The Whisky Lounge know how to put on a great show - and I never miss their annual whisky festival down in Newcastle. Always a great day/evening out and, thanks to Eddie Ludlow and his team, I've been fortunate to take part in several superb masterclasses over the years.
Two particular stand-outs were a six-dram session orchestrated by Angus MacRaild featuring malts and blends from the past, and an Islay adventure, where I spent an hour sampling some absolute beauties.
And speaking of Islay, The Whisky Lounge have The Legendary Salty Sea-Dog single malt bottled for them from an undisclosed distillery on the island. I've picked up a few 20cl bottles in the past (I really should buy a full 70cl bottle soon) and it's a cracker of a dram.
Brine, lemon and ash immediately bark from the glass. Lovely. Dig down and with a wag of the tail, the unmistakable whiff of smokey bacon crisps appears along with a generous shake of salt and some vanilla. Not an overly complex dram, but the smell is wonderful.
Take this for walk along the beach and you'll find a delicious sweetness followed by lemon citrus notes and white pepper. Vanilla is also here along with traditional cloudy lemonade. It's bottled at 43% and I find it really easy drinking. I would love to try this at cask-strength. Woof!
The finish has loads of ash, lemon and black pepper - and the bourbon cask this pup has been aged in begins to come through - vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon are let off the leash and are allowed to run wild across the back of the tongue.
This is well worth seeking out should you find yourself at one of The Whisky Lounge's live events. Not complex, but very satisfying and a perfect winter warmer.