Six Nations, five whiskies, one hipflask

Wondering what whisky to take to Scotland’s games during this 6 Nations tournament? Our friend, Euan Martin* solved the problem for you! Read and never lose hope…

As the 6 Nations approaches I have begun to look out the essentials for any trip to Murrayfield. Game tickets, check. Kilt, check. Scotland jersey, check. Hipflask, check. But what to put in it? I started thinking about different options and then began to draw parallels between various Scotch whiskies and the Scottish national rugby team. I should point out that despite my slightly cynical tone I truly love this team, and I’m 100% behind them! But here they are, the 5 whiskies which most resemble the Scottish team.

Lagavulin Distillers Edition. For my money Lagavulin 16 yr is the best whisky going, everything a Scotch should be. So the Distillers Edition, the ‘deluxe version’, should be tailor made for me. You pour your dram, inspect the colour, catch a whiff of that distinctive Lagavulin nose and all is well. Take a sip, and a crease appears in the forehead. What’s this? This isn’t what I wanted. Suddenly you’re on the back foot. It’s the same feeling you get when Italy put that first penalty between the posts, Scotland go 3-0 down and you’re staring at the wooden spoon. You desperately hope that things will get better with the finish but instead of that beautiful smoky tar of the 16 year old, the Distillers Edition leaves you with a weird sweet barbeque sauce thing. And Scotland are propping up the 6 Nations table looking up at Italy. Either way, you’re left wondering what the hell you paid £45 for.

Caol Ila 8 yo. Clocking in at a formidable 63% alcohol, Caol Isla 8yr packs plenty of punch. But it’s just too young, too immature. It’s like the young Scotland team of a couple of years ago, playing with all their hearts and bodies had to offer, getting the big hits in but not quite having the experience to pull it off.

Ardbeg Blasda. Take the peat out of Ardbeg, and it just feels wrong. The other elements that make it a great whisky are still there but the finished product is lacking its punch. One could make a comparison to the Scottish team of the previous few years without Chris Paterson. The killer instinct is lost, the 3 points just don’t keep ticking over and before you know it the team’s in trouble.

The John, Mark & Robbo Range. Tiny little company, underdogs against the big guys. Sound familiar? Scotland in the World Cup. But let’s think about the JMR range. The smooth sweeter one? Dodgy stuff. The rich spicy one? Forgettable. The smoky peaty one? A cracker, excellent whisky. One good performance in three? Scotland in the World Cup.

Ardbeg Supernova. As Chris and Lucas highlighted in their blog, this is the new Ardbeg release which will weigh in at 100ppm. I love peated whiskies, so I have extremely high hopes. But will that much peat work? Probably not, but that’s no reason not to keep the faith. In the same way I look towards the upcoming 6 Nations and see a weak Ireland, a young France, a demoralised England and, well, Italy. That really just leaves the Welsh to beat. Scotland at 20-1 to win the tournament? That’s probably not going to happen. But if it does the drinks will be on me because I’m going down William Hill and getting that bet on. 100-1 for the grand slam? That’ll buy the bottle of Supernova.


*Euan Martin works as a tour guide and whisky advisor in the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. His devotion to drinking good whisky can only be matched by that of ours. Hopefully he will be sharing his expertise and exercising his dry sense of humour here on a regular basis!

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