Whisky Magazine Issue 85
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Neil Ridley donned his tweeds, applied the moustache wax and packed the picnic blanket for a splendid night in...
For the uninitiated, The Whisky Picnic, isn't actually a picnic, well, not in the traditional sense. You'll find no stale cheese sandwiches, flat Lemonade or the inevitable invasion of Army Ants, which seem to blight those with only the scantest knowledge of the great British outdoors. Instead, it marks a reaction to the way younger drinkers are starting to perceive whisky and its accompanying lifestyle.
The annual event, brainchild of Nick Ravenhall and Duncan McRae, two 20-something Edinburgh based whisky aficionados is fast becoming something of a breakthrough with the bartending community in Scotland. Inspired by a picture of several tweed-clad picnickers from 1902 the event is now in its second year, this time held at Niddry Street's superbly atmospheric Caves. An appropriately attired crowd of 400 were in attendance, in search of some truly uniquely flavoured cocktails, bought to life by nine of Scotland's most revered mixologists. Entry to the event was free, as were the range of cocktails on offer, with revellers encouraged to bring along a bottle of any whisky they could lay their hands on to be vatted in an empty hogshead kindly donated by Cooley's…but more of that in a minute.
The organiser's attitude to whisky and the business is at the very least, opinionated and heart-warmingly honest. “We were long frustrated with an elitism which seems to shroud all these great whiskies.” says Nick, continuing that “Scotland has some of the world's very best bars, bu...