makes a big difference. 

Buy a bottle of whisky and a bottle of suitable still water.

You could add a mixer such as lemonade and, on the whole, I tend to use a blended whisky if I want a long drink. Alternatively, you could make a whisky cocktail. I do like cocktails, and they do potentially address the two issues of a lower ABV and also sweetness. I rarely drink them in my own home as I cannot be bothered with the faff, but I’m very happy if someone else makes me one. 

Show her your care by mixing a whisky cocktail. 

A trawl of the internet will provide a plethora of recipes but two simple ones I like are:

The Lindisfarne Dark Mead produces a drink reminiscent of a Pimms although perhaps more herbal. You could try adding honey dissolved in warm water, which aids mixing, to increase the sweetness. This is a drink we tried for the first time in 2022 up in Northumberland and were surprised by how much we liked it, so it’s definitely one to try. 

Sweet Whiskies.

American whiskies tend to be quite sweet and one I’d recommend is Uncle Nearest 1884 Tennessee Whiskey. You really can taste the honey sweetness and if anything I personally find it too sweet although not unpleasantly so.  

For other whiskies I’d look out for ones either finished in a fortified wine barrel (e.g. Pedro Ximenez a type of sweet sherry, Madeira a fortified wine from the island of Madeira) or a cognac finish which seems to produce a very luscious whisky that can be very mellow. 

Finally an obvious whiskey choice would be to go Irish. These whiskies are smoother than scotch and taste slightly sweeter because of it. My favourite at present, although definitely on the expensive side is Bushmills 1991 Madeira Cask Finish, The Causeway Collection which has peach flavours. You should be able to find it on whisky auction sites at substantially below the retail price.

At the end of the day though, if your mother likes whisky straight up, mixed or a little sweeter, the point is to enjoy this drink. Whisky preferences all comes down to personal taste, but it certainly can be one for all, you just need to find the right approach to enjoying this drink.

Don’t be fooled when purchasing this un-fined classic, Highland Suntan. The imagery that surrounds the can as well as the name of the brewery, (Glen Affric) will make you believe this is a Scottish born beer. However, the beer is actually brewed in Merseyside, near Liverpool. 

Established in 2017, The Glen Affric Brewery is situated in Birkenhead, the journey of this brewery takes you on a rollercoaster ride of some of the greatest styles of beers, ranging from dark to light, there is certainly a choice for everyone to enjoy a quality beer. 

Glen Affric, takes its name from a village close to Cannich in the highlands of Scotland, as well as being located close by to the well known, Loch Ness. 

According to the brewery, Highland Suntan is brewed to be as pale as a “Scottish Suntan” this is showcased within the brewing process as extra pale malt is used to create this almighty pale ale. 

On the other hand, the aroma aspects of this beer are so incredibly intense, having a beer that is packed full of tropical fruits and citrus, indicates this beer is best to try for the arrival of Spring. 

ClarityBlonde, Crystal Clear 
AromaTropical Fruits 
TasteMango and Pineapple 
AftertasteSlight bitter kick, punchy citrus 
Overall (Star Rating)4.5/5 Stars  🌕🌕🌕🌕🌗

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste. 

Clarity – The best way that you can imagine how this beer looks is visualising the colour of wheat that has just freshly been cut with an almighty straw coloured beer. Furthermore, when pouring, it’s best to avoid pouring quickly otherwise you’ll end up with a glass full of foam. 

Aroma – Floating around at the top of the glass you will be greeted with pleasant scents of tropical fruits as well as a gorgeous citrusy malt aroma, both combined together surely does make this beer smell amazing. 

Taste – This beer becomes extremely fruity after you take the first sip, pineapple and mango springs to your mind. The tropical fruits combined with malty texture certainly makes this beer completely refreshing.  

Aftertaste – Things change when it comes to the finish on this beer, all of that tropical fruitiness that you had earlier disappears and then is converted into a bitter sweet kick. Furthermore, being a strong sweet beer it needs to be respected and consumed lightly so you can enjoy all of the pleasant flavours. 

Do we recommend it? 

This is definitely not a bad pint of beer, and is one that we certainly will show our hands up and say it was well worth the purchase and also the sample. It’s not just the imagery that surrounds the can but also how well this beer is preserved throughout the glass. 

Another point to make is how the taste of this beer gives you the realisation that you could be standing on top of one of the most amazing Scottish hills and give that almighty cheers to the view that surrounds you. 

Bushmills claims they have distilled whisky since 1608 but that royal licence was granted to another local landowner and the company that built Old Bushmills Distillery wasn’t established by Hugh Anderson, the founder, till 1784. Does this discrepancy really matter? Probably not, as there are stories that whiskey was first distilled in the area in the thirteenth century. Despite some claims on the internet that Bushmills is only double distilled, the tasting video on this bottle given by Bushmills Master Distiller, Colum Egan, clearly states Bushmills has always used triple distillation. There are other areas of controversy linked to Bushmills, perhaps of interest from an historical perspective, particularly as all distilleries like to trade on their heritage. But the proof is in the drinking, and Bushmills has survived several downturns in the Irish Whiskey industry such as American prohibition, it is obviously doing something right.

Bushmills was the first distillery tour I ever did, and I was lucky enough to be selected from our group to go through the “tasting experience” at the end. My memory is slightly vague, but I think it consisted of seven (possibly nine) whiskies, starting with a Scottish blend and finishing with a Bushmills malt.  Unsurprisingly, the Bushmills samples were voted the best. Certainly, cracking value for the £3 the tour cost at the time! It would be good to go back and see what the distillery is currently offering by way of tours. 

Previous Food EatenShortbread
ColourDark Straw / Good Oily Legs Produced on Swirling
NoseMixed Fruit With Hints of Honey / Banana Toffee
PalateInitial Banana Followed By Tropical Fruit And A Small Hint Of Peach
FinishGentle And Short With Notes Of Wood And Spice
Overall (Star Rating)⅗  Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑

I struggled to find the flavours described in the official tasting notes and felt this was somewhat bland but bear in mind that I usually drink cask strength scotch whisky. I could kind of agree with the official notes if I really thought about it, but I totally missed the milk chocolate. Maybe adding a single drop of water might have introduced more flavour. However, that sounds more negative than this whisky deserves. It is a great introduction to Single Malt Irish Whiskey and given the price (around £35) provides good value. 

Irish whiskey is sold on it being triple distilled and hence its smoothness. This whiskey is certainly smooth, mellow and has well integrated flavours (maybe too integrated?) being a blend of bourbon and sherry casks. It was exactly what I expected but the more I tried to identify the flavours by “chewing” the whisky for one second of its age, the less I could identify. An easy drinking starter whiskey, but if you are looking for depth, length and strength of flavours this might disappoint. 

Overall, this is an easy drinker and is an easy “palate trainer” if starting a whisky flight.

Credit: Feature Photo @ Bushmills

Does the glass make a difference to the whisky drinking experience? Here are the top five glasses according to Chris Walster, our in-house whisky expert, you can use when it comes to drinking whisky. 

Throughout this article, whisky includes whiskey. Why are there two names? Inclusion or not of “e” usually relates to the country of origin e.g. Irish whiskey is produced in Ireland. Confusingly, this can also indicate what the whisky was made from e.g. Rye whiskey, and has nothing to do with the country of origin. Does any of this matter? Probably not unless you’re part of a trade association and wish to protect “your product”. What is important is did you enjoy it?

Whisky, some 50 odd years ago, was reasonably simple, certainly for the majority of drinkers. You bought your favourite blend, drank it neat, with ice, water or soda from a whisky glass/tumbler. Occasionally you might buy a bottle of “10 or 12 year old malt” to celebrate, produced from one of a few distilleries, where production did not all go to blends. Other options were not widely available, with most coming from independent bottlers. The world of whisky we know today did not exist before the 1970’s, when it all started to change.

Today enjoying your favourite tipple can be as simple or as complex as you like, reasonably affordable or requiring a second mortgage. Here we try to demystify some of the issues new whisky drinkers might face. From what glass to use, what whisky to buy and how best you might enjoy it. Regardless of what you read here, how you drink your whisky is up to you. The purpose of the article is to provide some information that you may or may not choose to use. The only firm recommendation I’d make is please drink responsibly, any alcohol can and does cause health issues. 


Some 90% of “taste” comes from your eyes and nose, so your taste buds actually contribute very little to what you taste, they can be affected by what you’ve previously eaten, or what you’ve previously experienced, and finally by “suggestion”. I’m constantly amazed by how the number of flavours I can identify has increased/changed, by reading the tasting notes on the label or even discussing with your fellow drinkers. A glass provides both tactile (touch and weight) and visual enhancements that will likely elevate your experience of the whisky. The design of the glass will affect the nose, the whiskies temperature and ultimately the flavours. 

Glencairn style

This is probably the most popular style of glass for whisky today (certainly in the UK), although surprisingly, it was only launched in 2001 by Glencairn Crystal. Rather like “hoover” becoming synonymous with the vacuum cleaner, “glencairn” is synonymous with this style of whisky glass. The design is based on the Copita glass which was originally designed to taste sherry and enhance the nose and palate. 

It is a tulip shaped glass designed to hold 35 ml of whisky and allow the addition of water, with a solid base and no stem. Being easy to hold in the hand it is a popular glass to use at social events such as parties, whisky tastings and festivals. 

This is my “go to” glass and certainly the crystal, cut glass version, enhances the colour of the whisky (as does any crystal glass) and is suitable for most whisky drinkers and whiskies. The tulip shape enhances the nose by concentrating the aromas. The shape and size of the glass also encourages you to swirl the whisky to visualise the legs and release the flavour profile.

As you travel along your whisky path, you will find that this glass is not ideal for all whiskies or whisky drinkers. You may prefer to hold a stemmed glass, it’s certainly not well designed to add ice or whisky stones to your drink. And it is not the ideal glass to ensure that the whisky is served at the correct temperature. An aspect along with allowing the whisky to breath which is frequently ignored by whisky drinkers, possibly because neither aspect is widely discussed or researched by “whisky specialists” and for many whiskies and the environment they are drunk in, may be not worth worrying too much about. However, you will notice that the flavours change the longer a whisky is in the glass due to exposure to air and any heat added by your hands. These issues are discussed more fully in our article on how to taste whisky

Copita style

This is a style of glass with a tulip shape and a stem. It is particularly good at allowing you to experience the nose, firstly because it concentrates the aromas and secondly it keeps your hands well away from the rim of the glass. The theory being that this allows you to experience the nose of the spirit without potential contaminants from the hands such as natural oils and what you last handled affecting it. This attribute makes it popular with distillers, blenders and whisky connoisseurs. 

A variation of a copita glass is one with a lid on it. The theory being the lid holds the volatiles released, concentrating them until you are ready to experience them. I use one occasionally if I want the whisky to warm up to room temperature. It appears to work but the lid is easily lost, and whisky does need contact with air, so I’m not convinced it is worthwhile. 

I prefer using a copita glass when I wish to explore the flavour and aroma of a whisky. Something that is best done on ones own or in a small group. Because of the delicate feel the glass has, due to the stem, it’s not a party glass in my opinion. 

Whisky Tumbler

There are numerous versions of this, and it is most likely the glass a whisky will be served in a pub or restaurant. With its wide neck allowing easy addition of ice and versatility of use I doubt it will ever be replaced. If it was the preferred whisky glass for James Bond, who am I to argue?

Norlan Whisky Glass

I’ve never tried this glass, but really like the idea of a scientifically designed whisky glass. First designed in 2015, the double wall of the original glass is meant to help prevent your hand from warming the whisky whilst holding and causing variations to its temperature. Whisky is best served at “room temperature”. Although what is room temperature, is my immediate thought? Changes in temperature will affect the nose and palate, so the glass will help achieve a more consistent experience.

The second innovation is the “scientifically performing” inside of the glass which it is claimed “delivers the aromatics and flavours to your senses”. This is done, as best I can see from the website at Norlan Glass, by dispersing the ethanol as it evaporates, decreasing any alcohol burn, and allowing your nose and palate to enjoy the whisky, whilst concentrating the aromatics and flavours. 

What is clear, is this is a glass aimed at the premium market and is for those who wish to drink their whisky neat or maybe with a drop of water. Do not use it if you prefer ice or whisky stones in your glass. 

I really do need to try these glasses and see if they live up to the expectation, but I would much prefer to be able to see, touch and feel them, before buying and unfortunately there is no retailer close to where I live. Interestingly in an email exchange with Norlan I was told the commonest reasons for returns were the glass is too light with a weight of approximately 125 grams, the mouth rim being too thick and the size being too small, with a recommended pour between 20-40ml (maximum volume approximately 175ml), which as I tend to go for 30ml when tasting sounds ideal. 

On comparing the above measurements to other whisky glasses, the weight is on the light side but identical to one I frequently use. Although if you enjoy the weight of a crystal glass (approximately 100-125 grams heavier), it probably is too light for you. On the mouth rim there is no choice but to try and that will come down to personal preference. I suspect in the end curiosity will get the better of me and despite reservations over the touch and feel of the glass in my hand, Norlan will become part of my whisky adventure. 

Other Glasses 

Let’s face it, whisky can be drunk out of any receptacle, it’s just that some glasses are possibly more useful or perform better in certain circumstances. A Highball glass, tall and straight is great for whisky cocktails, a brandy glass has many of the attributes of the above glasses and is a pretty good substitute. 

One tip though that you should always try to follow is, rinse and dry your glass out between different whiskies or reach for another glass. Whisky is very sensitive to small amounts of “contaminants” ; even one drop of water can significantly change the nose, palate, and finish of a whisky. Think what all those flavours in that minute drop of the previous whisky might do. Not following this rule is unlikely to ruin your evening, but I can assure you from experience that every once in a while, the effect can be pretty dramatic and certainly will ruin that one whisky.  

Long ago, ale was known as “liquid bread” because it would have been made from barley bread fermented with water. Eagle Brewery took this quite literally though and created the much loved banana bread many years before people were obsessed with it from March 2021 when everyone was stuck at home.

The term “liquid bread” is definitely a way to describe this Banana Bread amber ale. The  beer inspires you to believe that you are eating a banana which has been soaked in the finest Low Colour Maris Otter Malt. This is certainly a novelty beer to try, one that will greet you with a sweet smell upon opening but may or may not live up to expectations. 

TasteVery Malty
AftertasteSweet Bread
Overall (Star Rating)⅖ Stars 🌕🌕🌑🌑🌑

About Eagle Brewery

Located in Bedford, the Eagle Brewery is all about having a different perspective on things. As explained on their website, “like the eagle that looks over [their] brewery, [they] take a different view”, which is something that we can clearly see when we look at the different types of beers produced – flavourful, daring and certainly interesting.

They were opened on 18 May 1976 by the Duke of Gloucester and also boast exclusive contracts to brew some of the most popular names in the industry. Which explains why this Banana Bread Beer was made in a partnership with Marston’s Brewery PLC. 

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste 

Clarity – As soon as you pour this beer into the glass, you’ll instantly be able to tell that this is an amber ale, but visually many could perceive it as a golden ale by the way it stands in the light. 

Aroma – There is a strong banana scent that comes about near the top of the glass and the more you consume this banana beer, the stronger the intensity of the banana aroma becomes. 

Taste – On the palate there is a heavy malty texture which is balanced against enormous amounts of banoffee which lingers around your mouth for minutes, making this beer extremely mouth-watering. 

Aftertaste – If you’re a keen lover of baking bread and love the beautiful scents of bread being cooked in the oven, then this will without a shadow of doubt, bring out that subtle after-taste of sweet sugar and banana which combines itself together to create that almighty, classical banana bread. 

Do we recommend it?

The novelty of what banana bread beer would taste like was certainly enough of a ploy to get us to purchase one in the shops, but whilst it seemed to have so much potential at first, the actual drink fell a bit flat. 

We’ve scored this beer a two out of five, as it wasn’t one for us but certainly has potential. It’s easily a unique and different drink and if you know anyone who is obsessed with banana bread, we would recommend buying it for them. They’ll have a pleasant experience at first, but they might not want to have a second bottle.

Irish Whiskey Day is on the 3rd March 2023 and is an annual celebration of Irish whiskey and its unique and rich history. This day is celebrated by both whiskey connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike. It’s the perfect opportunity to honor the legacy of Irish whiskey and to share the love with friends and family. 

So why do we love Irish Whiskey Day? It’s a day that celebrates a timeless tradition, an incredibly tasty spirit, and a culture that has made a lasting impression on the world. From its smooth, sometimes smoky flavors to its interesting history, Irish whiskey is an essential part of Irish culture and is an experience that should not be missed. So raise a glass of whiskey, Irish or not, and toast to the spirit of Ireland on Irish Whiskey Day. Sláinte!

It’s a celebration of Irish culture and tradition

On Irish Whiskey Day, we get to celebrate the rich culture and tradition of Ireland. We get to remember the many generations of Irish people who have shared their love of whiskey with us, and honor the country’s long-standing whiskey-making heritage. From the unique recipes of the monasteries in the Middle Ages to the world-renowned whiskey brands we know today, there is something for everyone to enjoy. We can also learn about the unique methods and techniques used to craft Irish whiskey over the centuries, and how this spirit has helped shape the culture of Ireland. 

It’s an excuse to enjoy a glass of whiskey

Whether you’re a whiskey connoisseur or someone who’s just getting into whiskey, Irish Whiskey Day is the perfect excuse to sip on a glass of your favorite Irish whiskey. From the smoky, peaty flavor of Connemara, to the smooth and sweet flavor of Jameson, Irish whiskey offers something for everyone. By taking the time to appreciate the unique characteristics and nuances of each whiskey, you can develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the craft and artistry that goes into making each one.

It’s a great way to learn about Irish whiskey

Irish Whiskey Day is a great opportunity to learn more about the history and production of Irish whiskey. You can visit whiskey distilleries, take part in whiskey tastings, and deepen your appreciation for Irish whiskey. You can learn about the different styles and expressions, from single malts to blends, and how each one is made. You can also explore the tasting notes associated with each whiskey and develop your own whiskey palate.

It’s a chance to try something new

Irish Whiskey Day is the perfect opportunity to explore the wide range of Irish whiskey available. From single malts to blended whiskey, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. It is the perfect day to branch out and discover the unique flavors that are present in an Irish whiskey. 

From smooth and mellow single malts to robust and complex blends, each whiskey offers a unique and special experience. Whether you’re new to whiskey or a connoisseur, Irish Whiskey Day is the perfect opportunity to discover something new and exciting. With the wide array of options available, there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. 

So don’t miss out on Irish Whiskey Day – grab a bottle and explore the wonderful world of Irish whiskey!

Drinking a cold pint of beer is one of life’s simple pleasures. Whether you’re enjoying a beer with friends or on a night out, there is nothing quite like that first sip of a freshly poured pint. However, there are times when you may end up with a bad pint. If you have ever experienced this, you know it can be a disappointment. So, how can you spot if your beer has gone off before you take that first sip? 

In this guide, you will learn the key signs to look out for when it comes to a bad pint of beer. We will cover the different types of off-flavors and aromas that can indicate a bad pint. You will also learn how to distinguish between a bad pint and one that has gone flat. By the end of the post, you will be able to recognize a bad pint of beer, and in most cases a good bartender will replace it for you.

Does it smell of butterscotch?

If you’re about to take a sip of your pint and it smells of butterscotch, then this is a clear sign that the beer has gone bad. Butterscotch is one of the more common off-flavors that can occur when a beer has gone bad. It is usually caused because something has gone wrong in the fermentation process. This just means that it contains too much diacetyl. Diacetyl is present in all beer, but if there’s too much it can leave a foul taste. 

The smell of butterscotch can indicate a number of different issues, such as contamination due to bacteria or a lack of cleaning of the brewing equipment. In addition, it could also be caused by a beer that has been stored for too long or has been exposed to too much heat. 

Does it taste sour? 

Note: This does not count if the beer is meant to be sour

If you take a sip of your pint and it tastes sour, it is likely that the beer has gone bad. Sourness is another common off-flavor that can indicate a bad pint. This sour taste can be caused by a number of different factors, such as the presence of wild yeasts or bacteria in the beer, or improper storage or handling of the beer. This sour flavor can be unpleasant and can also give you an upset stomach if consumed. Therefore, it is best to avoid a beer that tastes sour and opt for a fresh pint instead.

Does it look cloudy? 

Note: This does not count for unfined beer

A cloudy pint of beer is another warning sign of a bad pint. Cloudiness can be caused by a number of things, such as improper fermentation, improper filtering, or bacteria in the beer. The cloudiness can also be an indication of a beer that has been stored at too high of a temperature or for too long. A cloudy pint of beer can also have off-flavors, such as sourness or a metallic taste. If you notice your beer is cloudy, it is best to avoid drinking it as it could be a sign of a bad pint.

Does it look flat and listless? 

A bad pint of beer can also appear flat and listless. This is usually caused by a lack of carbonation in the beer, which can be caused by improper fermentation or storage. If a beer is flat, it is likely that it has lost its natural carbonation, which can lead to a flat and unappetizing taste. A flat beer can also taste stale and have an off-flavor, but before you even take a sip you should be able to tell just by looking at your beer if it’s flat. 

Does it look too cold?

If a beer is too cold, it can also indicate that it is a bad pint. Cold temperatures can cause a beer to become flat and listless, as the cold inhibits the natural carbonation of the beer. Additionally, when a beer is too cold, it can mute the flavor of the beer, making it taste bland and unappetizing. Whilst many might think a beer being too cold is a myth, the ideal minimum temperature for most craft beer is in the low to mid-40s. For hearty yeast or hop-forward ales, a bit warmer. For even more adventurous styles, arguably as high as the upper 50s.

It’s a good idea to be aware of these signs and take the time to inspect your pint before drinking it, as this will help ensure that you only drink a fresh and flavourful pint of beer, but don’t let one bad pint put you off the drink completely. It’s likely to just be a bad batch, so it’s always worth trying again, but asking to try the beer first before buying a full pint.

We had the pleasure of tasting this milk stout at Camra’s Great British Winter Beer Festival in Burton-upon-Trent, the home of brewing, where we saw it get Bronze in Strong Stouts and Porters. This beautifully rich and smooth drink is a full-bodied, creamy stout that is perfect for those looking for a bold beer with a touch of sweetness. 

Whilst we easily could have more than one pint of this, at 6% this is extremely moorish and quaffable. The good news is that with just one glass, you can enjoy the creamy and smooth texture that lingers on the palate after each sip, so you can enjoy the creamy sweetness of this 6% ABV Milk Stout, and you’ll be sure to come back for more!

AromaCoffee / Liquorice 
TasteChocolate / Dark Chocolate / Bitter Sweet
AftertasteCreamy / Milky / Coffee
Overall (Star Rating)⅘ Stars 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑

Thoughts on the clarity, aroma, taste and aftertaste 

Clarity –  Traditionally a stout is black and this drink is no different. They are usually dark in colour, with a thick and creamy head. The dark colour of a traditional stout is derived from the roasted malts used during the brewing process. The roasted malts also contribute to the flavours of the beer.

Aroma – The aroma is full of rich chocolate and coffee notes, while the taste is creamy, smooth and a little sweet. We also smelled notes of liquorice briefly as well.

Taste –  Similar to the aroma, we easily tasted heavy amounts of chocolate (and dark chocolate as well). It was a little bit bitter sweet, but enjoyable. According to the actual tasting notes though, there should be hints of caramel but this is something which we didn’t pick up, however, we will agree it was sweet. 

Aftertaste – As with any good stout, it was exceptionally creamy, milky and left the taste of coffee on your tongue, leaving you wanting more (although we recommend limiting yourself to one or two pints in order to drink responsibly). 

Do we recommend it?

This is a stout, which is a one off, was highly enjoyable, incredibly flavourful and one that we would happily drink again. It is delightfully sweet and full of flavour, that we think the majority of beer drinkers will enjoy sampling. 

The reasoning though for the four out of five star review is simply down to the fact that this is a stout that you can’t enjoy several of in one evening. It’s certainly a treat and one that you will undoubtedly enjoy, but you should limit yourself from consuming too much. 

As stouts go though, it is clear why this received bronze for the Strong Stouts and Porters according to Camra’s Great British Winter Beer Festival in Burton-upon-Trent and whilst we might not have tried the silver and gold winning stouts, this one is high up on our leaderboard. If we see it down our local, we will be trying it and encourage others to do so as well, as it’s well worth enjoying as a pint if you like a good stout.

Whisky has often been referred to as the “nectar of the gods”, but the origin of whisky production has often been forgotten. But to truly enjoy whisky, knowing its history and the different types of whisky can be a big help. 

The earliest reference to whisky dates back to the late 1400s, but it’s been around for centuries in Scotland and Ireland. Whilst both countries might argue that they created it first, there is no solid proof for either, although it is thought that Irish monks brought distilling techniques from Ireland to Scotland. What we do know though, is that back then it was distilled from barley, wheat and rye and this was only the start of whisky production, as it became increasingly popular by the 16th century.  

What is the difference between “whisky” and “whiskey”?

There is a lot of confusion for people who have just started their whisky journey and that all comes down to the spelling of the word. Whilst different regions in the world developed their own unique type of whisky, they also decided to confuse everyone by disagreeing on the correct spelling. 

The short answer is that whisk(e)y refers to grain spirits distilled in Ireland and the United States. Whilst whisky (with no ‘e’) refers to Scottish, Canadian or Japanese grain spirits. The difference between the two terms is largely semantic. While they both refer to the same spirit, the spelling of the term is determined by the country of origin.

Whichever spelling though, the origin of the word clearly goes back to both Ireland and Scotland and comes from the term ‘Uisge beatha’ or ‘usquebaugh’ which is Gaelic for “water of life”. It was translated from the Latin aqua vitae, used to describe spirits. So despite the different spellings, they all come from the same term. 

How is whisky made?

Whisky is made through a process of distilling fermented grain mash. This is made by combining malted barley, wheat, rye, or other grain with hot water and fermenting it with yeast. This then produces alcohol, which is distilled in order to concentrate the alcohol content. 

The distilled alcohol is aged in either a bourbon, sherry; port, rum; or a wine cask, which helps to develop the complex flavours and aromas of the whisky. The time required for the ageing process will vary between spirits. For example, Scotch whisky must age for at least three years, whilst American whisk(e)y only needs two. 

Many premium whiskies will need to be left for much longer in the ageing process. But once the whisky has been aged to the desired flavour profile, it is bottled and ready to be enjoyed. This is a process that has been around for centuries and for many, is one of the finest drinks that many can have. 

What are the different types of whisky?

1. Single Malt Whisky is made from malted barley and distilled in one single distillery 

2. Blended Whisky is made from a blend of two or more grain whiskies, usually from different distilleries, and sometimes from other spirits, including neutral grain spirits.

3. Irish Whiskey is made in Ireland from a mash of malted and unmalted barley.

4. Rye Whiskey is made from a mash of at least 51% rye.

5. Bourbon Whiskey is made in the United States from a mash of at least 51% corn.

6. Scotch Whisky is made in Scotland from a mash of malted barley.

7. Japanese Whisky is made in Japan from a mash of malted and unmalted grain.

8. Canadian Whisky is made in Canada from a mash of corn, rye, wheat and barley.

9. Tennessee Whiskey is made in Tennessee from a mash of at least 51% corn.

10. Corn Whiskey is made from a mash of at least 80% corn.

Chris Walster, Whisky Connoisseur further comments…

“Whilst we can agree that whisky is a popular alcoholic beverage that is enjoyed for its flavour and aroma, the huge number of styles can be daunting. Reading the bottle label for what cask it was matured in, the nose, palate and aroma will provide guidance. If it sounds like you’ll enjoy it, you probably will.  Exploring whiskies’ rich tapestry and history is part of its appeal. Drinking something that goes back centuries can make history feel alive. People may drink whisky for its taste, its social aspect, or simply as a means to relax, but no matter people’s reasons, it’s easy to agree that this is one special drink.”

With Open That Bottle Night occurring this Saturday 25th February 2023, we thought this would be a good event to highlight in people’s calendars. Created by the then-Wall Street Journal Wine Columnists John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, this is an event that is seen worldwide. 

It is the perfect opportunity to open that special bottle that you may have been keeping for a while in your pantry or cupboard, to share with friends and family and enjoy the experience of drinking what is in the bottle, instead of letting it continue to sit hidden away. Whilst traditionally this is a day to make sure those fine bottles of wine aren’t forgotten about, there’s no harm in opening up any bottle that you have in your home. 

History of Open That Bottle Night

The event first started in 2000 and is usually celebrated on the last Saturday in February. The event is a celebration of drinking good wine with friends and family that has been saved for a special occasion. It is a time for people to reconnect with loved ones whilst enjoying the pleasure of good company and good wine. 

Since its creation, Open That Bottle Night has grown in popularity and is now celebrated around the world. It is seen as an opportunity to celebrate the past, recognize the present, and look forward to the future. Whilst this day is predominantly meant for wine after all good wine is made to be consumed, but great wine is made to be shared. We believe that day can be used for any type of drink that you’ve been saving up, be it wine or even whisky.

How to Celebrate the Day

Open That Bottle Night is a great excuse to get together with friends and family and open a bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion. To get started, pick out a special bottle from your collection that you’ve been saving. You can also pick up a bottle from your local wine shop or order online. 

Once you have your bottle, invite your friends and family over for an evening of celebration. Be sure to take time to share stories and memories about the wine you are about to open. You can also create a special menu to pair your wine with. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures so you can look back on the evening and remember the special occasion.

What does Open That Bottle Night Teach Us?

Open That Bottle Night teaches us the importance of taking the time to celebrate special occasions. It is a reminder to take time to enjoy life and the special moments we have with our loved ones. It can also teach us to savour the moment, as we never know if it will be the last time we get to enjoy a special bottle of wine.

Wine is obviously more than just a liquid in a bottle and when you finally do open that bottle that you’ve been saving, you’ll remember those milestones, births, deaths, marriages, and long-lost loved and treasured holidays. These memories are far too precious and significant to forget about, so they should be celebrated and shared.