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Seven wonderful whisky pairings for great Scottish books

For Book Week Scotland (21st-27th November), whisky enthusiast Will Stockham, owner of the Scottish Routes tours, has matched whiskies with seven classic books set in Scotland.

Published: November 24, 2016
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Scottish Routes, which specialises in tailor-made and distinctive whisky tours, has teamed up with Book Week Scotland to support a new initiative, the BookFellas project, which aims to get more men reading.

To highlight the project, Stockham has recommended the best dram to enjoy as you read each of the seven Scottish books based on their theme.

Exit Music – Ian Rankin


Picture: Wikimedia

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a dram of the Highland Park 20 year old which was released to celebrate 20 years of Rebus, this would be the obvious choice.

However, for us mere mortals, I would recommend the Highland Park 15 year old.

Under the Skin – Michel Faber


Given that this book is based around an alien being, it seems appropriate to match an Ardbeg Galileo to this one.

This was released to celebrate the fact that some Ardbeg spirit had spent time in space as part of an experiment about maturation in zero gravity.

Should you not be able to get your hand on the Galileo then the Ardbeg Uigeadail is a great substitute.

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Outlander – Diana Gabaldon

Picture: AP

Picture: AP

For a tale that takes the reader back in time in the Highlands of Scotland, it seems appropriate to match a whisky that will take your taste buds back in time too.

The incredible Bruichladdich x4+3: Uisgebaugh-Baul would be my choice. This ‘perilous whisky’ is an homage to the Hebridean distillers of yesteryear but is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.

Again, should you not be able to get your hands on the Uisgebaugh-Baul, then fellow Islay malt Kilchoman Machir Bay is also a great choice.

Kilchoman's whisky is produced on their farm distillery much like it would have been in the past.

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The Testament of Gideon Mack – James Robertson


This book mentions the village of Dalwhinnie in its opening chapter so I did consider suggesting a dram of the 15 year old from the distillery of the same name. However, I think this book is more suited to a taste of Tomatin’s Cu Bocan.

The Cu Bocan being a legendary hellhound that has (apparently) stalked the residents of Tomatin for generations.

Leading – Alex Ferguson

Picture: contributed

Picture: contributed

A Glenfiddich 15 year old is my suggestion to enjoy with this book. Innovative and hugely successful since its founding in 1887, they would seem to have quite a bit in common with the equally successful Mr. Ferguson.

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Lanark – Alasdair Gray


This book needs a complex, multi-layered kind of whisky to match with it. My pick is the Dalmore King Alexander III. A remarkable marriage of multiple cask types combine to make a thought-provoking taste sensation.

Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh


Picture: TSPL

Trying to match a whisky to one of my favourite books was a daunting proposition. In the end though, I decided it had to be Compass Box’s Hedonism Quindecimus.

This blended grain whisky is from a company that is known for bending the rules and producing exceptional whiskies as a result.

Will Stockham, MD of Scottish Routes and a proud BookFella, will be running a special, one-off Whisky and Words tour in early 2017 – visit for more information.

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