Tasmanian single malt

Friends and family

were very generous with me this Christmas. I received many gifts. I’m indulging in one such gift now — Sullivans Cove Tasmanian Single Malt, on ice. (Thanks Mum and Dad!)

Sullivans Cove, you might remember, was recently named best whisky in the Southern Hemisphere. For very good reason, I can verify.

By happenchance, Landline this week broadcast a segment on the Tasmanian whisky industry. Fr John, a retired priest whom I live with, watches Landline every Sunday at midday, at the same time allowing himself the one alcoholic beverage he drinks each week: a shot of single malt.

I don’t watch Landline myself, but since Fr John alerted me to it, I viewed the episode on iView. Here’s the pertinent segment, which at twenty minutes is a significant time investment, but one which promises significant return. Even if you have no taste for whisky, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this clip. It’s a fascinating report on an unlikely success story.


Now lest you think I’m becoming an unbearable whisky snob, I’m also posting this clip, which I first watched in my first year at university, and which has flashed through my mind ever since, any time that I think I’m at risk of becoming a snob.

Rex Mottram — the Canadian who waves around that absurd fish-bowl of a glass — is the intentional villain. Waugh has Rex’s wife characterise him this way:

He wasn’t a complete human being at all. He was a tiny bit of one, unnaturally developed; something in a bottle, an organ kept alive in a laboratory. I thought he was a sort of primitive savage, but he was something absolutely modern and up-to-date that only this ghastly age could produce. A tiny bit of a man pretending to be whole.

Charles Ryder is supposed to be more sympathetic. He’s a semi-autobiographical portrait of Waugh after all. But I must confess I find Charles’ character almost as loathsome as Rex’s. They’re both patronising snobs, which is a defect I pray God spares me!

Here’s a new year’s resolution for you. If you haven’t already, read Brideshead Revisited. It’s a literary masterpiece. If you haven’t already, watch Brideshead Revisited. It’s a television masterpiece.

And sample a Tasmanian single malt while you’re at it. You won’t regret it.

  • Simon hogan

    Happy new year to all! Yes Landline has good stories some might be just in our backyard! No I don’t drink but I do like ginger beer! My family has new year dinner feast so I was having fun in this photo!

  • MuMu

    Thanks, fr john. I loved Brideshead Revisited, both book and TV series. I’d like to tell you a true story about Brideshead. No names but… in a presbytery in Melbourne’s east, a youngish housekeeper and the curate used to watch BR sitting side-by-side on the divan in the curate’s sitting room, with their respective teddies on their laps.

    The curate came home one afternoon, it was his birthday and he was dying for a p— … er… he needed to spend a penny. he opened the door of his ensuite and was greeted by several hundred escaping balloons which his housekeeper mate had crammed into the space.
    Apart from the related anecdotes, there was absolutely nothing untoward in the relationship.
    Both perps came to sticky ends, but these had nothing to do with Bridehead or balloons…

    • Ah, the early eighties. I may have been born into that strange era, but I have no memories of it. 🙂

  • Simon Hogan

    I know you haven’t been blogging about the cricket this summer but cousins and I have been practicing to get into the Pope’s cricket team!

  • Simon Hogan

    Cricket anyone!

  • Peter Byrne

    Good timing, Father John! I chanced across a bar t’other evening selling Sullivan’s Cove by the glass ($14) and sampled it there and then. What a gorgeous whisky! (Or, to give it its Irish spelling, whiskey). And am currently working my way through 544 books, all recommended in their Top 10 Greatest Books Ever Written by 125 leading British and American authors, whose votes have been assembled into a book called “The Top Ten”. At one a week, it will take eleven and a half years to get through them all, but I’m glad to say (because I did enjoy the TV series all those years ago) that the BOOK of “Brideshead Revisited”, which I’ve not read, is on the list. So, Father John, expect my review in, roughly, 8.3 years!

    • Peter Byrne

      And the benefit of having a gorgeous little second-hand bookshop just down the street is that, the very next morning, I could get my greedy mitts on a copy! All of $8.80!!!!!

    • I’m sure you won’t regret it Peter. Brideshead Revisited is one of those extraordinary exceptions to the old rule that “the book is always better than the movie.”

      I think both are outstanding literary achievements. The book is short, so the TV series has to embellish a lot, but it is always faithful, I think, to the book. Some might say that John Mortimer’s screenplay plays up the homoerotic thing between Sebastian and Charles, which isn’t so evident in Waugh’s book. But that might depend a lot on reader/viewer perception. I watched the TV series as a pretty naive 18-year-old, and any allusions to a romantic entanglement flew over my head.

      I’d also add the best thing about the TV series are Charles’ voiceovers, which are taken verbatim from the book. Waugh was embarrassed by the rich prose of the novel, but I love it!

      • Peter Byrne

        Indeed, Fr. John, he makes (quasi) apologies for his prose in the prologue! The prologue alone is exquisite reading, from a kind of sensibility any aspiring writer (such as moi) wishes he had and laments he hasn’t. Looking forward to the remainder.

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