On January 6, 1996, I turned fifty. Alan Pugsley, our British/American brewer friend spent the new year with us. Alan gave me one of his collection of miniature whiskies: a 1969 Macallan.
It always seemed too rare and precious to drink. But his daughter is getting married this fall. I‘ll bring the Macallan to share with him.
A dram in his daughter's honour.
It was at Glenfiddich that I first understood the sisterhood of whisky and beer.
Both share barley malt as the foundation. Unlike most spirits, barley malt is mixed in a vessel where natural enzymes break down starches into malt liquid called wort.
Brewers boil this, add hops and ferment it to beer. Whisky makers ferment the wort without boiling or hops.
The whisky fermentation is like Scottish highlanders, wild, spontaneous, uncontrolled. The vessels used to ferment are often wooden, contributing their own flora and character to the whisky that is then distilled.
Here’s a photo of my wife, Ellen Bounsall and Jessie, our loyal yellow lab, on a Fall day in 2006 in Dunham, Quebec.
Ellen is a pioneer in the craft beer business, one of the first female brewers in Canada. Her beers won over 60 international and national awards over 25 years.
She still inspires me every day.
Happy International Woman’s Day to everyone.
After abstaining from whisky for about 15 years resulting from a mind and body-altering hangover, I found myself in England and Scotland for a 4 week vacation with Ellen in 1984.
The first distillery we visited was Glenturret in Crieff, Scotland. It was a small place with one whisky still and Hamish, a young worker, who gave us a tour. The whisky was great, a revelation.
I bought a bottle of 15-year-old ‘Pure Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky distilled in 1969, 53 years ago. I nurtured it, brought it home, having a wee dram on very special occasions. I have the bottle yet, with a few drops of the amber nectar still intact.
Great whisky and fond memories are meant to go together.
Celebrate Valentine’s with a Rob Roy cocktail
Peter McAuslan Whisky, sweet red vermouth, Angostura bitters topped off with an orange and infused cherries from Distillerie de la Chaufferie served in a handsome martini glass.
It was a snowy Christmas Eve 1965, Don Duncan and I were ensconced in his disabled Jaguar coupe of unknown age and origin in his unheated garage. It was chilly as the two of us downed a bottle of Cutty Sark won at an office Christmas party. We were rapidly warmed by the whisky as the bottle was passed back and forth and although I don’t recall our conversation that night no whisky passed my lips for the next 15 years.
Scotland, clipper ships, Robert Burns and other fun facts
- Cutty Sark Scotch whisky was created on 23 March, 1923 as a product of Berry Bros. & Rudd, with the home of the blend considered to be at the Glenrothes distillery in the Speyside region of Scotland.
- The whisky was named after the clipper ship Cutty Sark - the fastest ship in the world at the time.
- The ship name came from the Scots term "cutty-sark", the short skirt mentioned in the famous poem by Robert Burns, "Tam o' Shanter”.
Ellen and Willy (beagle) connected at the Kiko Dog Rescue and Adoptions booth at the Montreal Highland Games in 2010. Story goes he was owned by a trucker whose new girlfriend didn’t like him. He’s been with us ever since. Now we have a full house with our current population of four senior dogs.
Seen here with Maya, Jackie, Lupe and some old guy.
Dogs have always been and continue to be a big part of our family. We have been rescued countless times over the years. All different breeds, colours and ages. Our dogs have come from SPCA de Montréal, Kiko Dog Rescue and Adoptions, vets who are looking for homes for dogs and families that can no longer care for their pets.
Bliadhna Mhath Ùr! (Happy New Year in Scottish Gaelic).
For 2022 I thought I would put together some whisky recipes. Here is my whisky and water video.
Our whisky is made in Quebec and is inspired by Scottish whisky-making traditions. It is now available in over 20 SAQ outlets.
This beautiful Chantecler rooster lives with us on the farm. He has free rein and pretty much runs the show. He also knows what he wants. On the day of this photograph, he wanted whisky. Skirmish ensued.
I told him to get his own bottle through SAQ.com before they are sold out.
Happy holidays to all of you!
We are happy to collaborate with our friends at Matera Brewing who also make barrel-aged coffee. They have released some limited edition gift packs - the perfect Christmas gift for the fancy coffee lover!!
Café Whisky (in collaboration with Peter McAuslan Spirits) - 250g
Café Zin (aged in Zinfandel barrels from Washington State) - 250g
Caribbean Rum - 250g
Here's where you can pick up your limited edition gift-packs:
Peluso Rachel (Est-Plateau)
Épicerie Prette ( Pointe-Claire)
Ça Coule À Flot (south shore)
Bière À Boire (south shore)
Station Des Bières (Beloeil)
La Barik (Trois-Rivières)
Monde Des Bières Marie-Incarnation (Quebec)