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Issue 114 - The Sensory World

Whisky Magazine Issue 114
September 2013


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The Sensory World

It is not the sort of noise you expect to hear in a quiet, sleepy backwater place, approaching midnight; a hum similar to a power turbine, the whirl of mechanical machinery and the clunking and grinding of moving parts. Not to mention the strange lights moving behind the hedgerow, occasionally sending intense beams into the room I am writing in. It feels like the start of some sort of Martian invasion might be in the offing.

Then there is the smell that comes in waves. At first hard to place; wafts of something metallic, rubbery and then an ephemeral buttery sweetness.

I decide to wander to the end of the road to investigate what this late night commotion might be. Thankfully it is not some form of alien subjugation of the human race starting (quite why they would chose a small village in Suffolk for first contact I am not sure) but a local farmer working through the night to harvest the vast swathes of barley that have been growing in the surrounding fields.

As he turns the behemoth of a combine harvester to head back down to the far end of the field, it becomes silhouetted against the floodlit barley, massive, hulking and surrounded by a halo of dirt and shredded barley stalks.

As I am now standing a little too close to a break in the hedgerow, I get a blast of that sweet barley sugar smell, tainted a little with diesel, and a face full of dust and chaff.

The fact that he and other farmers are out late at night, taking advantage of the dry weather unfortunately means t...

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