Fancy joining me tomorrow for a wee dram?

It seems fitting that our very first in-store whisky tasting should be from a barrel supplied to us courtesy of James MacTaggart, Master Craftsman of the Isle of Arran Distillery; a thorough gentleman who travels back and forward between the distillery on Arran and his home in Islay every week.

My love of whisky started with a day trip to the Arran Distillery 8 years ago with my first ever taste of the ‘water of life’ that day, and it happened to be the Lochranza malt.  Most whisky buffs can tell you what their very first dram was and it certainly made an impression on me whilst we sat in the sun outside the visitor centre feeling light headed and blissfully happy.  The conversation was flowing and the whisky definitely helped.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that great conversation starts with great whisky!

What better way for us to celebrate World Whisky Day than to offer you a wee dram of Arran whisky.  From 1pm on Sat, 20th May 2017 allow me to introduce you to this wonderful distillery and a few of their expressions.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to whisky or a seasoned connoisseur (perhaps we can learn something from each other tomorrow), just pop in to the shop and celebrate the day with me and the rest of the world.

Look forward to seeing you.

Slainte!

Toni

Raise a dram with the world!

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Whether you are new to whisky or a seasoned connoisseur, the month of May (Whisky Month) is the time to discover, taste and celebrate Scotland’s national drink.  There’s a dram out there to suit everyone!

You are all invited to try ‘the water of life’ throughout the month of May, but in particular on World Whisky Day on 20th May.  Across the globe celebrations will be taking place with the sole aim to make whisky fun, enjoyable and available to everyone.

Only this week, Toni and Alison have become newly qualified Whisky Ambassadors.  After an intense day of training and successfully blind tasting a variety of Scottish malts it would appear they have the ‘nose’ for it.  They were delighted to be presented their awards from Lee Foster of The Whisky Ambassador Training School this week.

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Alison and Toni being awarded their Whisky Ambassador certificates.

Why not pop into the shop to test their knowledge and try something new?  There’s a lovely selection from many independent distilleries across all of the regions.  The long-awaited and newly released Kilkerran 8 YO Cask Strength and 12 YO whiskies are now in stock from Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown.  These lightly peated whiskies are definitely worth the wait and with limited stocks available they won’t be on the shelf very long.

Also, at Largs Food Fest on 27th May, we’ll be giving you the chance to taste the creamy, award-winning Benromach 10 YO and the delicious Atholl Brose Whisky Liqueur.  Jim Irvine of Gordon & Macphail, the world’s leading specialists on malt whisky, will be presenting in the seminar theatre at 5pm in the main marquee.  Not to be missed if you’re a whisky fan.  If you’re a newcomer to Scotland’s favourite tipple this is a perfect introduction from the man himself.

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With whisky celebrations across the world, we hope you can come and raise a glass with us during the whisky month of May.

If you only try one new whisky this month why not try something different and:

‘Drink less but drink better!’

Slàinte Mhath!

Celebrating ‘the water of life’ at Largs Food Fest

What better way to celebrate World Whisky Day last Saturday than having a wee dram at Largs Food Festival. We were delighted to team up with Jim Irvine from Gordon & MacPhail in the marquee, offering our food fest visitors a taste of the creamy, award-winning 10 year old Benromach and the delicious boutique liqueur Atholl Brose. For many, it was their first taste of these whiskies and boy, did they go down well.

And the celebrations continued. As the food and drink producers were packing up their stalls in the main marquee, whisky enthusiasts made their way around to The George to soak up more information on ‘the water of life’. Cameron McCann, Director of Stirling Whisky, gave a fascinating talk and tastings of the fresh and vibrant 10 year old Arran Malt which was enjoyed by all.

With only a week left in the whisky month of May, we invite you to try a wee dram. Pop into the shop and browse our growing range of whiskies from all five regions of Scotland. With such a diverse selection, you’re bound to find one that tempts your tastebuds.

 

There’s a Bank Holiday Weekend coming up…

Well here’s the 2nd instalment of my Did You Know feature and I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that this weekend is a Bank Holiday weekend.

 

That means only one thing – all systems go for those of us catering for tourists or day trippers in any way. Stock orders in, all hands on deck and fingers crossed for some good weather, and let’s hope it’s several degrees warmer than it has been in the last few days.

Despite the drop in temperature I still have to be prepared for a hot, sunny spell and last week my delivery of ice cream cones came in, all 60+ boxes of them, so you could say I’m ready for some sunshine. We’ve changed our range of waffle cones this year and have a couple of new additions on offer including one rolled in popcorn and another rolled in milk chocolate vermicelli and, of course, our best selling nutty waffle. (My personal favourite!)

Our premium waffle cone selection for 2015

Thankfully I did actually manage that day away last week at the spa with Sweet Caroline. Unfortunately, after a somewhat painful massage to remove the lumps and bumps from my back and neck, I was guided into the relaxation room to recover then promptly fell asleep for the next 2 hours so most of the afternoon was gone!  For those of you not working this weekend take time to relax, enjoy some family time and take advantage of the time off; you deserve it I’m sure.

Did you know this weekend also signals the start of Whisky Month and World Whisky Day is only a few weeks away when we Scots pay homage to our national drink. My display window is being dressed on Thursday and I’ll have more about what we’re doing in the shop in next week’s instalment including a fantastic offer on the newly acclaimed online Whisky School Courses.

Finally, did you know you can vote for us in the Waverley Golden Cone Awards?  It’s the annual search to find Scotland’s favourite place to enjoy ice cream and since this is Geraldo’s 10th anniversary we’d love you to vote for us please.  All you have to do is fill in the form online for your chance to win a fully stocked ice cream cart for a special event of your choosing. Closing date is Tuesday, 5th of May.

 

 Good luck with your entry and have a great weekend everyone!

Toni x

It’s World Whisky Day Today!

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Today’s the day that invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life.

If you’ve never tasted Whisky before then get yourself along to Sugar & Spice today and allow me to offer you some assistance to help you celebrate World Whisky Day. Here’s a quick rundown on the regions first and, being a purveyor of handmade chocolates, a few suggestions to taste and try with your tipple. (Whisky and chocolate is fab btw):-

Lowlands – roughly between Dundee and Glasgow producing a lighter style of Whisky; fragrant, floral and fruity. Try the Auchentoshan 12 year old with our Creme Brûlée Truffles.

Highlands – encompassing many areas north of the Highlands Boundary Fault Line producing a variety of styles from spicy, aromatic whiskies in the north to fuller, slightly peaty flavours from the south. Try the new style Old Pulteney Stroma Malt Whisky Liqueur with our Besilienne Caramels. Mmm!

Speyside – ooh, now for the Creme de la Creme! Soft Scottish water produces elegant fruity malts with a drying smokiness. Sorry, but I can’t stop going on about Aberlour a’Bunadh Batch 34. Combine with our milk chocolate praline truffles. Mwah!!

Islay – very pungent and not for the faint hearted. Peaty, medicinal, briny and tasting of seaweed but try an Ardbeg 10 year old with our dark chocolate chilli and lime ganache and you’ll be blown away with the taste sensation that hits your tastebuds. Wow!

Campbeltown – a cross between the lowlands and the highlands with a good sprinkling of sea salt to bring out the taste. Love the pale straw colour of the Springbank 10 year old and the aftertaste of a visit to the seaside on a warm summer’s day. You just have to try combining this after a light evening meal with my milk chocolate salted caramels. Oh my goodness, the words: “died and gone to heaven” will spring immediately to mind.

Have a dram good day everyone!

Celebrate World Whisky Day on Sat 17th May…

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The month of May heralds the season for Whisky Festivals all over Scotland starting with the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival this weekend and Islay’s Malt and Music Festival at the end of the month.

Launched in 2012 by Aberdeen student Blair Bowman, World Whisky Day, now officially the 3rd Sat in May, is gaining huge popularity worldwide as more people discover the complexities of this fantastic spirit.

My first dram was only a few years ago after a busy day’s trading one Saturday night when my brother popped in at closing time for a chat. Sitting behind my counter, with the shop door locked, he commented on my range of whiskies and suggested we try one. Glenmorangie was the choice that evening and so began my love affair with “the water of life” and the ultimate instigator for a great night’s conversation.

I’m no whisky snob although I prefer mine with just a dash of water, as is recommended, but my top tipple for now is Aberlour’s A’bunadh Cask Strength from Speyside aged in Oloroso sherry butts. It’s strong, smooth and creamy and the most delicious whisky I’ve tasted; a drink to cherish and enjoy slowly and keep permanently stocked in my shop.

Another favourite of mine and much closer to home is the Robert Burns Malt from the Arran Distillery and for those of you who are new to the delights of Whisky and want to try something a little creamier, the Arran Gold Liqueur is one of my top sellers.

As with everything at Sugar & Spice I like to stock and promote “all things nice” whether it’s Whisky, chocolate, ice cream or fine confectionery. Throughout May we’ll be carrying out tastings of some of my favourite whiskies from each of the regions along with Gardiner’s of Scotland Whisky Fudges (the best there is) and some speciality chocolate bars I believe perfectly compliment Whisky. If you’re not a lover of the very peaty Ardbeg just wait till you try it with chocolate. Amazing combination!!!

So pop in, try something different and get ready to celebrate.

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Slainte!

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