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The Meaning Behind the Name?

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The Meaning Behind the Name?

Postby Wendy » Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:55 am

It has struck me on many occasions that many bottlings that I have purchased or read about have names whose meaning remains mysterious to me. Recently, I felt compelled to scratch the surface and was rewarded greatly...

Over the past couple of days, I have been rationing a 5ml sample of the Blackadder Old Man of Hoy, 14 yo 64% abv that was sent to me by our one and only, Mr. TH. My curiosity with this dram and its namesake lead me to the following bit of information that I have found fascinating which I feel compelled to share.


The meaning behind the name....

The Old Man of Hoy is a dramatic pinkish sandstone seastack situated on the west coast of the island of Hoy, in the Orkney Islands. At one time the seastack had two legs, but in the early 19th Century, one of the legs was washed away in an Atlantic storm. The Old Man of Hoy is the tallest standing seastack in the UK that reaches to an impressive height of 450 feet (137m) that rises out of the Atlantic Ocean.

Orcadian poet, Malcolm wrote about Old Man Hoy:

Based in the sea, his fearful form
Glooms like the spirit of the storm;
An ocean Babal, rent and worn
By time and tide - all wide and lorn;
A giant that had warred with Heaven,
Whose ruin scalp seems thunder-driven


What I have found particularly exciting about the Old Man of Hoy is that today, July 8th, marks the 40th year Anniversary of the 1967 live BBC televised outside broadcast of first and second climbing ascents. At the time, the pioneering style of the black & white live broadcast offered the armchair thrill seeker to vicariously glimpse into the private, exclusive and highly adventurous world of the British Climbing elite. In 1966, the first ascent of the seastack was climbed by Chris Bonington, Rusty Baillie and Tom Patey. The following year, on July 8-9th, it was repeated before an estimated 15 million viewers over the 3 day filming event which began on the 7th. The three pair of climbers that took part in the filming were Chris Bonington and Tom Patey who repeated their original route on the east-face, while two new routes were established by Joe Brown and Ian McNaught-Davis on the south-face and Pete Crew and Dougal Haston who climbed the south-east arête. Other seasoned climbers like Hamish MacInnes and John Cleare lent their skills via "climbing cameramen" and transmitter carriers were Rusty Baillie and Ian Clough.

In the report that I read, the climbers, when away from the watchful eye of the camera, bivouaced in comfort that included a bottle of whisky (bottling unknown) and foam mattresses. The televised climb was a grand success and had attracted, at that time, the most media attention through major national newspaper coverage.

The name of this particular bottling reveals a treasure trove of geography, sport, poetry and local history. And, of course, the all important journey on the infinite whisky trail.

In the JM Whisky Bible 2007, Jim reviews a few bottlings, but none are the CS 14 yo 64% abv bottling. For me, the CS Orcadian bottling was quite a powerhouse. But, it also tasted one-dimensional. It didn't have the great characteristics of HP (IB or OB's) that I have come to associate with Highland Park. I am willing to give it another go...

On a personal note, I met climber Rusty Baillie in Calgary during the late '70's and early '80's. I was doing some climbing in the Rockies and he was part of that network of climbers that I was connected to. For the record, I doubt that he would remember me.

I would encourage others to add to this thread. I am sure most of you don't have to be as long-winded as I am, but even a translation of a Gaelic name would be most appreciated.

Cheers,
Wendy

P.S. The bulk of the information in my posting is extracted from an article in Sport in History - Vol. 27, No 1., March 2007, pp 44-63. Author: Mr. Paul Gilchrist, Reality TV on the Rock Face - Climbing the Old Man of Hoy
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Mon Jul 09, 2007 10:51 am

The Old Man of Hoy is truly dramatic and beatiful. When taking the ferry from John o' Groats to Stromness you pass by Hoy, and the Old Man of Hoy.

I've made a photo which I included in my "other Scotland" wallpaper page.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Mon Jul 09, 2007 2:25 pm

Yes whisk(e)y names can be interesting and sometimes it is easy for us Irish and Scotts t over look the knowledge that we would have locally. I know that alot of the Scottish bottles for me would make no real connection either unless I did the same as your self Wendy and did som research.

We had friends over on Friday night, the husband an appreciator whiskey like myself and his wife who was from Donegal in the very north west ofIreland. When I was serving up some drinks she noticed I had a bottle of Tyrconnell and she imediately commented on it being her the old name for her home area.

Donegal used to be called Tíre Connell

......when translated from Gaelic it means "The Land of O'Donnell". The O'Donnell's were one of the most powerful Gaelic noble families right up to colonisation and ruled the ancient kingdom, which is now County Donegal, until 1701.
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:02 pm

Ow, that live BBC broadcast of the climb was also in a recent Coast episode, Shetlands and Orkney's if I remember correctly.
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Re: The Meaning Behind the Name?

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:34 am

I love it when you talk geography, Wendy!

There are three photos of the Old Man of Hoy in the photo section of the Orkney page on my website, including two I uploaded mere moments ago! One is a 360° panorama taken from the cliffs.

As for the Blackadder OMoH, I cannot argue with a superior feinschmecker like Wendy--it is indeed one-dimensional, or at least seriously out of balance. I have found it a tough nut to crack, searching in vain for some malty body to go along with the huge peat and massive alcohol. It does have a pleasingly oily texture, but that is not a suitable substitute. A little while ago, I tried watering it to about 50%, but still could not tease anything out.

Just now I am trying an impromptu vatting of the OMoH with Glenlivet Nadurra, and I think I've hit on something--the smoke and oil of the Hoy match up quite well with the sweet maltiness of the Nadurra.

Wendy wrote:On a personal note, I met climber Rusty Baillie in Calgary during the late '70's and early '80's. I was doing some climbing in the Rockies and he was part of that network of climbers that I was connected to. For the record, I doubt that he would remember me.


So Wendy, you started climbing the Rockies when you were what, two years old?

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Postby Wendy » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:58 am

Hello Jeroen and Mr. TH,
Thank you for adding the wonderful photographs. The Old Man of Hoy is an extremely respectable piece of rock and the surrounding area is fantastic.

I would love to one day view the climbing broadcast. I spoke to a friend who had seen the live broadcast when he was a young lad and said it was spellbinding. I think one important tidbit missing from my report is the identity of the clever person who decided to name the Blackadder bottling, the Old Man of Hoy! I think I have some more detective work to do.

Adrian, I also want to thank you for adding that piece of history. It is exactly what I was hoping for. For me this kind of stuff adds another layer of depth to the subject of whisk(e)y.

Cheers,
Wendy

P.S. Mr T.H., re climbing age...you are right, again!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:46 pm

Yes, not sure why Blackadder felt compelled to use a pseudonym--it's not usual for them, and HP are not fussy about this in the way that Glenfarclas are. All it does is make you wonder whether you've actually got a rogue Scapa.
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:14 pm

See if you can get a hold of that copy of the recent Coast episode then Wendy. Might be on the BBC website as a stream? Obviously not the entire original broadcast, but it had some old footage of it. In my meory it was in the end of the episode.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:34 pm

That's a nice photo of the Old Man, Jeroen--every time I take the ferry in the afternoon, it's cloudy!
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:38 pm

In all the years we've been to Scotland we only had rain three times... Once a few showers in Bowmore, one shower when walking to Macallan, and a morning on Papa Westray. I really dunno what all those people are complaining about when it comes to Scotland and its weather ;)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:41 pm

Well, let me know when you're going again--I'm going to tag along.

My last trip to Orkney was very sunny and warm, but squalls are more the norm. And I'm surprised Bowmore didn't blow away the last time I was there!
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Postby Jeroen Kloppenburg » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:43 pm

PS, you've got some good photography as well there :)

But.. we're steering heavily off-topic.... Sorry Wendy!!!
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Postby Wendy » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:01 pm

Jeroen Kloppenburg wrote:PS, you've got some good photography as well there :)

But.. we're steering heavily off-topic.... Sorry Wendy!!!


No complaints from me, Jeroen. Chat-away, it all adds to the flavour of the thread...

I am wondering if I should rename the thread, "The Meaning Behind the Bottle...". It probably doesn't matter too much.

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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:26 pm

Most single malts are named after the places where they are made. It seems to be different, though, for blends, Irish, and bourbons. What, for example, is the significance of "Famous Grouse", "Connemara" (a place, but not where the whiskey was made), and "Buffalo Trace", to name but three?
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Postby les taylor » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:53 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Most single malts are named after the places where they are made. It seems to be different, though, for blends, Irish, and bourbons. What, for example, is the significance of "Famous Grouse", "Connemara" (a place, but not where the whiskey was made), and "Buffalo Trace", to name but three?



Mr T I can answer the Famous Grouse question for you.

Matthew Gloag & Son Ltd., has its origins in the early 19th century, when the founder established himself as a grocer and wine merchant in Perth. Matthew Gloag bought malt whiskies from distilleries around Scotland and built up a reputation for his cellars.

When Queen Victoria visited the town in 1842, Matthew Gloag was invited to supply the wines for the royal banquet.

In 1860 his son William took over the company and began to add blended whiskies to the range of drinks offered by the firm, then in 1896 William's son, another Matthew, who had worked in the wine trade in Bordeaux, took over the running of the business.

He created a blend in 1897 which was first called The Grouse Brand. This became so well known around Perth that the name was changed to the Famous Grouse.


:)
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:51 pm

les taylor wrote:
In 1860 his son William took over the company and began to add blended whiskies to the range of drinks offered by the firm, then in 1896 William's son, another Matthew, who had worked in the wine trade in Bordeaux, took over the running of the business.

He created a blend in 1897 which was first called The Grouse Brand. This became so well known around Perth that the name was changed to the Famous Grouse.


:)


And I though it was famous because of all that striding around on the TV :lol: :wink:
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Postby les taylor » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:59 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
les taylor wrote:
In 1860 his son William took over the company and began to add blended whiskies to the range of drinks offered by the firm, then in 1896 William's son, another Matthew, who had worked in the wine trade in Bordeaux, took over the running of the business.

He created a blend in 1897 which was first called The Grouse Brand. This became so well known around Perth that the name was changed to the Famous Grouse.


:)


And I though it was famous because of all that striding around on the TV :lol: :wink:


That was the Grouse. Matthew Gloag was pre TV.

IWC what's the story with Connemara? You or Aidan should be able to tell us.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:37 pm

I presume you mean the meaning of the Word as opposed to anything else...

Like most old Irish place names they are derived from the people who ruled them in the first place ...

Connemara is a smaller part of Connacht which you may know through the magners and celtic league rugby as one of the 4 Irish Provinces (Connacht (west), Leinster (East), Musnter (South) & Ulster(north)) and each province is then broken into counties of varying sizes and numbers.

Not 100% sure on this but the Conmhaicne was a tribal grouping that lived in the area and now gives it's name to Connacht however there was one such tribal grouping or off shoot of the Conmhaicne and they were Conmhaicne Mhara as they lived beside the Sea (Mhara) and the area they controlled became known as Connemara.


Connacht & Connemara is derived from
Conmhaicne Mara (or descendants of the
Son of the Hound by the Sea)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:46 pm

les taylor wrote:He created a blend in 1897 which was first called The Grouse Brand. This became so well known around Perth that the name was changed to the Famous Grouse.


:)


According to the guide at Glenturret (and they should know, shouldn't they? :? ) the blend was originally created without name specifically for shooting parties, mainly from England, and was identified by the guns and their entourage as the "grouse" whisky. The name stuck........... and it became famous.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:17 pm

iwc, my question about Connemara is why the whiskey is named after a place that is not where it is made. I've been through Connemara, and it's the part of Ireland that most reminded me of the Scottish Highlands. Is the name intended to evoke that sort of wild and rugged landscape, to say, in effect, that this is the most scotch-like of Irish whiskeys?
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:33 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:iwc, my question about Connemara is why the whiskey is named after a place that is not where it is made. I've been through Connemara, and it's the part of Ireland that most reminded me of the Scottish Highlands. Is the name intended to evoke that sort of wild and rugged landscape, to say, in effect, that this is the most scotch-like of Irish whiskeys?


Ahhh ... with you now.

I honestly don't know but I reckon from a marketing point of view it is a very well known area in Ireland with it's desolate landscape and most of that area is covered in blanket bog, Hence the association to a peated whiskey.

Also the west and north west would have been most associated to peat dried malt distilling, mostly illicit distilling mind you :wink:


By the way the south west is much nicer with much higher mountians, greener and more panoramic so more of a comparison to the highlands.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:22 pm

Connemara looks more like the northwest of Scotland, the part of the Highlands I enjoy most! I love the rugged scenery.

The peated malt/illicit distilling connection makes sense. Thanks.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Jul 12, 2007 5:44 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:Connemara looks more like the northwest of Scotland, the part of the Highlands I enjoy most! I love the rugged scenery.

The peated malt/illicit distilling connection makes sense. Thanks.


Never been that far up so I would not know ..... I have driven up by loch lomand and stopped at Inverary ... this was in 1999 and I never knew the delights of Scotch never mind LFW :o

Major oppertunity missed, especially with plenty of empty space heading back to Ireland :headbang:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:39 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Major oppertunity missed, especially with plenty of empty space heading back to Ireland :headbang:


You'll just need to get yourself back up then :thumbsup:
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:43 pm

Crieftan wrote:
irishwhiskeychaser wrote:
Major oppertunity missed, especially with plenty of empty space heading back to Ireland :headbang:


You'll just need to get yourself back up then :thumbsup:


Well Popping over to Islay in October but going by plane so major problem with reduced capacity but may try and get LFW to post some for me :wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:53 am

Can anyone recall the derivation of the name "Octomore"? I read it somewhere, but a glance through Peat Smoke & Spirit just now reveals nothing. (Yes, I know it is the name of a farm and a former distillery--I want to know what the meaning of the word is.)
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Postby les taylor » Wed Jul 18, 2007 10:03 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:Can anyone recall the derivation of the name "Octomore"? I read it somewhere, but a glance through Peat Smoke & Spirit just now reveals nothing. (Yes, I know it is the name of a farm and a former distillery--I want to know what the meaning of the word is.)


Mr T Octomore literally means:-

big eighth farm, or locally known as big brae Oct-o-more


:)
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:41 pm

Yes, that sounds right, but there's something about the eighthness...something historical or social. Was it customary to divide estates into eighths? I can't remember the story, or where I read it.

(Edit: Oddly enough, this is post #6888.)
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