Poit Dhubh 12

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The common reaction of most people on seeing a bottle of this stuff for the first time is a look of bewildered bemusement, as they try to work out how the hell you’re meant to pronounce Poit Dhubh. I have it on good authority (the back of the bottle) that it’s pronounced Potch Ghoo and that it’s Gaelic for illicit still. Though I must confess that I’m still a little baffled as to how one gets from reading Poit Dhubh to saying Potch Ghoo, but I digress. Four years ago I received my first bottle of Potch Ghoo for Christmas, I had never heard of this blended whisky from the Isle of Skye before, and hence was a little dubious as to the quality of the contents of the bottle. As so often in life, I need not have worried, as the contents proved positively mind blowing. A fantastic whisky most people had never heard of, it soon became a frequent topic of conversation. More recently I was in a newsagent and to my considerable surprise I discovered perched on their top shelf a single bottle of this uncommon whisky. I wasted no time at all and immediately bought the bottle, eager to discover whether my younger self had a bloody clue in what he was talking about!!!

Anyhoo enough with the backstory, let’s get on to the tasting notes of this magnificent dram! The nose has some honey, a hint of sea salt, plenty of sherry, and a pleasant smokiness that has an uncanny resemblance to the smell of the vanilla tobacco that a friend uses. The drink itself is full of twists and turns. Initially one is presented with incredibly sweet honey, next a toffee note, followed by salted caramel, some sherry, a zingy bitter lemon then emerges, before a delightful peat draws proceedings to a close. The finish is fairly long; it’s peppery, with plenty of peat, some oak, and a faint reminder of sherry. In this manner, Poit Dhubh delivers a wondrous drinking experience. A fantastic quality whisky, of considerable complexity, at a decent price, I strongly recommend you give it a try.

Verdict: A nimble acrobatic display of varied flavours!

Score 88/100

The Best Pizza in London?

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L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is arguably the most famous pizza restaurant in the world. They have been making pizzas in Naples, Italy, for over a century where they’ve built up quite a cult following. This transitioned to worldwide renown when the book and then the film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, passionately extoled the virtues of their pizzas. On the third of February, they opened a branch in London. I knew none of this until recently, when I walked past a tiny pizzeria on my way to meet a friend, it had a ginormous queue worthy of Moses coming out its door. A sucker for following the herd, I just knew I’d have to find out what all the fuss was about. Thus having a day to myself, this Tuesday, I turned up fifteen minutes before opening time and was relieved to find myself joining a smallish queue, which looked likely to see me through the door for the first sitting.

The queuing experience was definitely part of the fun! A wry delivery boy walked past us all and quietly noted aloud, ‘I see the novelty hasn’t worn off yet’. Next a man walked by, who suddenly couldn’t take it anymore, he walked back turned to face the queue and loudly exclaimed, ‘It’s just pizza, you know!’ He repeated this several times but in typical London fashion everyone suddenly struck a pose that instantly conveys that their mind is wholly vacant and suggests you should kindly refrain from attempting a conversation. In any case after ten minutes of waiting I was through the door and ready for some deliciousness. Ordering was super easy, as the menu only has two items!!! A Margherita  and a Marinara, both reasonably priced. I had the former and in no time at all was experiencing something rather spectacular. The base is wonderful with the teeniest hint of crispness around its soft doughy centre. The sauce is intensely flavoursome and delivers an explosive burst of tomato goodness. Lastly the cheese for me was the best bit, mozzarella of the highest calibre that was a pure delight. I’ve never had cheese on a pizza in London that was this good before. A simple formula and an uncomplicated taste, the Margherita  here is truly perfect in its execution. I can honestly say that this is the best pizza I’ve ever had.

Yet, you might be surprised to learn that I’m reluctant to proclaim that you instantly come and visit. Fantastic food at a reasonable price, what’s not to like? For a start the queue, after I arrived it took a lot longer to get in, closer to twenty five minutes and I imagine on a weekend this would be even worse. Next while the pizza is the most amazing I’ve ever had, the step up in quality while significant is not a mind blowing spiritual odyssey, in the words of a wise man who walked by, ‘it’s just pizza’. Finally, I can imagine some people will find the limited menu a huge disappointment.  In my case this wasn’t an issue as Margheritas are my favourite. Despite these caveats, please don’t be put off if it sounds like your sort of place. I must say that I loved this restaurant and will definitely be going back again. Here’s hoping the hype dies down a little.

Liebster Award

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A good while ago* I was nominated by Lottie for the Liebster award, which is for up and coming bloggers. So thank you Lottie for this awesome accolade. Be sure to check out Lottie’s blog here , it is truly most excellent with a focus on photography, happiness, and beautiful moments. I cannot recommend it highly enough!!!

(*I do apologise for how long it has taken me to do this)

The Rules/ Guidelines:

  1. Write a blog post about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  3. Answer the questions the person who nominated you asked you in his/her post.
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers who’s blogs you enjoy reading and come up with a set of your own questions to ask them! Make sure to let them know on social media that you have nominated them!
  5. Enjoy discovering great new blogs!!

 

My Answers to Lottie’s questions

What have you most valuably learnt from writing your blog?

I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned, is just how uplifting it can be to see or do something new each week. I know that many of the things I cover on my blog are silly fripperies. Yet I’ve found there’s a simple joy that creeps in, when one makes a little space in one’s life, for such marvellous flights of the imagination.

When do you feel most happy and content?      

Give me a glass of whisky a mellow setting and fine company, and I’m as content as anyone could be. I simply love listening to friends tell good old fashioned ripping yarns into the early hours, and if they ever fancy taking a break I’m more than happy to talk some twaddle of my own.

Who or what inspires you the most?

I always find these ‘most’ questions the trickiest. So many people and things have proven an inspiration in my life. Yet for me Gandhi is the one who always tops the list. His message of nonviolent protest changed the world and I think it has proven a guiding light for positive change.

 

If you could click your fingers and be ANYWHERE in the world right this second, where would it be and why?

My immediate reaction to this would be to click my fingers and head to Niagara Falls to take in an awe inspiring spectacle of nature. It’s a gloomy day today and I always find a spot of nature uplifting. Then again, I can’t help but notice that this wish gives no indication of an easy click of the fingers to get back home! I can’t say I fancy getting stranded in a foreign land this evening. So perhaps, I’m best off staying in the gloom of London Town; it really is quite magical in its own sombre way.

What one thing would you most like to do or achieve in 2017

My best friend’s getting married to an absolutely delightful lady this year and I’m the best man. I’m super nervous and I just hope that I manage to pull off a stonkingly good toast that warms the hearts of everyone there on the day and properly extols the virtues of this wondrous couple.

 

What is your favorite ever ever ever pudding/dessert?

I’ve found this last question the trickiest of them all, how could I possibly pick just one pudding? They’re all so incredibly delicious. For the record I’m not counting black pudding, which is possibly the greatest piece of false of advertising in all of history. Evil blood sausages aside, the rest of the pudding family are all blooming brilliant. The idea of praising one at the expense of the rest is hard to get my head round. It’s like having a favourite child it’s just not the done thing. However if you put a gun to my head, I think I’d settle on pineapple upside down cake as my favourite. The core reason for this is pure nostalgia, as it’s the cake I had most often as a little kid.

 

My Nominees

https://thehumblefabulist.com/

https://cinespiria.com/

https://slickbadgercreations.com/

https://barleymania.wordpress.com/

https://threesixfive.art.blog/

https://londonstoneandmetal.wordpress.com/

(Please do check out all these blogs as they’re brilliant)

My Questions

How did you get started blogging?

Recommend a curiously unusual book or film?

What is your favourite pudding ever, ever, ever?

What adventurous activity (if any) would you most like to do?

What makes you laugh in life?

What is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

(As always don’t feel obliged to take part, it’s only meant to be a bit of fun.)

I do hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I should be back Friday with another London Adventure!

 

 

 

 

The Marvel that is God’s Own Junkyard!!!

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I’m sitting in a café enjoying a rather splendid hot chocolate. All around me is a delirious, dizzying, neon dreamscape. David Bowie songs play out in the background, while a bizarre spectacle of sights slowly make themselves known. There’s so much going on here that my mind can’t take it all in at once. Instead my attention picks out broad themes one at a time, my environment shifting like a kaleidoscope as, religion, sex, and advertisements, all come in and out of focus. Hope, hedonism, and the promise of convenience all fight for my attention. Meanwhile macabre notes lurk, Jesus is packing heat, a shark is devouring a teddy bear, and behind me is a garden shed with a car on top of it running over a goblin. I’m in God’s Own Junkyard and it’s bloody marvellous.

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Located in inconspicuous surroundings, God’s Own Junkyard is a one of a kind with quite a history behind it. The oldest neon sign makers in London, three generations of the Bracey family have worked in the business of neon signs. From the lusty streets of 1970s Soho to the film sets of Hollywood this place has done signs for everyone.  For instance, Professor Green, Kate Moss, The Dark Knight, and Blade Runner, to name but a few. What’s more I hear that they will quite happily do one for your living room without costing you an arm and a leg. I must say that I’m quite tempted to get one.

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It’s almost time for me to head back to the real world. I take a few moments to really take in the glitz and glamour that I’ve suddenly found myself in. Sometimes I wish there was a lot more of such unrestrained eccentric flamboyance. Then again, that might amount to a dystopian nightmare with a federal bureau of sparkle. That’s what I love most about these incredible signs, they have a dual personality. They’re captivating objects of incandescent positivity. Yet as I stare spellbound at them, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m a moth unable to detect a malignant power that spells my doom. The result of this combination gives God’s Own Junkyard a truly otherworldly feel. As shops with twinkly lights go, this one is absolutely mind blowing.

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Amazingly I had never ever heard of this place until I started blogging. Please check out the review that inspired this trip here.

Penderyn Celt

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A good friend from Edinburgh recently had a mild heart seizure when I informed him that the fine single malt he was enjoying was not of the Scottish persuasion. This paled in comparison to the confounded flabbergasted look that followed the news that it was in fact Welsh in origin. Having already suggested that this was a damn fine dram, there was no escaping the fact that he had just betrayed his Scottish ancestry. Thankfully a few more sips of this fine amber jewelled nectar soon put pay to any patriotic pretence as to what makes a good whisky. In no time at all he was sampling as many whiskies of the world as he could cram into one night. My personal bar was lucky to survive the encounter, mostly intact. My friend assured me that this was a small price to pay for expanding his horizons.

Established in 2004 Penderyn is a fiery young upstart in the world of whisky, which has taken a hefty haul of awards and accolades since coming on the scene. Despite this, it was only recently that I tried this fine dram when some friends gave me a bottle for Christmas, a most excellent present indeed. Penderyn is a very young whisky, I would imagine no more than six year old. Nevertheless it is fairly complex in flavour. It comes in a variety of bottlings, and from what I hear all are very good. The one I tried, the Celt, is lightly peated.  The nose gives just a hint of smoke, some zesty orange, pear drops, cranberry, vanilla, and a medicinal smell reminiscent of TCP. The drink itself, is incredibly smooth, with a lot of honey, orange citrus, some vanilla, and a superb mild smoke note that majestically reveals itself mid-sip. The finish is a long one, it’s peppery with some fennel and orange peel, plus a good amount of smoke.  I think this whisky really is quite special. It’s uniquely sweet, in that it’s heavy on the honey but has little to no brown sugar. I would thus urge you to support this daring scheme whose origins lie in a half-baked idea around a pub table. I really love this stuff, a perfect after dinner enlivener.

Verdict: It’s Sweet Whisky Mead

Score: 84/100

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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Hello Dear Reader,

I am absolutely ecstatic to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by Pradita Kapahi, I’ve always wanted to do one of these things as they’ve always looked like such fun, thus I cannot thank Pradita enough for this honour. Pradita in addition to being absolutely wonderful writes a brilliant blog the Pradita chronicles  which is a must for anyone with a passion for words, stories, and reading. I really can’t recommend it highly enough so please do check it out.

On with the rules…

*    Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

*    Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

*    Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

*    List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

 

How Long have you been blogging, and what made you get started in the first place?

I’m a young fellow relatively new to the Blogosphere having only been around a mere six months. In my imagination the origin of my Blog is shrouded in mystery. In reality however, it is the result of mind numbing boredom. By the end of 2015 I finally had several parts of being an adult down to a tee. Fast forward to the middle of 2016 and the results of this materialised, there was a distinct lack of the fun and silly in my life. My blog then was an attempt to make space for a little silly childish fun. So far it has worked a treat with all sensible parts of life still running smoothly but now with the addition of occasional bursts of pure whimsy.

What is your blog about?

The specifics of my silly escapades are all to be found in my Blog’s title. Firstly there is a predominant focus of finding the most interesting and somewhat less talked about gems in London.  Past examples include sensory deprivation, a perplexing curiosity museum, and most recently an insanely awesome cake shop. Secondly I review a fine bottle of whisky each month having concluded that this is essential to surviving the more foolhardy side of my adventures. Speaking of proper adventures, the Blogs last remit is that I have occasional big proper WOW adventures, such as sky diving, thus far they have yet to materialise but I am ever hopeful that they will before the year is out!

What do you hope to achieve through your blog?

Many, many, years of adventure and a fair few people reading about it to boot!

Who’s that one person you’d most like to invite over for a lunch/dinner date?

I really haven’t a clue on this one, sadly all that comes to mind is a host of fictional characters. (Agent Peggy Carter topping the list.) I suspect I need to engage more with reality though it’s frightfully difficult these days.

Who would you most like to interview on your blog?

Now this one is easy, though highly unlikely to ever occur. For quite some time now I’ve really wanted to do an article on the importance of talking bollocks. I simply love meandering conversations that go everywhere without getting anywhere and which involve spectacular leaps of the imagination. To my mind the improvisational comedian Ross Noble is the undisputed champion of such deranged flights of fancy. His mind is like an acme firework factory on steroids. I don’t know how he thinks such intriguing oddities but I’d love to interview him for his top tips on talking complete and utter bollocks.

What’s your ultimate goal in life?

Is it me, or are we suddenly plummeting into the heady depths of the philosophical? In terms of ultimate life goals, for me there is one that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Namely that in life one should ultimately be able to say that one has sincerely tried to make a positive difference in this world. It doesn’t have to be huge, nevertheless it should be tangible, and obviously I give allowances in cases of sweet Fortuna laying waste to one’s efforts.  I do occasionally worry that this amounts to a make do and mend ethics, which can in some cases encourage apathy in the face of life’s big challenges. Nevertheless I’d maintain that the ultimate goal of simply doing ones best to be kind and make a positive change is all one can aim for, without introducing delusions of grandeur that is. To quote the late great Sir Terry Pratchett, ‘You have left the world much better than you found it, and if you ask me, said Death, nobody could do any better than that’.

Name your favourite blogging moment/memory?

The best moments I’ve had writing my blog are those unexpected occurrences that really make one feel like an adventure writer, mad unexpected events that one simply can’t force but can only hope for. To date my favourite was when I went for an ice cold swim at Hampstead Heath’s open air pool. To my horror I found myself being lapped by old age pensioners. Then some incredibly buff gents turned up and I braced myself for complete humiliation. Only these herculean specimens couldn’t stand the ice and left after a mere thirty seconds, though they high fived and congratulated themselves for a full two minutes before actually making their exit. The next thing I knew, I was mentally lauding it over the young demi gods, while secretly wishing I had the stamina of a sixty year old!

 Name your worst blogging moment/memory?

My worse blogging memory happened very early on. I had booked the Holi festival of colours at Wembley and was most excited. I got there and a rocking band was playing and before I knew it everyone around me was throwing coloured powders into the air in a beautiful act of joy and happiness. Five minutes later I suddenly realized I was having an allergic reaction to whatever was in the powders. I had to fight my way out of the crowd, clean myself off to the best of my ability and head home after only twenty odd minutes there. I then spent next few days feeling god awful. In the end I wrote my first whisky review instead, as I couldn’t really say anything about the event.

 Who or what inspires you?

So many people have inspired me in life, but for me top of the list is Gandhi. His autobiography is beautifully open and honest; a must read if ever there was one.

What message would you give to new Bloggers?

That it’s worth the effort. I’d then go on to give them tons more advice only to then conclude that they shouldn’t take any of my advice as I haven’t got a damn clue what I’m talking about.

Give a quote that inspires you every time.

My all-time favourite quote is on the ultra-cheesy side of life. For me it gets straight to the point and never fails to lift my spirits.

‘Be Most Excellent and… Party on Dude’

Now on to my Nominations

Laura McDaniel

A4Alice

An Idea A Day

Rediskot

AmateurDrammer

TheShowersofBlessing

TheRedPhoneBoxTravels

BreakingNewGroundinZone5

SavvyGeekMom

ColoradoTravelingDucks

DreamyMichaela

And Ze questions

How Long have you been blogging, and what made you get started in the first place?

Are there any Blogging lessons you wish you knew before you started?

What is your favourite Blog post?

What experience is at the top of your Bucket list?

If you could interview anyone for your blog who would it be?

Coffee or Tea?

Recommend an unusual book or film?

Think of a really silly question that I could ask?

Answer your answer to the previous question?

What is the most beautiful place that you’ve ever been too?

What inspires you in life?

 

Don’t feel any pressure to participate, but if you can I’d be delighted.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed reading this slightly unusual post.

All the Best

LondonWhiskyAdventure!

Pure Imagination: Choccywoccydoodah!!!!!

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Tucked away on a side street near Oxford Circus is one of London’s best hidden gems, the gloriously named Choccywoccydoodah is a mecca for those with a sweet tooth. Primarily a cake shop, it has some truly extraordinary creations in the window. How anyone can spend a fortune on a bog standard wedding cake, when they could have a Goth Rock Opera in the medium of sponge, I’ll never fathom. Fortunately in addition to the shop there is also a splendid café above, allowing us common folk to briefly sample something spectacular before returning to our bleak existence. I first heard about this place from an acquaintance at a party, who informed me that they ‘elevated chocolate to an art form’. In an instant I knew I had to give this place a whirl. Wasting no time, the very next day I woke up early, hopped on the tube, and hurtled towards sweet, sweet, oblivion.

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I must insert an interlude at this point in my adventure dear reader and inform you of something most important. As you are aware I’m a great lover of hard liquor and if need’s be I can drink it by the bucket load. It will no doubt come as a surprise to you then, when I say that if I consume the merest soupcon of sugar, it precipitates within me the human equivalent of a thermonuclear reaction. In the world of cake and confectionery, I’m a lightweight. Suffice it to say when I came into contact with the slab of awesome pictured above, I became ecstatically silly. In fact as I left, I could be heard trumpeting at the top of my lungs ‘Cake for the Cake God’. I swear this is no exaggeration, to think I only ate half!

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Now that you are aware of my weakness for sugar, which often exaggerates my already fantastical perspective of life, I shall return to my review. I LOVED this place!!! It was magical, whimsical, deliciousness, wrapped up in scrumdiddlyumptious goodness. The décor is warm and welcoming, the staff friendly, and the cakes, the cakes…  Oh My. That’s my review, seriously that two word sentence. I’ll say it again if you like. Oh My. It isn’t really, but part of me wished I had the guts just to put that. It says everything I want to say. In that short sentence, there’s a ton of silliness, a note of exuberance, and dare I say it an undertone that suggests that for many of us chocolate cake is a deeply erotic experience.

Oh My!