Klaus, our friend from Germany, arrived at the pottery in his motor caravan today. Klaus owns the Cadenhead whisky market in Berlin. He is passionate about the amber nectar, and makes frequent pilgrimages to Scotland to buy directly from the distillers.
When Klaus arrives at the farm it is something of a tradition that we light the barbeque and make an evening of it. He always arrives in perfect weather, and last night even the midges didn’t turn up, the conditions were perfect.
I had just arrived home, with piles of shopping bags and tired, hot children. The happy farmer was in the kitchen with a man who was over from the agricultural department. He had been visiting the farm to do a random brucellosis blood test on the sheep. We do not have brucellosis in this country in sheep, but the agricultural department do regular tests on farms to monitor the situation. As the department man left, Klaus arrived, armed with a washing bowl filled with spicy German sausages and steaks, and a huge tin of German beer. He was followed by one of the thirsty happy potters. They took refuge in my kitchen, as I got packed lunches for tomorrow prepared and unpacked the shopping, making salads as I went, while trying to move them on, out in the direction of the garden and the barbeque.
I eventually went and found the happy farmer, herding the sheep, following them back to the fields after their tests. The happy farmer duly followed me and successfully herded the happy potter and the happy whisky man to the barbeque. He didn’t even need his sheep dog and Klaus, bless him, immediately got down to the cooking.
We had a lovely evening, youngest child was at last able to put on her ‘cool’ clothes and get dressed up for a BBQ with ‘real guests’, and not just mum and dad! The happy farmer even managed to con the children into eating the German sausages, which they enjoyed, and even had seconds of. I think he regretted it a bit later though when they conned him into a couple of rounds of bouncing on the trampoline!
As the evening wore on drams were duly poured. Our lovely visitors from the cottage joined us for a nightcap, and we sat, as the sun set, the silhouettes of the ponies on top of the hill, talking about whisky and friendships.
Klaus, produced two hand corked bottles of his own whisky.
He bought a barrel of whisky from Bruichladdich distillery back in 1992, just before it closed down. He visited his barrel in the warehouses over the years and when Bruichladdich reopened under new ownership he discussed his barrel with them, saying that the whisky was good, but the barrel was made of old wood, and so the flavour was not maturing and developing as it should. I actually learnt a great deal about whisky last night. The distillers agreed that the barrel was not good, and Klaus was given a sherry cask to transfer his whisky too. The cask that the whisky matures in greatly affects the flavour of the malt whisky, as the liquid absorbs flavours from the wood.
Klaus, being a whisky enthusiast and connoisseur decided to try the ultimate finish on his whisky. Last year he transferred half of the barrel to another barrel that had contained salt herring for six months. Last night he produced two bottles, one of Bruichladdich, and one of Fishky, as he calls his salt herring finished malt.
We tried a taste of both; well the happy farmer actually chose to have far more than a taste, of the Bruichladdich. The Fishky was quite salty and had an oily flavour, the happy farmer was not too keen on that one, but the Bruichladddich, well that was a definite hit.
Until next time….