Drink & Watch: Cailleach

I'm a big believer in the idea that inspiration must be constantly renewed. It's like a skill that fades over time when not sharpened. The same way that some folks find new meaning in life when confronted with death, I find that smaller, less drastic moments of realization act to replenish my lust for living—and drinking, too. Those instances can come from simple clarity of thought or from conversations with others, but—let's be real here—most of the time I'm inspired by art; just like the rest of us.

I signed up for Filmstruck, a collaborative streaming service between Turner Classic Films and the Criterion Collection, this past January thinking it would only be a matter of time before the network would launch on Roku. Six months later we're finally there, but the wait has been worth it. Not only did I recently revisit Ashes & Diamonds (which I wrote about a few days ago while drinking vodka), I found this little gem of a short documentary today called Cailleach—a piece of poetry from Scotland's Outer Hebrides.

Let me tell you: I had no desire to drink before I sat down to watch this film. Now all I want is Scotch, Scotch, Scotch!

If you've ever wondered what it's like to visit Islay, Jura, or any of the remote whisky destinations of the malted motherland, Cailleach takes you on a fourteen minute trip to the maritime locale. While filmed on the Isle of Harris, the terrain is much the same. Greens and browns, stony shores, and remnants of old buildings scatter the hillsides. It's an insight into life in Scotland's remote wilderness, the fear of getting old, and confronting death without anxiety (which of course only makes me want to drink all the more), but boy is it beautiful. You should watch this just for the scenery!

Life, just like whisky, requires constant evaluation in order to keep inspiration high. In getting the thirst this evening, I reached for an old bottle of Highland Park 12 year and poured myself a glass. If that whisky isn't one of the best deals in the Scotch universe, I don't know what is. I hadn't tasted it in at least a year and I was absolutely floored by the complexity. Is the Orkney malt really that good, or was I simply overlooking its quality in the face of so many other new whiskies? It's easy to forget how wonderful something can be if you go too long without revisiting it. This was a reminder: don't ever let yourself get too busy for life's great moments.

As someone said to me not all that long ago: busy is the new stupid. Only stupid people don't make time for what's important.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll