I am sure many of you will be aware of the new Youtube sensations that are Dave Broom and Arthur Motley and their excellent new series The Liquid Antiquarian. Arthur and Dave are people I have known for a long time and have huge admiration for – not only are they two of the nicest people in the booze industry their knowledge and passion on the subject is at the very highest level.
I was fortunate to work with Arthur when we were both behind the bar at the SMWS in Leith. Arthur soon was promoted well beyond me to lead the cask selection team before following the same path I took, up the road to Royal Mile Whiskies – although Arthur has made a much bigger impact at RMW than I ever did!
Interestingly, at the end of episode 3, Arthur and Dave talk about when they first worked together, which was at the rum chapel at the Whisky Fringe – Royal Mile Whiskies’ annual whisky show. I remember that event well and very much had my eyes – well, my nose and palate – opened to rum that day. By coincidence in a small way I helped with some of the organisation of the first ever Whisky Fringe as I was working in the office at RMW at the time. I remember the night before the event walking round every whisky bar in Edinburgh trying to drum up ticket sales – I think now the tickets sell out faster than I have just typed this sentence!
As for Dave Broom, I can’t actually recall the first time I met him – I was probably behind bar at The Craigellachie Hotel and I was serving him rather than meeting him – but over the years I have had the pleasure of being in his company many times, often in some of the best bars and whisky shows around the world. It was in a bar in Japan that he told me about synaesthesia when I told him about how I smelled in colours.
Even though Dave often scores my whiskies lower than Serge at whiskyfun I think he is possibly my favourite current booze writer. Bizarrely I have twice been his stand in, so I am kind of like a Dave Broom bus replacement service! This happened both at Maltstock and once when I somehow ended up being the mystery guest at the Arran Open Day when at the last minute Dave couldn’t attend!
Anyway, I suggest you subscribe to The Liquid Antiquarian, The first episode on the importance of the 1823 Excise act for Scotch whisky blew me away with how important it is for the development of the modern day Scotch Whisky Industry and has led me down a rabbit hole of trying to find out as much as I can about this.
The other episode I am highlighting is the episode on Rum and Scotland, bringing together the close ties between the history of Scotland and Rum. It is not always pleasant viewing for us Scots, as we have to fully acknowledge our involvement in the slave trade, which is something as a nation we have been all too quiet on for some time. Our links to rum and the slave trade was brought home a little more to me recently when thinking about the fact that I have seen records of rum being imported and then exported from Campbeltown going back as far as 1765. A truly worthwhile watch.
I look forward to future episodes – I would love to see them do one on Campbeltown, but I am sure that whatever they are looking into it will be essential viewing.