All of us in our lives will experience some listless episodes where our lives seem lacking in purpose or excitement. Too many hours spent exposed to strip lighting in the office does it for many, and sometimes we hear about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) bringing great swathes of the population to the brink, brief moments checking sky scanner on the bus bringing false hopes of the Amalfi that will shortly be dashed by Brian from HR and his opaque and unintelligible criteria for taking holidays.
The three protagonists of John Buchan’s 1925 novel ‘John Macnab’ are perhaps a little more inspired in their desire to bring excitement to their lives than most of us. They are also fortunate that, as fictitious characters, they are not slaves to the bureaucratic tyrants of the workplace.
Three friends set out to poach either a salmon or a stag from Scottish estates that neighboured their friend and hosts own land. Each neighbour receives a letter informing them that the stag or salmon will be returned undetected to their doorstep by a certain ‘John Macnab’. If they are caught, their reputations will be ruined, if they succeed, and I will not ruin the end of the novel for you, they will hopefully have reinvigorated their lives through challenge and excitement.
It is a story that speaks to most of us, not least the sportsmen and women who will already know of the challenge spawned by this classic tale.
The challenge as it stands today is a little different. To complete a Macnab now you are required to have taken a salmon on the fly, a stag off the hills and pick up a brace of grouse, all in one day. It is the ultimate sporting challenge, and to honour this, HAH have teamed up with the biggest names in the sporting world to offer their customers this unique whisky. Bringing together Cordings, Farlows and William Evans, this 15yr Glenmorangie teaspoon malt, known as Westport, comes in unique bottles representing the three great quarries of the challenge.
Whether it is a gift for yourself or a loved one for completing this immense challenge, or a call to arms for someone , perhaps even yourself, that last bit of incentive needed to take it on, this is the gift for you. Each of these beautifully designed bottles comes with a handsome illustration of your chosen quarry along with a blank space for you to add the date and location of your success.
But it is not just those taking on the traditional Macnab that need enjoy this fantastic whisky. They can be purchased individually, and make a fantastic gift to celebrate someone’s first salmon, stag or grouse. The lowly author of this article will personally be buying a full set on completion of what he is terming ‘A Gentleman’s Macnab’. That is, one stag, one salmon and a brace of grouse all in one sporting season.
Of course the final reason to buy this whisky, as it must be with all whiskies, is the taste. With a fruity nose that suggests apple, pear, citrus, vanilla and barley, the taste of honey, peaches, allspice and oak, and honey and citrus to finish it off, unique teaspoon malt really is one to enjoy after a successful day in the field.
By William Prior