By the Whisky Couple

This is the trademark of Aberlour distillery in Speyside, Scotland. One of the lesser-known single malts, it deserves to be discovered and recognized on its own merits. First let’s have a look at the distillery’s history. Aberlour was built in 1879 in the eponymous village along the borders of the fast flowing River Spey. After a fire destroyed the original buildings, the distillery was entirely rebuilt by Mr. Fleming, a local entrepreneur, successful businessman and a great philanthropist. His motto was “Let the deed show,” still imprinted on the label of each bottle of Aberlour. One of the important things he did for the village was financing a hanging bridge over the river after a little child had drowned. Such were the man’s actions.

By the Whisky Couple

Picture this. Beautiful natural surroundings, undisturbed by mass tourism, one distillery, approximately 180 human inhabitants and 5,000 red deer. Welcome to the Isle of Jura, only separated by a relatively small strip of water from its larger sister Islay, but producing an entirely different type of whisky, largely underestimated. The cause might partly be the fame of its neighbors on the adjacent island, or partly the truly chequered history of the distillery. The operation even started under another name: Small Isles Distillery. When the license changed hands in 1831, the new lessee, William Abercrombie, introduced the name Isle of Jura. Up to 1901 that license changed hands five times and the distillery narrowly escaped bankruptcy.

By the Whisky Couple 

Many German, Belgian and Dutch whisky enthusiasts annually prepare for a special spring crossing of the North Sea by ferry from IJmuiden to Newcastle, usually taking their car with them. The ultimate goal is the Spirit of Speyside Festival. The company that takes care of a safe journey on the waters between the European continent and Great Britain is called DFDS Seaways — a respected 150-year-old Danish company.

By the Whisky Couple

I like water, especially the Water of Life, but I also do 40-50 laps, three times a week, in a lap-pool to keep fit — after all, I do have a sitting job and need the exercise.

Becky and I can also be seen on a boat or ship in Charleston harbor and its direct maritime surroundings sometimes. In previous years in Europe we enjoyed a sailing trip on the Thalassa, a three-master of Dutch origin, which took us around the southern part of Scotland (Kintyre, Arran and the Isle of Islay), a journey we duly reported in the Charleston Mercury Magazine. Last year we joined a group of 20-odd whisky aficionados on the somewhat smaller Flying Dutchman as their host and sailed the Caledonian Canal, starting in Oban, with a detour to Tobermory and Ardnamurchan, then heading for Fort William, where we entered the canal, crossed various lochs among which the notorious Loch Ness, to end in Inverness harbor after eight days.

By the Whisky Couple

If looking for one single malt whisky as cult fodder for collectors, Ardbeg is a prime candidate. The distillery is more than 200 years old and known for releasing interesting and innovative expressions of the cratur. Collectors of this imaginative heavily peated single malt can be found anywhere in the world. One of the most colourful “Ardbeg characters” is American Tim Puett.

By the Whisky Couple

An article about whisky and football — that is soccer, dear American friends — has to start undisputedly with a Spanish club, since the Spanish competition is home to our favorite football player, Lionel Messi. FC Barcelona was founded in 1899 by Mr. Joan Gamper, together with a group of young foreigners working and living in the eponymous city. It will come as no surprise that today the club still consists of players from different countries and cultural backgrounds. It’s the trademark of the FC.

By the Whisky Couple

A couple of months ago at a whisky festival in Europe I was stopped dead in my tracks by a gentleman who complimented me on my work with a certainly kindly intentioned but rather strange remark: “You really write nice books Mr. Offringa, but what do you do for a living?”

I smiled while I wracked my brain for an appropriate answer. Should I tell him I’ve been a professional writer for more than 35 years? That I’d written a couple of novels and historical books on various topics before I dedicated my writing skills fully to whisky and in doing so was able to blend my passion with my profession? Or that to date I have published more than 20 books on my favorite topic and translated seminal works from my fellow writer friends Dave Broom, Michael Jackson and Charles MacLean? That I annually write between 80 and 100 articles or columns for publications across the globe and thereby commit to a deadline every three or four days throughout the year?

Mercury newspapers can be found at the following locations:


Buxton Books

Caviar & Bananas

The Meeting Street Inn (Rack)

Clair's Service Station, Folly Rd. (Rack)

Harris Teeter, Houston-Northcutt Blvd. (Rack)

Mt. Pleasant Library, Mathis Ferry Rd. (Rack)

Pitt St. Pharmacy

The Square Onion, I'On (Rack)