When whisky bard Robin Laing asked the audience “How many of you have Bruichladdich as their favorite distillery?”, several hands went up – including his own. And indeed, whether you are a die-hard fan or an occasional sipper, one thing you can hardly deny: The legendary Islay unit at the shore of Loch Indaal is far more than just another Scotch production site. Me, my mates, and close to one hundred other participants got further proof of this at a recent dramming event in Itzehoe, namely “An evening with Robin Laing and Bruichladdich – hosted by Flickenschild“.
The get-together took place outside the lovely Café Königsberg, which is a 10-minute taxi right away from the central station. The weather was perfect and the set-up was great: Everyone was seated at small tables in the garden, sheltered from the summer heat by sunshades. The tiny stage was only a few meters away from the audience. Softdrinks, beers, and bites were served by the café team; drams and mixers were sold at an extra booth. The prices were alright and the selection was plentiful: Besides two refreshing cocktails (a Horse’s Neck and a Cosmo), I also had neat pours of The Classic Laddie and The Organic as well as Port Charlotte 2011 PAC:01 and Port Charlotte 2010 OLC:01. My final dram of the evening was the mighty Octomore 12.1 with no less than 130.8 PPM and 59.9 per cent ABV. Elevated by the beauty of the moment, these fantastic sips tasted extra-good that day …
Robin’s set was phenomenal! The 90-minute performance was split up into two parts of equal length – with a wee break in between, during which the Flickenschild team sold raffle tickets. The latter marked a diverting interlude at first. Later, it even turned into a spectacle when we found out that my brother Martin had won the first prize: a bottle of Octomore 5.1!
Back to the music: Robin started off with two songs he “co-wrote with dead songwriters”: “Oh Lord” (Janis Joplin) and “Islay Roads” (John Denver). The whisky-soaked twists, which he gave the well-known lyrics, were helluva good fun! He then proceeded with an superb selection of his own tunes, many coming from his hit CD “Whisky For Breakfast”. Besides the good-humored title track, we also got to hear “A Turquoise Frame Of Mind”, “The Bruichladdich Dram”, and “Black Art”. Plus “Special Sippin’ Whisky” and “Talisker Bay”, which he played during the second half of the evening. From his other albums, he performed some cool pieces as well, including “We Can’t Let Al Qaeda Get Their Hands On This” from “One For The Road”. And last but not least, Robin also sung about half a dozen songs from his latest longplayer “Up In The Dram Room”, which is a joint project between him and his friend Thomas from German indie bottler Malts of Scotland. While I did not know that record before, the playful melodies and positive messages of tracks like “Building Bridges” or “Images Of Scotland” got to me right away.
Lyric-wise, the farewell hymn “Ein Letztes Glas” (originally released as a bonus track on the afore-mentioned “Whisky For Breakfast” CD) would have been a perfect conclusion. However, the “One more song, one more song, …” chants just did not stop; and thus Robin walked up to the microphone one last time to sing for us, and with us, the old traditional “The Wee Cooper O’ Fife” (whose lyrics he had given an amusing and thoughtful overhaul). We were all having a blast shouting along. I just wish I could remember more lines than just “Butts and barrels and hoggies too” …
For me, this was actually the first time that I got to see Robin Laing live. And it was also the first time that I boarded the train from Hamburg to Itzehoe to take part in a whisky event organized by Flickenschild. Both activities were long overdue and I am happy that I can finally add them to the list of amazing things I have done. Given how unforgettable a time I had, I can only say: Thanks a million for everyone who helped to make this evening such a wonderful, wonderful experience!
Robin Laing: http://robinlaing.com/ (Singer & songwriter)
Bruichladdich: http://bruichladdich.com/ (Scotch distillery)
Flickenschild: https://www.whizita.de/ (Whisky retailer & host)
Cafe Königsberg: https://cafe-koenigsberg.de/ (Location)
*** I attended the event as a regular visitor. ***