A walk up a hill on Islay to the Kilbride Reservoir, the source of water for Laphroaig’s mash tuns and washbacks. Water scooped into a glass that already looks like a pour of Laphroaig with all the light brown sediment and small dark bits and pieces swimming and churning in peat-flavored H2O. But for now … Continue reading Walking Up A Hill On Islay To A Standing Stone With A Requiem On Earth And On The Moon.
As I write this the Stromboli volcano off the coast of Sicily has been spewing smoke, gas, bits of the inner earth, molten material overall into the air and sea. Columns and plumes of smoke, mushrooms and horses’ heads speak primal warnings to us that something from below has risen. Reminders that under the appearances … Continue reading Some Thoughts About Volcanoes, Emily Dickinson, Peat And Burning-Places, Martin Heidegger At Home With Tools, And William Blake’s Marriage While Tool Breathes.
Let’s begin with Andrew Jefford’s words at the opening of his chapter on Laphroaig in his wondrous tome Peat Smoke And Spirit. LAPHROAIG (pronounced ‘La-froig‘) is both savage and pretty. Yes, that’s it. He goes on, of course. Savage, for its malt encapsulates better than any other the aerial boisterousness of this edge of the … Continue reading The Hollow Of Broadbay With Claude Debussy Dreaming About Black Stuff And Marija Gimbutas While Watching Barley Raked Across A Room Dance With Arnold Schoenberg In An Analog World By The Sea. So Let’s Make It Real With A Deep Drink Of Miles Davis’ Sanctuary.
A moment of light and shadow, color and line, up and down, sky and lake, what appears and what appears reflected, all seem to hinge on the surface of the water or the surface of the air, take either one, and by taking one breath and falling up or leaping down, two worlds exchange places–the … Continue reading Bruichladdich Octomore Masterclass 8.2 With A Tasting Of King Crimson 1973 And 1974 Varietals And Plenty of Nosings From Andrew Jefford, Carl Jung And Ian Richardson Reciting William Blake.
We’re told where we’ll end up. In the warehouse surrounded by oak barrels aging smoked, fermented and distilled barley. We’ll gather in a half circle facing our tour guide as she tells us what’s about to pass our lips. Crossing through doorways, entering rooms and worlds we usually don’t see, usually don’t walk into and … Continue reading Turning And Turning In The Ardbeg Labyrinth, While Mulling Over Psychoanalysis And Alchemy, Distillation And Nuages, Yeast And An Equation, Pacific Northwest Forests And Weird Sisters, W.B. Yeats’ Visions, Haggis And Neeps, And Finally A Snake Devouring Its Own Tail Grooving To Funkadelic.
Four mile trip from Port Ellen to Ardbeg distillery. We’re walking from our cottage northwest of the town, so add another half mile. We start in pastureland bordered by conifer plantations. Sheep graze outside the window in the morning, and further on cattle graze and gaze. Smell of pine resin, manure and sea salt as … Continue reading Walking To Ardbeg With The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Words From A Whirlpool, Scattered Cows And Sheep, And Egill Skallagrímsson’s Drinking Toast.
Water, grass, thistle and stones. Rocks. Arriving on Islay means close quarters with quartzite, limestone, slate and shale with many cresting intrusions called sills of metamorphic rock abundant through the southeastern part the island known as Kildalton. As Andrew Jefford writes (and I’ll return to his wonderful prose often from Peat Smoke And Spirit) . … Continue reading A Drinking Man Arrives On Islay, Has A Pour Of Lagavulin, Watches Sea and Stone, Looks At A Thistle And Listens To Robert Fripp’s “Abandonment To Divine Providence.”