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A short message to tell you about a new project I’m involved in…
2020 has been quite the year, with much of modern life grinding to a halt thanks to the horrific coronavirus pandemic. Whilst I can thankfully say that I have not suffered as some have, it has not been an easy ride looking after a 4 year old daughter whilst keeping this blog going but, mercifully, we seem to be getting back to some semblance of normality now. Let’s just hope it stays that way.
There seems to have been a desire among many of us to use this time constructively, with new projects popping up on a seemingly daily basis. Certainly I have felt a little of that myself, my wife too, judging by the countless home decoration projects in various states of completion as I write. For the last couple of years I have had discussions with friends about the possibility of starting a whisky podcast since there seemed to be very little that was actually coming out of Scotland in that format. Just as this began to look like a pipe dream however, the bastard lockdown cleared the way to actually making it happen and thus, The Quaich Podcast was born.
The Quaich name was originally decided by Ross Stephen, a packaging procurement specialist with a scotch whisky company. He was the main driving force behind the creation of the podcast and did the majority of the work in setting up our excellent website. Since then however, due to other commitments, Ross has had to step away, leaving myself and co-host Micky Plummer to carry on what he began.
To put it simply the Quaich is a discussion between two friends about all things whisky. We chat about the current state of the industry and give our opinions on all that is interesting and wonderful about our favourite drink. We also, of course, share a dram or two.
Please do check us out by visiting our website.
Or you can search for us in Spotify, iTunes or any of your favourite podcast apps.
To conclude, here’s a short piece I wrote for The Quaich website…
What is a Quaich?
For centuries whisky has played a pivotal role in Scottish society, both as a social lubricant and ceremonial aid. A dram is taken to toast the birth of a newborn, to commiserate the death of a loved one, to see in the new year and to celebrate a wedding, or any other special occasion for that matter. In truth, the Scots have never needed much encouragement to pour a drop of the amber nectar.
A common feature of ceremonial occasions is a bowl-like cup known as a Quaich. This two handled drinking vessel is believed to have originated in the clan culture of the Highlands, possibly inspired by the scallop shells that were once used to hold a dram. The Quaich (from the Gaelic “cuach” for cup) was used to welcome visitors, passing from host to guest. Since each man had to use both hands, neither could hold a weapon, making the humble Quaich the ultimate symbol of trust and friendship, although some were said to prefer a glass-bottomed version, so they could continue to keep an eye on the other whilst drinking.
Today the Quaich is most often used at weddings, Bride and Groom sipping from the same cup as a metaphor for their union, a tradition believed to have begun in 1589 when King James VI presented one to Anne of Denmark on the occasion of their wedding. They are also sometimes used as an alternative to trophies – during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games of 2014 for example, bronze, silver and gold medal winners were presented with a specially designed commemorative Quaich as a Scottish alternative to flowers.
Traditional Quaichs were carved from a single block of wood but they are now more commonly made of pewter or silver, with ornate Celtic designs carved into the handles. Their purpose now seems predominantly decorative, but it is in their traditional use and the spirit of welcoming friends and strangers alike that we have created The Quaich Podcast, an audio equivalent to the “cup of friendship”, where acquantainces old and new meet over a drink. A virtual fireplace, where drams are shared and tall tales told. Where a lack of knowledge is never judged and differing preferences are celebrated. Where whisky and friendship come together.
Fàilte gu Podcast Quaich.
*As of May 2022, the Quaich Podcast has ceased transmission.