Mad Dogs and Scotsmen
Author: Rob Whitehead
Firstly, allow me to make a swift apology to anyone reading this after our current heat-wave has inevitably subsided. Please feel free to remember it wistfully/irritably depending on your own personal preference.
There is something deeply reassuring, I often find, in our ability, as Brits, to malign our weather, opine about our weather, foolishly attempt to divine our weather and, occasionally, even rhyme about our weather. Whatever you ‘blether’ about weather, one thing I can attest to is the strong negative correlation between days of record high temperature and the number of enquiries I see from customers in our London Shop about Scotch Whisky. This week two new, Cask strength, single cask, Berrys’ Own Selection bottlings arrived and both show how wrong we are to sometimes turn away from whisky at this time of year.
Fresh vanilla, floral and woodland aromas on the nose entice with some gentle exotic fruit peeping out from behind. The palate follows this up beautifully with summer-time melted vanilla ice cream on the attack. No water needed here at all, apple pie with custard and some fudge plus the tiniest twist of lime round out the palate. The finish is long and balanced, the flower petal character coming back along with melon and cream.
Hugely and expressively ‘coastal’ on the nose. My home town harbour with brine, seaweed, ozone, iodine and even pitch being painted onto fishing boats. Lots of smoked things – Mackerel, bacon, tobacco. As so often with Bowmore, some ‘green’ flavours appear on the palate, mainly olive and nettle. A splash of water really helps, a mentholated, almost anise, character evolving along with a half-remembered memory of brick kilns leaving a sturdy and satisfyingly smoky finish.
Two very different whiskies, but both speak loudly to me at this time of unseasonably hot weather. The Glen Keith embraces the warmth, taking me to lazy, hazy afternoons in the park, under a tree, near a riotously blooming flower-bed, dozing in and out of a good novel, perhaps whilst wanting an ice cream but being just too comfortable to actually go and get one! The Bowmore, conversely, takes me away from the current climatic conditions to a much more familiar (at least to me) Spring of fresh sea breezes and the yearly ‘rebirth’ of leafy plants from their frigid dormancy.
Whether you’d personally prefer to embrace it or ignore it, the current weather can, in my opinion, only be more wonderful when paired with one of these tremendous Scotch Whiskies.