gluten free

Friday Favourites - Summer Alcohol

Are you ready to try a new summer tipple? Then read on as at The Amazing Blog we’d like to give you a global tour of some very special alcohol brands stretching all the way from Japan to Switzerland, Iceland and then returning back to the UK. We guarantee it’ll liven up the tastebuds and add something extra to your regular sun-downer drinking. It’s always fun to experiment with new and different alcohols and today we’re happy to move on from our ubiquitous G & T.  While gin in known as the archetypal British go-to drink; whisky and vodka keep a steady visibility and are currently climbing in popularity. We hope these featured whiskies and vodkas will encourage you to explore new textures, experiences and flavours.

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So, let our journey begin. First stop is Japan, specifically in the temples of Nara, which is considered to be ancient land and one of the epicentres of spiritual belief, with temples that date back to the 8th century, and was once the capital of the country. Omiwa Shrine lies at the bottom of the Mount Miwa in Nara and is the centre of the Japanese alcohol producers, giving life to this Kamiki Whisky.  This whisky is one of the alcohols often served as a blessing at the Shinto temples. Kamiki Whisky is a remembrance of Japanese culture and tradition as well as nature and artisanship, and its name derives from the mount; ‘Kami’ meaning ‘God’ and ‘Iki’ meaning ‘Breath’.

Kamiki Whisky combines the west and eastern cultures. Using the purest spring water from Japan and the Yoshino Sugi – aka Japanese cedar – the whisky’s aroma and smooth texture that introduces us to mindfulness, giving peace to both mind and body. Kamiki is the world’s first whisky to finish its maturation with Japanese cedar cask. Kamiki whisky is also blended with the finest malt whiskies from around the globe, making it a unique and flavourful drink. Kamiki is mainly composed by heather honey, sweet caramel, Japanese plum, oak, peat and toffee with a touch of sandalwood and green tea. All these ingredients are carefully selected and blended incorporating the perfect percentage to achieve the finest flavour. This whisky is non chill-filtered at 48% volume in order to maintain balance and maximum taste. It also ensures that the oils do not become viscous at colder ambient temperatures or become cloudy in the bottle. You can purchase the 50cl of Kamiki Whisky at the Masters of Malt for £59.99.

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Next stop is Switzerland for a taste of the three Gold Winner of the Wizards of World Whisky Awards, for their Classic Langatun Whisky. Originating from a family owned brewery in 1860 created by Jakob Baumberger, which progressed into a distillery in 1907 by son Hans Baumberger the 1st. Handed down through the next generation and in 2007 they continued their grandfathers vision creating this hand-crafted Swiss Whisky "Langatun“ single malt. So, what is so special about Langatun? Let’s talk about its timing and barrel composition: Malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation, cut, maturation and bottling. The fermentation is much longer compared to other whiskies and during the first distillation, the alcohol is given a cut at 26% and in the second distillation that it is upped to over 80% where it really packs a punch. The whole production process is carefully monitored to ensure optimum results.

We tried the Langatun Old Bear Cask Proof Smoky Whisky which is from the range of their five Classic whiskies . This single malt is matured in oak barrels using Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine casks and bottled at cask strength. It a peated malt that is laborious and painstaking made by a double distillation process with roasted malted barley added, hence the epithet ‘smoky’. The peating process goes through a smoking process similar to that for meat or fish. The distillation date on the bottle is October 2012, the bottling is March 2017 and it even has a lot number on the bottle! Master whisky drinkers say that it has a smoky fresh nose with a hint of red fruits and orange while the flavour is said to be of juicy grapes, toffee and wood smoke, leaving a long dark chocolaty finish. The distillery is open to the public for in-house events, such as brunch, a tour or whisky and dinner gatherings.

We have had a taste (of course, who could resist!) and found it remarkable toasty and smooth with a deliciously rich aromatic flavour. This is a perfect for rounding off the evening as a night cap. Get your Langatun Old Bear Cask Proof Smoky Whisky 50cl (62.4%) at the Gauntleys of Nottingham  for £64.78 or at Master of Malt, Nickolls and Perks, Shop4Whisky or The Whisky Exchange.

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Next, we travel all the way to Iceland where we meet the Icelandic Mountain Spirit. Based in Reykjavik in 2016, the founders created a range of four alcoholic formulations; Eagle Spirit, made with Gin; Mountain Spirit, based on Vodka; Dragon Spirit, made for shots; and Taurus Spirit, made with Rum. FUN FACT ALERT! The Mountain Spirit might be familiar to you if you’re a Game of Thrones fan, if not let us explain: ‘The Mountain’ is Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, (actor in Game of Thrones) he is also The World’s Strongest Man and one of the founders of this Icelandic Mountain Spirit.

What makes this vodka stand out (besides the Game of Thrones fact) is that is it made with Icelandic water, known as the purest water in the world. This vodka, gluten-free and is distilled seven times which makes it incredibly smooth, soft, and quaffable! They recommend drinking it on its own but for those who are not so keen on shots, combining it with a simple tonic seemed the way to go for us. Each Mountain Vodka bottle is printed with ‘The Mountain’ on the reverse of the bottle, making it an ideal gift for all those GoT fans. It is 40% ABV and more importantly, was a Gold Medal Award Winner at Tastings.com; proving its quality, sourcing of ingredients and time spent perfecting this vodka. Based on the Tastings jury review: “…Creamy, with confected aromas and flavours of spumoni, peach jam, and pistachio paste and a lychee and mint cream finish” this clearly makes it a winner. We love the heritage (as G of T fans) and because of its smooth and creamy qualities we also enjoyed it in a chilled Kamikaze cocktail: 1 part vodka, 1 part triple sec, 1 part fresh lime juice; which is a bit of twist on the popular Margarita.

To get your very own star-studded vodka, go to Icelandic Mountain Spirits website here for £25 including delivery (any mainland UK address). Although the spirits are distilled in Iceland, they are shipped directly to Northumberland for distribution.

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Last stop, we’re coming home. UK based vodka RK Vodka is considered to be an ultra-premium brand and is only available in selected stores. Featured in GQ and Tatler, RK Vodka aims to combine old with new, past with future, traditional with modern. RK Vodka combines the high-quality, authentic, hereditary vodka with forward-thinking and modern techniques.

RK Vodka is different, it is bold. Distilled only once and being non-filtered, the drink is full of character. Making it enjoyable on its own as well as mixed (we suggest a zesty mixer). RK Vodka contains English sugar beet which adds a sweetness, replicating the flavour of vanilla. Going back to the production process, traditionally it is suggested that multiple filtering makes for a higher quality and smoother vodka. However, RK Vodka defies that. The founders say that the more you filter it; the more the natural flavours and power of the drink will disappear. This is why RK Vodka is not filtered to preserve its characteristics and minerals, rather than just water and alcohol. This vodka is only distilled once which all takes place in a copper pot to reduce the tannin (what makes vodka poor and rough) and also gives it the smooth finish, whilst being both gluten and sulphate free. Apart from its stylish and elegant black and white bottle, these alternative production methods are what make RK Vodka stand out. They have managed to create a high-quality and a dedicated drink for a modern and cosmopolitan market. We added only lemon zest to the very chilled RK Vodka and loved it! Get your RK Vodka here for £38.00 (70cl, 40%).

CLĒ Cosmetics - Melting Lip Powder

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With the anticipation of summer, we’re feeling a little bit more colourful at The Amazing Blog.  We’ve been getting ready searching out our lighter and brighter clothing to complement our range of statement lip tints and blushes. That’s when we were recommended CLĒ Cosmetic’s Melting Lip Powder which is versatile enough to be used on lips and cheeks, so we had to include it in this week’s #amazingfinds.

When US born Lauren Jin founded CLĒ Cosmetics, she wanted to craft every product with the ‘modern’ woman in mind. With the beauty brand’s minimalistic and multifunctional approach, we were intrigued when they kindly sent us the shade Hot Choco of the Melting Lip Powder to try out. Made with the Korean beauty technology, CLĒ’s Melting Lip Powder is like no other product we have tried. While we’ve tried many liquid lip and cheek tints throughout the years, CLĒ’s powder-to-stain tint is an innovative take to the cult-favourite.

While the lip powder looks dry in the bottle, when applied to lips, cheeks or eyelids, the Melting Lip Powder glides beautifully across the skin to melt into a smudge and water resistant matte tint. Like all CLĒ Cosmetic’s products, the Melting Lip Powder is entirely  vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, has no paraben, or sulfates and contains nourishing elements like Vitamin E to ensure skin is moisturised and protected.  Some of the other key ingredients are:  Natto gum, hydrolozed hyaluronic acid, blueberry fruit extract, bamboo leaf/stem extract, saussurea involucrate extract (thistle), and coconut oil. CLĒ sources these ingredients with a holistic approach in mind and aims to develop a makeup formula that benefits the skin as well.  While the lip powder is a little messy when you open the cap, the doe-foot applicator makes it easy to control where and how much of the pigmented powder to apply. After applying the chestnut-hued Hot Choco to my eyelids, cheeks and lips, I was able to put together an effortless look in less than five minutes. To try CLĒ’s innovative Melting Lip Powder for yourself, you can purchase a tube for $20 on their website here or for £14.34 available here.

NB: CLĒ does warn that the powder can naturally compress over time, which in turn decreases the powder level.

 

 

 

 

Nutty Nibbles from The Nutty Group

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How many times have we at TheAmazingBlog reached for the healthy options on the latest dedicated detox, only to be woefully disappointed by our dissatisfied taste buds screaming out for something, anything more? Well, that clever team at Nutty Nibbles have come up with something truly spectacular whilst answering all the demands we can throw at them. Their recipes are 100% organic, vegan compatible, and thoroughly gluten free.

Now a certain cynic typing at this very keyboard blew a bit of a raspberry on researching this lot, but it has to be said, I have not only eaten my words, but also a rather sumptuous feast of delectables from The Nutty Group’s expansive range, alongside fantastic recipe ideas and options to help us all get back to the benefits of pure, wholesome foods. We were only sent a very small taster sample selection which sadly didn’t get around the whole office. However, from these tiny single pots that we did try: Apricot & Chia Seeds, Coconut Blueberry, Mango Coconut Almond, Pumpkin Pie and Cherry Coconut Marshmallow (Nut Krispy).

Clearly these guys have set up a business model to adhere to their ethos of healthy nutrition, but also business practice and sustainability … all very admirable, but do the end results warrant the utopian dreams of The Nutty Revolution? Well in three words … Yes, yes, yes! So, you too can get your hands on some wholesome heaven and relish each delicious treat. For stockists, check out their website or go to their online shop here each variety comes in a small 40g pot x 18 pots all from £10.

 

EliRose Skincare - Nourishing Organic Serum

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As regular readers will know, we at The Amazing Blog team are particularly careful about the skincare products that we use, always erring on the side caution. Very happily, we recently discovered a new skincare launch:  EliRose Skincare, a luxurious British brand that is certified organic, vegan, and cruelty-free. Their niche area is to cater to those who suffer from excessively dry skin, eczema, and acne. The Canadian founder Claudia Bussieres wanted to find an 100% organic product, but felt deceived by so many products’ labels. Claudia commented it appeared that 'natural' beauty companies all prioritised product longevity, shelf life, and regulation for cash flow as being more important than the side effects. As a solution, she worked with a team of chemists for over six year, developing her first product the Nourishing Organic Serum, and the start of creating a line of skincare with trusted ingredients.

Since some members of our team have sensitive skin and eczema, they were thrilled to try EliRose’s Nourishing Organic Serum with the hope they would experience some relief. The lovely floral fragrance immediately caught our attention. The serum is loaded with beautiful organic oils, such as Bulgarian rose otto oil, evening primrose oil, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, jasmine essential oil, geranium leaf oil, and rosehip seed oil. Combining these oils has a balancing effect, which helps to maintain moisture, prevent hormonal acne, and increase collagen production. This non-greasy formula is a Pure Beauty Global Awards 2018 Winner and made without gluten, PEGs, GMOs, Parabens, silicone, mineral oils, and artificial fragrances. The Nourishing Organic Serum’s soothing formula also applies smoothly with quick absorption time.

You can purchase the Eli Rose Nourishing Organic Serum 30ml here for £68.00.

EE Express Effect by Karin Herzog

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At The Amazing Blog, we love skin care brands with high ethics and philosophies, especially if these beliefs are founded in hard-hitting scientific facts; this is exactly what you get with the Swiss skincare brand Karin Herzog. After ten years of meticulous research, Dr Paul Herzog, Nobel Honoree, discovered the family’s secret formula for their miracle skin care products. With all this history and science behind the brand we were more than just a little excited to test out some of their products, and they very kindly sent us a sample of their smoothing face cream called EE Express Effect.

Inspired by the anti-sceptic and hydrating properties of oxygen, the Herzog brand developed a unique formula used in all their products that stabilises active oxygen into the cream. The EE Express Effect Cream removes tiredness and gives skin an instant boost of radiance. The use of both rose and orange water with essential oils, work together to leave skin looking instantly smoothed and visibly calm. We found that the product left our skin looking enviously radiant. This was due to the mix of ingredients in the product that work to even out the skin’s tone and texture. The kaolin mattifies the skin while the hyaluronic acid plumps it, leaving skin glowing and youthful. What’s more this amazing little cream helped to de-stress our skin. The Arnica Montana in the cream reduces signs of stress on the skin, while the sodium bicarbonate purifies the appearance of the skin.

With all this, you’d think it would be near impossible to like the brand and their marvellous products any more than you already do. Well, you would be wrong as they have remarkably high and strong ethics which help govern how they operate. As an independent brand they value the importance of quality ingredients, they are paraben free, vegan-friendly, dairy free, gluten free and cruelty-free. Meaning this brand is for everyone, and can be used by anyone. The products are gentle on skin and still provide visible and lasting effects.

If this sounds like the brand for you, then you can purchase your very own EE Express Effect Karin Herzog Face Cream here for £79.