For Peat’s Sake…
I recently travelled with a small group of friends to Islay, the island home of Scotland’s most heavily peated malt whiskies. The aim was to take some old-school B&W film photographs, take in the scenery, and enjoy some fine food.
We had also booked a whisky tasting session at the Lagavulin distillery that commenced at 10.30 on a Monday morning!
Five drams later (full measures!) you left via the distillery shop and were even offered other tastings if a particular bottle took your eye. Try not spending lots of money in that sort of alcohol-fuddled state! Marketing genius!
The cask master at our tasting pointed out that a character from the sitcom Parks and Recreation (Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman) often referred to Lagavulin in the show. Indeed, in one episode his character travelled to Islay and the distillery as a part of the storyline.
The Swanson character reads Burns’ poetry in that episode. But who needs Burns when you can have a limerick loosely inspired by our trip (and in recognition of women’s role in the history of whisky making – see Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick).
A young woman on Islay’s far shore
Swigged drams at a Port Charlotte bar
One morn by eleven,
She’d sunk six or seven
So here’s to that lass – Slàinte Mhath!
(For the non-Scots reading this, Slàinte Mhath is pronounced ‘slan-ja va’ and translates as ‘Good Health’. Islay is pronounced ‘eye-la’.)
(For the pedants reading this, “yes” I know that the Lagavulin distillery is close to Port Ellen and miles away from Port Charlotte, but this is a limerick, not a geography lesson, and it so happens we also sampled drams in the Port Charlotte Hotel, close to where we stayed.)