despite the best efforts of the so-called weatherbomb this past week, i still find myself surrounded by eight malt whisky distilleries. and, as mentioned in these very pixels not so very long ago, there's a ninth due to begin construction in march of next year. despite being a committed tee-totaller, intent on keeping one's distance from the surrounding single malts, i have almost inevitably learned more about uisge beatha than i really wanted to. in fact, so well-versed am i in matters relating to mixing water, yeast and barley, that i even recently reviewed a book on the subject for our local newspaper.
the very fact that another book would spend two lengthy chapters explaining the history of whisky-making and the process itself is pointless at best and iniquitous at worst. there have been more books written about whisky than ever was the case about cycling, despite the fact that the ingredients and means of production haven't altered for over 500 years. i assume that any individuals with a penchant for the amber nectar will have little need of a phalanx of books all of which describe (often in minute detail), how the aforementioned ingredients are poured into wooden barrels and stored for at least ten years. just one ought to do just fine.
while travelling to each open day at an islay whisky festival several years ago in order to photograph the proceedings, i met a whisky aficionado who was fuming and muttering while holding a small notebook and pencil. when i enquired as to the reason for his apparent disappointment, he told me that the distillery in which we were standing would not reveal the parts per million of the phenol content of their single malt. apparently every other distillery had included this information as part of their tours. as a non-believer, so to speak, i couldn't quite see the problem, for it wasn't as if he could replicate the process at home. wouldn't he be better simply to enjoy drinking his tipple of choice?
and while we're discussing drinking, one of the accoutrements that came to light during those years of trying unsuccessfuly to avoid single malt whiskies, is what i believe is more readily referred to as a hip flask. there are a couple of reasons i can think of for this state of affairs; firstly, there's no sense of convenience associated with carrying around a glass bottle of the preferred dram. and secondly, how embarrassing would it be to be caught red-handed sipping an ardbeg while touring lagavulin, or a laphroaig while being guided through bowmore? the obvious answer is to pour a measured amount into an all but anonymous hip flask.
there are only a few folks who visit the islay whisky festival that travel between distilleries by bicycle, but there are many who do so throughout the summer months. that's the very reason why ardbeg, bowmore and bruichladdich successfully offer branded cycle jerseys for sale. and should those cycling whisky fans feel the need to be accompanied by a hip flask, the ingenious folks at look mum no hands! have the very items to ease such a quest.
made from stainless steel and emblazoned with the lmnh branding and a bicycle motif, the curved flask is accompanied by a stainless ahearne cycles bottle cage, carefully fabricated to accommodate the curve of the flask. this does, however, mean that the flask really only fits in one way, but it's not really the sort of thing that you'd find need of accessing while riding (i'm not even sure it could be reached from the saddle). to prevent loss of the screw-on cap, there's a clever hinged bracket attached; the only thing missing is your dram of choice.
for those who remain to be convinced, the incredibly narrow profile offered by the flask and cage has to add a few kph of aerodynamic bonus. i have tested this in 30+ winds and horizontal rain, but in the absence of verified data, you'll just have to take my word for it that it works. however, i've no idea if plain water is any faster that ten year-old single malt.
the look mum no hands hip flask and holder retails via the cafe for £45 or can be ordered from the lmnh website. the ideal christmas present for the cyclist who thinks he/she already has everything.
friday 12 december 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................