Kirsty Wark – ‘my memories of whisky are from a very early age’

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Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark has been a television presenter for nearly 30 years; her debut novel was published in 2014

We caught up with Newsnight presenter and author Kirsty Wark to discuss her love of Scotch whisky, what she likes to drink, and how she drinks it.

What’s your earliest memory of whisky?
My memories of whisky are from a very early age. My father would go fly fishing, most often on the River Doon on Saturdays, and when he came home he would pour a whisky and soak in the bath. He was fond of Highland Park. When I was little there would be an empty bottle of Dimple into which Mum would put sixpences, and there was always a hip flask of whisky at rugby internationals.

What attracts you to whisky?
I like it over other spirits because of the smell, the colours and the history.

What else do you like about it?
I love the fact that all distillery professionals take their jobs very seriously and are incredibly knowledgeable, knowledge handed down through generations. A friend of mine’s son from Port Ellen studied astrophysics at Glasgow University and gained a First, but his summer job was at Ardbeg, and now whisky is his life; he represents the company throughout Canada and North America.

Have you visited many distilleries?
I’ve been to several Islay distilleries, and for a while I drank Laphroaig, but eventually found it too intense. Of the Islay malts, I like Bruichladdich.

You’re a fan of Arran, too, aren’t you?
Thirteen years ago, my husband and I were invited to lay down a cask at Lochranza, so in 2017 we’ll have 360-odd bottles of our own Arran malt. I love Arran’s distinctive warming taste and pale colour.

How do you drink your whisky?
My father will be birling in his grave, but I like my whisky with ice.

Any memorable purchases?
I am new to whisky auctions but they are a wonderful place to wander and check the labels, typefaces and the design. I bought my husband a bottle of 30-year-old Macallan for £100. I think I got a bargain, and as the bottle has long been empty, I think he thought so, too.

  • The Legacy Of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark is published by Two Roads in paperback, priced £7.99. It is also available as an ebook.
Posted in In Their Own Words, Scotch Whisky, WHISKY & WHISKEY
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