Whisky for Girls-page-001
Jul. 02.

WHISKY & POETRY gang thegither….

Three of our great poets have been inspired by whisky to create.  This is one of the reasons we have whisky…to inspire. Please enjoy, with a glass or two of Scotland’s finest malt

Liz Lochhead, Carol Ann Duffy and Fran Baillie’s

poems about Scotland’s National Drink ~ 

Listen to Liz Lochhead ~ she starts about 8 minutes in

Read Carol Ann Duffy‘s wonderful poem

DRAMS

In Glen Strathfarrar a stag dips to the river where rainclouds gather.
Dawn, given again, and heather sweetens the air. I sip at nothing.
A cut-glass tumbler, himself splashing the amber … now I remember.
The love of the names, like Lagavulin, Laphroaig, loosening the tongue.
Beautiful hollow by the broad bay; safe haven; their Gaelic namings.
It was Talisker on your lips, peppery, sweet, I tasted, kisser.
First the appearance then the aroma, mouth-feel; lastly, the finish.
Under the table she drank him, my grandmother, Irish to his Scotch.
Barley, water, peat, weather, landscape, history; malted, swallowed neat.
Out on Orkney’s boats, spicy, heather-honey notes into our glad throats.
Allt Dour Burn’s water – pure as delight, light’s lover – burn of the otter.
The gifts to noses – bog myrtle, aniseed, hay, attar of roses.
The snows melt early, meeting river and valley, greeting the barley.
What does it whisper, the Golden Promise Barley, to the cool salt breeze?
Empty sherry casks, whisky-sublime accident – a Spanish accent.
Drams with a brother and doubles with another … blether then bother.
The perfume of place, seaweed scent on peaty air, heather dabbed with rain.
Liquid narrative of Scots and Gaelic, uttered on the tasting tongue.
With Imlah, Lochhead, Dunn, Jamie, Paterson, Kay, Morgan, with Maccaig.
Not prose, poetry; crescendo of mouth music; not white wine, whisky.
Eight bolls of malt, to Friar John Cor, wherewith to make aquavitae.
Aqua Vitae or uisge beatha, eau de vie or water of life.
A recurring dream: men in hats taking a dram on her coffin lid.
The sad flit from here to English soil, English air, from whisky to beer.
For joy, grief, trauma, for the newly-wed, the dead bitter-sweet water.
A Quaich; Highland Park; our scared sips in the shared dark when the lights went out.
Water through granite, over heathery moorland, peat, moss, grass, reed, fern.
The unfinished dram on the hospice side-table as the sun came up.
What the heron saw, the leaping salmon’s shadow, shy in this whisky.

*****************

Enjoy Fran Baillie‘s great poem 

Uisga Beatha

Gies a gless o yon amber swahly, ice-chinklin,
skinklin at the rim, reekin o an Islay boanfire;
a bouquet o burnt tehr an a ticky sugarelly watter
peat-steepit in tar an iodine.

Pass owre a tummlerfuhl o the cauld, wild west,
mahltit barley, slow-distilt, pure poetrie;
thon lang eftertist, heather colloguin wi dulse,
a douce toffee-aipple, a smoky baccy guff;
tert an sweet, smooth an smartin, mallayin the tongue,
sic a brah Manichaean dichotomie!

Gies a wee nip o the gowden meld, huggit lang-time in sherried oak.
Poor oot a dram  ti weet wir thrapple, prickle wir palate,
gie thae tistbuds a helluva fleg, birl them, mak them dirl.

Shove yir cognac wi its pinkie in the air, kiddin-on it’s pedigree.
Stuff yir peely-wally reamin swats o barley bree,
awa wi yir Ruski voddie’s stringent ming o fermentin tattie.
Ruby rum’s wahrm an reekin-rich bit
thir’s nae dusky musk … nae je ne sais quoi.

Dinna feel guilt fir a meenit, dinna think yir wrang.
Angels aa share it wi’oot a secint thocht.
Dinna skimp noo, nae grippit huddin-back; dinna be ticht-fistit.
Heelstergowdie in luv wi feisty Laphroaig,
wi’ll sip, syne swig an drap doon inti yon mella dwam.

Poor yirsel an uisge beatha, wrap roond it, real slow,
drink in its mony colours, droon in its pungent glow.

**********************

The poetry of Scotch Malt Whisky.

Slàinte Mhath!

Whisky for Girls-page-001
May. 31.

Feis Ìle 2016 ~ Islay Festival of Music & Malt

Too much whisky, too many people….. Can’t wait for next year?!

Avarice has created a monster. The infrastructure of Islay is stetched to breaking. 

The week of the feis now turns Islay into Ibiza. It’s a whisky club scene….

More and more outside agencies are jumping on the band wagon. People who profess to be in the industry have no clue about the nature or the history of Feis Ìle. I told one guy that the festival committee was a voluntary organisation. ‘And what do they do?’, he asked!

Yes, we meet friends, yes we have fun… but we do this on other weeks too. 

The Islay roads are falling to bits, we have bin collections every 3 weeks or so. People have to pay for themselves to get to hospital in the mainland ~ by boat!

Once one’s hotel or guesthouse is full for the week, what more money can be made? Once one’s restuarant or cafe has fulfilled it’s quota of covers in a day, how much more money can be made? 

Who actually makes money from Feis Ìle?

Lagavulin Distillery (Diageo) brought in £750,000 on their festival bottle ALONE.

Even if the festival was not on, visitors would still come. So, the beds would be filled, the tables would be sat at…..

I like when people buy festival bottles and put them on German ebay ~ why should Josephine Blogs not make a bob or two on her festival bottle? Why should all the money go to big companies?

Yes, I know people can argue about the money the craft people, the taxi drivers, etc etc. make during the week. I know all these things…. it’s just once anything becomes so commercialised it becomes dehumanised and out of control.

The Festival Committee host events to maintain the Islay hospitality and intrinsic nature of the week. There are so many external events, that we are now seeing a division as at the Edinburgh Festival … where the Feis fringe is overtaking the Feis itself: which would be fine, if we were not an island with a limited physicality ~ and it’s not all meant to be about money.

One lady in Bowmore was sitting having her lunch in her garden, when flying over the wall, came dog waste thrown by two people in a camper van parked outside her gate for days!!!

Where do we go from here…?

Maybe the Feis will be like Daisy World. Once it reaches absolute saturation (this year?) it will collapse and rebuild itself in another way.

Maybe we should discuss having TWO Feis weeks. One in May and one in October, say?

I am not in favour of having a two week long Feis. It is fine for those who come and go, and whilst on Islay are on holiday. It would probably be too much for the Ilich (the Islay people) to cope with. But this is obviously open for discussion. 

Anyway…. even with all the above,

I love seeing everyone, I love Feis Ile, I love whisky & music

and, everybody is somebody’s friend,

Slàinte Mhath!

3 Glasses Ardbeg 2016 (640x541)

Whisky for Girls-page-001
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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009