Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Trollied Tuesday: In Case of Emergency

Britain may be led by hopeless incompetents, things may grind to halt with the advent of snow,the media might go over the top but the people still know what to do in the face of adversity.

Predictions of the cold snap last week prompted customers to stock up on warm clothing, while supermarkets said they were prepared for big runs on soups, pies, curries, whisky, brandy, thermos flasks, de-icers and scrapers.

Frankly you could throw it all out, even the brandy (though why would you want to do that?): whisky is the key for survival. Consider the example of Joe Galliot of Somerset, who survived two days trapped under a sofa with only a bottle of Scotch to sustain him.

"I took a sip of [the whisky] and thought, well this isn't too bad."

That's what whisky is designed to do. It's an Irish invention, of course, and I'll yield to no one in my admiration of proper whiskeys, but the Scotch version (spelled without an 'e') is what you need when things are getting really tough. As the Economist observed recently, sales of single malts are booming amidst the worst economic downturn for 60 years.

Perhaps its something about the harshness of winters in Scotland that gives it this extra edge, but whisky brings the warmth, the light the sense of purpose needed to survive bitter weather, dearth and darkness. It is the Highlander's consolation for dispossession, defeat, exile and death.

I have no intention of turning this into a whisky bores' parade in which the relative merits of Islays or Speysides, or the various glens are discussed; it's like arguing about the sort of woman you prefer. Preferences are one thing (if pushed, I should go for the peaty vitality of Laphroaig), but ultimately all types are good, as Don Giovanni realised.

In Strathisla seicento e quaranta;
In Glen Scotia duecento e trentuna;
Cento in
Talisker, in Scapa novantuna;
Ma in
Caol Ila son già mille e tre.

D'ogni forma, d'ogni età will do you should the worst happen and the lights go out and power supplies go off. (You won't be able to cook anyway, unless you are the sort of person who keeps a parafin stove). A good blended whisky will see you fine; but a fine malt will see you through everything bar the apocalypse. Even then, I'd keep a flask handy.

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Blogger Quink said...

You ought to take part in a Twitter whisky tasting. Very good fun.

6:59 pm  

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