1968 whisky discovered on the shelf!!!!

Yes it is true while cleaning the bar shelves holding our whisky collection, Steve our landlord studied the label of the Bunnahabhain which was believed to be a 12 year old priced at £3.60 a shot. On closer examination the label declared “Family Silver 1968” .

Believing this to be a brand name Steve decided to ‘Google’ the said whisky and discovered that it cost in the region of £350 a bottle or £700.00 a bottle at retail value!!!!! Yep and we have been selling it at £3.60 a shot!!!

The bottle has been returned to the shelf and if you want a wee dram it will cost you £25 a shot from today. To those whisky lovers that have enjoyed a few shots at our expense then good luck to you!! Amazing what you find on the shelves of the bar!!

Need to clean more often Steve!!

Bunnahabhain (Scottish Gaelic: Bun na h-Abhainn) is a village on the northeast coast of the isle of Islay, which is in the Argyll and Bute area of Scotland, in the Inner Hebrides group of islands. It is also the name of a Scotch whisky distillery located there. The village was established in 1881 to house the distillery’s workers, and the distillery still employs the majority of the village’s workers.

The surrounding area is also steeped in local history. The ruined village of Margadale, nestled between Margadale Hill and Scarbh Bhreac, was once the busiest marketplace on Islay, with people coming from all over the island for cattle sales.

The name of the village comes from the Scottish Gaelic name Bun na h-Abhainn, meaning Foot of the River.
The distillery in the village produces The Bunnahabhain (Boon-a-havn) which is one of the milder Islay whiskies available and its taste varies greatly from other spirits to be found on the island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. The distillery was built in 1881 and sits below the northeast tip of the island just north of Port Askaig. It overlooks a narrow belt of water (the Sound of Islay) with a view of the neighbouring island of Jura (which also has a working distillery) and its famous hills, the “Paps of Jura”.

Gins hit the 90 mark!!!

Unbelievably the gin collection here at the Cholmondeley Arms has now gone through the 90 barrier!!!

In at number 86 is a gin brought in by a kind customer who was taking advantage of our now famous….”bring Gin to the Inn” promotion (see events page here on the website) where we pay for the unique gin you bring and reward you with £10 of Cholmondeley vouchers at the same time!!!

New Beefeater London Market Limited Edition Gin

Hot off the press comes the news of another unique Beefeater Limited Edition gin. This time Master Distiller Desmond Payne has followed in the footsteps of Beefeater founder James Burrough who in the nineteenth century sought out the best ingredients he could find in London’s celebrated food markets such as the original Covent Garden. So the new gin contains new ingredients found today on London’s market stalls such as pomegranate seeds, kaffir lime leaves and cardamom pods.

With over 40 years in the industry, Desmond Payne is the world’s most experienced gin distiller and at the heart of Beefeater’s innovation. As Desmond explains: “By using these exotic botanicals, I wanted to create a gin that captures the drinker’s imagination, reminding them of the aromas, tastes and charm of London’s bustling markets in the summertime.”

And what do these new botanicals bring? The use of pomegranate produces a berry-like note to introduce a complex and balanced progression of flavours on the palate. Beefeater’s traditional citrus notes of lemon and bitter orange are complimented by the softer lime flavour of Kaffir lime leaves whilst the sweet spice aromas of cardamom gently soften the gin on the palate.

At number 87 is Bluecoat American Dry Gin

Bluecoat American Dry Gin is distilled using a variety of organic juniper berries. The taste is spicy and earthy, with notes of citrus peel and other organic botanicals.

At number 88 is Imagin Dry Gin

Imagin is comprised of juniper and twelve further botanicals. On the palate, this gin has complex notes of herbs, spices and citrus, all balanced perfectly and means Sweden is represented on the gin ‘back bar’.

At number 89 is Mayfair Gin

Mayfair gin has a big hit of juniper, followed by a touch of spice and a residual sweetness. This is a well-balanced gin with a long finish.

And then finally the number 90 is the exceptionally special Lighthouse Gin from New Zealand

Lighthouse™ Gin is, first and foremost, a New Zealand gin.

Whilst the history of gin goes back to at least the mid-fifteenth century in Holland, its true antecedents are much earlier, founded in those first experiments in the ancient and mysterious art of distilling in the presence of herbs and spices.
The predominant flavour and aroma of a modern distilled dry gin will always come from juniper and coriander, but the great challenge for the distiller is to select and blend a variety of additional, exotic botanicals to impart a uniquely satisfying, balanced character to the gin.

Lighthouse Gin

For Lighthouse™ Gin Neil took pleasure in researching and experimenting with many such botanicals, and, among those finally selected, after several years of trial, are the dried leaves from the unique New Zealand botanicals kawa kawa, together with the fresh zest of New Zealand-grown navel oranges and Yen Ben lemons, the intense-flavoured descendant of the famous Lisbon lemon. These components lend herbal and citrus notes to the gin, distinguishing it from its English and American counterparts.

Lighthouse™ Gin is made by hand in the classic ‘distilled dry gin’ tradition, utilising nine botanicals in their natural state. The distillers create the gin in a 200-litre copper still, which Neil designed himself, and had specially built by local craftsmen at 2K Design in Masterton.

The final formula of Lighthouse™ Gin must remain a secret, but the distillers believe they have achieved a distinctive and complex gin that is smooth and fresh and combines herbal, citrus, and spicy characteristics, with a subtle delicacy. The double distillation process is costly and time-consuming but results in a softer, more refined, and more approachable spirit, with each batch having its own subtle signature.

To answer the question – does this gin reach new heights? Well, from all reports coming back from the experts and connoisseurs, it does. And in the great tradition of kiwi quality and reputation, it is a worthy newcomer.

Lighthouse™ Gin is hand crafted, hand bottled, hand labelled, and the heart cut of a small number of distillations is double distilled and combined into a batch.

The Cholmondeley Arms welcome more new gins to the fold………

The 82nd gin is called Sacred Gin, this is an aromatic and creamy gin with exceptional character. Each botanical is separately macerated and redistilled with English grain spirit at low temperatures, then combined according to a secret recipe, creating a lush and fresh London Dry Gin like no other.

Number 83 is Cold River Gin which is produced using alcohol made from Maine potatoes and a secret blend of seven traditional botanicals: juniper berries, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, orris root, angelica root and cardamom. The recipe dates back to the early days of British gin. Good taste is about balance and it is the balance of the botanicals that makes Cold River Gin one of the world’s most exquisite gins.

Number 84 is Monkey 47 a dry gin with a strong body, very aromatic, with notes of pine needles, juniper berries, herbs, citrus flavours and floral nuances.

Number 85 is the familiar name of Ketel 1 which has been associated with vodka for many a year the flavour characteristics are due to the distillation method, in which the second distillation is completed with juniper berries and herbs. This gin is clear and transparent, with aromas of juniper berries and malt, providing a fresh taste and shows the pedigree we expect from Ketel.

Tim brings gin to the Inn!!!

The 81st Gin to grace the shelves of the Cholmondeley Arms is being personally delivered by our owner Tim. While having a much needed (some say deserved) break in Donegal in the northwest of the Emerald Isle he picked up  a bottle of the legendary Cork Gin. Tim’s pictured outside his favourite pub (after the three he owns of course!!!) The Glen Bar or ‘Marys of the Glen’ as it is famously known, situated in the village of Glen……………  a true pub!!!

The last time Tim was pictured outside this pub was when he brought back a bottle of Powers Whiskey for the Bulls Head in Mobberley where there are over 70 whiskies on sale. It is becoming a bit of a tradition each year standing outside the Glen Bar with a bottle of something….”the locals think I’m mad” says Tim…they are probably right too!!! So hopefully by the weekend the Cork Gin will have arrived here at ‘the Chum’!!!

Cork Dry Gin is the number one selling gin in Ireland. Its combination of juniper berry, lemon, lime, coriander and Cork Dry Gin’s mystery ingredient give it its uniquely refreshing flavour profile explaining why 8 out of 10 gin drinks consumed in pubs is a Cork Dry Gin.

The distinctive square bottle is an icon of Irish design and can probably be found in almost every drinks-cabinet in Ireland. Cork Dry Gin was awarded top points (4 ½ stars out of 5) in a recent tasting conducted by ‘Wine Ireland’ magazine.

Cork Dry Gin was first distilled at the Watercourse Distillery in Cork City in 1793 and the closely guarded recipe notes were transcribed in 1798, by apprentice distiller, William Coldwell Cork was uniquely located for the distilling of gin with plump grains from the fields of East Cork and exotic botanicals arriving to Cork’s bustling international port.

The watercourse Distillery was located on the River Kiln which possessed minerals suited to the production of a gin. There’s nothing quite like a refreshing Cork Dry Gin and tonic as a refreshing aperitif. The question remains will the Gin arrive intact!!!??

Cholmondeley thanks James Chase.

Wednesday night was a special evening here at Cholmondeleyas James Chase, son of founder William Chase, came to speak about their famous Apple Gin distilled in Herefordshire at the Chase Distillery along with the now world famous Chase Vodka. Winner of the best Vodka at the San Francisco Drinks Competition a few years back.

James, who is the marketing director of ‘William Chase’ talked passionately about gin, its history and how it is core to the future distilling at Chase. Attendees at the talk all learnt a little more about gin and sampled a superb Chase Gin and Fever tree tonic garnished with apple and served with ice of course. A miniature version of this fantastic gin was also presented to each and every one who attended so they could savour more gin at home or indeed hang on to as a reminder of the evening.

On the night our Stru “Gin-troduced” the new ‘Gin-troduction’ tray (pictured) which is for two or three persons to share to introduce them to the varying tastes of different gins with different tonic and garnishes too. This will sell for £15.00 (so a ‘fiver’ each really) and gives you three gins to sample….. Berkeley Square Gin, Brockmans Gin and of course William Chase Gin. All are very different and I don’t want to reveal too much as we look forward to you trying them and telling us what you think.

Also launched on the night was Struan’s Cholmondeley Martini. Stirred not shaken, this Martini (Pictured below) is a classic using the Spanish ‘Gin Mare’ whose ‘botanicals’ include fresh basil, Olives, Thyme and Rosemary. It is finished with a smidgen of Noilly Prat then ice chilled and garnished with an olive and sprig of thyme!!

Thanks to Struan for making the Martini ‘live’ in front of the gin audience!!!

What a ‘pro’ he is!!

Also a massive thanks to James Chase, who I have to say is so enthusiastic about his Gin it made for a refreshing evening in more ways than one!!!

He did confess that he used to come to Cholmondeley as a boy and could not believe how much the pub had changed since our recent restoration work.

Thanks too to everyone who attended.

Gins number 79 and 80 arrive from Scotland

Old Raj gin has arrived at the ‘Chum’ all the way from bonny Scotland and the William Cadenhead distillery. The gins have just picked up a silver award at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Cadenhead’s Old Raj Gin is distinctive in that it contains a measure of saffron, the rare and costly spice derived from the crocus flower. In addition to a slightly spicy flavour, this also imparts a pale yellow colour to Old Raj. The addition of saffron is undertaken personally by the Company Chairman in order to ensure a consistency in flavour and colour each time Old Raj is bottled.

The difference between the colours is simply strength with the Blue sitting at 55% abv!! So to now hit the 80 gin mark after being open six months is a great effort from Stru and Steve our ‘Gin champions’ and our suppliers too for supporting our Cholmondeley Gin Palace.

Steve’s latest ‘Shipped in’ wine

A dose of La Clape, Chateau L’Hospitalet

It may sound like a smutty seaside postcard, but in fact La Clape is a wonderful, seaside wine region very close to Narbonne in the South of France. A ‘defined terroir’ within the Coteaux du Languedoc AOC, La Clape is dominated by a modest mountain overlooking the Mediterranean, a mere 10km or so away. It is classic garrigue territory: dusty, hot earth populated by wild thyme, rosemary and vines – and is one of the sunniest vine growing areas in France. The wines are among the most exciting in the Languedoc:
spicy, powerful and robust but blessed with a cooler, maritime-influenced climate and vine-loving limestone soils.

Nestled in a bowl in the hills is Chateau L’Hospitalet, the HQ of Gerard Bertrand. Gerard is something of a phenomenon in the south of France. A local boy made good, he first hit the headlines as a professional rugby player for Stade Francais and the French national team. Whilst still playing, he inherited the family’s wine business and has gradually built it up, acquiring vineyards and estates across the Languedoc. The jewel in the crown is L’Hospitalet, which he bought in 2002.

The estate is surrounded by 52ha of vines but in addition to a fully functioning winery it also comprises a hotel, restaurant, conference centre and public cellar door. Incredibly, it is the third most visited tourist attraction in the region. The top two are the old city in Carcasonne and an African themed safari park.

What is even more incredible is that despite the size of the business and the obvious commercial nous, the wines are outstanding. Not many wineries manage to combine quality and quantity, balancing the volume demands of the market with the desire to make brilliant wines that genuinely reflect their terroir. Bertrand and his team deserve a lot of praise for doing just that. Don’t take my word for it either, doing some background googling for this update, I discovered an old article on Jamie Goode’s website that made the same point, noting that “if France had more wine companies like this, they
wouldn’t have too much to fear from new world competition.”

Chateau L’Hospitalet Rouge La Clape 2010 – this wine is sourced from the vineyards surrounding the chateau. Herby, warming and spicy with dark black olive fruit rounded out by the oak. Smooth and well-balanced but full of character with some classic cool La Clape minerality.

Come and enjoy a bottle with Steve and the Team!!

Gin number 77 and number 78 arrive!!!!

After being open just 5 months the Chum has almost doubled its Gin collection on the back bar!!! Struan our Gin Champion at the Chum welcomed gin number 77 and number 78 today as you can see from the photo.

Oxley is a revolutionary English Gin with a fresh, bright, smooth classic gin taste. Oxley is made from an innovative cold distillation process. Cold distillation occurs at -5c capturing the natural flavours of the botanicals and preserving them in the final spirit.

Finsbury is distilled with juniper berries, exotic fruits, herbs and spices according to an elaborate method from the 18th century. The recipe is a well-kept secret and unchanged to this day. Finsbury is a particularly fine and mild representative of the flavour “London Dry Gin’, preferred both internationally and in Great Britain. Finsbury Gin has a rich aroma with a fine and elegant bouquet and is ideal for many popular long drinks and cocktails, including the great world classics; Gin and Tonic, Singapore Sling and Dry Martini. The 47 comes from its strength 47% abv!!

G&T anybody!!!??

Circa £3000 raised for charity as the Annual Cholmondeley Clay Pigeon shoot goes with a bang!!!

Well done to the famous five (you know who you are!!) for organising such a terrific event!!! This shoot which Steve our landlord is aiming to make an annual event was attended by 17 teams of five and 70 individuals. The event was sponsored by HJ Lea Oakes. Over £3000 was raised for Charity. Please see some photos of the day the winning Team were the Checkley Wanderers, Nick Beavis, Tim Vaughan and Martin Waring…..captained by Ivor Beavis. Well done and here’s to next year!!

The Quest for the Headmasters Ale is complete!!!

At last the brewer has been found for our Headmasters Ale!!

A couple of weeks ago The ‘Ale team’ went out in search of a brewer and attended the ‘2012 National Winter Ale Festival’ on the Oldham Road. This was, in itself, an eye opener for the team!! As you can see from the photos the line of pumps was something else!! The team decided on arrival that food might be the best approach prior to indulging in the exceptional choice of ales.

The choice of food was amusing to the Chum team you could choose from an Asian set menu or an English set menu for a buffet style service. Tim and Steve went English (as you might expect from true custodians of good quality British food in pubs) and then our choices were revealed….lasagne, Roast Tandoori Chicken or the veggie cheese Pie!!! We went for the lasagne and we knew it was English as it didn’t have any pasta in it!!! Anyway with Chips and peas it filled the gap prior to the tasting!!!

200 beers were on show including foreign beers and ciders and it was good to see Redwillow and other Northwestern ‘micros’ at the festival. For me the beers I enjoyed most came from Liverpool Organic Beers and Ilkley Brewery and the German draught pilsners hit the mark before we returned for a second lasagne!!! Did we find a brewer though?

Now back at the Chum the bar was set up with three ‘ Headmaster Ale’ badges obviously taking over three of our ‘famous five’ pumps and the brewers put their beers in to our cellar. Their ‘brief’ was to supply a classic malty traditional bitter with an ABV of 4.5%. Visitors to the Chum last weekend tried and tested the offering and we came out with a winner in 24 hours.

The tasting was ‘blind’ completely, no descriptions, no mention of breweries, simply taste the ales and decide the best!!! Congratulations to local brewery Weetwood who won by seven votes pushing Salopian in to second place. The launch of The Headmasters Ale will take place next week. Come in and try a pint.

Finally a massive thanks to the ‘Ale Team’ for arranging such a great trip. We enjoyed it thoroughly!!! Also thank you to Struan for arranging the ‘taste off’ and all the ale fans at the Chum for voting!!!

Click on the first image below to view the gallery