It seems to me it's been an unusual autumn. A truncated sandwich-filling between a soggy summer that never was and a wafer-thin Indian one. With those lovely warm days at the start of October, we were hopeful of more basking, but sadly there was none of it.
Looking out through the window each dusk, it’s become more apparent the light is fading sooner and it is time to saunter into that wonderful part of the year that is the four or five months of shorter days and longer nights; time by the fireside, flickering flames and all that goes with it.
A day or so ago, this still seemed a way away, until British summer time was extinguished and there, last Sunday, we were confronted by the additional hour! An hour thought into existence by a Kentish builder, William Willett, who proposed British Summer Time in 1907. He was frustrated by the waste of daylight during summer mornings and had the lateral eureka of moving the clocks forward one hour to make better use of the available sunlight - undoubtedly a thought outside of the box.
As you did in those days, he published a pamphlet - "The Waste of Daylight" - outlining his proposal, no social media then. It fell on fallow ground until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, when the British government realised it could help save energy and improve morale. No question that morale must have been rock bottom, but imagine the attraction for a government of a thing you can implement for virtually no cost and have widespread benefit! The current bunch must be cursing the sparsity of such low hanging policy ambrosia.
The Summer Time Act 1916 was passed and the clocks went forward by one hour on 21 May 1916. BST was initially intended as only a wartime measure, but it proved so popular that it was retained.
In 1940, during the Second World War, British Double Summer Time (BDST) was introduced, which put the clocks forward two hours ahead of GMT. The idea was to save even more energy and to synchronise the UK's time with that of Germany and its allies. It was ditched when the war ended, but BST remained.
As with everything there is some debate about its benefits and drawbacks. I like it! The long summer bright evenings and the quick to the fireside winter ones. It's a great prompt for doing different things, preventing a rut, side-stepping the unrewarding easy path. Maybe it's a time of life thing, or simply more awareness of the smithereen place we have in the universe, increasingly highlighted by the James Webb Space Telescope and the omnipresent Prof Brian Cox, that draws my mind to the earth spinning through space with its axis ever so slightly on the piss in its season-generating elliptical orbit.
All in the nudge of a clock-hand! Anyway, back to the track! Tomorrow we release this year's Christmas spirit. It's its 10th year anniversary! And what better way to celebrate than to tweak its distillation! We have built a one-off column and popped it on to one of our 200L copper pot stills. Based on a swan neck design, it has a taller vertical bit. The aim is to give us more "focus" on a particular ensemble of flavours and aromas that we want to hew out of our delicious molasses ferment and gently place that genie in the bottle!
All well and good, I hear you say, but what's in it and does it taste delicious?
Do not fret, it does taste utterly divine. More than ever we have raisin richness, cracked caramel, vanilla, a panoply of mouth-watering citrus notes melded with a haunting nutmeg seasonality. Smoother than still air. Simply Christmas in a bottle.
As with every year, on sale from 1st November until 24th December!