The whole of May's Dram-atics is given over to various guest
writers as they become stranded on a remote island and are asked
to select which whiskies and whisky items they would wish to
have with them in
"Desert Island Drams"
folks, that boat is out of reach and you are stranded on an
uninhabited remote island with no companions and sadly, no
distillery. The remit is simple, you may choose certain items
that have miraculously been saved from the ocean's depths and
have been washed ashore with you, fully intact.
what would be your choices when it comes to:
whisky related book
type of (whisky) glass
bottles of whisky which don't have to be the same
case of six bottles of whisky which are all the same
further whisky-related item which may not be actual whisky
like to know not only which items you would choose, but also
your reasoning why you have chosen those over any other
possibilities, so let your imaginations rule and I look forward
to your own personal choices.
Monday 31st May and sadly, this Desert Island Drams series is
drawing to a close, but it is doing so on another high as I get
my revenge on Mark Gillespie of WhiskyCast. In December 2008
Mark interviewed me after I opened a whisky bar in Munich, the
interview was fun and I was grateful for the exposure it gave me
in the whisky world at that time. The bar is now closed, but I
remember the interview fondly and I now have great pleasure in
returning the favour by banishing Mark to my little island
paradise. I guess he is now a WhiskyCast-away! Over to you Mark
As I write this, I’m flying over
the Atlantic Ocean at 35,000 feet on my way to Scotland.
No chance of being stranded on
a desert island here…in fact, the most likely island I’d get
stranded on is Iceland. Wonder what dram would go well with
case, the challenge is to come up with one or two drams that I’d
hope to have on hand were I to be stranded on a desert island.
The most logical choices would be whatever I could salvage from
the airplane’s beverage cart. In fact, there’s a TV commercial
for Bud Light airing in the U.S. with just such a premise as the
survivors of an airplane crash celebrate on finding an intact
beverage cart full of Bud Light. Personally, I’d consider that a
fate worse than death. In fact, volcanic ash might make Bud
Light almost palatable.
stick with this premise, the logical choices would be
12-year-old Glenlivet or Glenfiddich, perhaps Johnnie Walker
Black Label, or perhaps Jack Daniel’s or a bourbon (even though
my US Airways flight has no bourbon on board, just The
Glenlivet, Jack, and Canadian Club). Nothing extravagant or
extraordinary, but all are good, solid (or liquid) choices.
we could bring back the good old days when it was possible to
get a flask (or two) through airline security, the choices
increase exponentially. I have a small medicine bottle of
50-year-old Glen Grant that distillery manager Dennis Malcolm
gave me a couple of years ago that I could probably nurse for a
couple of days. Perhaps some 30-year-old Highland Park,
21-year-old Glenlivet, or something along those lines.
flying to Islay for Feis Ile, but somehow, the many drams to be
found on that island probably wouldn’t be appropriate for a
desert island. I’m basing that on general taste, and certainly
not on quality. Islay drams would be better for being stranded
on Iceland or another cooler climate. Now, the fact that many
would work well with seafood has me re-thinking that, since I’d
have to pair the desert island dram with the available food
choices and I’d be doing a lot of fishing.
Cask-strength whiskies probably wouldn’t be appropriate, either.
They’d be better with a splash of water, and that’s a rarity on
desert islands that I’d need for other purposes.
that what I’m being asked to do here is essentially the same
thing I’ve often asked in my interviews. Specifically, to name
the last dram I’d pick to savor before I die. Having heard me
ask that so many times, I’ve been asked the same question by
listeners, and my answer has always been the same: “I haven’t
found it yet.”
I may have come close, though. During my last trip to Scotland
in April, Michael Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail gave me the
chance to taste a 70-year-old Mortlach. Now, I’ve always
appreciated Mortlach’s single malts, but this one was exquisite.
It was full of flavor, not a hint of woodiness, and as vibrant
as whiskies decades younger. In fact, it’s one of only two
whiskies that I’ve scored a 98 (the other being the 1964 Gold
I have a
10ml vial of the Mortlach that was part of Gordon & MacPhail’s
press kit. It’s small enough to fit in a 3-1-1 bag, and I
suppose I could carry it on my flights as a talisman against
being stranded on a desert island. Personally, I’d rather save
it for a perfect wintry night by the fire…and if I ever find
myself on a desert island, I’ll settle for what’s in the
note that I may have advertising contracts for WhiskyCast with
one or more of the whiskies mentioned in this blog posting now
or in the future. However, that has not played a role in whether
I chose to mention them here. I mention this in the interests of
order to properly introduce you to my latest 'guest' on the
island, I first have to explain a little about my Whisky
Emporium website; I first designed the site after a little basic
introduction to Microsoft's FrontPage by another friend back in
2004. It started life as more of a personal site and home to
some of my older attempts at photography, as well as a few
whisky features. It stumbled along for a while and then I added
a small shop section which focused on more unusual and 'collectible'
bottles until I finally decided it needed a total redesign
during the summer of 2009. At that time I bounced a few ideas
WhiskyX3 forum and was
delighted by the help and advice offered by one particular
member. He diligently assisted me in finding a great new format
or 'look & feel' to the site along with creating my logo, all of
which you see online today.
the peak of the period between 2004 to October 2009 I was
delighted to be receiving up to 150 'hits' per day on Whisky
Emporium, it felt good that so many people were interested in
what I was doing. But since October 2009 when the 'new' Whisky
Emporium came online this has exploded with up to 600 hits per
day and is still growing. For this I can't thank my next guest
enough, so welcome to Matthew Smedley of
sorry it has to be this way, but you're now cast away!
Keith, I'm a relative newcomer to the world of whisky, having
been consuming it for just a little over 3 years. During this
time I have managed to start a Manchester whisky club, sat on
the Co-operative whisky tasting panel and
created a whisky website. The
latter of these achievements harks back in someway to my day job
in process improvements. Whilst starting this journey in whisky
I was rather daunted by conflicting tasting notes and confused
by the various scoring systems. So to try and improve this
situation for future newbies, I started a website where users
can log their tasting notes & scores on a pre-defined format.
This will enable the database in the background to evaluate the
tasting notes and scores, find others with similar tastes and
give reviews comprising average scores of all users of the site
and also just those with similar palates. This should help
people find both individuals with similar tastes and whisk(e)y
rated highly by people with similar tastes. Now let's get
down to business with my island choices;
One whisky-related book; I am definitely not going to
want a review or tasting note book. The reason for this is it
would be torture as I will never know when, if ever, I would get
the opportunity to sample any of them (unless this island has an
off-licence? No? Didn't think so). So to my mind it does not
leave much, so I am going to go with the Malt Whisky Yearbook
(any year, or all if it's allowed?) as it has lots of
interesting information around the world of whisky and not just
tasting notes (it does have these in later editions).
One whisky glass; As most of the castaways have stated so
far, I would have to go for the Glencairn. If for no
other reason than the durability. There is also, for me, another
factor though. When I first made my mind up to get into whisky (it
was not love at first sight, I had to work at it), I decided to
try the most tolerable malt I had in several different glasses
to determine the way I should continue my journey. So I do not
overly bore you with the details, it is suffice to say that I
tried many glasses (SMWS , Glencairn, Tumbler, brandy, rocker
and port) and the Glencairn came out on top.
To add an extra dimension to this, I will choose the Glencairn
etched with "The Whisky Lounge 1st Newcastle Festival 2009" as
it was an amazing event that truly immersed me in the whisky
world without any armbands!
Two bottles of whisky which do not have to be the same;
The 1st one is very easy, I would have to go for the recent
record breaking largest whisky bottle in the world (Containing
105.3 litres 46% abv of Tomintoul 14 year old Malt Whisky)
Just to ensure I have enough. The 2nd is a harder task as I now
have to be more serious and ask myself what I really want in
order to offer an every now and again variation to what I have
opted for in my case of 6 (and of course the giant Tomintoul
bottle). I think for a little light relief (especially important
of the island is too hot) I will go for the Bladnoch bottling
of 37 year old Invergordon single grain whisky. A beautiful
dram with hints of coconut on the palate, perfect for a desert
One case of 6 bottles which do have to be the same; This
is a tough one, I am having trouble deciding between Lagavulin
16, Poit Dubh 12 and Laphroaig Cairdeas 2009 Feis Ile
bottling. All of these are great drams that I could easily enjoy
everyday but only one of them is cask strength so I suppose it
makes sense to go for that as it will stretch further if watered
down to standard strength (if it came to that!).
One other whisky-related item which may not be actual whisky;
This would have to be a solar powered satellite phone with
built in web browser so that I could keep up with all the
online happenings in the world of whisky. Not sure how I could
ever get by being completely alone, whisky is always better
shared, even if it is virtually!
If this is not available then a return ticket please!
to many on twitter as Bruich_Sales, Donald is Regional Sales
Bruichladdich and must be the
envy of many as he already lives and works on a paradise island!
Unfortunately, this is no excuse for escaping my banishment and
being cast away on this lump of rock somewhere in rather warmer
climes than Hebridean islands generally offer. Donald, welcome
to your exile and I wonder how much Bruichladdich you'll be
taking along, or if your chosen 'extra item' will be a certain
distillery in its entirety?
1 Whisky (related) book;
I’ve read many a whisky book and while most are
good, they are always out of date as soon as they are published
as the industry changes so quickly!
So, for a change, I would take a book on the history of Rum and
as I’ve just learnt that in the 18th century, Glasgow
used to be a major Rum producer as it was a huge sugar trading
port. So I’m off to see what books are available before I land
on that desert island. Not only will this be my dream book for a
desert island, if it teaches me how to produce rum on the island
then what a bonus!
1 Whisky glass;
I’d take a large glass tumbler,
the bigger the better.
Forget tasting glasses and delicate sipping glasses. I want a
whisky glass that is also suitable for my fresh coconut juice in
the morning and whisky cocktails in the afternoon.
2 bottles of whisky which don't have to be
Tough one! I’d go for a Springbank 15yo and Port Ellen
15yo both distilled in the 1970/80’s as many a million
whisky drinkers have sworn, the Port Ellen and Springbank
distillates from the 70’s were the best ever. Well,
I’d love to
try them too and on the island I would have them all to myself!!
1 case of 6 bottles which do have to be the
The Bruichladdich 15yo matured in d’Yquem cask.
I know I work for Bruichladdich but this whisky is genuinely
just a superb dram! It equally suits a fresh seafood lunch, an
afternoon whisky cocktail or a late-night campfire dram. And not
forgetting a wee nightcap!
1 other whisky related item of your choice,
but not a whisky itself;
A cask - to mature my Desert Island Rum in, fish & swim
and eventually sail away on once all the lovely drams are
understand that todays 'guest' is indeed stranded on an island
at the moment, but not a desert one as he's currently enjoying
Feis Ile 2010, lucky chap! Anyway, I have no qualms in plucking
Neil of the superb CaskStrength blog from his reveries on Ileach
and unceremoniously dumping him on my remote piece of paradise
for eternity. so, I guess it's over to you ... errmmm Lord
Desert Island drams. An almost impossibly tricky
subject for anyone who has at least more than 5 whiskies
within their cabinet. But an intriguing thought. What if
one were stuck somewhere for a considerable length of time,
with access to only 1 or at best, 2-3 whiskies??
Given the scenario, I can well imagine even the strongest of
fellows weeping into their empty Glencairn and
beating their fist into the sun-bleached desert sand, their
anguished cries of "why didn't I bring the 18yo with
me!!"resonating around the baron landscape.
where would I start. Lets's approach this from a real-life
Point of view. Rather like actually being stranded on a desert
island, you need certain things, essential for your survival.
For your shelter, you need a strong and durable base.
If we're thinking whisky here, this would have to be something
solid, reliable and... ultimately dependable. For this
important role I would have to choose a bottle of Lagavulin
16yo. Time and time again it is the one dram I return to,
which delivers consistently and just wraps itself around you
like a blanket. That homely aroma, that velvety finish. It's
almost like a well worn pair of slippers... so in that sense, I
have actually covered 2 of my basic needs- Shelter and clothing!
I suppose you'd also need some kind of refreshment or
sustenance on the island and with that in mind, I'd slip
out a bottle of SMS Rosebank- the caskstrength 14yo which
Whisky Exchange released several years ago. Lemon zest, vanilla,
wonderful floral notes and, at its heart, a rich buttery
mouthfeel, which will sate even the largest of appetites. To
paraphrase an old Irish saying - 'What butter and whisky cannot
cure, cannot be cured'. So on my island, I would now be fed,
watered and never fall ill. This is going brilliantly!
I now have my shelter and my sustenance. I suppose my final
request would be some form of entertainment. Tricky this, as
the mind can start to play all kinds of games with you on a
desert island, so you A: Need to choose something that you won't
ever get bored with and B: Will keep delivering new surprises
every time, thus stimulating the mind, body and spirit.
There are many contenders here, but in all honesty, it
would come down to 2 whiskies. I know... that's 4 whiskies and
not 3, but it's MY desert island and I have a slightly larger
piece of luggage than I first thought, so i'm bringing a 4th
For sheer entertainment-on-the-palate value, I
would bring Master Of Malt's recent 26yo Bowmore bottling.
One minute it's all zingy citrus, next it's parma violets, then
childhood Refresher sweets and just when you think it can't
dance another style, the soft peat comes waltzing in. I smile
every time I drink this whisky and think they must have been
doing some crazy things at the distillery, back in the early
Once the entertainment is over, I suppose you need a lover,
a companion to curl up with before heading off to bed. For this
role I would have to take a bottle of Yamazaki 18yo. It
is worldly, tells a great story, is rich, fruity, sometimes
sultry and when it wants to be, it can be utterly charming
and... a bit sexy. Maybe too much information there, but I
suppose if you're going to be confessional, might as well do it
on a desert island.
Come and visit me some time, it's a great place to
I have great pleasure in banishing Tim of
The Whisky Exchange to my
desert island. Tim is master of
TWE's Blog so I'm sure he will
feel at home on an island once inhabited by so many other
bloggers and internet gurus. Over to you Tim and welcome to my
little paradise island ....
One whisky-related book
On a recent trip to Royal Lochangar I found a real treasure in
their famous library: Samuel Morewood's History of
Inebriating Liquors, or to give it it's full title 'A
Philosophical And Statistical History Of The Inventions And
Customs Of Ancient And Modern Nations In The Manufacture And Use
Of Inebriating Liquors; With The Present Practice Of
Distillation In All Its Varieties: Together With An Extensive
Illustration Of The Consumption And Effects Of Opium, And Other
Stimulants Used In The East, As Substitutes For Wine & Spirits'.
Published in 1838, the first editions of these are now on Amazon
for over £1000, but I am awaiting my reprinted copy to arrive
with bated breath. Every page is a delight, filled with
exhaustive detail and peppered with brilliant anecdotes such as
the following gem regarding the early drinking practices in the
"Martin, in his History of the Western Isles, says it was deemed
a breach of hospitality among persons of distinction to broach a
cask of aqua vitae and
not see it finished at the time. If any of the party retired for
a few minutes, he was obliged, on his return, before he sat
down, to make an apology in rhyme for his absence, which if
unable to perform he was compelled to discharge such a share of
the reckoning as the company thought proper to impose. This
custom, which is yet prevalent, is termed
signifying the Poet's
You can check out Morewood's History online here:
I can't recommend it enough.
One whisky glass
I would have to go for the Copita, specifically our SMOS
glass. I know it's not practical on an island, but for me it
is the perfect glass for nosing and tasting, so I'll just have
to take care of it. If it breaks, I'm not too proud to drink
from the bottle, or maybe I'll just hollow out a coconut shell.
Two bottles of whisky which do not have to be the same
Tough call. Firstly, I'd have to go for The Bowmore 1964 35yo
bottled for Oddbins - 99 bottles only, bottled from a single
cask that was deemed too good to be blended for Black Bowmore:
Yes, it's a bit pricey, but this is the best Bowmore of all time
in my opinion, and every drop is awe-inspiring.
My other choice would be the sherried Port Ellen 12yo bottled
at 100-proof by James MacArthur in the 1970s - I tasted this
with Sukhinder and Charlie MacLean perhaps five years ago and it
was simply magnificent. There were only a couple of inches left
in the bottle but the intensity was astonishing. Perhaps the
best whisky I've ever had, certainly one of my fondest whisky
One case of 6 bottles which do have to be the same
This is a real toughie, but I'm going for a case of 1950s or
earlier White Horse, when there was a lot of top-end
Lagavulin in the mix. The bottles are also really beautiful and
the empties will look good on the mantelpiece of my shack. Drunk
today, these have an ethereal beauty - silky, gossamer-like but
still packing gorgeous flavours. Also, there's a good chance
that it still came in wooden cases by the dozen back then, so
twice the amount of whisky and something to sit on, which is a
One other whisky-related item which may not be actual whisky
Surely it has to be an Ardbeg Chopper? I'll have the
black one, please.
Perfect for cruising round the island in the mornings before a
spot of sunbathing, a dip in the sea and then a large whisky in
the afternoon under a palm tree with Morewood's History. Tell
the rescue party not to bother, I'll be fine...
begin this last week of Desert Island Drams on a real high by
banishing one of my favourite and most knowledgeable whisky
characters to the island. Teun comes from Holland and has become
a great (cyber) friend over the last few years. He owns a superb
collection and is also an organisor of the radical
"MaltStock" event held in
Holland each Autumn. He is also known on various forums (or is
it forii?) as "Laddie Teun".
Welcome to my island and after seeing your request for your 'case
of 6' I'm only surprised you didn't ask for the model who went
with it as your "extra item", enjoy your stay Teun!
1 Whisky (related)
Whisky Kitchen – great for whisky and des(s)erts
Although I would
also consider "Peat,
Smoke and Spirit"
– because it is a great book
about an island. And has lots of paper to light a fire.
But how about
to distil whisky on a desert island” – hopefully a book written
before I am stranded on a desert island.
1 Whisky glass;
the whisky a basic tulip shaped glass. Although might
consider a big heavy tumbler… Might be handy for cracking open a
2 bottles of whisky
which don't have to be the same;
Lochside, 21y, oct 1987 – dec 2008, 62,3%,
cask 20622, Scotch Single Malt Circle. Love Lochside.
Besides it has so much fruit, it will save me the trouble of
Ardbeg, Lord of the Isles. Not the best ever Ardbeg, but
probably the most suitable. And conveniently already comes with
a coffin. Just in case I will not survive the island.
1 case of 6 bottles
which do have to be the same.
That record breaking big bottle of Tomintoul. So I would
have plenty of whisky and afterwards I can build a raft with the
Brora (Platinum, 1972, 29y). Because it is great whisky and it
has a tropical sound “Brora Brora”
1 other whisky
related item of your choice, but not a whisky itself;
good friend to share the whisky with. My best whisky is the
one drunk in good company.
Well this is a fine
kettle of fish; marooned on this God forsaken lump of ancient
coral, lovingly adorned with pestilent filled mangrove swamps.
Time to do a hasty
inventory of the essential items that I managed to gather up
before the ship gasped its least breath (more like a hippo
farting) and slipped beneath the surface of the lagoon.
1 whisky (related) book.
This is a bit of luck, “Return to the Glen” by Richard
Grindal. Deserves a higher standing among whiskyphiles. Lots
of stunning pictures of Scotland which is good, I won’t have to
over tax the old brain box with lots of pesky complicated words
like ‘worm tub’ and ‘blended malt’ (who the hell thought that
little gem up??). If I had the new SWA regs I’d have toilet
2 bottles of whisky, which are not the same.
Right, good thing I managed to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as all
hell broke out. A little smugness here at having secured a
Laphroaig 18yo and an Aberlour 18yo. Comfort for the
long evenings ahead. Must be careful to ration my daily intake
to stretch these out. Should be good for a week, at least. Good
thing the Aberlour 18 was the Christmas bottling; it came with
a free Glencairn! All smiles here.
1 case of 6 bottles which are the same.
Things are looking up! 6 bottles of Dew of Ben Nevis 12yo
blend, what a cracker of blend and only £22; a nip with the
mid-day fine dining experience of land crab and coconut should
make things bearable. I can use the empty bottles to send
messages or build a raft! Or even put fireflies inside and make
1 other whisky-related item, which may NOT be actual whisky.
Pfft! My American Express card of course! When I get of
this lump of coral I’m going to need to buy more whisky…
Lawrence, it's a good job that Aberlour came with the Glencairn
glass otherwise you'd have been stuck having to swig out of the
bottles, but at least unlike many other of my guests, it's good
to see you came properly dressed for the occasion!
Lawrence is a confirmed
Maniac (of the Malty kind)
and is also the 'Intelligence' behind the extremely
'Whisky Intelligence' website where he keeps us
all up to date on the latest happenings in the world of
Thanks again kind sir and enjoy your stay, but it may be
some time before you get to use that Amex card.
Craig McGill is my
guest today; he has been a journalist and traditional PR
Director, but has now turned his attention towards the
new-fangled and modern world of digital communications or
what we now know as 'Social Media', where he runs a business
Contently Managed. In
addition he is a proud father to the extent that he runs a
separate blog about his kids,
the second of which I understand has now progressed from a 'bump'
to joining the world. Congratulations Craig, but that's no
excuse to be spared your banishment to my little desolate
island with no communications (digital or otherwise) and
certainly no nappies!
1 Whisky (related) book;
That's easy - Raw Spirit by Iain Banks. I
know a lot of people don't like it but I thought it was a great
read, hitting the right notes for me, giving me interesting
detail while not being over-technical.
1 Whisky glass; I
have a set of crystal whisky glasses which would be the
must have. Now I know that may upset the purists who insist on a
Capitcha glass but these were bought for me by my father so I'd
go for them for the sentimental reason. Having said that, if I
could find one of the little stub glasses that used to be so
prevalent in Glasgow bars (and were a favourite of my
grandfather) I'd take one of them instead. Again, more for
sentimentality than anything else.
2 bottles of whisky which don't have to be the
Ohhh...if I mention Whyte & Mackay or Jura I'll
be shouted down for being nice purely because they are clients,
so leaving them out, it would have to be the Auchentoshan 12,
which is a very nice, very west coast of Scotland whisky. It was
the first whisky I could actually enjoy after spending years
looking for a whisky that I could enjoy when out and about. The
second one would have to be a rare bottle of Scottish Leader
30 year old, which was given to me in a commemorative case
and bottle by my father for a special event.
1 case of 6 bottles which do have to be the
No contest. The recent Jura Boutique Barrel -
1995 which has been in bourbon casks. A sheer delight to
drink, especially on warm evenings and perfect for summer - or
being on a desert island! Also, I could use the case as a very
small boat when I wanted to leave.
1 other whisky related item of your choice,
but not a whisky itself;
Ohhh... would I take a BrewDog Paradox whisky
beer? The newly announced whisky floorboards in Scotland?
Richard Paterson or Willie Tait? An iPad loaded with whisky apps
and websites? I think it would have to be Richard P.
After all it would be good to have company and with his nose you
wouldn't struggle for food or anything...
I have pleasure in banishing someone quite local to my island.
Oliver is more of a native Bavarian than my exiled self and as
you will see below, is a self-proclaimed apprentice anorak in
the world of whisky. Anyway, welcome to the island Oliver and
may you make yourself as comfortable as possible.
is Oliver Klimek and I suffer - or should I say enjoy - a split
personality. After my daytime job as stamp dealer is finished I
turn into a whisky blogger. My blog is called
Whisky Rating and not only do I
like sticking numbers to whisky bottles, I am also interested in
anything else about whisky; from barley varieties to marketing
stunts. My track record of malts is way below that of some of
the other old hats around here, so you might want to call me an
Being banished to a desert island needs careful planning. My
priority is on getting the most out of what I am allowed to take
with me. Who knows how long it will take, so I need concentrated
The Book: I will choose Whisky - The Definitive World
Guide by Michael Jackson, the King of Whisky. This huge tome
does not the contain all answers to all questions about whisky
that will ever be posed, but it is full of information about
whisky in gerneral and the distilleries in particular. You can
spend a long time browsing it without getting tired of it.
The Glass: I know it's starting to get boring, but the
Glencairn just is the perfect desert island drinking
vessel. It has got the perfect shape while refraining from all
fanciness that would make it just more fragile.
The Single Bottles: I will settle for two malts that have
the most concentrated aromas that I have experienced in whisky
so far. The first one will be the Duncan Taylor Glenesk
1981/2007 cask #933. This is an extreme sherry monster that
you can literally chew drop by drop for minutes. Some say it has
got too much sulphur in it, but I don't care. If this is how too
much sulphur tastes, then most sherry cask whiskies have too
My other choice is the Port Ellen 2nd Annual Release
which I got the chance to sample at one of Keith's tastings. No,
this is not a peat monster, but the myriad of aromas you can
detect in it make this malt a perfect dram to relax in your
hammock while watching the surf.
The Case of Six: That's a difficult one. I somehow feel
tempted to travel the peat road again, but I think the
Aberlour a'Bunadh is a bit more suitable for that tropical
island feeling. Conentrated fruity and spicy delight.
The Whisky-Related Item: An empty bourbon hogshead that I
can chop into pieces to flavour the smoke in the barbeque pit
that I am going dig. Sample recipe: 1. Dig pit. 2. Make fire in
pit 3. Hunt hog 4. Wait until flames stop. 5 Put hog into pit.
6. Cover pit with banana leaves 7. Wait 8. Wait. 9. Wait. 10.
Enjoy. Chicken, goat or cow works just as fine, depending on
think that today I need to borrow the term "Ardbeggeddon" as it
isn't every day one has the opportunity to banish the owner of
probably the world's most informative
website on Ardbeg whisky to a very remote,
uninhabited desert island. So, today I consider it a great
honour to be able to banish Ardbeg's very own 'Chief Anorak';
Tim of the internationally renowned Ardbeg Project website to a
life of desolation, sun, sand and quite possibly a fair
sprinkling of Ardbeg bottlings to my desert island......
my "Desert Island Dram!" I hope it isn’t too long!
name is Tim Puett, and I live in San Jose, California. In
May of 2009, I started a website devoted to Ardbeg, aptly named,
“The Ardbeg Project”. I’ve
probably been a thorn in the side of many forum goers, shop
keepers and new whisky friends due to my constant ramblings or
questions about Ardbeg, the releases and the subsequent bottle
codes and label varieties. I am also a member of the PLOWED
Society, a very enthusiastic group of malt lovers with an annual
meeting coincidentally named “Ardbeggeddon”. How then am I
going to select anything other than Ardbeg during this exercise?
admit, choosing my “Desert Island Drams” was a nice trip back in
time. Well, it was a fairly short one, considering that I just
dived into Single Malts in 2007. So, sitting here and recalling
some of the malts I’ve tasted, I believe I would want to choose
some bottles that mean something personally. These whiskies
should take me on a journey, perhaps a dream that could lift me
off the island for a short time, taking me away from the
desolation that is my new found home. The book should do the
same, using the illustrations, photography and story to
complement the whisky I’ve selected. I decided my glass will
not only be good for enjoying malts, but it should also
contribute to my survival, just as the whisky related item will.
Whisky related book; I just finished reading Peat Smoke
and Spirit by Andrew Jefford, and though I would really like
to take this with me, I decided to choose the first whisky book
I purchased. I choose A Peaty Provenance, by Gavin D.
Smith and Graeme Wallace, this book should provide
everything a book can provide during my isolation. There is
plenty of history to digest as well as the stories of the
individuals that helped bring the Distillery back to life.
Another very important aspect (at least on the island) is the
number of high quality pictures that can provide an escape while
Whisky Glass; Though I do use a Glencairn most of the time,
I choose the Large Tumbler Glass from the Ardbeg Shop for
my island use. I get a great nose off the tumbler, and it is
large enough so I could probably use it to hold small sea
creatures temporarily while preparing a fire for dinner. It
would also sit well in the sand without tipping over.
bottles of whisky; I only want to choose whisky that I have
already tasted so here goes. You may be surprised, but I’m not
selecting any Ardbegs for these two bottles. Of course, any of
the Single Cask Ardbegs I’ve tried or some of the famous 1970’s
distilled IB’s would be easy to choose. I could just as easily
ask for a Springbank 30 or 40 that were phenomenal, but I want
to choose two that will help take me on a journey.
reason, the first bottle I choose is a George T. Stagg from
Fall of 2007 at 72.4% ABV. This was the first bourbon I
tasted that opened my eyes to some great whiskey offered in
America. With the high ABV, it would last long, and I could sip
on this and think of being back home. It would also provide a
nice change of pace to the other bottles I have on the island.
second bottle I choose is a SMWS 119.1 Yamazaki 22 year old at
50.9%. Unfortunately, I only ever had a sample of this one,
but I thought this was an amazing whisky. Since I received it
while trading whisky samples with a forum friend, it will remind
me of the great friendships that can be made in the world of
whisky. Every time I taste it, I’ll think of good friends and
case of six bottles of whisky; This is where I choose an
Ardbeg, and I would have to select the one that got me started
with Single Malts in the first place. After receiving an
Ardbeg TEN from my boss, I never expected to react as I did
upon nosing this one. The smell of a campfire and freshly
cooked bacon sticks with me still. Every time I pour this one,
it takes me back to the first eye (and nose) opening day, which
is exactly the type of nostalgia needed when stranded on an
island. And, since I’m so into bottle codes, I would want to
take the ‘L7 143’ batch as it is not only the best one
I’ve tried, but it was also bottled on my birthday.
Whisky related item, but not whisky; I need water so I would
take an empty 4.5L bottle of Ardbeg Rollercoaster to
collect rain water. It would also be good practice pouring
liquid out of a 4.5L whisky bottle as I would expect my friends
to buy me an Ardbeg Mor to welcome me back upon my rescue.
I am banishing another whisky blogger to my desert island
paradise as Jason, owner and creator of
GuidScotchDrink tells what
comforts he would like to help make eternity on my island just
slightly more palatable. Over to you Jason...
Sincere thanks to Keith for inviting me to be part of such an
interesting, fun, and deliciously creative activity.
always enjoyed Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (and
recently, JM Coetzee's Foe) so the task of choosing
particular whiskies in the event of my being shipwrecked has
been on my mind for while. I've read a number of fantastic
whisky books and tasted a greater number of fantastic
whiskies. Limiting the number of each for my desert island
sojourn is a formidable task.
One whisky (related) book: I enjoy books that locate whisky
within a cultural context even more than books about production
and tasting. While I highly recommend Edward Burns' It's a
bad thing whisky, especially bad whisky, I would like my
copy of Aeneas MacDonald's, Whisky, from 1930 (Canongate
Books reprinted his delightful text in 2006) with me on my
island. MacDonald's prose is lyrical and elegant: "Whisky is a
reincarnation; it is made by a sublimation of coarse and heavy
barley malt; the spirit leaves that earthly body, disappears and
by a lovely metempsychosis returns to the world in the form of a
liquid exquisitely pure and impersonal." While the book is far
too short it still invites careful reading and re-reading!
One whisky glass: I love my copita but the
Glencairn might be a better investment with its solid base
rather than delicate stem. Each is terrific for the purposes of
nosing and tasting guid scotch drink, though.
Two bottles of whisky: On one hand, I want to consider the
likely weather conditions on my island (hot, sunny) but, on the
other, my favorite whiskies are best consumed during wild, wet
times. So, perhaps, I'll bring along a bottle for each
eventuality. For the hot, sunny days: a Parma Violet nuzzle
from a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling of a 1985 Glen
Garioch (19.40). For watching the storms that shake the
palm trees and to help me forget about the impending collapse of
my paltry hut: Lagavulin 21 Year Old; a sherried,
medicinal behemoth that presents rubber and pipe tobacco,
freshness and sweetness in perfect harmony.
One case of six bottles: Hmm, so many great options, but how
about the first Icons of Arran bottling, The Peacock. There's
honey and vanilla, and even strawberries and cream smack dab in
the middle of the palate. A perfect picnic malt -- being
stranded on a desert island would be like a picnic at the beach,
One other whisky related item: A couple of years ago, my
wonderful mother gave me a water color of Lagavulin that
she had painted herself. The framed scene hangs in my office
and I really don't think I could go very long without looking at
it. Not only does it look perfect (she is a wonderful artist)
but it also has a touch of home about it.
where's my parasol?
back again after my journey and it's time to banish someone else
to this little paradise island, in fact today we're looking to
yet another continent as our 'guest' hails from South Africa,
but I'll hand over and let him introduce himself.
My name is Marc, I’m proudly South
African and I’m a whisky addict,
just like the rest of you. I’m
quite active on twitter as
I’ve just started a [another!] whisky blog
with the hopes of catering to South Africans whilst providing
international readers insight into SA whisky happenings. It
really is brand new, so keep checking back!
here goes. Stranded on a desert island?
I actually like the thought of this. No work, beautiful beaches,
no taxes, fishing, braaing (South African style BBQ), no
bond repayments, surfing and thanks to
Keith I’m allowed some whisky, sounds like a much needed
As a few of the previous acts pointed out, it would not make
sense to have a JM Whisky Bible styled book; what use are the
ratings and descriptions if I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Instead I would opt for something more general: The World
Guide to Spirits by Tony Lord, 1979. This is one of my
favourite books covering all spirits, with a solid section on
whisky but also covering wines, rums, tequilas and numerous
other spirits. It includes information on both historical
aspects, anecdotal and production processes with some nifty
illustrations and old photos. This way if there are no grains to
make moonshine with, there is still a good chance of being able
to make at least something alcoholic. (I wonder what a spirit
matured in palm tree or bamboo casks would taste like? I could
char them over the bonfire…)
In an attempt to break with the norm, I won’t take a Glencairn
with me. No doubt it is an excellent whisky drinking vessel, but
chances are I’ll be able to find one somewhere on the island
thanks to previous deserters. Instead I’ll opt for a glass whose
official name is unknown to me, but it’s a solid drinking glass
for whisky. It’s similar in shape to a Glencairn although
somewhat bigger and less tulip shaped. The reason for this
particular glass is due to sentimentality, the set was passed
down to me from my folks, and the bling gold rim may assist in
signalling to passing ships/planes.
(See image below)
My two bottles:
I was going to be crafty here and go with the Ardbeg Mor, cask
strength release, at 4.5 litres, but that would defeat the
point. So my
first whisky would be a bottle of Port Ellen 25yo OMC
bottling at 50% ABV, only 189 bottles. I tried this, my first
Port Ellen, a few weeks ago and was blown away. It was
immediately evident why Port Ellen is held in such high regard.
My next would have to be a bottle of
Ardbeg, and here I’ll go for the Airigh Nam Beist
which is my personal favourite. I know it may not be as rich as
the Corryvreckan, but I own a bottle of the Beast, and if I
didn’t have it to drink on the occasion I would sincerely miss
it, so its only right I have one for company on the island.
Here I think I’ll go for a case of Caol Ila 18yo, 43%
ABV. This has the peat, but it also has a broader range of
flavours, including some vanilla, fruits and overall more
influence from the wood. Smoother to drink than the 12yo, which
would kill me of heartburn after a bottle!
Other related item:
Several ideas come to mind here including a laptop with internet
access to read all the whisky blogs and twitter users, but this
most likely will not be allowed. So I’ll opt instead for a
mash tun. It will make a sturdy living space to protect me
from the elements while I drink my whisky.
for reading, and thanks for the invite Keith, this was a great
idea. Cheers and Slainte!
Today's 'guest' on my desert island is Steffan, a whisky
aficionado from Denmark who is known to many across cyberspace
as 'Macdeffe'. Unfortunately, what he didn't realise when he
agreed to this exile was that it wouldn't just be for the one
day, as due to a family death I now have to travel back to the
UK for a couple of days and leave him stranded until later in
the week when he will eventually be rescued and replaced by my
nexxt guest. Over to you Steffan....
name is Steffen Bräuner, but as my friends once nicknamed
me Deffe I chose the username macdeffe first time I used a
whisky forum and I kept to it. I live in Denmark and have a
job not connected with the whisky industry at all.
been drinking and enjoying whisky as long as I can't
remember. I faintly recall trying Royal Salute when I was in
high school, but I didn't really get into malt whisky until
the day after my 30th birthday in 1997. Of all places I went
to a party in Norway, bringing with me, of all things, a
bottle of "Gammel Dansk" (horrible stuff), shared it with a
Glaswegian, he drank it and then said : "Now lets try some
of this" and pulled out 5 or 6 bottles of whisky. Since then
I have been a dram hunter, and I still visit the Glaswegian
(now Falkirk) whenever I am in Scotland. Last year I had the
honour of joining the Plowed guys, who invited me over and
never thought I would show up across the pond. It's a great
group and now they're stuck with me!
I am not a very faithful drammer. When in a bar or
whisky shop I always look for something new. I always
find it hard to name my favourite distillery or whisky
or bottle or setting up lists of those, because it's
constantly changing. But sometimes, like now I give it
a go, but if you ask me next month I most likely will
come up with a different answer.
To the desert island I would bring:
Alfred Barnard : The Whisky Distilleries of the
United Kingdom. I had this book for a few years, I
always wanted to read it, but never got around to it
except looking up 1 or 2 details. It's a long book, it's
whisky history and I haven't read it before. Three good
reasons to bring it to a desert island
Whiskyglass : The Ardbeg/Glenmorangie nosing glass
(the one with the lid). It has to be copita shaped for
sure, but somehow I prefer this slightly to the
Glencairn, the latter I also use, it's harder to break
and good to use with the guests that might show up at my
Two bottles of whisky :
Ardbeg 21yo committee bottling 56.3%, it was
bottled in 2001, and was on sale at the distillery for
80£ in 2004. Now I doubt that would happen today. This
is a lovely Ardbeg and I can only hit myself in the face
as I only bought 1 bottle of this. It had everything you
wish for in an Ardbeg this age. Fantastic complexity,
leather, lemon, peat and the greatest body of any Ardbeg
as far as I remember
Benriach 25yo OB 50%. This is in essence how I
like a whisky to be, and a very good example of a well
aged speysider, not masked by sherry or peat. It's quite
fruity and the years in the cask just added a wonderful
complexity to it
A case of whisky : Well ..It has to be Arran
Peacock, one of the few whiskies I ever stocked up
and bought 4 bottles of. Its a harmony of sherry casks
and bourbon casks where both express themselves
wonderfully and get through very clearly in the final
Whisky related item : Icecream. I couldn't really
think of anything here, but I always avoid food with
whisky simply because it doesn't work for me. But
strawberry icecream and Ardbeg does !
week sees a new selection of drammers being castaway and all
washed-up on my little desert island paradise with nothing other
than a book and a few drams to keep them company.
first 'guest' this week is Jörg Bechtold or 'Josh' an avid
whisky blogger, connoisseur and member of the
Malt Germaniacs. Over to you
stranded. And I can't even #followfriday, because I'm all alone.
So it's good that I have some great things with me to share my
Before I tell
you about them, I would like to tell you about me. My name
is Jörg Bechtold, but simply call me Josh. Before I got
stranded, I had been writing a whisky blog called
with weekly news and information from the world of Single
Malt Whisky from Scotland and Ireland. Since 2002, I'm also
running a website called
with some basic info on Single Malt Whisky and lots of links
to interesting sites, shops and much more. All this is in
German language, because Germany is where I was born and
raised and I still live there. Well, had been living, until
I became stranded on this island!
to basics – what do I have with me?
whisky-related book: 'Aqua Vitae – Ein literarisches
Whisky-Tasting'. Just before I got stranded, it was sent to
me together with the request for me to publish a review of it on
my blog. Seems that this will take longer now …
type of (whisky) glass: The Glencairn fortunately,
because it will not even break in a tsunami or when a coconut
drops on it (are there coconut trees on this island?).
bottles of whisky which don't have to be the same: Only two
bottles? That's harsh. So it should be two older ones where even
a small sip will last for a long time. Maybe a Glen Grant
1972 by Scotch Single Malt Circle, a warm and spicy dram?
And some old Highland Park from a sherry cask (e.g.
Vintage 1980 Cask 7367), which are always great but always
case of six bottles which are all the same: This could be an
every day dram, if you expect to be discovered soon …
Laphroaig Triple Wood would be an exellent choice (but so
would Highland Park 12 or even 18).
further whisky-related item which may not be actual whisky:
Hopefully a bottle of spring water (if there is no spring on the
island), to dilute the whisky. It will nose and taste better and
last much longer.
the way – if I would be allowed to carry some more with me, I
would also choose some rum. Especially if this island (where the
heck am I?) lies somewhere in the caribbean or anywhere else
where it's warm and sunny.
stuff to drink, so don't save me too soon!
Friday and I have great pleasure in introducing you personally
to one of Scotland's Independent Bottlers and at the same
banishing him to my desert island paradise for the weekend.
David Stirk is the founder & owner of
The Creative Whisky Company
where he offers three excellent ranges, his
Exclusive Casks &
David, it's now over to you as I ask what "Desert Island Drams &
items" you would select?
Favourite book; Still Life with Bottle by Ralph
Steadman. The greatest book ever written about whisky by a
man living on the boundaries of sanity. Witty, irreverant,
stylised and at times to the point. A paragraph from this book
is more rewarding than the entire Raw Spirit by Iain Banks.
Favourite glass; The small tumbler given to me by the Swedish
Whisky Association. It is the perfect size and is so special
that I never use them... reading that back, that is actually
I've tried so many extraordinary whiskies and quite often cannot
remember name, cask, strength and even bottler. I do recall a
Glen Garioch from the SMWS (over 10 years ago) that was 19 years
of age and either matured or finished in a port cask
- it was one of the most menthol, complex whiskies I've ever
tasted. I also recall a 7yo Springbank bottled by Signatory
(also at least 10 years ago) from a first fill sherry cask.
It was a lesson in age vs oak and was superb - I would happily
take a bottle of each of these to a desert island.
If I had to take a case of just one whisky... tough, very
tough. It would have to be a very complex dram and also
something available today (no point in asking for a case of
Hazelburn etc). I think, I would have to ask for a case of
either the Glenfarclas 15yo or the Springbank 15yo... and when
pushed for an answer... the Springbank.
The other whisky related item I would take would have to
be a painting from my good friend Ian Gray. Being
stranded on a desert Island, I would quickly lose despair (especially
once the whisky had run out) but with one of Ian's beautiful
paintings, I'd last a while longer.
you and best regards, David
This morning I tear Gal Granov away from the family he loves and
banish him to the island, but then maybe he will appreciate the
rest, peace and solitude away from what must be two demanding
being deserted on an island you say? Kind of like “lost” but
without all the parallel universe mambo jambo . although I am
sure those guys would not want to leave the island or fight the
“others” or anything, if they had some decent “Dharma” lagavulin
casks at their disposal, would they?
So here goes. My name is Gal Granov. I
am an Israeli whisky aficionado. Only a few years ago I didn’t
like whisky at all (I'd mostly tasted
blends until then, bad blends if I should say) . Then one day,
sitting in the comfort of my buddy Kfir, I drank a wee dram of
the Balvenie Double wood, and wham bam! The fire was ignited. I
didn’t look back ever since. Whisky is a big hobby of mine
and I also now run
a blog (Israel’s first and only whisky blog in English)
WhiskyIsrael. In addition I
take part in whisky tastings in a club called “Distilled beer”
and in the process of setting a whisky tasting group. I am a
father of two beautiful kids (age 3 years, and one 3 months) . I
love jazz almost as much as I love whisky and mostly listen to
So I am
deserted on the Island.
One whisky Book;
Whisky and jazz by Hans Offringa. As I
mentioned before I am a great jazz fan, I like the classics, but
I also like contemporary jazz. The piano trio is my favorite
among the various jazz types and genres. Drinking whisky and
listening to good music is a great combination. Music
and mood decide which type of whisky I
usually drink, and jazz and a whisky are a match made in heaven.
So, it’s an easy choice for me.
One whisky Glass;
Glencairn. I usually taste whisky either with this, or with
my Ardbeg nosing glasses with the little hood. The Glencairn is
a very sturdy and durable glass, so that is essential on the
island. Also it’s not light and can withstand winds, so my
precious nectar does not spill in a storm.
My Two whisky bottles;
everyone pretty much knows I like
Islay malts, but also sherried malts. I do believe when on an
island tastes and aromas should be strong, to beat all the
wind/sand/salt and elements. The drams need to be with a lot of
character. I am not going for expensive malts, but for malts
that get me in a good mood. And malts that I can drink and feel
the aftertaste for a long time, whisky is sparse on the island
it’s rainy and windy I will opt for the Lagavulin 16 DE.
This is one of the first drams I ever
tasted, and frankly, not many are better. I keep on trying new
malts almost daily, but the lagavulin 16 DE never lets me down.
It gives me my daily intake of Peat and smoke and would be
excellent by the fire, where I will roast the game I hunt on the
second bottle will have to be something completely different.
Sweet, caressing. I would choose the Macallan 18 sherry.
Also not a very expensive malt, but
one I do think is just excellent. All those dried fruits,
sultanas, coffee and cocoa will be very
nurturing. And since I can't have all
those (coffee, fruit,
sweets) it will
serve a double cause.
One case of six bottles;
I’ll go for the Ardbeg Uigeadail. The Uigeadail
is my go-to dram. I do think it’s splendid.
Bottled at Cask strength, it would also last for a long time. I
love the name and uigeadail will bring
the landscape of Islay into my head, and make me forget the
island and my misery. Ahoy!
One other whisky related item , but not
take some dried peat with me. to put inside the fire, and
enjoy the smell. Sitting in the fireplace, some peat smoke and
the uigeadail in my hand, I think I could learn to love my
Today's guest offering to give up a day of civilisation and the
comforts of his home for the desert island is Joshua Hatton of
Connecticut, USA, but I'll let him do the introductions. Over to
Keith, you have tasked me with making some tough decisions
indeed. My hope is that, by the time I am done writing this
list, I will never have to resort to using this information.
Because, in the end, the whisky runs dry and I go crazy looking
for a Wilson soccer ball to make friends with.
While you may know me, many of your readers may not. So, let me
give a little information about myself which may help everyone
understand why I am about to make the choices listed below.
name is Joshua Hatton.
run a whisky society out of Connecticut (USA) called the
Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society. We've got about 20
people in my group and growing.
I also run a whisky blog
and I am quite passionate about whisky. Tasting it,
reviewing, understanding how it was made and the art thereof.
I'm also in a rock and roll band called Kimono Draggin' (www.kimonodraggin.com)
where I play bass and am just as passionate about whisky as I
am about music. I wish there were a choice for some records to
bring with me while on this desert island. Oh well, those are
the cards dealt I suppose.
can bring one whisky related book, eh? This may be one of
the toughest ones out there as my reading passions are more for
science fiction and Torah (first five books of the Hebrew bible).
If I could somehow mix a Robert Heinlein book with Torah and
perhaps some of Michael Jackson's writings, I'd be in heaven!
While this will never happen, I'll choose Scotch Whisky by
David Daiches. A wonderful read first published (I think)
in 1970. An interesting note: David Daiches was a Scottish Jew!
One type of (whisky) glass; well, this one is quite easy
- Glencairn. I know of no other glass that is better for
whisk(e)y. Granted, I've only tried this and a Riedel and I
just found the Glencairn to be more comfortable in my hand and
more durable. What if I'm attacked by some desert island animal?
I want my whisky glass to survive along with me!
Now I get to choose one each of two different bottles, right?
This is a tough choice. I think I need to choose one for hot
days and one for cool evenings (assuming the weather will
actually accommodate my weather pattern postulation). For hot
desert days, I'd have to go with perhaps some Balblair 1965.
For cool evenings I'll need something to warm me up. I need
some nice older peat - perhaps Ardbeg Lord of the Isles
One case of six bottles, well, this is an easy one for me.
Highland Park 18yr. Such an amazing go-to dram for me!
A whisky related item that does not have to be whisky. I
had to think about this for a little while. Can I take
Glenmorangie's full whisky warehouse with me? If not, I'll take
one hogshead filled with some 21yr Lagavulin. Once I'm done
with it I can use it as a boat to get myself off the island!
Sorry Joshua, no whisky allowed! but the empty warehouse or
hogshead could be arranged)
Joshua "Yossi" Hatton
first guest agreeing to a self-imposed exile is Mark Connelly,
specialist whisky forum and also as a member of
Glasgow's whisky club, he is
also a joint organisor of the exciting new
Glasgow Whisky Festival in
November. In addition Mark also keeps
his own whisky blog.
to you Mark!
thanks to Keith for the invitation to contribute to this
excellent idea and I'm really looking forward to reading other
takes on this subject. Here goes:
One Whisky (related) book; I suppose most of my favourite
books would be useless in this situation: no distilleries to
visit and bottlings to sample (other than those mentioned below).
For that reason I'm going to go with The Manufacture of
Whisky and Plain Spirit by JA Nettleton which I recently
received from Classic Expressions. A reprint of a book from
1913, this is an absolute tome which I reckon to be around two
and a half inches thick. Not only would it take a long time to
read, but I might also manage to learn how to make my own spirit
One Whisky glass; It has to be the Glencairn. I
generally don't use any other glass apart from the odd copita
and I reckon the Glencairn has more chance of lasting at least
until I've finished my 8 bottles of whisky that I'm lucky to
have with me. Probably easier to sit a Glencairn on the sand
than a copita too.
Two bottles of whisky which don't have to be the same;
This is a tough one. Decisions, decisions. Okay, firstly I'm
going with Black Bowmore(42yo). Well, if I'm going to be
stuck on an island then I might as well be stuck with something
I can't afford. I have been lucky to try this twice and it is
utterly sublime. I might not be in too much of a hurry to be
rescued if I have that keeping me company.
Secondly I'll go for Lagavulin 12yo Special Release (any year).
This is my Christmas treat to myself every year and I absolutely
love it. There's everything that's right about Islay whisky in
this bottle. Plus, at cask strength I can add a little water
from the waterfall in the jungle and make it last even longer.
That will keep my peat cravings at bay too.
One case of six bottles which do have to be the same; I
was tempted to say Lagavulin 16yo (yes, I'm a big fan of
Lagavulin!) but since I've already got a Laga I'll plump for
a case of Aberlour A'Bunadh. Big, big, sherry and full and
rich. Again, since it's bottled at cask strength, a little water
will make it go a long way.
One other whisky related item of your choice, but not a
whisky itself; Can I have a little pot still? Is that
cheating? If I can't have that then perhaps my pack of
Glenfiddich playing cards so that I can play Solitaire when I've
finished my book."
To be fair I guess I should start the ball rolling, or the ship
sinking, by offering my own "Desert Island Drams" choices.
realise that this is not quite so easy as it initially sounded,
even to me as I try to decide upon my own selection. Do I just
select my top 3 drams and my single favourite whisky book, but
what about an extra item? No, I think there's more to it than
this as I picture myself stuck in some sun-blessed remote
paradise with an eternity to pontificate on the meaning of life.
choice of book; here I am stuck on the island with only
three different whiskies, so I am loathe to select my favourite
book of whisky reviews as I would only start to miss all the
great drams that I don't have any access to. Also, what matters
now is how they taste to me, not to someone else. With this in
mind I have chosen one of the oldest publications, if not the
oldest, on spirit distillation which is The Practical
Distiller by Samuel McHarry, first published in 1809. Who
knows, maybe this will not only be an enlightening read, but
also give me some tips for setting up my own illicit and
ramshackle castaway distillery.
As for my choice
of glass; I think something a little durable is called for,
in which case I have to run with the Glencairn. It's
quite small, so can be carried around easily, but more
importantly it's sturdy and robust whilst being a superb nosing
categories are much more difficult as I really want something
other than just my top three of all time, although of course
they have to be considered. Firstly when it comes to the 'two
bottles' I want something special, certainly not what I would
term everyday drams, although I would look for something which
reminds me of home, without making me too homesick.
With this in mind I
am immediately drawn to a Caol Ila. It's one of my favourite
distilleries and as I have said before it almost always reminds
me of a specific time and place in my youth, whilst walking in
my beloved Yorkshire Dales and happening upon a remote row of
terraced cottages whose chimneys were gently emitting a warming
smoky mixture of peat and wood-smoke on a rather cold day. As to
which Caol Ila; this is quite an easy choice because one in
particular sticks in my mind as being the first to offer me this
An IB from JWWW (Jack Wieber) in his
"Scottish Castles" series at 58.1%abv and 15 years
My second bottle
choice is not only a great whisky from a long-lost distillery,
but also a personal reminder of my second home in Hampshire
(England, UK) and a local, off the beaten path wine store who
also stocked a few whiskies. When he heard that his company had
inherited some long-forgotten stocks from the far corner of a
whisky warehouse he went out of his way to source a couple of
bottles for me. This was back in the mid-1990's and that whisky
still lives long in my mind as a true great. What is my choice
of second bottle?
Glen Mhor 1969 which was
eventually bottled at around 26 years old and was a magnificent
dram. Something indeed special for my desert island!
Now for my case
selection; once again I find myself choosing something
special and after considering many different possibilities from
old and famous Ardbegs, a rather good Banff, Bowmores and old
Dalmores, I have come down in favour of another IB. In this case
34 year old Inchgower from David Stirk's
Exclusive Malts range. This is to date the best
whisky I have tasted in 2010 and has not only delightful hints
of leather and polished wood, but incredible depths of lightly
perfumed flora which I know I would find ideal during the balmy
desert island evenings.
Finally I have
to select one more item which may not be actual whisky, but must
be whisky-related. This is possibly my easiest choice as I
would like something which again reminds me of some great whisky,
but which is at the same time useful to my island plight. With
this in mind I have no hesitation nor qualms about laying claim
to one of Ardbeg's finest oak casks. This will forever
remind me of a great distillery, hopefully with some aromas of
their whisky still to be had from the wood whilst also offering
me the possibility of some shelter from any island storms. Who
knows, it may even offer the possibility of escape should I ever
tire of paradise and my chosen whiskies.
Bruichladdich Celtic Nations
Bruichladdich Link II Augusta
Ships - Bourbon finish