Posted by: The Prince of Whales | May 13, 2010

George Osborne’s Tipple?


Mine's a Glenfarclas. What's yours George?

Last night I was privileged to be invited to a whisky tasting session by the good folks at The Glenlivet.

About 20 of us gathered in the boardroom of a smart boutique hotel in Manchester as Phil Huckle, their “brand ambassador”,  led us through the 5 main presentations in their Whisky range. There was the 12 year old, known to most malt whisky drinkers, followed by the 15, 18 and 21 year old presentations, plus the new Nadurra. All very fine malts. I must admit I like my malts from the opposite side of Scotland, with a bit of peat and smoke so Speyside’s first and finest would not normally be the top of my list. Yet the charms of the 21 year old were very good indeed. A lovely nose followed by sherry, wood and malt. A great late night dram.

Speyside's Finest

Along with the tasting, Phil gave us a bit of history and geography. He told us how The Glenlivet distillery stands on the lonely hillside where George Smith founded it almost 2 centuries ago.  How King George IV’s 1822 visit to Edinburgh saw illicit malt introduced to the  upper classes for the the first time and how whisky filled the gap when disease wiped out Cognac in the late 19th century.

Phil’s best bit of whisky history was rather more  recent and bang  up to date,  given the General Election is still ringing in our ears. It concerned Ken Clarke, ex resident of Moseley, sometime customer of this pub and well known whisky fan.  Phil reminded us that MPs are not allowed to drink in the chamber of The House of Commons. The only exception to this, given the historical length of the speech, is for the Chancellor on Budget Day.

Latter day Chancellors have shown their true colours by their choice of drink. We have had the pathetic, politically correct,  Alistair Darling, drinking Thames tap water. Obviously no fun down the pub afterwards! Gordon Brown was as worse. He was true to his Scottish roots but no friend of the whisky industry as he chose a bottle of Highland Spring Mineral Water as his regular companion on his big day.

No we need to go back to the Tories for some proper refreshment. Norman Lamont sipped on a G &T, but Ken Clarke’s preferred tipple was a quadruple measure of Glenfarclas.  That’s the spirit! In fact, once Ken was a good way through his speech, and his whisky, he became the only Chancellor in history to reduce the tax on whisky. He did this in two successive years in the mid 1990’s. So we must ask, was this Government Policy or just the whisky talking?

Come on George … what’s your tipple? Not long to wait I suspect.

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