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Sep. 11.

Some Introductory Drams….

INTRODUCTORY DRAMS ~ Well, basically, ALL OF THEM!!

However, Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) were asked to make a list of drams which may temp a person who is unfamiliar with a dram into partaking……. so here goes…

1: Islay Barley 2009 from Bruichladdich ~ Barley from Claggan, Cruach, Island & Mulindry Farms make this dram.

Sparkling gold, only been in a Bourbon casks, which means you think of vanilla, honey and toffee notes. But also, from the Bruichladdich character you get a creaminess in the feel of the liquid in the mouth. It’s musty, dusty – wet barley smell – not cereal, but fresh, wet barley. Hint of ozone, sea, warm yet ethereal. Mushrooms, sunny, honey, alive, zesty – yet lazy. Not a sharp zing of a dram. Lovely lingering feeling in the chest. A well balanced whisky. £45 approx.

2: Bunnahabhain 18 YO ~ Totally different whisky to Bruichladdich. Again upeated whisky, but sticky, rich, thick, raisins, honey, nuts, sweet, beautiful. Like the nicest Christmas cake you have ever tasted, in liquid form. The Bunnahabhain 12 YO is nice too, but it has a slight edge. The 18 is like Mother’s milk! It will curl over your tongue by itself. £70 approx.

3: Laphroaig Select ~ This dram was made as an introductory level whisky to Laphroaig. And it works perfectly. It works as a lovely dram in itself. It is not like a watered down version of Laphroaig, it is like Laphroaig’s perfect wee cousin. So you have the feeling of Laphroaig – the peat, the ozone, the sweetness, the golden flicks, but you won’t feel overwhelmed with Laphroaig strength of character. This is bourbon based again, so this is peat and vanilla and toffee and honey. Where as the Bruichladdich has no peat, and the Bunnahabhain is very sherry influenced. About £34

4: Ardbeg Dark Cove ~ A lovely fashionable dram. This is peated and dark sherry influenced. So think of sweet & bitter dark chocolate with a smokey influence. This dram is heavier in a way than the Laphroaig Select. But, not as richly heavy in the mouth as the Bunnahabhain. About £100.

5: Leaving Islay you could try Wolfburn, from the very North of Scotland ~ from where you get the ferry to Orkney, near Thurso. This is a lovely dram ~ clean, fresh, sparkling, apricots, green bushes. An open whisky, reminds me of sweeties – cider apples, young, fresh, sappy, milky, lovely mouthfeel. Some of this dram has been stored in casks which previously held the Laphroaig whisky, so there is a hint of the peat from our dram. The only problem with this bottle is that they only make small amounts at a time and this first ever bottling produced costs £400 approx! However, they do have a new bottling out called Aurora which you could try and get a hold of.

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  Trying a dram for the first time, remember to approach it slowly. Look at it, appreciate the colour, see if it looks oily or dry in the glass. Is it gold or reddish in colour?  If it is pale gold it is probably bourbon based ~ this just means the spirit is aged in casks that previously held bourbon. If it is reddish it probably has been sleeping for a while, in casks that previously held sherry .

Smell the top notes coming off your whisky as you raise it to your lips. Smell with your lips shut, then open your mouth as you smell again. Think about walking down a street with all the different shops ~ bakers, flower shop, fruit shop, pastry shop, leather shoe shop… imagine all the smells you would get from each shop. Then see if you can find them in your glass. Go on a journey. Use your imagination. Only after nosing your dram will you take a good sip. Roll it back along your tongue and swish it around to get the most out of the flavours. Hold the dram in your mouth for a second for each year old the dram is before you swallow (roughly!) Then swallow.

Feel the dram flow down your throat and into your chest. Enjoy everything about this experience!

Slàinte!

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In truth EVERY dram is an introductory dram… it just depends on your preference for certain flavours – your preferred FLAVOUR PROFILE… in whisky parlance.   If you like the look of any bottle of single malt you see, just order yourself a dram. And most importantly, this is a hobby – like fiddle playing – that requires LOTS OF PRACTISE! (luckily….)

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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.

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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.

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The poetry of Scotch Malt Whisky.

Slàinte Mhath!

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