Fanciful f lavours for vintage drink
THE old cottage walls are still standing, with piles of stones dotting the landscape, having served as land border demarcations, foundations for houses, even as “covers” for toilets.
The landscape itself is breathtaking, with open fields as far as the eye can see, rising into the mountains.
Houses dot the landscape; one of them belongs to J.K. Rowlings, the famous author of the Harry Potter series.
Cows, horses and sheep graze in the distance. There’s not a soul in sight. In the distance there’s the sound of rushing water, as it sweeps over rocks and breaks into whitewater. It’s a pretty sight, indeed.
Welcome to Aberfeldy, the land of Scottish whisky. Here, the Aberfeldy Single Malt is brewed, to be blended into what is known to the world as the Dewar’s range of whiskies, dating back some 150 years when John Dewar first started his career in the nearby hills.
Set some 100km south of Edinburgh in Scotland, the village of Aberfeldy is steeped in tradition. It was here that Bonnie Prince Charlie was said to have started a rebellion against the English throne. The English, then led by William of Orange, had built roads there for their subjects, the Scots.
But the wily Scots were using the roads to move their army forward by night and hiding them in wooded areas by day, building rest areas for them to catch their breath.
This was near the River Tay, the longest in Scotland, and there was plenty of fresh water.
But it wasn’t just fighting that Charlie’s soldiers were doing. Given the clear water and the cold weather, they were making themselves a concoction to keep warm and stay in good spirits.
Under the cover of trees and the many rest areas that they had built, the Scots were drawing the sparkling clean water and working on makeshift stills, making a potent brew of barley and yeast. For them, the bitter, biting stuff was an intoxicating alcohol and cure-all medicinal brew.
But someone threw in some fruit juice for taste, and voila! toddy was the result. The clear, clean and sweet water of the River Tay was used in the making of the renowned whisky.
The English allowed the production of whisky, on the condition that a government official nearby could keep tabs on the amount of whisky that was produced so that the right amount of taxes would be paid.
Thus Scotland’s whisky industry was born, and Scotch whisky would later become well known throughout the world.
If some fruit juice was added to make the first biting whisky more palatable, today, bartenders create fascinating drinks with new flavours and different ingredients. The classic whisky-water and on-the-rocks version are going out of fashion.
Nowadays, plums, olives and assorted juices and alcoholic drinks are added to make new cocktails to suit different tastebuds and occasions. In China, for instance, it’s whisky and green tea – a drink to warm the drinker and keep him healthy as well. –
Welcome to Aberfeldy, home of Dewar’s Scotch whisky. The old brewery still stands, amidst the rolling hills and scenic surroundings.