Having been born at a time that predated the indiscriminate use of the internet, I saw my childhood plagued by many very excruciating doubts. For example, one which puzzled me every time I had breakfast: who was the guy pictured in the Quaker outmeal box? And another question even more distressing, but of the same nature: who was the nice old man of the KFC logo?
If I could reseach such things online, it would be easy. I would know that the distinguished gentleman of fried chicken is Colonel Sanders, an important character in American history. And that that the Quaker oatmeal man is actually nobody. He was invented, pictured to represent the values of honesty, integrity, purity and strength – all of which are important to the Quakers. All this knowledge would be at my fingertips, if only a quick search on the Internet was enough. But no. I had to wait for the democratization of technology to assuage my inquiring distress.
Recently I found myself once again curious about packing something. This time a whisky. The Machrie Moor, peated expression of Arran distillery, located on the island of the same name. Its label depicts a curious dog, chained to a rock that is pictured in the back of the bottle. A beautiful image, but, at first, a little disconnected. After all, what would be the relationship between a dog and a smoked whisky? But this time, thanks to the technological advance, my curiosity was quickly quenched.
Before moving on and answering the question, though, let me talk a little about whisky. Arran Machrie Moor is a NAS single malt, bottled at 46% ABV. Its aroma is clearly smoky, maritime and somewhat medicinal. The taste is smoky and citrus, with a long and smoky finish. It’s a dangerously nice whisky. If not on the leash of moderation, you could easily drink half a bottle in one night.
Machrie Moor is an annual special edition. The bottle for this post is batch no. 8, 2017. It is one of 18,300 bottles produced that year. This is important. Although the smoking level remained the same, there were certain changes in the composition of the newer batches, which were better received by the market than the older ones.
Arran is a fairly young distillery. It was founded in 1995 by Harold Currie, a former director of Chivas Regal. But despite its youth, it has a large portfolio. There are, for example, single malts with age statement, such as 10, 14 and 18 years. And also some NAS, like Lochranza and Quarter Cask. There is also a line with special finishes, in sherry, port and sauternes wine barrels. And there are, of course, the smoked ones – of which Machrie Moor is part.
By the way, let’s talk about the name. Machrie Moor was named after a peat bog – located on the west coast of the Isle of Arran. There are some circles of Celtic stones, dating from the Bronze Age (the famous standing stones). One of these circles is called Fingal’s Cauldron Seat, where one of the stones has a small orifice in it. According to Arran folklore, it was on this perforated stone that the giant Fingal chained his mythological dog Bran while enjoying a nutritious meal in the center of the circle.
And there it is. The dog on the Machrie Moor’s label is Bran. A hunting dog belonging to the mythology of the Celtic people. According to his own myth, Bran was a dog raised from the womb of a human, and so inherited the intelligence (which is missing today) of our species. His quick thinking and hunting ability only matched his loyalty to Fingal.
So if you want a smoky and extremely drinkable citrus whiskey, you don’t have to worry for years without a definite answer. Nor wait for a new technology – or an old one – to give you the answer. You can now go offline now. Arran Machrie Moor is your whiskey.
ARRAN MACHRIE MOOR
Type: Single Malt (NAS)
Region: Higlands (Islands)
Aroma: smoke, citrus fruits.
Palate: Discreetly fruity with pineapple. Predominantly smoked and slightly salty.
Price: BRL 351,00 at the official importer, www.lojadewhisky.com.br