Welcome to the Scottish Heritage Home Page!

- Robert Burns

 

 

 

 

Scotch

 

Now to serious stuff, the Scotsman's staff of life, whisky that's been brewed from either water that gushed up from a deep underground spring or peat stained water that's trickled through the heather and rumbled down a mountain burn. Brewers the world over have tried to imitate Scotch and all have failed miserably. First and foremost many Scottish men will tell you that it's an absolute desecration to add ice or anything to Scotch other than maybe the tiniest dribble of tap water. They will tell you that if your preference is to add anything other than that to your whisky then do not waste good Scotch or your money but instead buy any other brew that catches your fancy. Scotch is best imbibed in the company of a good friend as after a hard day the shoes are kicked off, you settle in to comfy arm chairs, lay back, close your eyes and reminisce. I've often been asked what is it that's in Scotch that makes it so different and sets it apart from all other drinks?  There's a very good reason why Scotch is called Scotch but every Scottish man would answer the question a little bit differently.  I'll let you in on a few of the ingredients of what's intilt for me besides malted barley and peat stained water.

 

It's the mists of time.

It's the ancient land of the sun worshipping Picts,

Its my ancestral homeland that never lets go of its own.

It's stately medieval castles and humble thatched abodes.

It's majestic snow capped mountains and lonely heather clad moors.

It's the red grouse calling go-back, go-back, go-back, go-back as a covey skims low ower the heather.

It's the camaraderie of the gowf.

It's the trill of the skylarks as they hover above their nests in the bent grasses.

It's the sight of Arctic terns in flight at Ruddons Point.

It's the 12th of August when the heather is in bloom.

It's the flash of a lighthouse as its reassuring beam of light sweeps the darkness.

It's the roar of the sea as the waves from a North Sea gale crash on to the shore.

It's the silence that prevails when the sea is dead calm.

It's the romantic and the nostalgic music of the people and the land.

It's the sight of brave men on their fishing boats as they head out to sea.

It's the sound o' the geese  calling  to one another as they fly high on a moonlight night.

It's the cackle of  water tumbling  over boulders and the flash of a wee troot in a hillside burn. 

It's a salmon leaping up the falls as it heads for home.

It's two men in a wee boat "flinging fleas" on a loch.

It's the shiver that runs thru my being when I hear the haunting, lonesome cry of a long billed curlew as it calls and is answered by its mate on a rocky windswept seashore.

It's the significance of the gift of a thistle. 

It's the swing of the kilt and the far away skirl of the pipes drifting on the wind.

It's the shepherd with his ram's horn crook and his collie dog keeping their flock in control.

It's battles won and causes lost.

It's a cozy warming fire and the smell of peat reek.

It's the remembrance of absent friends the world over.

 

These are a few of the magic ingredients that can not be bought that are intilt for me that sets Scotch apart from every other libation and worth its every bawbee. 

 

To relish the moment in time.

When the moon is high, turn the lamp low. Slide down into your favorite armchair, gaze into the flickering fire and into a wee hand warmed finely cut crystal glass, decant a generous jigger and a half of either a single malt or a blend.  Take a sip that's only enough to dampen the lips and the tongue. Sip it slowly. Ever, ever so slowly

 

My favorite toast

Till aw the seas gang dry, which means--- Forever,  till the end of time.",

Now a few words about single malts and blends.

As to the often asked question, "What do you think is the best single malt Scotch and the best blend? Single malts stand alone. Blending is all about synergy, trying to create a mix that is better than the sum of its parts. I do appreciate Scotch but I am by no means a connoisseur. I can only answer that for me there  are several brands of single malts and blends that I think all are good. Most all Scotch whiskies start out as being single malt and there are some that are better than others. The same goes for blends. The blender samples the best of the single malts to see if they can be improved by being mixed. Much also depends upon maturing which, like people, is a function of slowly getting older.

 

P.S. August 25th 2011.

My nephew Tom and his wife Margaret came from their home in Aberdeen, Scotland to visit us in our new home in Bend, Oregon. As a "Lang may yer lum reek in yer new hame" gift they brought us a liter of 14 year old Glengoyne (near bonny Loch Lomond)  Highland Single Malt Scotch. Wow!! I have to say that this Glengoyne whisky that is made devoid of peat reek is the smoothest and best Scotch that I ever have had the pleasure of partaking thereof. "Glengoyne" has been in the business of making whisky for nearly 200 years--the slow way. That speaks for itself.

 

 However when all's said and done, to each-his own. No two of us have the same likes. Scotch is a personal thing or as I remember my Waid Academy French teacher, Miss Nisbett, saying way back in '39----

 

 "Chacun a son gout, mon petit chou."

 (shack un a song goo, mong pi tee shoe)