The chances are, as you’re reading this, you have more than a passing interest in whisky and have probably ventured out past the supermarket brands.
If you’re lucky enough to live near to a specialist whisky retailer, pop in and ask for their recommendations – they should be able to let you sample a few too to help you decide. Or give them a call, the major specialists ship worldwide. You may find a star such as an Cnoc or Ardmore, Mortlach or Ben Nevis, Scapa or Glencadam, or even an interesting variant of one of the big names.
In the Western Highlands of Scotland there is a rich distilling history. The area encompasses Campbeltown, Islay, Jura, Mull and Oban. But one of its most interesting whiskies is to be found on the shores of Loch Fyne.
There is an old legend that a man named MacPhunn was convicted of stealing sheep and was hanged at Inveraray Gaol. His corpse was taken back across Loch Fyne to Strachur to be buried but half way across his widow noticed him move and so she mixed some of her milk with whisky and put it into his mouth and revived him. He soon recovered and lived out his life as he was unable to be hung twice for the same crime.
The story was brought to life by Sir Fitzroy Maclean who had his own whisky named Old MacPhunn for sale at his establishment, The Creggans Inn, near Strachur. This has now been resurrected (like MacPhunn himself) by his son Sir Charles Maclean.
Sir Fitzroy’s story is even more intriguing. He was a friend of Ian Fleming and is thought to be one of the inspirations for his James Bond character. As a Diplomat in Paris and Moscow in the 1930’s, then a Member of Parliament, he became one of the early members of the SAS and he undertook many missions in North Africa and later went to Yugoslavia where he supported the resistance.
His work in Yugoslavia earned him high recognition there and recently the Croatian President paid a visit to his son, Sir Charles, in Strachur where he was presented with the first bottle of the re-launched MacPhunn.
The new version is a cask strength, 18 year old Speysider matured in a Sherry cask. Though no one can claim that this whisky can revive the dead it is a mighty powerful drop.