Liquorature Gathering #032 – “The Wicker Man” (Robin Hardy & Anthony Shaffer)
Date: September, 2011
Whisky: Bruichladdich Organic, Bruichladdich Rocks, Bruichladdich Waves, Bruichladdich Resurrection 2001, Bruichladdich 1998 Manzanilla, Bruichladdich 1998 Oloroso, Bruichladdich Black Arts 2
Rum: Bruichladdich Renegade
The return of the beast. I managed to lure the elusive Maltmonster from his secluded lair with the promise of an evening filled with Pagan idolatry and fire play. Knowing the MM…how could he resist?
Never one to arrive empty-handed, no matter how much I insist he try it from time to time, Mr. Monster arrived with a box of Cohibas and a couple delectable bottles from the 70s. Of particular note…a 1973 Tullibardine…the same year of the film’s release. The other was a 1976 BenRiach. Both astounding, of course, as I don’t the man (nor beast) drinks anything but brilliant drams.
As to the other whiskies…where the hell was Bauer (aka Mr. Laddie) on this one? I guess one of the early titles to this tale’s sequel was ‘Mayday Riding the Laddie’. With a title like that (and The Wicker Man being set in the Hebrides) a suite of Bruichladdich was the only logical choice. The list is above, but of course there was a reason for each of the selections and yes…all were tied to the novel/film.
Notice I say novel and film. One of the reasons I chose this one (aside from my penchant for looking for somewhat out there and controversial subject matter for my selections) was because it was a novel penned after the film. I actually suggested to the gang that they watch the movie (the 1973 original) before reading the book. Even I had never cracked the spine on this tale before so this one could have gone over like a lead zeppelin (to cop a phrase).
Thankfully, to my relief, the novel was quite rich in its own right and did serve to add a little more depth and a few interesting scenes. In my wee l’il mind, these two have now become companion pieces. The guys did this one justice too. A great chat…some spirited (pun intended) discussion…many laughs…and an overall enjoyment. Big relief for me, as I was uncertain as to how this would go over.
A third reason for picking The Wicker Man was simply that I absolutely adore this film. Top three for me. It was a neat opportunity to host a night filled with interesting subject matter and fascinating chitchat.
Interestingly enough, to emphasize the Pagan themes, this gathering just so happened (wink wink) to fall on the Autumnal Equinox.
These nights should be the things of memories to come, so…a few other bits and pieces I managed to work into the agenda. With the score to the film, and some acoustic Agalloch based on the movie playing in the background, it was time to break out the haggis. Yep…the haggis. A book set in Scotland needed the full treatment. I think all of the gang had a bite or two, but I gotta be honest…this was…not good. I’ll be happy to try it again, and just hope this was a bad one, but my first go at a haggis was less than successful.
Chris was kind enough to lend us his little keg from the whisky he and his dad purchased, so the Liquorature crew were tasked with bringing a malt to contribute. We set to work vatting our own blended malt, aptly named after the whisky mentioned in The Wicker Man, ‘Summerisle Inheritance’. This vatting consists of no less than 17 malts (I’ll never tell!), running the gambit from young and spritely through mature and sexy…sweet and sherried to peaty and smoky. Will be fun to see what comes of this one. Months down the line, when we finally try it, I’ll post our reviews.
To cleanse the haggis from our palates, we dug into a pot of man-chili, before finishing the night with a freshly baked apple pie…another tie-in to the tale, of course. I gotta add…my wife was brilliant in support of this whole Wicker Man gathering. Not only was she my sounding board for ideas (and infinitely patient with all of my idiocy), but she also baked the aforementioned apple pie (Summerisle apples?). To go this all one better though, she delivered a pretty frickin’ amazing gift to me. A full size empty cask from ADL that had housed the new Alberta Premium 30 year old…from 1978 (my birth year). Epic. Truly epic.
And then came the time of night for our dreadful sacrifice. It was time to bid farewell to Seamus. For those not in the know…I built a wee wicker man from grapevine. This little fellow, a couple feet tall, was dubbed Seamus, and had his fate sealed before the night even began. As it was now full dark, we took our Wicker Man outside…doused him in cask strength…and set him to burn. Any reservations I had about whether or not grapevine would burn well were quickly put to bed. Maltmonster generously offerred up some gorgeous Cohibas, and we all stood back to watch the flames of Seamus lick the stars (well…not quite). Lots of fun.
Gents, this was one I was nervous about and looking forward to. Thanks for making it memorable.
Randoms: “Britt Eklund brought it up a bit”…”Well done…Howie”…The 13 Minute Movie…”Did God create the universe? No…Chuck Norris did”…Haggis…Whisky Making…Maltmonster sitting in…Cask gift…Burning man…on and on…