What are the top Scotch Brands?

top scotch brands

Scotch Whisky – the world’s leading spirit drink! Over the last century it has become popular in just about every country in the world.

Its basic roots are probably not in Scotland , but in the middle east where Arab alchemists in the 10th Century discovered how to distil alcohol while making cosmetics and perfume by distilling flowers. As Muslims, they had no use for alcohol as a drink but the Moors brought the technique to Spain from whence it spread throughout Europe .

By the 12th Century people were distilling spirit from grape, grain, fruit or vegetables, whatever they had available locally.

At this time there was a lot of movement between Ireland and Scotland so it is likely that distilling soon spread over here.

Back then distilled spirit was used more as a medicine or tonic. This is why it became know as Aqua vitae or “Water of Life” (in Gaelic: Uisge Beatha).

Single malt whisky
Single malt whisky is a whisky which is distilled at a single distillery, and which is made completely from a single type of malted grain, traditionally barley, (although there are also single malt rye whiskies). Most single malt whiskies are distilled using a pot still.

Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland. In the English-speaking world it is often referred to as “Scotch”. In the UK, the term whisky is usually taken to mean Scotch unless otherwise specified.
To be called Scotch whisky the spirit must conform to the standards of the Scotch Whisky Order of 1990 (UK), which clarified the Scotch Whisky Act of 1988 and mandates that the spirit:

Must be distilled at a Scottish distillery from water and malted barley, to which only other whole grains may be added, have been processed at that distillery into a mash, converted to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems, and fermented only by the addition of yeast.

Must be distilled to an alcoholic strength of less than 94.8% by volume so that it retains the flavour of the raw materials used in its production,

Must be matured in Scotland in oak casks for no less than three years,
Must not contain any added substance other than water and caramel colouring, and
May not be bottled at less than 40% alcohol by volume.

Irish whiskey
Although similar to scotch in many ways, one way Irish Whiskey differs is that peat is almost never used in the malting process, so the smoky, earthy overtones of Scotch are absent. A notable exception to this is Connemara Peated Malt whiskey.
There are far fewer distilleries of Irish whiskey than there are distillers of Scotch. Economic difficulties in the last couple of centuries have led to great number of mergers and closures.

Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon is an American form of whiskey named for Bourbon County, Kentucky. By United States law, it consists of at least 51% corn — typically about 70% — with the remainder being wheat and/or rye, and malted barley. It is distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof, and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years. The two years maturation process is not a legal requirement for a whiskey to be called “bourbon,” but it is a legal requirement for “straight bourbon.” However, in practice, most bourbon whiskeys are aged for at least four years.

Bourbon must be put into the barrels at no more than 125 U.S. proof. After aging it is diluted with water and bottled. Bottling proof for whiskey must be at least 80 proof (40% abv) and most whiskey is sold at 80 proof. Other common proofs are 86, 90, 94, 100 and 107, and whiskeys of up to 142 proof have been sold. Some higher proof bottlings are “barrel proof.”

Bourbon can legally be made anywhere in the United States where it is legal to distill spirits. Legitimate production is not restricted to Kentucky, although currently all but a few brands are made there, and the drink is associated strongly with that commonwealth. Illinois once produced nearly as much bourbon whiskey as Kentucky, and bourbon continues to be made in Virginia.
Vatted malt whisky
A Vatted Malt will contain a number of malt whiskies that have been blended together, to create a consistent whisky with its own distinct, identifiable character. Such a malt can also consist entirely of malt whiskies of various ages from the same distillery. However, vatted malts will never contain any grain whisky.
Grain whisky
Grain whisky is any whisky made from at least some grains other than barley, such as wheat and maize (corn). Some grain whisky also contain malted barley. (Whisky made from only barley is called malt whisky. This can be confusing: both malt whisky and grain whisky are made from grain malt.) The term is especially used in reference to Scotch whisky.
Grain whisky is typically distilled in a continuous column still, also known as a patent or Coffey still, the latter after Aeneas Coffey, who refined the column still in 1831.
Due to the higher alcohol yield from a patent still, grain whisky is generally accepted to have a lighter and less complex flavour than malt whisky, which is produced in a pot still. It nonetheless plays a very important role in the production of Scotch whisky as it is used to create blended whiskies.
Blended whisky
A blended whiskey (or whisky) is the product of blending different types of whiskies. It is generally the product of mixing one or more single malt whiskies (made from 100 percent malted grain (such as barley or rye) together with other grain whiskies or neutral grain spirits. Scotland, Ireland, and Canada are the most common countries of origin for blends.

Most blended whiskies do not list an age. When a blended whisky does so, each individual malt and grain whisky must be at least as old as the age listed. One of the most widely known examples of blended whisky is the Johnnie Walker brand, but there are many others such as Jameson, Pigs Nose, Old St Andrews and Isle of Skye

A blended whisky is much less expensive to produce than the other types of whisky. Most cocktails and mixed drinks that call for whisky use blended whisky. This is primarily for cost reasons, and secondarily because the complex flavours of single malt whiskies would be overshadowed by the mixer(s). Scotch purists generally consider blended whisky to be an inferior drink to the single malt Scotch varieties. Others might argue that blending allows for the creation of top scotch brands or more desirable flavors, and many experts agree that top-quality blends can rival certain single-malts in overall flavor and drinking enjoyment.

Holidaying with your gifts and travel insurance

So, your other half has been lavishing you with luxury and beautiful gifts all year and now springs upon you the holiday of a lifetime to mauritius!  You are one lucky girl!

Of course two weeks on a beautiful get away gives you chance to show off all those expensive items that he has been buying you.

As you sit on top of your three suitcases to make sure they will shut, I suspect little thought has been given to making sure you don’t lose out financially, in the event your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged.


Now some people may have free travel insurance extensions of their credit cards, but check the small print as more often than not, this is only valid when you have paid for the holiday using that particular card.

Some of you who have high net worth home insurance, may have a travel insurance extension as part of the package.

For the rest of us mortals, we have to rely on the good old travel insurance policy.

Whilst it sounds simple enough, travel insurance is actually one of the most complicated insurance policies, you can buy. There are so many different sections in a policy and they cover all sorts of insurance areas, medical, death, loss, damage, liability, personal accident, theft, liable, it can be quite overwhelming.

Not to mention the fact that there are over 130 different policies to choose from. Suddenly we are starting to get a headache.

So where to start?

Well the best place to start is probably a comparison site, although you should prepare a list of what you need covered, because most comparison sites, show you the cheapest policies first and with all that luggage you need to take, the cheapest policy may not be the best.

Unfortunately most comparison sites don’t deal with every Insurer, in fact most only deal with 20 or 30 companies. There is however one company that has managed to review every travel insurance policy on the market and give them a five star rating.

Thatsinsurance.com are really a true comparison site. Whilst they don’t provide exact prices for individual circumstances, they have rated policies using a variety of scenarios, so you can be sure that the insurance you need is the right one for you.

All you need to do is go to their site and after deciding whether you need a single trip policy or an annual travel policy, check out the top ten rated Insurance policies and click the link to get your own quote. You will be glad you did, there is nothing like saving time by using a site like thatsinsurance.com

Tips for Buying a Black Maxi Dress

black maxi dress

A black maxi dress looks great on any woman. Black flatters most women and the fact that these dresses are full-length dress helps too. They can cover up a multitude of sins especially if you wear the right type of control underwear.

control underwear

Choosing the right cut for you

They come in a range of styles. You can choose to be modest and cover up completely, or show off your lovely legs by choosing one with a full length slit.

They come in all kinds of styles, including tank, wrap, sheath and column cuts. It really does not matter what shape your body is you will find a black maxi dress to suit you.

black silk dress

A good choice of materials

Maxi dresses are made out of a wide range of fabrics, including velvet, lace, silk and cotton. Because these dresses are designed for glamorous occasions, they are often made out of rich, flowing high quality fabrics. It is easy to find this style of dress in a fabric that suits the climate in which you are going to be wearing it.


Buying a dress for a special occasion

There are a few things to bear in mind when buying a dress for a special occasion. The first thing you should do is to start shopping around as early as you can.

Glance through magazines; take note of the dresses being worn by celebrities for parties and award dinners. If you see something you like make a mental note or better still cut out the picture or make a copy on your PC. When you go shopping keep an eye out and try on these kinds of dresses. If you browse online, use the bookmarking and wish list facilities that are provided on many clothing and retail websites.


If you already know, what you like and which kind of dress suits you look for a maxi dress with similar styling. The chances are if a normal length wrap dress looks good on you, a full-length wrap dress will too. If you like a plunging neckline choose a maxi dress with a similar neckline.

Buying a Black Maxi Dress Online

Many women cannot find what they want on the High St. Luckily, there is a good alternative, which is to buy on-line. There you get far more choice and it is far easier and quicker to shop around than it is on the High St.

If you do decide to buy your black maxi dress on-line, do so from a well-established website that provides you with a secure way to pay. The best sites sell dozens of maxi dresses as well as the accessories you need to complete your special outfit.

Look at the returns policy before buying to make sure that you can send the dress back if it is not a good fit. To improve your chances of getting the sizing right take the time to check what others who have bought the dress have to say about the fit. Websites provide sizing guidance, but as on the High Street the actual sizing of garments is all over the place, so using the reviews can help you to avoid buying a size 14 that turns out to fit more like a size 12.

Shopping for Boots? – How to Buy the Right Pair


If you are buying boots, it is important to buy the right pair. Recently the cost of footwear has risen and if you are buying boots, it is easy to say goodbye to a £100 or more. The last thing you need is to get your boots home only to realise they are not suitable or worse they kill your feet.
Follow our simple shopping tips and that will not happen to you.

Comfort comes first – Style second

Look for boots that feel comfortable once on and that suit your style. No matter how good they look on the shelf if you are not comfortable in them you will not wear them.
If you don’t wear them, you have just wasted your money. You need shoes or boots that suit your sense of style and that you can wear all day if you need to.

Try them on and walk around

To make sure that the shoes or boots are a good fit you should try them on in the store. Go shopping for them as late in the day as possible. Your feet will have swollen a bit during the day, so buying shoes or boots late in the day is a good way of ensuring that they will not hurt your feet.


Buying the right size online

If you are shopping online and have a pair of shoes or boots that fit, you well use that size when you order on-line. Check the web site’s measurements information to help you to find the correct size.

Also, read the reviews. Websites like Amazon ask reviewers to say whether clothes and footwear they have bought from the site fitted as expected. This information can help you to determine if that particular model of boot is a tight fit and order a size bigger.

womes boots

Buy versatile boots

Look for shoes or boots that complement your wardrobe and will match different clothes and outfits. Even the best boots will not be worn often if they only match one outfit. If in doubt, buy black, brown or grey boots that will go with most other colours and blend in with most of the items in your wardrobe.

Buy quality

Try to buy good quality shoes or boots, buying cheap footwear is a false economy. The money you save buying cheap footwear will only be spent on having them repaired.

Finding bargains

If you see a pair of boots that are nice buy out of your price range make a calendar note and go back to the shop a couple of weeks later. The chances are they will be available in a sale. In some shops, you can still get a discount if you ask and are willing to pay cash. Bookmark the boots online and periodically go back to check to see if the price has been reduced.

Consider buying a second pair

If you buy a pair of boots that, after a couple of weeks you like, buy a second pair. That way when the first pair is worn out, you will already have a good pair of new shoes ready to wear. It is not a bad idea to buy the second pair in a different colour. Make a note of the make and model number and where you brought them, so you can buy another pair in the future.

Men’s Fragrances


There are hundreds, if not thousands of men’s fragrances available and they are now popular across the globe. Until fairly recently the idea of a man wearing a fragrance was alien in many cultures, but that has changed and most men wear a fragrance at some point in their lives.

In fact, the vast majority of them wear one every day. Many men have a range of fragrances in their bathroom cupboard and wear different ones for different occasions. In most cases one for everyday use, and another for going out at night or to special occasions such as weddings and special dates.

Why Men’s Fragrances Make Such Good Presents

If your man regularly wears a specific fragrance, buying them it as a gift is an especially good idea. The fact that you remember what he wears is greatly appreciated. Plus, of course, most fragrances are not cheap to buy, so the fact that you have spent so much on him can make your man feel pretty special.


Buying a fragrance is also a relatively easy present buying exercise. It is not an obscure thing that you have to hunt around for you know exactly where to go to buy them. You can find most fragrances available in department stores, drug stores or on-line. The decision making process is also far quicker than it is if you decide to buy your man a gadget. There is no umming and erring about what exactly to buy.

The Best Place to Buy Men’s Fragrances

The internet is by far the best place to buy men’s fragrances. You will find even obscure and unusual fragrances for sale on-line and can buy them in all forms. So, whether you want your man’s fragrance as talc, after-shave or deodorant you will find it somewhere on-line. You also see a lot more fragrance gift sets for sale on-line.

However, there is a word of caution for those who decide to buy men’s fragrances on-line. Just as on the High Street, you can end up buying fake product it can happen on-line as well. Avoid this by only buying from well-established websites that sell a wide range of fragrances.
It makes sense for your first order to be for a single bottle. This gives you the chance to check the packaging and the quality of the product to make sure that it is not a fake. If you are happy with the service, your next order can be for more bottles.

Taking advantage of special offers

Most perfume and fragrance websites hold sales on a regular basis. To ensure that you do not miss any of them sign up for their mailing lists. That way when there is a sale up and coming you will receive an email to tell you about it.

Take advantage of vouchers and coupons

Even if you do, sign up for the mailing list do not leave your search for men’s fragrance bargains there. It is also a good idea to sign up to be notified of after shave and cologne deals on as many coupon and voucher sites as possible. You can do the same with the websites of chemists and department stores who also sell men’s fragrances.

By following these tips, you will find it easy to find the colognes your friends like the best and buy them at a low price. Your friends and family will be impressed that you have spent so much on them and will appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to buy a truly personal gift.

2015 Evening Dress Trends

2015 Evening Dresses

Every year, evening dress styles evolve change. Evening dresses in 2015 are much more flowing and less formal than they have been for several decades. This dovetails into the trend for hippy chic that you see on the High Street at the moment.

Tassels, frills and hippy chic

The hippy feel is also there in the way dresses and accessories are being finished. Fringes and tassels are there in some of the most recent catwalk evening dresses, but they are short and used sparingly.

A wide choice of styles


However as usual, there is a range of styles to choose from. Eveningwear, to some extent, always bucks normal fashion trends.

Fashion houses are acutely aware that formal dinners, award ceremonies and big parties are extremely important events. Most women only attend such events a few times in their life. This means that women need a range of flattering styles to choose from to ensure that they feel truly comfortable and look their best.




evening dress 2

A young woman looking for a prom dress may feel more comfortable in a short dress rather than a full-length dress. Whilst, a woman in her 70s is unlikely to want to wear a short dress with a plunging neckline, so even if this is the trend most evening dress designers ensure that their range still offers some choice.

However, in 2015, the majority of the evening dresses on offer are full-length, made of soft materials, nipped at the waist with a full or A line skirt.
There are some designers that are bucking the trend providing a pencil style skirt, but they are the exception rather than the norm. As the season progresses this may change because pencil skirts are definitely back this summer, but informal skirts made of denim rather than formal skirts for suits. It will be interesting to see if the pencil skirt does cross over into formal and eveningwear later this year.

Influences on Evening Dress Trends

Sheer Beaded One Shoulder Chiffon Caribbean Green Dress 2015

There are several factors that have fed into this move away from the straight, figure hugging, classic evening dresses. As normal, the style of evening dresses, to some extent, follows general fashion trends. Recently more flowing and feminine dresses have become very popular. Last year’s trend for full-length summer dresses made from soft, flowing materials has definitely fed into this year’s evening dress designs.

What celebrities wear to award ceremonies also influences evening dress trends. This year it looks like black is very much back and plunging necklines are in, but so are single strap dresses. These award ceremony trends will feed into mainstream evening dresses later this year, so styles will change again for the fall and winter.

Other Changes for 2015


As well as the style of dress, changing drastically this year the way women buy their eveningwear is also changing. More and more women are shopping online for their evening dresses. In 2015, online sales are will increase again. Women like the convenience of buying online, especially now that the best firms offer a proper tailoring service to their online customers.

Is Fine Jewellery the Perfect Gift?

Fine Jewellery

If you are looking for a gift that will impress jewellery is a great option and fine jewellery is even better. It is of an extremely high quality and all the more special because of that.

What Makes Fine Jewellery Fine?

The term fine jewellery is bandied around so much these days that the true meaning of the term has been lost a little. Fine jewellery is, as the name suggests, jewellery that is of a superior quality or fine. It is handmade using the best materials and is often either bespoke or made in limited numbers.

If you have someone special in your life fine jewellery makes the perfect gift to spoil him or her with and demonstrate how much you love them. Likewise, if you have a special birthday or occasion you want to mark with a gift, well made, good quality, unique jewellery makes the ideal gift.

Fine jewellery

Fine Jewellery Is an Investment

With the rise in the price of gold and other precious metals, you could also look at fine jewellery as an investment. The same is true of many precious stones, especially diamonds, which have also soared in value. Obviously, no one wants to sell a special gift, but if you find yourself in a financially tight spot, you can at least pawn jewellery.

The other great thing about good quality jewellery is that it stays in good condition for decades. If you want to you can leave your jewellery for the next generation. Some families even break their fine jewellery down into new pieces. For example, a bracelet can make a pair of earrings and some of the stones could be used in a brooch. If your stones or the metal is worn doing this is far more difficult to do successfully, so fine jewellery is a better investment.


Fine jewellery is always in demand, so if you should have to sell it at any stage you will always get a good price.

Places to Buy Fine Jewellery

There are several places to find and buy fine jewellery. If you live in a large city, the chances are there are several jewellers in your area who make and sell find jewellery.
Some of these jewellers will also have websites, allowing you to buy from them online. Naturally, if you are buying online you need to take the time to vet the firm and make sure that they are genuine.

Buy Bespoke Jewellery Online

It is also possible to buy bespoke jewellery from the web. The ordering process is a bit more complicated and may involve a phone call or video call to discuss the design. Rings and other pieces of bespoke jewellery may need to be adjusted after you have received them and given them to the person who is receiving the piece. Normally, adjustments can be made, but may have to be done in a specific jeweller’s shop to maintain any warranty on the bespoke piece. Most bespoke jewellers who offer their pieces via the internet have arrangements with fine jewellers across the world, so you do not normally have to travel far to get the adjustments made.

Taking Care of Fine Jewellery

The first thing to do is to get your jewellery valued and fully insured. The photos will help you to prove any insurance claim, but more importantly, will ensure that you can get a replica made if necessary. Your jewellery will last even longer if you have it cleaned regularly by a good jeweller.