Taj Mahal Tandoori, Bowmore, Islay (61%)


Tuesday 19th September 2017.

Walking up Bowmore Main Street with barley grains in my shoes passing straight by the Co-op in a whisky-spiked stupor. Doubling back to fetch that San Miguel four pack still tasting the Bowmore signature flavours of treacle toffee, that whisper of peat. It’s still there in the fresh, clear spirit, newly distilled, 68% abv. It’s there, down in the vaults, straight from the 15 year old sherry cask, and again, from the 19 year old bourbon cask. It’s at the Bowmore bar in the 27 year old port finished masterpiece, and the 25 year old core range bottling. In fact, I’m still tasting it this morning.

Skippy was giggly and ravenous, making light work of a respectable pickle tray. The holy trinity of mango chutney, chopped onions, and lime pickle, accompanied by that old, ubiquitous soak: sloppy raita. I don’t know what his name was, the proprietor. Said he’d met me before in London or Manchester. I doubted it, I said. He was referring to me as ‘Sir’ and ‘the gentleman’, couldn’t have been me. We were sitting ducks, it was dead as a dodo in there. We heard a lot about the tourist trade and Brexit and I don’t know what else; only it felt like a long time before the phone rang, finally detaining him elsewhere. We made a dash for it.


Before that we’d enjoyed our main meals. An old fashioned vindaloo with that token potato sponging up the flavours – highly recommended. Skippy lapped up her lamb kashmiri, her feeding frenzy mercifully subsiding. Very decent garlic naan to mop and swab in jolly abandon. The starter medley of bhajis and mixed kebab, recommended by our host, was something of a grease feast, it has to be said. Yet in our precarious states we had to concede it had groove, it had meaning.


Untitled 2

Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles


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