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Isle of Peat

Don't tell me Islays
aren't for ladies,
that women only go for
Speyside sweeties,
fragrant Lowlands
or husky Highland drams.
Do girls care for nothing
but fripperies and flirting?

Come, sisters raise a glass
to the core of it,
to grit-gripping earth,
the fundamental fire
and soul of it,
to bravery and bandages,
to iodine's kind sting,
to salvaged pride.

Bless us with beach bonfires,
with ash and burnt sticks,
with hazy hot sand,
seaweed sculptures,
mussels, smoked fish,
and smoky bacon crisps.

All hail to turf and birch and creosote,
to moss and rope and motor boats,
the firework's matchbox afterglow,
the mangrove creek's old brackish flow.

Sure, breathe into it
a magic puff of pollen,
and, to release the spirit,
fresh from the spring,
an angel delighting
in aromatic air and water Â…
But for peat's sake,
don't deny the earth
and fire of the goddess.

Inspired by Cask No. 53.115 bottled by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, the tasting notes for which read: Compared to other samples from the distillery on the Sound of Islay just north of Port Askaig, this is friendly and approachable, light and restrained - "a ladies' Islay" one Panel member said. Nonetheless the nose has those hallmarks of bandages and smoke (smoky bacon crisps, smoked fish). It also has lemon, bubble gum, Play-Doh and magic balloon paste - a frivolous whisky perhaps? At full strength the palate reverberates with kipper paté, vanilla Angel Delight, smoke and ash. With water the nose has dusty pollen, ham and pickles and the taste is a chewy blend of sweet smoke and lemon soap.

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