Have you ever wanted to burst out in song after tasting a whisky? Or has the mere scent of a dram ever brought to mind a favourite song of yours?
Powerful, evocative and emotional, music can heighten the senses and transport us to another place and time in an instant – just like any one of our Society whiskies. For this month’s theme of whisky and music, BBC Radio DJ and SMWS member Vic Galloway delves into his collection to match the Society bottlings’ flavour profiles to different musical genres.
Here are some of his choices, paired with the four new whiskies that are part of this month’s Malaysian Outturn!
YOUNG & SPRITELY / DREAM POP
Featured whisky: 26.140, CHALK AND ORE (BUY NOW)
Effervescent and sweet, joyous and uplifting, the Young And Spritely whiskies have a naivety and exuberance that I just love. From decades gone by, the present day or even beamed in from tomorrow, Dream Pop pairs with it beautifully.
This celestial music seems utterly timeless and forever young, an audio accompaniment that always puts a spring in my step. It is both light-footed and ethereal, yet with hidden mystery and depth.
While sipping, I hear the honeyed vocals of Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins, the chiming, saturated funk of Khruangbin, the floating arpeggios of Beach House or the stoned grandeur of Washed Out – all drenched in reverb of course. These diffuse in perfect harmony to this playful, easy-going dram, and at the end of the glass you feel centred, cosy and elevated. Dream Pop makes me feel young and spritely, as does this dram.
Cocteau Twins – Iceblink Luck
Washed Out – Eyes be Closed
Beach House – Space Song
Khruangbin – First Class
OILY & COASTAL / ELECTRONICA & POST ROCK
Featured whisky: 44.105, AL FRESCO DINING (BUY NOW)
The esoteric world of electronica and post-rock are closely linked in my musical mind – opaque soundscapes that evoke open-ended panoramas and rustic terrain, in tune with nature yet still alien and unearthly.
With its coastal notes and a salty aftertaste that clings to your mouth, this is a dram that lingers and takes you somewhere windswept and untouched. Are you on an Icelandic trawler with Sigur Ros, East Lothian beaches with Boards of Canada, aboard a space-station with Mogwai, or in some digital netherworld with Squarepusher?
Synths, heavily-effected guitars, crisp break-beats and reverb-soaked vocals all run into each other, as you stand at the harbour wall. There’s white noise and twinkling feedback, but it’s in the distance and you pay no mind. It’s all part of the trip.
Pull on a heavy-knit sweater, walking boots and a sou’wester as the elements hit you and the sea water splashes in your face. It’s intense but also refreshing, as the waves of sound engulf your mind and the whisky consumes your palate.
Mogwai – Dry Fantasy
Boards of Canada – Palace Posy
Squarepusher – Midi Sans Frontieres (Avec Batterie)
Sigur Ros – Glósóli
LIGHTLY PEATED / MODERN PSYCH
Featured whisky: 66.141, ROOFING FELT ON A BEACH HUT (BUY NOW)
Swirling playfully, colours blazing and head spinning…after one sip of this incredible smoky dram, fuzzy logic rules and your perceptions of what a whisky can actually be are thrown into the ether.
There’s peat, yes…but also a floral, paisley sweetness at large, light to the touch but also full of attitude and creativity. Draw on your favourite tobacco and let the lava-lamps dazzle you, as Tame Impala raise the ghost of George Harrison, Unknown Mortal Orchestra trip on Johann Sebastian Bach, Thee Oh Sees take you to the stars and back, while Swedish psych-lords Dungen simply blow your tiny mind. The drums continually fall over themselves, the guitars chime and the bass throbs, as this sensuous sap nestles gently in your thrapple.
If you want a mind-enhancing whisky that launches you on a journey to the outer limits, pulling you back to reality at the last minute; there is a modern psych soundtrack of joy to help you along the way. Ya dig, baby?
Tame Impala – Desire Be Desire Go
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Swim & Sleep (Like a Shark)
Thee Oh Sees – Web
Dungen – Fredag
PEATED / 70s PUNK
Featured whisky: 53.329, INTENSE SEASIDE EXPERIENCE (BUY NOW)
London’s Burning…well that’s what they sang from the rooftops in 1977 anyway, and the smoke certainly pours from the chimney of your Glencairn on this one! It also kicks like a mule and demands you jump out of your skin and pogo to that fast and furious backdrop of fuzz, buzz and clang. Turn it up, blow the speakers and kicks out the jams with this stormy concoction of flavours and fire.
Not for the faint-hearted, this dram leads you straight to the engine-room and kick-starts your heart. With passions poised and emotions on high alert, The Clash, The Damned, Buzzcocks and Ramones give you a group-hug and pull you into the pit for the last dance of your life. The sweat and salt drip from your lips, and the night before is nothing but a blurry memory. Next morning you wolf down a big breakfast, then clean up for a new dawn with a new strut. Punk and Peat, medicine and magic – that’s all you need!
The Clash – Complete Control
The Damned – Neat Neat Neat
Buzzcocks – Love You More
Ramones – Teenage Lobotomy