GET Stock QuotesNews18 APP
News18 English
Powered by cricketnext logo
» »
4-min read

THE TIPPLING POINT | You Haven't Seen it all Unless You Tasted this Scotch

The tempestuous gales that broke loose on the glen from the North Sea, the freezing temperature and the crystal clear water of the river all colluded to make the land ideal for distilling the best whiskies of the world.

Manu Remakant |

Updated:December 3, 2017, 5:05 PM IST
facebookTwittergoogleskypewhatsapp
THE TIPPLING POINT | You Haven't Seen it all Unless You Tasted this Scotch
Even after 200 years since the genesis, Glenlivet is constructed on barley step-by-step using the same traditional methods. It has dedicated fans all over the world all the time (Photo: The Glenlivet Facebook)
News18 Tippling Point First they thought they’d misheard it; this could not happen. When they heard it again they were shocked. All that George IV, the King of England, asked for was a glass of Glenlivet. And he knew whisky was made illegal by his English laws. The king was going to address a public function in Scotland during a much publicised visit to mend the broken relationship between the two countries, to heal the wounds of Scotland which was defeated in an all-out battle sometime back. George was accorded a warm reception along the streets of Edinburgh with thousands thronging behind barricades waving at him.

Glenlivet, which the king mentioned, is a windy terrain, a wild and primeval place with forbidding mountains looming on the background, looking every inch the place where Macbeth might have met the witches, or the wilderness outside the kingdom of Kublakhan in Coleridge’s poem.

Only the frigid waters of river Livet softened its bleak ambience. Nature had kept it so for a long time perhaps with a purpose.

The tempestuous gales that broke loose on the glen from the North Sea, the freezing temperature and the crystal clear water of the river all colluded to make the land ideal for distilling the best whiskies of the world.

The smugglers chose Glenlivet for their clandestine operations for another reason too — it was one of the remotest spots in the country, a hard-to-police region.

So when the King of England requested for a glass of Glenlivet there were about 200 distilleries running their operations in the valley. But, alas! They were all illegal.

Now, when the shock subsided, after they understood what King George insisted on what he said, the Scots excitedly pulled out bottles from their secret chambers. Before the day ended they made it sure that the king would leave Scotland on a happy note.

Distilled by smugglers in caves, sheltered hollows and hides in the vast deserted terrain of Glenlivet, the whisky had always been the pride of Scotland and a thorn in the side of England.

The English made laws to scotch the practice. But the Scotch always found a way to botch the English acts.

On ponies laden with casks the illegal stuff always flowed to other parts of Scotland and also on to the aristocratic tables of England. One only needed to taste a drop of whisky to swear lifelong allegiance to the drink from a wild and primeval place far away from civilisation.

Within a year after the king’s visit, the new Excise Act of 1823 came into force legalising whisky distillation in Scotland.

George Smith, a tenant farmer who had also been illegally distilling whisky for long was waiting for this. He grabbed the opportunity and obtained a licence, and made his business legal. His fellow smugglers felt cheated. When the uneasiness turned into assaults and attempts on his life Smith had to carry a pistol around wherever he went. The pistol boomed many times, and his business flourished in leaps and bounds.

Smith chose the isolated glen to establish his distillery in order to harness the climate, the terrain and the mineral rich Josie’s well — a natural spring that bubbles out of the peaty earth of Glenlivet.

Soon, the first product Glenlivet 12-Year-Old rolled out from its warehouse to take the world. As the quintessence of Scottish whisky Glenlivet had only to cross the Atlantic to become the largest selling single malt in America. Hollywood stars like Yule Brynner and Robert Taylor wanted a bottle of Glenlivet to follow them wherever they go.

Even after 200 years since the genesis, Glenlivet is constructed on barley step-by-step using the same traditional methods. It has dedicated fans all over the world all the time. Aficionados swear by their bottle, that you haven’t seen all of scotch until you have tasted Glenlivet.

The line of products from the distillery is a prized catch and a matter of pride for a bar in any part of the world. Its taste is considered supreme.

Take for example, the Glenlivet 18-Year-Old. It is considered as the perfect expression of age and elegance. For the tough ones among you, there is the Glenlivet Nadurra 16-Year-Old Whisky. Bottled at cask strength with 48% ABV you may find it too hot (few people can adapt themselves to cask strength whiskies).

Drink it neat, and then add a few drops of water to re-taste it. The water will open new flavours from the whisky.

For the real connoisseur there is the Glenlivet 70-Year-Old 1940 Generations. This is not a whisky all of us can try in our lifetime. A chatter with this 70-year old lady is a costly affair; it sets you back by a whopping Rs 12 lakh plus tax (My rough estimate. If you get one, spare a peg for this writer for God’s sake.).

It was in March 2011 the 70-year old Glenlivet, which was filled into a cask in 1940, was released. Only a hundred decanters of it were produced along with 175 6.8-oz decanters retailing at Rs 3,03,000 each (again, my estimate).

Another girl may come; another boy may call; but another peg of Glenlivet in your life, that too those special ones? It hardly happens. So carpe diem! Seize the day! Grab the first opportunity!

(Manu Remakant is a freelance writer who also runs a video blog - A Cup of Kavitha - introducing world poetry to Malayalees. Views expressed here are personal)

Also Watch

| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
Read full article