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Issue 19 - The yellow coat

Whisky Magazine Issue 19
November 2001


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The yellow coat

Michael Jackson enjoys a Glenkinchie or two and celebrates the unbuttoning of Edinburgh

The King leaned back and stroked Lucille until her growls of pleasure could be heard from the highest parapet of Edinburgh Castle.

B.B. King, his guitar Lucille, and the brassiest of blues bands, were performing in Princes Street Gardens at the invitation of Glenkinchie, the Edinburgh Malt. I raised my glass in a toast to sexy, musical, whisky.

The first time I came to Edinburgh, there was no “official” bottling of Glenkinchie, but there was music and I hoped there might be sex. I was still in my teens. The summer of ‘61 was gloriously sunny and my days were free. I worked at night, on a newspaper.

People seemed shocked that I lived in Leith, the dock area, among wine warehouses and whisky blenders. It wasn't respectable in those days. Was the widow Mrs McDuff, my landlady, respectable? Her round face must have looked impertinently provocative until it was
gradually disarmed by her good relationship with the local liquor store. Her buxom figure was never quite contained by the paisley-pattern housecoat in which she lived. Tennessee Williams would have liked her. I did, too.

When I got home from my night shift at 2.30 or 3.00 in the morning, she would still be up, having a Bell's with a couple of her other nocturnal lodgers. I would join them, but just for one. Six hours' sleep and I could rise while there were still eggs, potato cakes and black pudding to line my stomach. Before noon, I was with two buddies from the paper, in the hidden pubs of Rose Street, which...

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