I referred in a previous post to the whisky tasting evening which was being organised in our local village hall last Friday. The much-anticipated event came along in diurnal passage, but Her Maj was distracted by shenanigans with her aged mother in Somerset and needed to spend most of the evening on the phone, so I had to make my way up to the hall on my poor old ownsome. Arrived, paid my £15 and found a seat with a table of some old friends and some folk who rapidly became new ones.
The evening was being held to raise funds for the local community project, which aims to purchase land from the Forestry Commission to replace the old village hall with a new one. The star of the show was Jim McEwan from the Bruichladdich distillery. one of the jewels of Islay’s alcoholic firmament. Jim came armed with several special bottles of malt whisky, all of which he’d selected himself and finished in various different casks before bottling. Although memory is inevitably a little vague on the matter after such a good evening, we tasted Glen Scotia, Bruichladdich (of course), Caol Ila, a 36-year-old Lagavulin (which was honey to the palette) and a couple of other gems from the mainland which escape my recall at the moment (and probably did even the following morning). Oops, an awful lot of parentheses there, but in a way, that reflects what happens to my conversation when in the presence of the cratur.
Jim is an excellent raconteur and a great advocate for single malt whisky. We were initiated into the art of tasting whisky, learning how to determine the age of the whisky from the tongue and the alcohol content by a judicious jiggle of the glass. We discovered the tears of the peat and learned of the angel’s share. We laughed at his tales of “vurriners” (as they’d say in Somerset) and the care with which they’d pour samples of whisky into their hands to taste it; it makes more sense if you were there, as inevitably do most tales involving ethanol.
The evening was accompanied by some live music from a trio who tend to follow Jim around and who contributed to a solid, mellow groove for the evening. Even if I was missing the old lady’s company, the pleasure of the whiskies we sampled, the good company and the music made for a fantastic evening.
I must confess to dancing most of the way home in the moonlight …