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Issue 84 - Scottish Gifts

Scotland Magazine Issue 84
December 2015


This article is 2 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Scottish Gifts

Scotland Magazine's gift suggestions for that special occasion

I Want To Know Whisky

Searching for the perfect gift for that person in your life who enjoys an occasional dram, but wants to learn more about Scotland’s national drink? I Want To Know Whisky is an inspiring online experience that takes you on a journey of discovery through the world of whisky. Packed with fascinating facts, videos and quizzes, I Want To Know Whisky has hours of online content to download and keep which promises to engage and enthuse those with a passion and love of whisky.

Learn about history, production and tasting of Scotch whisky before completing the final quiz; after which you receive your own personal certificate signed by whisky expert Charles Maclean.

Compatible with PCs, tablets and smart phones.

Pens… made from whisky barrels!

Wood. Without it, whisky wouldn’t exist as we know it. Grown in the great forests of America and Europe, it takes decades for an oak tree to reach the maturity required for use in barrel making. Once felled, the oak is hand crafted by coopers (barrel-makers) and used for storing American whiskey or Spanish sherry before being dismantled and shipped to Scotland for use in maturing Scotch. It’s certainly a long journey; some casks (as barrels are known in Scotland) are used for more than 70 years in total before decommissioning. However, after decades of hard work these venerable vessels sadly often end their life in gardens for potting or are destroyed.

However, nestled in the Highland village of Spean Bridge, Phil Dart and his team have found a way to give these noble whisky casks the refined retirement they deserve. The Whisky Wood Pen Company hand turns the wood to create quality pens of distinction which come with a certificate of authenticity – detailing from which distillery the cask used to craft it was sourced. A wide variety of styles are available; with options including fountain pens, rollerballs, mechanical pencils and even a touch-pad stylus! Pictured: ‘The Munro’, with a Parker-style ink refill, ‘soft click’ button mechanism and 18ct gold plated fittings with black enamel accents. RRP: GBP£39 / US$60.

Keep your ‘Paws’ warm this winter!

It’s been known to get a little frosty in Scotland. But when winter comes, our national textiles never fail to ward off the chill! To help you keep warm this winter, the young Edinburgh-based company Snow Paw has launched a collection of footwear made with Isle of Harris Tweed.

The boots – which are part sheepskin and part Harris Tweed – are not only cosy, but also hardwearing and stylish. Snow Paw worked with Harris Tweed Hebrides and the Carloway Mill to find materials which marry perfectly with their sheepskin footwear. The entire collection is hand crafted; materials are cut by professional tailors and finished with precision to ensure the fabric is presented as it should be.

Why Harris Tweed? Snow Paw’s co-owner Pei Ferguson is convinced it’s the best material for the job, “I felt that the beauty of the islands, the rich culture and heritage was woven directly into this magnificent textile.”

From Scotland With Love

Made entirely of Scottish film archive footage,
From Scotland With Love is a 75-minute film by award-winning Director Virginia Heath with a transcendent score by Scottish musician and composer King Creosote. A journey into our collective past, the film explores universal themes of love, loss, resistance, migration, work and play. Ordinary people, some long since dead, their names and identities largely forgotten, appear shimmering from the depth of the vaults to take a starring role. Brilliantly edited together, these silent individuals become composite characters, who emerge to tell us their stories, given voice by King Creosote’s poetic music and lyrics.

The film’s DVD and original soundtrack CD are available on Amazon and both can also be found on iTunes. 

Scottish Style from Gillian Kyle!

A ‘Glasgow girl’ and graduate from the city’s School of Art, Gillian Kyle has a passion for illustration and print. From humble beginnings drawing and screen-printing at her kitchen table just after graduating, Gillian and her business – which produces delightfully original Scottish gifts and homeware – has gone from strength to strength.

Gillian’s quirky creations have won the affections of Scots worldwide and even Mr Tunnock (of Tunnock’s Teacake fame) is a fan. Every design starts off with a hand drawn illustration in pen and ink – Gillian’s favourite part of the job! After using a little computer magic to create the finished image, her unique illustrations are then screen-printed onto cotton, china, melamine or paper.

Gillian’s goal is for her creations to be known and loved internationally, as a celebration of all that’s great about Scotland’s wonderful culture and heritage… with a wee dash of humour, of course!

Winter Warmers – five whiskies for when it’s cold outside!

Deep in Scotland’s malt whisky country lays Dufftown. Some might say it is the beating heart of the industry. Mike Lord of The Whisky Shop Dufftown has recommendations to stir the heart of any malt whisky drinker this festive season.

Craigellachie 17 Years Old
46% Abv

This is a cheeky dram. The nose is treacle toffee over Rice Krispies. There’s also porridge oats and honey plus dried fruit. The palate is lush and big. Toffee rice cakes dunked in Bourbon and just a hint of Speyside peat. It’s an insane breakfast feast.
GPB£87.95 / USD$111

Scapa Skiren
40% Abv

It’s Scapa Jim but not as we knew it! No age statement here but that is not an issue with this dram. It is bright and vibrant. Orange fudge, peaches and cream followed by salted caramel. That’s just the nose. Initially the taste is of sweet oranges, paprika and cracked pepper which deepens to baked oranges and marmalade. This is a get-up-and go dram to help you face the last minute shopping.
GBP£38.95 / USD$49

Glenfarclas 17 Years Old
43% Abv

The nose is toffee popcorn with Highland toffee. Light brown sugar and a hint of orange covered in marzipan. The taste is spicy with dark chocolate orange laced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Smooth and very well balanced between sherry and butterscotch. This is a relaxed social occasion whisky – chatting about how winters aren’t the same any more.
GBP£55.95 / USD$70

Glen Scotia Victoriana
51.5% Abv

Take your time. There is a lot going on here. The nose is raisins crushed on oak. Big wafts of meaty sherry and also a touch of smoked ham. The taste is sweet oak and then big spices followed by more sherry which is chewy, earthy and satisfying. Invigorating and vibrant for after that post lunch long walk which you had thought a good idea at the time.
GBP£69.95 / USD$89

Highland Park 25 Years Old
45.7% Abv

Now it is time to pamper yourself and your nearest and dearest. The nose is salted chocolate raisins. Kippers on the breeze with sea spray. There is also mint and the infamous heather smoke. All interwoven and beautifully smooth. On the palate the raisins have become chewy and rum soaked with salted caramel shavings. It coats the mouth so well. Then the mint-heather-smoke return and the finish just keeps on going. Maybe whisky isn’t always for sharing.
GBP£305.00 / USD$386