Whisky & Witches Presents Mythical Beasts: An Immersive, Mystical, Musical Whisky Tasting

Whisky and Witches sees the combination of Danish-born Christine Kammerer’s musical forte with the whimsical storytelling of Jane Ross. Both whisky specialists, the fledgling duo – whose act has only been showcased for little over a year – does not fit the parameters of a traditional whisky tasting, sidelining staidness and jargon for a lively and interactive experience.

An expert blend of whisky, storytelling and song.

The show is tripartite in its approach: whisky tasting from the Mythical Beasts range; storytelling that leans towards the history of witchcraft; and lastly music courtesy of Kammerer, whose original compositions delve into a variety of mythology from Norse and Celtic folklore, to further afield with Chinese legends and African deities. A cornucopia of whisky lies before us arranged in a small horse shoe as candle light adorns the walls of the cellar of Mother Superior, and with a small tinkling of teaspoon on glass our hosts begin us on our journey through tawny woods, salt-kissed beaches, and peat slathered islands.

We begin with Glenrothes 15 (NyamiNyami), a sweet dram of juicy lemon and marmalade. Ross’ unique, theatrical description bypasses standard tasting notes, instead opting to evoke images and anecdotes. It is around here we are treated to our first musical number by Kammerer with the acapella chant Ran’s Daughters. Kammerer’s music is ethereal and dreamlike by nature, particularly on the likes of the popular folksong The Mermaid’s Croon where the Viking musicologist’s vocals meld gracefully with the accompanying stringed arpeggio melody, lapping gently like the waves off the coast of Luskentyre, but bold and boisterous when demanded of her.

The second dram of the evening Kilchoman 15 (The Water Horse) does not disappoint, offering a peaty yet mellow tipple. This is quickly succeeded by the soft smokiness of Ardmore 14 (The Dryad), and it is here that Ross’ encyclopaedic knowledge of whisky and her apt way of painting vivid imagery become clearer. Coupling this with Kammerer's lyre lullaby Eversong, its evident to see how the hosts' apt choice of whisky and song pairings demonstrates their expertise in finding the perfect synsthesia between lore-rich music and powerful whisky.

As the semi-circle of glasses begin to empty, we return again to Islay with Caol Ila 15 (Qilin), where this dark caramel-coloured dram serves as a great accompaniment to Allure of Will O’ the Wisp – a spectral, haunting number that lives up to the witchy sentiments. Our eighth song of the evening The Water Horse’s Lullaby is a bass drum-driven number with a wind wood backing that climbs up and down the pentatonic scale, echoing elements of Chinese gugin music and casting the listener’s mind to high beaten mountains and stormy shores. Appropriately, we arrive at our final dram of the evening: the Islay-based Port Charlotte 14 (Qilin). Once an independent distiller, Port Charlotte is now produced by fellow Islay-distiller Bruichladdich. At 57.8%, this boisterous peat monster is not for the faint hearted, but is nonetheless a memorable dram to end the evening on as we finish with Kammerer's commendable original composition Carry Me Home.

With a runtime of two hours, one might be forgiven for viewing this act as a risky investment of time, particularly when five cask-strength drams are on the cards that can dull senses, lower attention spans and loosen lips amongst the more rambunctious audience members. But when you factor in just how much they deliver, it’s not hard to see why they’ve sold out five of their previous shows. And more importantly, as our hosts remind us on the nature of whisky, any investment takes time to mature and appreciate. The back and forth between Kammerer and Ross is a rolling Cuillin Ridge, continually undulating between comedic and serious as the hosts carefully navigate the history of witch trials, mythology and distillation. In this sense, Whisky and Witches succeeds in its celebration of the link between femininity and spirits, both metaphysical and alcoholic, capturing the essence of the supernatural and the psychoactive in short microcosms, encouraging the audience to utilise their imagination with the hosts’ expert blend of whisky, storytelling and song.

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Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

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The Blurb

A magical, musical whisky tasting by female forces! Travel with us to a realm where folklore, five exceptional whiskies and hauntingly beautiful music meet in perfect harmony. Experience the Mythical Beast whiskies from Spiritfilled come alive through enchanting music and storytelling in an immersive, theatrical whisky tasting like you've never seen. Included: Guided tasting of five unique, cask strength whiskies from distilleries across Scotland; Fusion of Nordic/Celtic music in a symphonic and epic style; Captivating tailored stories about witches, folklore and mythical creatures from around the world.

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