Rosemary's Blog

Journeying with Jura

I almost got to Jura! How many of us whisky lovers can say that when we’ve made it to Islay and looked across the Sound to the Paps, the distinctive breast-like mountains that announce Jura’s presence in the Inner Hebrides? Of course, three might be a strange number of paps unless, like me, you are something of a Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy fan. If you are not, you’ll have no idea what I am talking about...

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From whisky to olive oil - the art of tasting

Judy Ridgway, co-author of The Olive Oil Diet and blogger at, has always been an inspiration to me. A food and drinks writer turned internationally respected olive oil expert, she is able to communicate the How of tasting and make it accessible to all, despite olive oil being quite a difficult subject. Judy is also very fond of whisky and you can listen to a podcast of us chatting together here. She can also be followed on Twitter @judyoliveoil. I am delighted that Judy has written this guest blog for me.

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Wine barrel finished whiskies - Whisky in the Vineyard

I know it is autum once pumpkins and squashes are abundant and dwindling soft fruits are replaced by apples and pears. My cooking changes and so does my taste in whisky. I start to look for drams that are a little more warming on the finish and rounded in flavour. However, living in Sussex which is fast becoming the new Champagne, I am also aware that October is a busy month in the vineyards around me as the fruit is picked, after traditional harvests are gathered in, and wine-making gets under way. There is a synergy between whisky and wine as many drams are finished in wine barrels for extra nuances in flavour, and some are aged in wine casks for the whole of their maturation. This year, to celebrate the UK's blossoming as a serious wine producing country, my Autumn Whisky Collection features whiskies finished in wine barrels - it's Whisky in the Vineyard.

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GlenDronach The Parliament 21yo Speyside Highland Single Malt

“OK Matthew, I am going to buy one bottle of whisky from you, what should it be?” A risky question to ask the manger of any shop but I had had such fun tasting and sharing whisky thoughts with Matthew of The Good Spirits Company in Glasgow that I wanted a bottle from the shelves of his recommendation to take with me. His choice was GlenDronach's 15yo The Revival, and so began my fascination with this leading modern Speyside distillery. You can read more about The Revival in this very early whisky blog.

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The Benromach organic single malt Highland (Speyside) Whisky

A Tweet, a message on Twitter, first alerted me to M&S having an interesting whisky selection and, as a new M&S food hall has been built on the route between my mother's nursing home and our home, I now seem to be popping in there quite a lot! Not only is the whisky selection worth a look (small but interesting) but their choice of beers is also first rate! And of course they have lots of food too!

It was M&S that actually introduced me to Benromach and to organic whisky. I was unaware of any organic drams although I had seen a Tweet from the US alluding to organic whiskey but had yet to discover any for myself. Then there it was, in a store on a retail park in Bognor Regis - which is just about as far away from a bucolic image of an organic farming life as you could imagine!

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My Winter Whisky Collection - 5 whiskies to complement your cooking and warm you up in January and February

My cooking has always been seasonal, with dishes dictated not only by what is in the fridge but what comes in the veg box, is ready at the community garden or is best in season from around the world. What would January be without Seville oranges, for marmalade and for other dishes too?

Winter is probably the season when most whisky is drunk, the natural time to appreciate its rich and warming characteristics. With pork and beef a welcome change from the Christmas turkey left-overs and root vegetables, dark green leafy veg such as kale and watercress, and citrus fruits all at their best, this is a time of year to be inspired in the kitchen. Pulse vegetables and generous seasonings of herbs and spices all make for satisfying and warming dishes, so let’s find some whiskies to go with them.

This is a brief introduction to my Winter Whisky Collection and there will be more detail about each one in the next few weeks.

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Flaming Heart from Compass Box

I hope that this isn’t going to happen but my bank balance would be better if I didn’t receive samples from Compass Box! I first tasted their whiskies when they were a very young company and I have been consistently delighted by their boutique blends ever since. They transport the drinker to an adventure of complexity and satisfaction that is seldom achieved from an affordable single malt.

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Scotch on the rocks - a tale for Hogmanay

Happy Hogmanay! Here's a whisky quiz for you. There are 52 whisky references - distilleries, drams and whisky words. Some are a slight stretching of Gaelic pronunciations, so please forgive me for that!  They’ll all be highlighted for you in the text for this tale on my website,, on New Year’s Day. Have a good one!

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