Whisky Magazine Issue 10
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The members of Canada 's An Quaich Society are real party animals, but their love of Scotch and the freedom it represents could not be more serious as Stuart Maclean Ramsay reports.
I first came across Canada's An Quaich Society on Islay three years ago. I was passing through Bowmore distillery when Christine Logan, the queen of Hebridean distillery guides, began shouting, “The Canadians are coming! The Canadians are coming!” Within 10 minutes, 15 fairly sozzled members of An Quaich, a Canadian version of Leith's (unaffiliated) Scotch Malt Whisky Society, had been extricated from their minibus and unleashed upon the distillery.
It is a good thing that liability lawyers are thin on the ground in the outer regions of Scottish distillation. The Canadians dispersed in 15 different directions, roaming into every nook and cranny of the Bowmore distillery in search of souvenirs and whisky experiences.
Smouldering peat was grabbed from the kiln, sherry butts were mounted for photo opportunities, and any bottle of Bowmore that had not been padlocked was fair game to the adventurous sons and daughters of the Maple Leaf. A distracted Christine, who likened the experience to gathering whisky with a sieve, set off to round up the wayward Canadians for a ceilidh, and left me alone with a bottle of Bowmore 17-year-old in the distillery ‘pub'. As I sampled the classic Ileach charms of the 17, a golden sun set over the Atlantic and a sea mist swept slowly off Lochindaal onto the village of Bowmore. For this moment of spiritual bliss, I will be eternally grateful to Christine's forgetfulness and the Society of An Quaich.
It turned out that the society embarks o...