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Issue 128 - The Spirit of Islay

Whisky Magazine Issue 128
June 2015


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The Spirit of Islay

What soundtrack would you choose?

When I took over as Managing Editor just over a year ago I indicated that one of my objectives was to get out and visit as many distilleries as possible. Having recently visited Kentucky and seen Bourbon being produced, I have just been to the other end of the spectrum and had the opportunity of visiting Laphroaig on Islay. Doing some online research I was struck by the strong opinions there are; two distinct camps – you are either a lover or hater of Laphroaig. Very similar to the verdict on Marmite and for those not familiar, it's a yeast extract usually spread on toast. Whilst at Laphroaig, we spent a very enjoyable hour or so in the tasting room, sampling the 15 Years Old, Cairdeas, 32 Years Old and the 21 Years Old. This brings me on to a recent article I read about the sound artist Nick Ryan.

Nick has the neurological condition synaesthesia, which is where two or more of our senses are involuntarily experienced together. This means that Nick can hear and see taste for instance.

With this in mind he has created ‘soundscapes' for a wine company producing Rioja and quotes, “My synaesthesia means that I experience sounds that I involuntarily associate with what I'm seeing in front of me and therefore I understand how one sense can be associated with another. This is why Campo Viejo challenged me to match its tasting notes and wines with sound.”

So I was thinking as I tasted my various Laphroaigs how I would interpret these into sound. With my favourite being ...

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