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Issue 113 - Scotch & Water

Whisky Magazine Issue 113
July 2013

 

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Scotch & Water

Approaching a distillery from the sea offers a different perspective

?It was 18 May, World Whisky Day, that I joined an international group of 26 people for a 6 day whisky and water odyssey through the Inner Hebrides and around Kintyre, aboard the three-masted tall-ship “Thalassa”. Once aboard, World Whisky Day seemed to respectfully evanesce in the presence of a joyful array of some of Scotland's fine single malts lining the bar of the main saloon – all to be tasted during the next few days. Many to be tasted at their maritime source.
The whisky though was, transiently, upstaged by an elaborate clock which was being clamped into position by Alex Moens, a man bearing the features and demeanour of an old sea dog and who was to lead the cruise through numerous distilleries and tastings. The timepiece, like me was going to sea under sail for the first time and was a replica of John Harrison's 18th century invention which provided accurate time on board a pitching and rolling ship, enabling the calculation of longitude. “Very impressive” I thought. But not as impressive as the re-assuring presence of GPS in the wheelhouse! During the cruise the clock stopped in the course of what I can best describe as a handbrake turn, under full sail, as we turned away from the coast of Ireland.

The first day's sailing was an 8-hour journey from Troon to Port Ellen, Islay: a lazy low tempo affair across an unusually calm, syrupy looking sea which mid-morning was suddenly broken by a dorsal fin about 100 metres off the port side. To this landlubber th...

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