Strathearn Distillery’s Whisky School: Final Day

October 11, 2017 by Keith Savage
Marking our Mark at Strathearn Distillery

Our last day of distillery school in Perthshire dawned a powder blue over Comrie town. Tony and the Strathearn boys had given us freedom to come in late, assuming, rightly, that the previous night would’ve been a late one.

In the shade of Comrie’s high street we stopped at the Comrie Café for a proper Scottish breakfast and recapped the various whiskies we’d tried the night before. Of the ridiculous number I imbibed, Kilchoman Machir Bay and Bruichladdich Port Charlotte stood out. Then, on our way back to the apartment, we stopped at the butcher and picked up a steak pie for dinner. Read more...

State of the Savage: September/October 2017

October 4, 2017 by Keith Savage
Deep in the Mash

Maybe it’s summer’s death rattle and autumn’s brisk arrival, but I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire. The dark half of the year is upon us in the northern hemisphere and I’m stoking the flames with dreams.

I’ve always been a dreamer.

There’ve been times where this has hamstrung me, but its been a boon far more often. All good things must be envisioned first, and envisioning is half of making a thing real. It’s a kind of magic to which the universe responds, and it’s worth remembering especially in dark times. Read more...

Strathearn Distillery’s Whisky School: Day 4

September 27, 2017 by Keith Savage
A full barrel of Strathearn newmake

Jeff’s 30th birthday dawned with a splitting headache. It was no surprise — the Strathearn boys had done their damnedest to manifest this bleary morning. I lurched from bed and shuffled down Comrie’s high street to secure a couple of black pudding sausage rolls to take the edge off, and they did by god, they did.

It being Jeff’s birthday, Tony arranged for Stuart to pick us up and ferry us to the distillery for it was likely to be a long day with celebratory drinks as the nightcap. At eight in the morning I could hardly stomach the thought, but as I stepped into the stillhouse where Wee Erin and Bella the Stripper waited, I remembered there’s no rest for the wicked. Read more...

Picture This: Coigach Peaking

September 6, 2017 by Keith Savage
Muddling through the Coigach Peninsula, Wester Ross, Scotland

Beyond The Minch’s watery grasp and Loch Broom’s beckoning finger, north of the Summer Isles spilled in the shimmering sea, and west of all man’s thoroughfares, the Coigach peninsula reaches for the sun and stars. Lochs patter upon the intervening glen, tears from a blind god, as the earth throws wide its embrace. Stac Pollaidh, Cùl Mòr, and Cùl Beag bark in the mist ‘yond the wind-blown gorse. This is a chance, an open window, a doorway cracked and illuminated.

How wonderfully intuitive and unexpected, this, that venturing to the sacrosanct corners of our long-neglected but sought-after selves requires physical emplacement…
Read more...

Strathearn Distillery’s Whisky School: Day 3

August 30, 2017 by Keith Savage
Strathearn distillery's mash tun from the mezzanine

It was Wednesday morning, the start of our third day at Strathearn Distillery’s whisky school, and I was sore. Every muscle in my back was locked up and complaining about the dozens of 50lb bags of barley I’d hauled up the steps of the stillhouse yesterday. I ate a sausage roll, drank some coffee, and grinned. Learning a new career is always painful (I’ve learned three in the past seven years). The sun was shining in Comrie as we waited for Tony to pick us up. The Mad Men of Methven planned on delivering a salvo of tastings today and that meant no driving for us.

The whisky and gin would have to wait. Read more...