In a concrete hut in the shadow of the Neolithic standing stones of the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney is a stuffed fish. No ordinary fish, though, as it was the record trout then caught in British waters and weighed 29lb 8 oz. The average trout caught in Stenness Loch, from where it was pulled out, is 1 lb. My gillie for the morning, Stewart Wood, is sceptical, though.
The production plant's glass-fronted still room houses eight copper pot stills, with tulip shapes used for the wash stills and onion shapes used for the spirit stills, replicating those used at the Imperial Distillery. In a departure from distillery tradition, the stills are arranged in a circular pattern, which gives an unusual feeling of spaciousness in the still room.
Last week London's Merchant Taylor Hall was alive with the sound of whisky. A harmonious melody of fruit, spice, peat, malt, ice and wood filled the air at Johnnie Walker's decadent multi-sensory experience - Symphony in Blue - an event designed to celebrate the cardinal flavours of their most treasured blend.
When it comes to whisky, we like to keep things simple. Neat, on the rocks, or mixed with coke - that's how we know and love it. New York Magazine's food blog Grub Street echoed this recently when it described flavoured whisky as 'The Beginning of The End' and filed it under Desecrations. I mean, why try to fix something which isn't broken?
A sense of value is a funny thing. Good value definitely doesn't always mean cheap. This'll be plainly obvious to all of us having bought a cheaper alternative to only find it break on first use. It however, also certainly doesn't mean the most expensive - there are plenty of products on the market that are simply there to exploit those with more money than sense.
I'm writing this in the very pub that I first experienced a real Burns supper. As a child, I'd seen the grown-ups drinking copious amounts of whisky, and heard my Dad trying to do justice to the words of Scotland's famous son - but it wasn't until I was 18 (well, a little younger, but let's not go there...) that I heard Robert Burns' words...
Could it be true that humans are hard-wired to seek mind altering substances such as caffeine, tobacco, psychedelic drugs, and alcohol? Alcohol is and was the most easily available intoxicant and historically different cultures throughout the world started drinking independently with no knowledge of the others.