Blogiversary!!!!!!!!!!!

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Last week this Blog turned one!!! And in typical fashion I’ve only just got round to celebrating this momentous event. Started on a diabolical whim, I certainly would not have predicted that one year on I would still be writing for this fine publication. Let alone that some people would have actually bothered to read it. To all you wonderful people that have read commented and seemingly enjoyed my random musings, I truly cannot thank you enough! It has been an absolute joy to witness this half-baked idea rise to the lofty heights of a fluffy Victoria sponge. Admittedly in the last six months my posts have become rather sporadic but I solemnly swear that in the coming months I’ll pull up my socks and get back to blogging form.  In the meantime I hope you will join me in celebrating this anniversary dear reader and by spontaneously breaking into dance to this awesome tune from Kool and the Gang. Now that I’ve finished getting my groove on around my living room, allow me to present…

My Top 5 Moments of the Blogging Year

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I think it’s safe to say that epic feats of daring do have been few and far between this year. Nevertheless I think I made up for this in one fell swoop, by falling out of a plane in the most awkward manner imaginable. Against all odds I loved every second of this experience. Read on here!

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The Harry Potter studio tour quite simply set my imagination ablaze this year. From the moment I found myself standing in the great hall of Hogwarts I was off in a world of my own. I left pretending to ride an invisible broomstick, which says it all really. Read on here!

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I had a delightful moment of Zen in the Kyoto Garden this year. Located within Holland Park this Japanese garden may be tiny but it is absolutely stunning and I’m very pleased with some of the photographs I got on my trip. Read on here!

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I love those random moments in adventures that you could never have predicted beforehand. I was dumbfounded this year, when swimming in ice cold waters on Hampstead Heath I suddenly found myself being lapped by old age pensioners. However my absolute highlight of the year came when some lovely people ensured I had a blooming marvellous time playing crazy golf. Read on here!

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A surreal neon dreamscape where you can sip a coffee, I was truly blown away by the spectacle that is God’s Own Junkyard. Located in the back of beyond (Sorry Walthamstow), this is the very definition of a hidden gem. Read on here!

So that in a nutshell marks the end of my first year of Blogging. Here’s to many more years of London, Whisky, and Adventure.

Oh and to talking even more Bollocks!!!

Glenmorangie Bacalta

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We’ve had some absolutely resplendent and sweltering weather here in the UK of late. Outside is a stunning day that promises to be a cracker, it’s a pity then that I should be so ill-suited to hot weather. Incidentally I’m equally ill-suited to cold weather, alas many people mistake this condition of double ill-suitedness for a personal disposition to moan. Getting back to the matter in hand, it is hot today in London! This problem is compounded by the fact that where I live, is fitted with some serious insulation that has turned my room into a tinderbox that is slowly baking me alive. I don’t want to crack my head open to find out but I believe that with this incredible heat my brain has turned to maple syrup. It is most amusing then, that today of all day’s I should be reviewing a whisky called Bacalta which is Gaelic for baked. It’s always a bad idea to drink whisky on days like this, but in the interests of my readership I shall persevere, quit my jibber jabber, and get on with the review.

Bacalta is the latest offering from Glenmorangie’s limited edition range. Aged in Madeira and Bourbon casks this is a wonderfully sweet and occasionally lively drink of considerable quality. Unfortunately it’s a tad pricey for a non-age statement whisky (£80), despite this I do think it is well worth seeking out for a tipple. On to the tasting notes! The nose is powerful but not forceful, opting to arrive in a gentle fashion. I get vanilla, honey, plum wine, and a delicious hint of mango. To be honest it’s quite intoxicating all by itself. On hitting the taste buds one suddenly gets all the fruits, there are simply so many different fruit notes here!!!  If I were to list them all you’d think me quite mad for believing so much could dwell within one glass. Predominantly I get peeled orange, dried apricots and a little plum. There’s also a delightful crisp menthol mint that lingers through it all. The finish makes for a most excellent juxtaposition from all these sweet flavours. Out of nowhere dazzling pepper emerges, a dash of cinnamon, some clove, and a moreish tang of bitter oak. A sweet invigorating and varied dram, this is something rather spectacular.

Verdict: I think I’ll have another

Score: 88

Jameson Gold Reserve

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Astute eagle eyed detective that you are, you may well have noticed that I haven’t bloody well posted a new article in five weeks! I do sincerely apologize for this dear reader, but my arch nemesis Darth Real Life has once again been snapping at my heels with the essential and oh so boring side of existence. Not to be melodramatic or anything. Still the waters have calmed and I declare that once more I shall prove an outstanding citizen and upholder of all that is light hearted and whimsical. This glittering citadel of foolishness is once again open, hurrah! To this end, please find below a most splendiferous St Patricks whiskey special, which has arrived but a month late. One can only assume it took the scenic route.

The Irish make some of the finest, most incredibly unique, and wonderfully complex whiskeys in the world. It thus astounds me that people celebrating St Patricks day around the world, usually honour the Irish by dumping green dye in their beer. God forbid that they might try some culturally significant, knock your socks off whiskey, which will get them drunk twice as fast. Thus let me bang the drum for one of Ireland’s greatest achievements, honestly it’s up there with Joyce and Beckett. Irish whiskey has two unique defining features. Firstly it is triple distilled which makes it incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Secondly it is made in pot stills that mix malted and un-malted barley, this practice came about as a means to keep costs down when the English introduced a tax on malted barley in 1785. The result is a whiskey which can have a great deal of complexity at a young age. Generally speaking Irish whiskeys are lighter and less bombastic than their Scottish cousins, but at their best they offer an incredible array of delicate flavours which are positively mind blowing. As introductions to this style go, you can’t go wrong with Green Spot and Redbreast 12. However in this instance I’ve opted to review Jameson’s Gold Reserve as it’s more widely available and a personal favourite of mine. Enough with the history lesson, let’s get on with the tasting notes!!!

Jameson Gold Reserve has a pleasant gentle nose, with honey, vanilla, green apple, and a majestic menthol mint. It’s an odd thing to say but it smells smooth. Upon hitting the taste buds, this whiskey springs to life, first with vanilla and sweet honey, then a brief toffee banana that somehow seamlessly blends into green apple and bitter gooseberry. The finish has some more gooseberry, incredible virgin oak tannins, and a subtle black pepper. It’s crisp and dry, which makes the whole experience feel refreshing. Ultimately I think this blended whiskey is a master class in perfectly combining bitter and sweet notes. If you’ve never had an Irish whiskey before you’re in for a treat and personally I think the Gold Reserve once acquainted with is sure to become a lifelong friend, Sláinte.

Verdict: The Wild Rover

Score: 90/100

 

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

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!

Cocktails and Curiosities

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Having put pay to a dreadful bout of flu last week, I was pleased to return to adventuring form with an intriguing find that I had been intending to check out for some time. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, is as the name would suggest a most peculiar and excellent London oddity! It combines a majestic cocktail bar at the top, with a tiny museum of the strange and deranged at the bottom. The bar is wonderfully salubrious and despite its odd decor it is an incredibly easy place to unwind and chill out in. The staff here struck me as the most fantastic friendly folk that you could ever well meet in a drinking establishment. They were talkative, welcoming, and more than a tad silly. Upon being seated by the delightful fish tank I was informed that I was the master of the sea kingdom.

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The whisky based cocktail I had here proved a massive hit, but alas I do not recall its name, perhaps a sign of the quality of the evening. I do recall an epic spiel that said it gave a whisky twist to something, which was a play on something else, with the something else in question in the latter being an alternative take on some classic. All I know for sure is that it tasted stupendously good and turned out to be a slippery ninja assassin in disguise. For it gave no indication that its contents would intoxicate, and once past the sentry quickly precipitated a journey to cloud cuckoo land. I may have arrived at this fine establishment on my feet, but I can assure you dear reader that I left floating.

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After paying the tidy sum of five pounds I walked down a mysterious spiral staircase and entered a phantasmagorical den. The museum is a bizarre mix of, knick knacks, historical items, macabre taxidermy, and disturbing erotica. Many of the items have tiny hand written descriptions on them, some of which are most imaginative. It’s hard to sum up the experience, other than saying this is a genuine traditional curiosity museum. Unfortunately this is an odd thing for me to declare; given that it’s the only curiosity museum I’ve ever been to. I somehow doubt that watching all of Disney’s Gravity Falls has given me some special insight into what makes a great curiosity museum. No matter how much I’d like to think so. Nevertheless I’m going to stand by my declaration. This place somehow left me with the impression that this is exactly what a curiosity museum should be. It is a one off, something truly remarkable, and which I wish was a lot bigger. So long as you’re not easily scared or offended you should definitely check out The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities!!!

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