the whisky blog

March 9, 2009

The Duchess and the drams

Filed under: 1 — bill mackintosh @ 9:58 am

To Loch Fyne Oyster Bar for delicious seafood, wonderful company and damn fine drams. It was the official launch of the Whisky Coast, a loose gathering of the 16 distilleries that stretch from Campbeltown to Skye, and the hotels, restaurants and other bits and bobs associated with it. A wee mini bus (sorry, luxury coach) took the party up the bonnie banks an on to Loch Fyne, where we had a Talisker 10 to start the proceedings. It was then we met the strolling players of The Walking Theatre Company and enjoyed their short play about Burns the Exciseman. Glasgow’s Whisky Club’s official Chanty Wrassler caught the eye of the buxom innkeeper, but decided – wisely – a dram was better than a drama.
Heaped plated of oysters, langoustines, salmon and scallops provided the backdrop to an excellent afternoon’s entertainment with Charles Maclean leading us through a handful of drams, accompanied by Scotland’s Whisky Bard, Robin Laing.
The drams were surprising – the much improved 12 year old Arran, a really nice whisky with the extra two years under its belt and a 14 year of Oban. To go with the food we had the Ben Nevis 14, Tobermory 15 and Lagavulin 16. The Nevis was an eye opener, smooth sweet and a chocolatey mouthfeel. But the Tobermory was the big shock. Maturing quietly off the island, it was brought back for a final year and re-racked into a Pedro Ximinez Cask – and what a transformation!
And so to the Duchess, Her Grace the Duchess of Argyll to give her full title. A delightful lady, she came from publishing and PR and, maybe it was approaching deafness or something, but I asked her how I should address her, so for the rest of the afternoon I called her ‘Grace’.
I hope to be forgiven at the Spirit of the West festival at her hoose in May!
The journey home was wonderful, as you would expect, thanks to the traditional journalists’ practice of helping the organisers “clear up” after an event, thus ‘liberating’ enough largesse to make the return pass by as in a dream. Which, for some, it did.


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