Nick Lees: Whisky Festival is cancelled but you can still enjoy a ‘wee dram’

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My sincere condolences to those who have lost a loved one and I find it heartbreaking that so many older people in homes were not adequately protected in this pandemic.

Some of us are fortunate to be able to work from home and head out perhaps every 10 days for groceries.

In his store, which he owns with William Bincoletto, Richmond displays a floor-to-ceiling collection of whiskies, from Scotland, Ireland and Holland, through Canada and the U.S. to Japan and India.

“Liquor stores are deemed an essential service and we can have 10 people in the store at one time, including staff,” says Richmond. “Curbside pick-up and our free home delivery service are booming.”

My introduction to whisky came at our home in the village of Old Kilpatrick on the banks of the River Clyde. My engineering father gave me on Hogmanay (the last day of the year) a tablespoonful of scotch. It was awful. I spat it out.

Later, working as a reporter in London, it was hard not to enjoy a single malt and my favourite became 18-year-old Macallan, distilled above the River Spey in northeast Scotland. Now costing about four figures, it has priced itself out of my market.

Today 18-year-old Highland Park from the Orkney Islands, costing about $190, is my special choice. (Aromas of toffee and dried fruits with floral and peat flavours.)

During my formative hippy years spent as a North Sea roughneck on BP’s oilrig Sea Quest, I worked with many Scottish former fishermen who introduced me to their smuggled-aboard favourite Glenmorangie, now my favourite in the $65 range. (Flavours of apple and pear with hints of vanilla and ginger.)

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