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06 March 2012

A wee dram

People who imagine there is a right and a wrong way to speak English, or that the language has a set of rigid correlates to external phenomena, would do well to ponder the notes of whisky tasters. I read yesterday the views of three professional experts about a Macallan 11-year old malt recently bottled by Douglas of Drumlanrig.
     They all agreed on the colour, which was “pale straw”. But the taste was a different matter. Dougie said it was “Fresh, sharp, clean. Lemony spice with ginger and sea salt.” Nicola wrote, “Cadbury’s fruit and nut with a lovely aftertaste and tingly freshness.” Jim noted: “Unbelievably smooth bouquet of flowers mixed with vanilla.”
     So, was it ginger, or fruit or flowers?
Not the Macallan 11-year old
     As for the “nose”, one talked of “sweet citrus and honey”, another of “butterscotch and vanilla”, and the third of “chocolate and fruit”. The only thing they agreed on apart from the colour was the fact that this was “a smashing wee dram”.
     But that is a phrase unknown to most Russian speakers of English—at least the words “smashing” and “dram”. And most would think the word “wee” referred to a different sort of liquid, especially if it has been described as the colour of “pale straw”.
     I have never tasted “wee”, but I can imagine that it might be lemony and sharp, with ginger notes and hints of sea salt, not to mention a nose that suggests the tingly freshness of citrus and vanilla. I wonder why nobody bottles it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. It really sounds odd for Russian reader. Also it took some time to find an explanation.