My Soundtrack for Drinking Scotch

          angel's share2     water of life2     Bruichladdich_Inspiration_front_web           RobinLaing_Whisky_for_Breakfast_medium

I truly love Celtic music, though I don’t know much about it. We have a wonderful radio show here in Austin called “Across the Pond with Ed Miller” every Sunday night from 6-8pm. It is on Sunradio and can be heard on the radio at various stations including 100.1FM in some parts of Austin, but I have to listen online at to be able to pick it up here in Georgetown. My husband bought me a bluetooth speaker for my birthday so I can hear it all over the house! Bliss! Through Ed, I have learned about some fantastically great musicians and have really grown to love them. I am sure there are many great radio shows to hear via the internet, and I would love to learn about more! One other I really like, and try to listen to via the archives, is called “The Thistle and Shamrock” and is hosted by Fiona Ritchie. Check out the website:

I already loved Scotland long before I visited there, and was often inclined to listen to Celtic music, including Bagpipes. If you didn’t know, we have a Bagpipe band in Austin called The Silver Thistle. You can check out their website: Georgetown even has a pipe and drum band made up of some of the fire department! They have a poor online presence, but can be found at We have a Celtic Fest here in Austin, often the first weekend in November, at which there are many opportunities to hear Celtic music and to participate in other Celtic themed activities. I went in 2015 with my friends Lisa, Donovan and Ofelia and we had a great time. A festival I have not attended is the Salado Scottish Festival! This happens in November as well, and since it’s just up the road from me, I’m looking forward to attending some day! In May, there is Texas Scottish Festival in Arlington and I hope to go there one of these years! There are probably many more annual events, but these are the ones with which I am familiar. In the Spring, Ed Miller, The Silver Thistle, and other bands play at Opal Divine’s on March 17th most years and that gives us a mini Celtic Music fest on St. Patrick’s Day!


When I was in Scotland and I tried Single Malt for the first time, I was inclined to like it because I loved Scotland and so many things about it. I just didn’t know I would love it so much! As mentioned in other blog posts, part of my love of Scotch is connected to my love of Scotland and that love is woven in and around the music I love from there as well! Two Scottish musicians I especially love are Robin Laing and Jim Malcolm. Both I first heard on Ed Miller’s radio show “Across the Water” as it was called when it used to be on KUT and then KUTX before they decided Celtic music wasn’t part of the Austin Music experience. Jim Malcom travels to the US frequently and I have had the pleasure of attending a house concert in Austin the last 2 years to see him live! He is funny and talented and I just loved both shows! I held my first Burns Dinner in January 2015 and Jim was a big help in the form of a video I bought at the first house concert (in 2014) called “Bard Hair Day” and a CD called “Acquaintance”. I have been slowly adding to my Robert Burns Library, including Ed Miller’s “Lyrics of Gold” and more Jim Malcolm CD’s purchased at the 2015 house concert. He wrote a song about Robert Burns called “An Hour in the Gloaming”. I have listened to that song just about every week since I bought the CD on November 5th, 2015! Just beautiful! Jim doesn’t have too many songs about Whisky recorded, but he does have one really good one called “Scotch Whisky and German Beer.” Very humorous. That one can be found on his CD of satirical songs called “Disaster for Scotland”.

                                                                      jimmalcolm     jimmalcolmburns1

The interesting thing about Jim not having too many whisky songs is that he and Robin Laing worked together early in their careers on a show called “Whisky, Women and Song”. Robin is known as the Whisky Bard of Scotland and has recorded 4 CD’s devoted to whisky, with a 5th out any day now! He is also a writer and has three books about whisky, The Whisky Muse, The Whisky River and The Whisky Legends of Islay. He writes articles for Whisky Magazine and has served on the tasting panel for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. He has many songs just about Bruichladdich and in fact has his own special bottling of Bruichladdich that you can only buy from him! When Simon Coughlin, the CEO of Bruichladdich, was at Spec’s on Brodie Lane in Oct of 2014 I asked him about Robin. He was happy to tell me that he was his friend and often stayed with him when he came to town! I just wish Robin would come to the US, and he has mentioned he might with this new CD! I have posted reviews of all of Robins 8 CD’s on Amazon if you are interested in more detailed information about them. I like Robin Laing for more than just because he is writes songs about Whisky. He is truly one of my favorite artists of all time. He writes such amazing songs that are interesting and detailed and varied. He sings many traditional Scottish songs, as well. He has a gorgeous voice and just really brings out so much emotion in his music. I am just blown away at how talented he is.



                                                      whiskymuse  islaybook  whiskyriver

I once asked Robin if he would consider posting something on youtube. We were all rewarded when he posted a new song, Magic Ship of Dreams, from his new CD, Whisky and Death, on World Whisky Day this year! He also joined Twitter that day, though doesn’t tweet too much, yet! @TheWhiskyBard 

When I first started tweeting, I didn’t always know what to tweet out, so I used whisky quotes for the longest time, and I relied on Robin Laing heavily! (I copied all the quotes on a separate page here on the website.) Having to squeeze these into 140 characters was daunting and I had to do a double tweet sometimes. I eventually had much more to tweet about as I made friends with the #whiskyfabric on Twitter and the Austin Scotch Lovers got busier and had many more events to promote. So I stopped mentioning Robin on Twitter so much, but I feel like not nearly enough people know about Robin Laing and I decided to write this post to get him, and Jim Malcolm and Ed Miller’s radio show, out to more people in the world! If you like what you hear, please help me spread the word!

I want to finish this post with some commentary and quotes from some of the very best whisky songs from Robin. You can hear samples of these songs on Amazon, and I am concluding the post with the entire song and lyrics to “World of Whisky”, definitely one of his masterpieces. I linked his website above, and here again, where you can get the lyrics to all the songs on the two newest CDs. His book, The Whisky Muse, has the lyrics and some music to most of the traditional songs he sings, especially from The Angels’ Share and Water of Life. I love all of his music, not just the whisky songs, but as this is a Scotch Lovers blog, I am sticking to talking about the whisky songs here!

One thing that Robin has helped me with is how to pronounce the difficult Scots Gaelic names of many of the distilleries. One name people rarely get right is Glenmorangie. I often mention the following lines from “Our Glens” which was not written by Robin, but by W.D. Hardie. He sings it on The Angels’ Share. Just remember it rhymes with orangie and you get it right every time.

“Glenturret, Glen Scotia and last week Glen Fyne
Was rare at communion when we ran out of wine
Glenglassoch, Glen Lossie, Glendullan Glenmorangie
I prefer them to Cointreau which I find too orangie.”
-W.D.Hardie “Our Glens”

And of course I can’t skip mentioning “The Speyside Whisky Song”, from One for the Road, which lists all sorts of distilleries in Speyside, but has the best lyric at the last line (try to sing it after a few drams):

“From Glenrothes to Gentauchers, from Glenfarclas to Glenspey
From Glen Moray to Glen Elgin and Glen Grant
From Glenfiddich to Glenlossie, Glenlivet to Glen Keith
I’m a whisky-sippin’ Speyside sycophant!”
-R.Laing “Speyside Whisky Song”

Humor plays a large part in many of the songs. The title track of Whisky for Breakfast is just one great verse after another. Here is a sample:

“Some folks love their cornflakes
Others porridge oats
Shredded wheat or sugar puffs
Whatever floats your boat
If I have to eat grass for breakfast
This is the kind I choose
A little bit of barley
Converted into booze”
-R. Laing “Whisky for Breakfast”

And from Whisky for Breakfast, “Special Sippin’ Whisky”:

“Keep all the cheap stuff for the rest of the pack
They might be happy with Johnnie or Jack
They’re gluggin’ it, sluggin’ it, knocking it back
We’ll stick to special sippin’ whisky

Keep all the cheap stuff for the unwanted guests
Or rub it on your chest if you’ve got pests in your vest
For cooking or cocktails it might just pass the test
Or give it to the school tombola”
-R. Laing

Though I could go on and on with this joyous fun, I will end with a little bit of his love of Bruichladdich. He has a whole mini CD of all his Bruichladdich songs, including a wonderful song called, “The Black Art”. But it is his song “The Bruichladdich Dram”, (both on Whisky for Breakfast) that I want to quote here, referencing Jim McEwan and his Black Art Scotch:

“Now Jim has made a whisky he calls it his Black Art
It’s mystical, it’s magical – bewitches the heart
Soon every lass on Islay will have to buy a pram
But don’t blame Islay cheese – blame the Bruichladdich dram”
-R. Laing “Bruichladdich Dram”

There is a true story that Robin tells in Whisky Legends of Islay, but I have also heard at a Bruichladdich tasting, that after 9/11 the US Defense Threat Destruction Agency spied on Bruichladdich making whisky! You will have to hear the whole story another time. Because of this event, Robin wrote a song called, “We Can’t Let Al Qaeda Get Their Hands On This”. Here is a great verse from that:

“The scary thing is it’s made from a kind of grass
With biological action to give it critical mass
And if they get it up to 90 ABV
It’s going to be an awesome WMD”
-R. Laing “We Can’t Let Al Qaeda Get Their Hands On This”

Thanks for sticking with me through this whole fun blog post, much more about music than Whisky, but at least about music that is about whisky! (None of these images are mine, I grabbed all of them from the internet.)



World of Whisky (Robin Laing)

From the Lowlands to the Highlands
From Japan to the Hebrides
From Orkney to Kentucky
And the far Antipodes
From Tennessee to Canada
And Ireland’s emerald land
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram

Here’s to the corn and the maize
The barley and the rye
Here’s to the good old angels
Floating up on high
Here’s to the worms and the washbacks
The still house and the vats
And the wood so tight – a lovely sight
Hoggies and big butts

It’s better for you than red wine
Less calories than beer
You can drink it any time of day
And any time of year
You can pour it on your porridge
Dab it behind your ears
In the hallowed halls of alcohol
Whisky has no peer

From the Lowlands to the Highlands
From Japan to the Hebrides
From Orkney to Kentucky
And the far Antipodes
From Tennessee to Canada
And Ireland’s emerald land
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram

Here’s to the guys who drink the stuff
A little or a lot
And here’s to the guys who sell it to ’em
What a difficult job they’ve got
Here’s to the whisky blenders
May their noses be insured
But the guys who make it – you can take it
The keys to heaven are yours

Whisky for the heart
Whisky for the soul
Whisky stands for friendship
And stories to be told
And all around the world
Whenever whisky’s poured
The hatred of the past will end at last
And peace can be restored

From the Lowlands to the Highlands
From Japan to the Hebrides
From Orkney to Kentucky
And the far Antipodes
From Tennessee to Canada
And Ireland’s emerald land
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram
There’s a world of whisky out there
So let’s have another dram

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