"We'll tak a cup of kindness yet" - the story of Scotch whisky
David will guide you through the history and romance of Scotch whisky, from the aqua vitae of the early monasteries, the alchemist's art of turning barley into medicine, and the hedonistic uisge beatha of remote Scottish crofts, to the taverns of the Royal Mile and the hot toddies of Edinburgh's New Town. The surgeon barbers' monopoly in licensing whisky in the 16th century spawned illicit stills on Highland moors, battles with the excisemen, and the smuggling of whisky into the cities.
The Royal romance with "Scotch" started with George IV in 1822, blossomed with Queen Victoria at Balmoral, and continues with the Prince of Wales today. Whisky is evoked in the poetry of Burns, in the travelogues of Stevenson, and in the art of Landseer and Wilkie. London may have toasted with brandy in the Regency period, but when a tiny beetle devastated Cognac in 1863, the upper classes turned to whisky and the famous Scotch brands were born. David Lloyd George tried his best to kill it off in the cause of temperance, but he couldn't prevent the "Real McCoy" reaching the speak-easies of New York and Chicago during US Prohibition in the 1920s.
Today, the flavour of malt whisky is more diverse than ever, due to the influence of variable peating, cask preparation, extended maturation, and special finishing. David describes his unique scientific classification by flavour based on sensory analysis, with a selection of fine malts to taste and his poem "Scotia's Gold" to end.
He has chosen some well-known favourites for the tasting, plus a couple of malts that are harder to find. They span the "flavour spectrum", the range of flavours of single malt whiskies as described in David's book. It will also be possible for you to purchase signed copies of David's book, if you wish.