I’m a firm believer in the idea that malt whisky is sunlight trapped in water — not a new idea; Galileo got there before me — but it captures the connection between the warm golden glow of whisky, made from golden barley harvested in the Scottish summer.
I am particularly fond of lightly-peated malts and my favourite quote about whisky is:
“When a man takes a shot of whisky, he’s drinking poetry. He’s drinking ghosts. He swallows the grain, the smoke, the barrel. He tastes the years.”
Some time in the mid to late 1980s my father showed me an article about a new club in Edinburgh, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and we both joined. He loved visiting the tasting room on his birthday and comparing the rather flowery descriptions of the whiskies with the reality in the glass. To give you an idea, here are a couple from the current ‘outturn’.
“Leather wine-skins and flamenco floorboards”
“Anthracite seaasoning dust”
While the SMWS produces some beautiful whiskies, once that barrel is empty they are gone forever. My staple favourites are generally from the Campbeltown region — especially 18-year-old Longrow that I prize above most other whiskies.
For me, malt whisky is the most mindful of drinks. It sits perfectly on the little table beside me when I am reading or listing to music. It’s a drink for sipping and savouring.
Mind you, when the two barrels my work colleagues and I have ‘invested in’ finish ageing in bourbon barrels in nine years’ time, that story may change!#Pleasures