Books and Travel, Part 3: Campbeltown, Whisky, and Paul McCartney

This moves off books, but stays with reading.

The reading part is from Food and Wine magazine and is about Canlis, a Seattle restaurant that is very special to us. Here is the Food and Wine article: https://www.foodandwine.com/articles/searching-scotland-for-the-ultimate-barrel-of-whisky

The story has a happy ending. An owner of a Springbank cask read the article and agreed to see his cask to Canlis. For US customs, they had to empty the cask, put in in an aluminum version, and ship the whole arrangement by boat to Seattle. Mark Canlis took us down to their wine cellar and showed us the place where the cask was going to be placed, and gave us samples from their cask sample bottles. We both had to name something we would do to amend our lives before we drank. Wonderful. This is how they serve this whisky. It’s a very special thing.

We had booked the full tour at Springbank in Campbeltown and we were not disappointed. It was a four hour tour of everything about the place. We know Canlis well, and we totally agree that Springbank and Canlis are cut from the same cloth. I especially appreciated the casual way they dealt with the “whisky safe.” This is where the finished product moves into production.. In many distilleries the safe – always made of brass- is highly polished and secured with a big padlock. At Springbank it could have used a polish, and it was wide open waiting for the distiller to check and see if they had what they wanted. Canlis is a classy restaurant with nothing out of place, but it’s feel is like the whisky safe at Springbank. My mentor, Carroll Hinderlie, used to call this “casual excellence.”

When in Campbeltown we also learned that Paul McCartney bought a place here early in his career and he and Linda and their children came there every summer. Nobody paid them any attention, so it was totally relaxing for them. Linda was really involved the in the community. When she died of cancer, they made a memorial garden behind the old library. Paul contributed a commissioned sculpture of Linda sitting and bench holding a sheep. It’s a lovely place.

Paul also wrote a song about Campbeltown, The Mull of Kintyre. Here’s a YouTube video of him singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH7I-WV0LZA

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