This is my first attempt at a small fictional whisky piece; hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I’ve done writing it.
Link was born on the 5th December 1989, just south of the Moss of Barmuckity, North East Scotland. John, his father; had worked on a farm all of his life and his mother; Darach, had emigrated from America some years earlier.
The birth and labour was intense on that gloomy December day, and seemed to affect John much more than Darach. For 75 hours they waited until finally Link was brought into the world. It was commented on later that John was a mere husk of the man he was after the birth of Link; and Darach had ended up taking on most of the responsibility of Link’s upbringing.
Link, like many young Gaelic children, was exceptionally feisty. So much so that his mother had decided the best course of action was to keep him in doors and under her supervision for as long as possible. Easier said than done. After a few exhausting years of Link drawing all of Darach’s energy she decided to get him a dog; Copper.
Copper was a strange dog. You could say almost feral. She didn’t live with Darach and Link, instead she roamed the neighbourhood playing with all the other children; almost checking in on them; seeing how they were getting on and maturing.
As the years went on; Copper began to visit Link more regularly. He was an adult now, his young and feisty attitude he’d inherited from his Father, John, had dissipated thanks to the constant care and teachings from Darach. Here was a much more mellow and mature Link, a perfect example of taking the best bits from mum and dad.
Copper was more excitable than ever that morning in March 2013. Usually she pops in to say hello, quick belly rub and then she bungs off to her next house. But not that day. That day she kept popping in, running Link ragged and then shooting out the door. Only to be back a few minutes later to play again.
“I think she wants us to go with her,” sighed Darach.
Darach had slowed down in the last few months; Link had noticed but didn’t bring it up, he felt guilty that he could be responsible for her slowing down in old age; like he’d zapped all her energy over the past 24 years.
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go! I’m ready!”, exclaimed Link.
No sooner had he said that, than a huge external force had taken over both Link and Darach; a small thud was heard, and then they began moving. Rolling. This was the most exciting thing to happen to Link in his entire life, so even though he was 24 years old he couldn’t help letting out the occasional “Yippee!” and “Woo!”.
Darach however was much more sedate; she’d done this dance before on two, possibly three different occasions. Time moves differently when your sat still, and her age had meant her memory was not what it once was. But she knew what was coming next.
As quickly as they’d began to roll; they suddenly stopped.
The door was flung open, but instead of Copper appearing in the open hole in the wall. Link began to be inextricably drawn to the exit at a tortuously rapid pace.
“Bye son,” Darach said mournfully; but with a tinge of pride at knowing she had done all she could for Link.
“Bye Mum, see you soon!”, Link replied cheerfully. Darach stayed quiet, she knew this was their last goodbye.
Within minutes, Link was gone; the door was closed. Darach was left feeling empty, her job was done.
Link was now surging towards a new destination. He had no idea where it was but he was excited. Suddenly, LIGHT! And lots of it. Darach had kept him in the dark all these years bar the visits from Copper, but this light was everywhere. All around him. However there was another feeling too. That of constraint. He was suddenly very aware that not only could he see 360 degrees all around him in this brilliant white light, but he couldn’t move around as much as he could back with Darach.
Suddenly, the force of constraint spoke.
“Hullo. I’m Glainne”, murmured a rather subdued and sullen voice.
Glainne was not known for being especially talkative, or active for that matter. In fact, those three words were the only ones she spoke to Link in their entire time together.
Although Link was only bathed in the glorious daylight for a few moments, he was soon plunged back into darkness again; and then yet more movement happened, this time though there was no rolling; instead a much therapeutic horizontal motion that soon made him doze off.
Thud. Link woke with a sharp start after what felt like weeks. He could hear muffled voices ‘outside’ of his dark enclosure with Glainne, he asked her if she could hear them too and what they were. She said, predictably; nothing in return. Light began to pour in above him as he was lifted into the air by something he had heard of, but never seen before. A human. His mother Darrach had told him all about humans; and how they were servants that were charged by a higher power to take care and watch over their lives.
“They’re a bit of a weird shape”, he thought “still, they’ve looked after me well enough this far.”
The human examined him thoroughly, twirling him around in the sunlight before pausing to take a closer look at something that Glainne was holding.
“Nineteen eighty-nine, this’ll be a cracking drop”, came the words from his fleshy custodian.
As he slowly descended back down into the darkness, Link caught site of a weathered, burgundy-coloured sign on a building behind his human.
D. Byrne Fine Wines.
“What in the name of Uisge Beathe is D. Byrne Fine Wines Clitheroe?!” he exclaimed. As before, no answer was forthcoming from Glainne. Back into the darkness he plunged; and after some more shuffling around and muffled voices from ‘outside’; nothing. So he sat and waited, and waited and waited. Still nothing. The occasional nudge to his left or right, a shuffle here or there; he could sense that there were constant comings and goings all around him; but not with him.
Seven years passed; and still, Link waited. Having slept for most of this time, Link had not aged a day since he joined up with Glainne.
Another day, another day of shuffling’s and clinking around his tubular accommodation. But this day was going to his last in Clitheroe thanks to an inquisitive chap who found himself rummaging around the shop shelves for a little something different to imbibe.
“Surely that can’t be right?!” exclaimed a squeaky Northern accent from the darkness.
“It’s a 1989 bottle, what in earth is it still doing here, and especially at that price!”.
Suddenly, Link was bathed in light once more; reminding him of the first time he experienced the sensation all those years ago in Moss of Barmuckity.
“Beautiful!” commented the fleshy human holding on to Glainne’s neck as he twisted him round in the light. “You’re coming home with me!”.
And go home he did. Proudly displayed on the shelf with various of his other Gaelic cousins, Link was informed he would be the centrepiece to a great celebration to be held the following year.
He didn’t know what a ‘wedding’ was. But he was excited to take part in it.
Unfortunately fate had other plans. He is still sat on that shelf, (at time of writing) waiting for his big day.
Luckily for him, he doesn’t have much longer to wait. 4 weeks from now he is going to be let out of the bottle to tell his story to the world and share his memories of Darrach and Copper and his life maturing all the way up in Scotland.
And I for one can’t wait to hear, and taste, all about it.