Friends and family French_Oakwere 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.