Saturday; drove over the bridge and into Edinburgh, to meet my pal PJ, he was with pals to see the game and have a grand weekend, he also brought me my bottle of Telling “Rising” and I gave him the Redbreast – we had pre – arranged this to be sure.
RISING an Irish dram from Teeling’s. An 11 year old single malt to mark the rising of the distillery and the 100 years since the Irish Rising of 1916, Dublin – where two of my great uncles fought alongside the hero’s against the British (Paul). A handcrafted small batch, 1000 bottles and consists of rare Irish casks. REDBREAST Mano a Lámh All Sherry Limited Edition. A limited release from Midleton of 2000 bottles for Stillhouse members. I had a spare bottle of this (Paul), Mano a Lámh, means ‘hand in hand’, represents the joining of two languages, Gaelic and Galician, in celebration of the relationship between the Masters of Midleton and the artisans in Spain, who have crafted the distillery’s sherry butts over 20 years. A grand pairing for this Scotland/Ireland rugby match, not forgetting the Murray (Murrayfield is the stadium for the game – clever eh!).
Leaving PJ I then dondered into the city – rammed with Irish. Ended up making a pub tour, just to find a space you understand to see the game. After some lunch and many visits, I ended up at Usquabae, superb craic in this pub, mega full ofrugby supporters, Irish sitting next to Scots, next to English even, that’s the way it goes with rugby. Saw the fantastic game; Scotland’s passion and relentless tackling did not give Ireland time to breathe, let alone pass the ball (or have a dram). It was just suffocating. Stuart Hogg the Glasgow player is not just ahead of his rivals, he is clear of them by some distance, my man of the match. Game over after some nervous last few minutes, Scotland win 27 – 22! I wander downstairs to the whisky bar. Usquabae whisky bar is superb, over 400 whiskies to select from, we immediately set up a bar tab, not thinking where this was leading … started with a Balvenie 21 year old Port, as you do. Our education included a Redbreast 15yo (Irish to be nice), Glenrothers Sherry, Dalmore cigar malt and a Dalmore King Alec. After this it all got a bit dark and confusing, wee note here; be careful when drinking with Irish. I do recall a very nice Balvenie 17 year old looking at me across the bar, so called him over and educated myself and Michael from Donegal into the Balvenie way. It was about now we heard a huge roar fae upstairs, a less intoxicated Irishman went upstairs to see what was goin on? He arrived back saying the Saxons were behind against the French, superb! We had a long discussion between ourselves and bar staff “what the hell is Swing Low sweet chariot all about?” After, or during this chat – I lost all sense and apparently was assisted back to my hotel by Mic and a friend.
Sunday; driving home, at a suitable time for the fumes to dissolve, with two good friends in the back of the car (Rising and Murray) am happy as Larry. It’s always the same on this game, my dad fae Oban, my ma fae Kilkenny, I don’t really care who wins, I win each time! My big gripe and rant; is the Saxon media, they never gave Scotland a chance, the Irish they said only have to turn up to beat us! And how did their team fare against the French, they scrambled a win only just, but that night the sports news BBC was full of a superb saxon win with umpteen minutes of coverage, Scotland got a wee mention. Typical. By the way saxon (English) media ANDY MURRAY IS SCOTTISH not British or English. Again, a great dram; Tullibardine Murray.