When in Anstruther I usually pick up a few bottles in the Wee Couper Of Fife Whisky Shop.
They have a varied selection of miniatures – mainly for the tourist trade – as well as single cask bottlings for the aficionados.
I enjoy sampling the miniatures myself – so picked up a pair of themed minis from the Cumbrae Supply Co.
The Jockey & The Fisherman sport stylised images of their namesakes, are presented at 40% with no mention of distilleries sourced from, nor chill filtering or added caramel, which I’d expect for this type of product.
Without further ado I poured some glasses.
Sweet biscuity malt, very easy palate, slight hints of drying leather on the rear.
A very decent blend.
Similar nose, if anything an easier palate, softer, sweeter, with less dryness on the rear.
I was expecting to find this pair to share the same source – but they did differ slightly on drinking.
For me The Jockey has pulled clear of the sedentary Fisherman.
The trip wasn’t centred around whisky – although it was enjoyed.
The hotel bar stocked a limited selection of Scotch – most of which I’d sampled before – so a pleasurable peater in the guise of Highland Park 12 was chosen.
The smoke gently enticed on the nose in a balanced mix of flavours.
A more bolder peat hitter – Talisker Skye – was encountered in The Golf Hotel in Crail. I also noticed their ‘bar pour’ was a double of Scottish Leader – also possessing a smoky element – which I politely declined.
One new Scotch I stumbled on was Naked Grouse.
A soft kiss of smoke wrapped up in a warm hug of a whisky gave an easy drinking & finely balanced dram with a little bite on the rear.
Turns out it’s a blended malt with additional ageing in sherry casks & happened to be ‘whisky of the week’ at my hotel.
I happily accepted the suggestion this time round!
I knew nothing about either of these characters before picking up this book other than one of them – Sam – was an actor in a successful series & had recently released a whisky.
The whisky in question – Sassenach – has already won awards & appears to be popular – but has attracted a degree of criticism from those in whisky circles.
I just don’t get it.
Any celebrity putting their name to a whisky – or in this instance actively taking part in the blending & marketing – helps to open up & expand the whisky market to a new layer of customers & consumers.
Given that the whisky community is predominately male Sassenach appears – at least to Sam Heughan’s Twitter page – to have attracted a large female audience. This is to be welcomed.
Rather than being open & expansive many in the establishment sitting in clubs, societies & bloggers often come across as exclusive & closed to new methods & means of enlarging the whisky community.
There are double standards at play too as many of these self-styled ‘defenders of the dram’ often promote themselves as celebrities within their fiercely territorial domains.
Celebrity spirit or not – the actual taste of the whisky is my primary concern. I do recognise celebrity status does bring enhanced brand recognition with perhaps easier routes to market usually leading to increased sales – depending on the celebrity involved.
I’ve not managed to taste Sassenach – it doesn’t appear to be available in Ireland – but I do find the name attractive & the packaging certainly makes it stand out too!
This book however was in my local library – so I gave it a read.
The pair of actors engage in a laddish romp round Scotland dishing out historical titbits, name dropping, thespian tales, hearty food & plenty of whisky!
Like the whisky it opens up Scotland to a new audience – perhaps for the first time – attracted possibly by the dynamic duo on the book’s cover.
Blending popular culture, celebrity status & whisky together is a sure-fire way to broaden the appeal of the golden liquid & ensures it reaches new fans.