At the helm

At the helm

Whisky and sailing goes well together,as Rob Allanson found out when he took to the high seas with the Bunnahabhain crew

News | 25 Sep 2007 | Issue 66 | By Rob Allanson

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I didn’t really have to be press ganged on to the boat, this big, white, lovely looking thing moored at Rhu on the Firth of Clyde.Who would not jump at the opportunity to watch the World Centennial 8m Sailing Championships from the comfort of a luxury yacht with some great company and some cracking whiskies.The idea put to me was simple. Float about, watch a bit of the racing, slope off to a quiet corner of the Firth to have a nice spot of lunch and then attend a Burns supper for the race crews in the evening.In practise the day turned out grey, rainy and with a worrying lack of wind. However aboard the good ship Bunnahabhain the weather did not dampen the spirits as we set sail and tucking into a hearty breakfast.After watching the start of the race we headed into the rain and up to Loch Goil where slowly the menacing shape of the Royal Navy’s armament depot at Coulport hoved into view.Giving the weapons storage facility a wide birth our final destination of the little bay outside Carrick Castle emerged from the swirling mist.The castle has a dramatic position on the shore of Loch Goil, south of Lochgoilhead.The castle is believed to have been built in the 12th century. It is likely that the present Carrick Castle is the second structure to occupy this location, what better place for a spot of lunch and to start tasting the Bunnahabhain range and Black Bottle.My fellow seafarers and I were taken through the range by Burn Stewart’s new brand ambassador Donald Colville.From the 12 Years Old to the 25 Years Old, the whiskies offered the perfect companions to a day on the water, with soft marine notes, spiced sherry and a wonderful sweetness. It is easy to see why Bunna has earned the moniker ‘the gentle taste of Islay’.Black Bottle again offered a slight sweetness with a wonderful smoky flavour which belies the Islay roots at its heart.But the day was not all really about sailing and drinking.It marked a firm link between Bunnahabhain and the sea, and Burn Stewart putting their mark firmly on a sailing event.Brand ambassador Alison Winship explains: “Bunnahabhain’s heritage is steeped in sea-faring tales and anecdotal stories that involve braving the Sound of Islay in search of a welcoming dram.“The sea and sailing, with all it’s mystery, charm and adventure, are in idyllic alignment with Bunnahabhain’s personality, after all, we have our iconic helmsman proudly displayed on the front of this bottle to this day in honour of such provenance.“The opportunity to get involved with such a prestigious event as the World Centennial 8m Sailing Championships was seen as the jewel in the crown of sponsorships for the brand and one which makes us extremely proud.” Next time you take to the sea, or a walk along the beach, fill a hip flask and see how the marriage of whisky and sea works for you.
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