We were about to finish up the evening much like last night, with a dram of whisky for all.
But that ‘final’ dram turned into quite a few more with none other than the resident ‘champion of the Northern Highland whisky’ (Jon) and a visiting whisky maker (Marko) from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
We lost count of the number of whiskies we tasted: some young spirits, some old, some that tasted like fruity gasoline, others like silky smoke, and others still that made you stomp your foot as it went down (true story).
We learned that in order to be called a single malt scotch whisky, it has to sit in a barrel in Scotland for at least 3 years and 1 day. And that ‘whiskey’ spelled with an ‘e’ isn’t really a single malt ‘whisky.’ We learned about (and tasted) Japanese whisky and discussed the amount of information on their bottles.
We were told how some distilleries up north ship their
whisky to places like Glasgow to mature. And we talked about the importance of water (what makes it so peaty) – a passionate subject for our host.
All in all, it was the biggest whisky lesson of our lives. One I’m sure not on the menu at any distillery tour in Scotland.
After quite a few drams, the topics shifted slightly (and widely) to Scottish history, Canada, Newfoundland, Gaelic (the Gaelic word for ‘helicopter’ is in fact ‘helicopter’), whisky festivals in Glasgow (try not to get too drunk), the MacDonells, the MacDonalds, Bonnie Prince Charles, the Seven Heads (that’s one well you don’t want to drink from), Glengarry, Hudson’s Bay, tea-spooning (has to do with making whisky, I assure you), Google Earth, Nordic-Germanic descent, Russians, French Canadians, Highland cows, lowlanders versus highlanders, Cuban
food, haggis, blood pudding (made from cow’s blood, not pig’s, and very few with actual blood), and on and on and on.
Soon we couldn’t see the counter below for the bottles on top, all of which had amazing stories to tell. Much like the company we were fortunate enough to keep until the wee hours of the morning.