With an album set for 2013 and a new five track EP State Hospital freshly released, we spoke to Frightened Rabbit's singer/guitarist Scott Hutchison about his other passion, aside from creating life affirming rock and roll...please enjoy responsibly... My relationship with whisky may have been reasonably long (if sporadic initially) but it has not always been as healthy as it is now. By healthy I don't mean to imply the consumption of large volumes of the stuff, though that does occasionally happen. No, my first forays into whisky drinking were in the salubrious surroundings of parks, back lanes, forests and "empties" while still at high school. At the time, I had no appreciation for what I was drinking; the process by which it was made or the long, grainy history of the whisky industry itself. All I knew was that it helped me to be funny in front of a girl named Michelle, who I fancied quite a bit...
It was around eight years later, when I got a job in a fine wine and whisky shop in the Hyndland area of Glasgow, that I began to appreciate and admire the heritage of flavour in a dram of single malt. By this time, I had impressed Michelle sufficiently to make her want to be my girlfriend, so I had long since given up downing quarter bottles of Bell's and acting like a doofus. I was now drinking plenty of Balvenie 12 year old Doublewood and acting like a doofus. Working in the posh shop forced me to acquire all the wanky language that goes with describing good whisky. It was part of the job, and we had our fair share of "whisky wanks" walk through the doors. Thing is, I drink to enjoy myself and if that drink happens to taste delicious, all the better. I don't tend to analyse my alcohol after the first mouthful but I found myself, through necessity, talking about the "hints of Caramac bar" in an 21 year-old Bruichladdich, or the "distinct smell of mossy bark" in a young Cragganmore. What a prick.
These days, as a member of a touring band, I find myself drinking more whisky than ever and it becomes even more important that it's good. It needn't be great, but it ought to be good (two nights of Jameson on the trot can do something to a man). We are a drinking band, and when we tour there is always whisky in the dressing room. I tell my parents that it's beneficial to my voice (which I absolutely believe to be true, Dad), but mostly we drink it to have a good time and, if we are miles from The Motherland, perhaps to remind us of home. While making our latest album, on every vocal take I had a tiny sip of whisky before I sang, in order to upkeep the foolish romantic notion that it made a difference, somehow increased the integrity of the takes. In reality, it probably made it all a bit sloppier - excessive whisky can make most things, erm, sloppy (teenagers, TAKE NOTE!). But if you are interested in appreciating Scotland's national drink, here are three of my favourites. Slainte mhaith! Scott Hutchison
Balvenie Doublewood 12 y.o. This is 'The Daddy' in my opinion. Widely available, its also a great one to start with if you're a newcomer. Tastes like Christmas pudding. Drink it naked with someone else, who is also naked.
Bowmore 12 y.o. Again, widely available. A good way to test the water to see if you're into smoky whiskies. Drink this on a cliff at dawn. Or on Cliff Richard at dusk.
Caol Ila 18 y.o. This is a really smoky old beast, bit pricier than the other two but totally worth it. Enjoy a dram whilst sitting beside a bonfire of your enemy's possessions.
For more head to Frightenedrabbit.com Thanks to Michael James Hall