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Iain Maciver: Glenfarclas whisky theft has caused some dram-a

The Glenfarclas distillery in Ballindalloch (Photo: tourpics_net/Shutterstock)
The Glenfarclas distillery in Ballindalloch (Photo: tourpics_net/Shutterstock)

Far be it from me to encourage the taking of strong drink, but current affairs necessarily mean there’s a somewhat alcoholic aroma to this column this week.

It’s the fault of a pair of scoundrels who made off with more than £100,000 worth of Glenfarclas single malt whisky in Moray. How dare they break in before 3am, and on a Sunday, too? They are depriving the world of a fine drop of uisge beatha.

Preferring the 10-year-old myself – that is because I’ve never been able to afford the 20 or 25-year-old which so many people with deep pockets rave about. The 10 is slightly excellent, also.

Here are the tasting notes I found for a Glenfarclas from a Master of Malt reviewer. Palate: medium-bodied, with notes of date and walnut cake, Oloroso sherry and hints of earthy forest floor. A beautiful note of malt, with toffee apple and a touch of smoke. Finish: Spicy and long, notes of allspice, cinnamon and cloves, with orange zest and sherry.

Allspice, cinnamon and cloves? They were all in a chuck-it-in dinner concocted by Mrs X a couple of weeks ago, but in a dram?

Whisky and… cake?

I would just have just said that Glenfarclas is particularly smooth and doesn’t catch the back of the throat like cheaper, supermarket blended whiskies. I’ve never detected hints of earthy forest floor because I have never sniffed or sucked dead leaves and squirrel droppings. It’s not what I do, you know. It really would go very well with cake, though. The whisky, not the you-know-what…

Smashed glass at the scene of the crime (Photo: Peter Jolly)

Ah, cake. Funny how we get a warm glow when we anticipate tastes from our youth. When I was old enough to go first-footing, it was a slice of leftover Christmas cake we’d be offered with the customary dram. So, even now, when I have a wee drop, I still crave a chunky slice, laden with currants and sweet marzipan.

Yum, but not like the molten marzipan in a glass we had on Saturday. To keep up the Italian theme for watching Eurovision, we had homemade pizza and I was presented with a decanter of the Italian liqueur, Disaronno. Exactly like marzipan dissolved in whisky. Saluti, Sam Ryder.

Nil points for Eurovision subtitles

If you are hearing-impaired, you may have felt let down during Eurovision. There were lags in the subtitling. Five seconds is a lot of lag for someone with hearing loss. No excuse, as most of the show was prescripted – apart from Graham Norton’s wisecracks.

Everyone was so keen to know what uplifting lyrics the Greek entry was singing. It went on and on: “If we die together now… If we die together now.” Cheer up, Greece.

The songs, of course, are the important bit of Eurovision. It was clear the lyrics were all pre-loaded but they still managed to muck it up by running them later than they should.

If you watch with hearing-impaired people, you will know how frustrating it is for them to be reading badly-synchronised subtitles. So, BBC or European Broadcasting Union or whoever is responsible – nil pwa.

Best performance for me, after Sam Ryder, was Moldova. Sadly, the subtitles were about 15 seconds behind for much of their rendition. In fact, the subtitles only synchronised properly after Sam Ryder started. Curious.

Flibbertigibbet and levelling up minister

Apart from the behaviour of some of the Eurovision acts, the other weird performance at the weekend was Michael Gove doing peculiar accents while delivering an otherwise predictable defence of the Queen’s Speech and its odd omissions, like what the government is going to do about the cost of living crisis, and so on.

There are quite a few people I could describe as flibbertigibbets

I know he is the minister for levelling up, but he needs to steady his nerves sometimes. If only he had a wee Glenfarclas to hand.

And, the excitable Mr Gove has also upset the House of Lords by suggesting that, during renovations at their Lordships’ House, they should decant to the north of England. Shriek, horror. The dudes in ermine are not chuffed.

One, Lord Cormack, questioned the authority of Mr Gove and asked if the plan was “just another freelance exercise by another intellectual flibbertigibbet”. I must remember to use that because there are quite a few people I could describe as flibbertigibbets. Very true.

A snifter of intel

I am not sure how true this is, but I have just had a tip-off about the dastardly thieves at the Glenfarclas distillery.

My informant reckons one had a slight speech impediment. A bit like Jonathan Ross, he could not pronounce his Rs very well.

After they broke in, one of the thieves apparently turned to the other and said: “Wow. Where on earth are we? Is this really whisky?” The other replied: “Yeah, mate, but not as wisky as wobbing a bank.”


Iain Maciver is a former broadcaster and news reporter from the Outer Hebrides

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