Uisge beatha – The Water of Life

With the weekend fast approaching, what better time than to delve into the museum’s collection of whisky – all of which have a nod to The Argylls in one way or another. As a traditional Scottish alcoholic beverage, whisky holds strong ties in Scotland’s cultural history as it has been produced here for hundreds of years. In Scottish Gaelic, it’s even known as the water of life. Having strong connections to the culture and traditions of Scotland, a dram of the good stuff can, and has been used, by regiments to show pride in their heritage, and to honour and celebrate their soldiers.

‘A pinch of snuff 1799’ painted by Alasdair Campbell of Airds in 1999
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The above painting depicts civilians from Sutherland being recruited for the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders by the regimental recruiting party in 1799. The painting shows a clansman taking a pinch of snuff on the right, whilst a drummer boy carries a barrel of whisky and a quaich on the left. The men were encouraged to take a dram of whisky as well as their payment of a kings shilling as payment.

Collectors’ edition boxed Glen Moray whisky bottle.
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The museum holds an amazing collection of whisky, including this collector’s edition boxed Glen Moray. This range of whisky is part of Glen Moray’s ‘Scotland’s Historic Highland Regiments’ series and this one features The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The tin features six illustrations of various uniforms worn by the Regiment and includes an image of Princess Louise presenting colours to the 9th Battalion. You could also have bought a similar bottle for The Black Watch, The Highland Light Infantry and The Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders.

The top images on the Glen Moray whisky tin depicting different Argyll and Sutherland Regiment uniform
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
The bottom image on the Glen Moray whisky tin depicting different
Argyll and Sutherland Regiment uniform
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
Left side of the tin with the caption ‘Princess Louise presenting The Colours to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, at Ardencaple on The Clyde 1908’
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
The right side of the Glen Moray whisky tin
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The inside of the whisky tin has information about the Regiment both before and after the amalgamation of the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders and the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. For instance, “The 91st served in the wars against Napoleon…” and “The 93rd most famous actions were at the Battle of Balaklava in the Crimean War at which they could the immortal nickname of The Thin Red Line”. The tin also provides information about The Argyll and Sutherland regiment during the World Wars as well as a long list of places the Regiment has travelled to over the years.

Inside of the Glen Morray whisky tin
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

Another bottle in the museum collection is this unopened regimental blended whiskey commemorates the 1st Battalion of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders service in Aden in 1967. The bottle is labelled “Mad Mitch’s wee drap o’ the ‘Crater’ ”.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Scotch Whisky
Photo credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

The museum also cares for two special regimental whisky bottles in its collection. The two following images are boxed single malt whiskies produced in 1994 to celebrate the bicentenary of the raising of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1794. The museum holds bottle 91 and bottle 93 of 1000 bottles selected and bottled by Arthur Ingham and Co. to represent The Argyllshire Highlanders (91st) and The Sutherland Highlanders (93rd).

Bottle 91 of 1000 Finest Single Malt Whisky
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum
Bottle 93 of 1000 Finest Single Malt Whisky
Photo Credits: The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Regimental Museum

Cheers to the weekend and Slàinte Mhath!

Written by Caitlin Stewart, Digital Content Volunteer