Fan­ci­ful f lavours for vin­tage drink

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.