Jim McEwan is a legend in the whisky industry, and we werre very pleased to host him for another pair of epic tastings at Kensington Wine Market. Words can only partly convey the boundless energy, passion and enthusiasm that this man can boast. We could offer you some lengthy prose detailing the tastings in minutia, but even that would fail to fully convey the excitement of the night’s events. So we’ll share some of the more memorable moments.
Jim greeted every member of the gathered group as if each one were a close and personal friend. He begins weaving his magic at hello, a taste of what’s to come. Jim’s narrative is about more than just whisky, one man and one distillery, it the story of an island, its people and tradition. He passionate tells the story of Bruichladdich and it’s humble beginnings, painting a picture of a once smaller and neglected distillery. He stretches even further back in time to speak the days when everything was done by hand, and distilling was an art form. Â Bruichladdich’s new owners decided to stick with tradition and make whisky by hand, when possible with local ingredients. They made it a point of focusing on quality and community.
Jim’s narrative slams home the importance they put into the ingredients, the age old techniques passed down from generations before and a personal loving devotion endowed on each and every barrel of whisky filled. While steeping the crowd with the mystique and history of the distillery and its whisky, Jim kept the moved light with well placed jokes that provoked some hearty chuckles. Through the conversations and stories continued Mr. McEwan was careful not to overshadow the evenings other bright stars: the Botanist Gin, and the shinning amber liquids sitting in front of his mesmerized audience. Each whisky was romanced by its maker, and it was impossible to resist their siren calls.
As the night progressed and the end was near, Jim proposed a chieftain’s toast, to battle, to honour and camaraderie which included shouting on everyone’s part. and only once the explosive chant was loud was he satisfied. As the cheery crowd left, the binding toast had left it’s proclaimers something more than acquaintances, yet something not quite describable. A thanks to Jim McEwan, the Man from Islay for not only an amazing presentation but as well, an experience that we will remember for a long, long time.