Books and Whisky: Perfect Pairings this Season from Actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, Authors of Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other

What do actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish do in their spare time when they’re not on set filming Outlander? They roam the Scottish countryside in search of a good time! In their new book, Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Otheryou can read (and imagine gloriously) about what they love most about Scotland and its people — and whether they’re traveling through time or throughout Scotland, it‘s a fun ride! So, we were more than thrilled that Sam and Graham took a little time from all their traveling to discuss what they are most looking forward to reading this season — and most importantly — the perfect whisky accompaniment for each. From highly anticipated historical memoir to an intergalactic scavenger hunt and classic whodunit with a twist, read on for some great recommendations to dive into (or gift!) this season. 



Sam Heughan recommends… 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

This book is hugely anticipated, from a man who has had the most momentous and unexpected life. Obama himself is charismatic, deeply intelligent and a great orator, so the whisky to accompany this book should match his personality and gravitas. An aged Islay whisky: smooth, deep with a hint of smoke (he used to, I believe). Something that has sat in a sweet barrel on the shores of the North Sea, soaked up all that experience and Scottish terroir — the rain, sea mist — weathered by the oak staves, reflected in a dram that has experience, character and refinement.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

I really enjoyed Cline’s Ready Player One, a mix of genres and a throwback to my childhood and the 80s. There was so much going on in the virtual reality world, from Harry Potter, Back to the FutureThe Goonies, Quake, Warhammer, Mario Kart, etc. to the futuristic dystopian world that Wade lives in. All captured in Steven Spielberg’s 2018 Blade Runner style movie. This would need a whisky that has age (to reflect the 80’s throwback) and a vast number of influences, therefore, a blend. I’d suggest my own blended whisky, The Sassenach. A unique mix of several aged malt whiskies and original 19-year-old organic grain aged in Madeira cask. It’s 5x gold medal-winning and a champion of whiskies, reflecting Spielberg’s multiple Oscar wins. The ideal accompaniment to this exciting book.


Graham McTavish recommends…

The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child

I confess that I am an avid reader of Jack Reacher’s adventures, so I am looking forward to his latest installment, The Sentinel, out this October. Through the imagination of his author, Lee Child, Jack provides a core of reliability in an increasingly unreliable world. Given that, I would choose a whisky that reflects the earthy, strong reliability of Reacher’s character along with a nice bit of fire on the palette. I’d pair it with the Ardbeg Uigeadail. A fine, peaty single malt from Islay. Even though I may never be Jack Reacher, reading it with this whisky in my hand will go some way towards convincing me I could be!

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

My other choice would be Anthony Horowitz’s new mystery, Moonflower Murders. I love his books, there is always a great twist in the tale as the mystery unravels. With that in mind, I’m leaning towards that region of malt whisky often overlooked, the Campbeltown region. Once regarded as the center of Whisky making in Scotland, this 5th region is often overlooked and is missed by many. Like a good mystery, it is worth discovering. I’d choose the Glen Scotia 15-year-old malt to go with the Horowitz mystery. I am imagining myself sitting in an armchair this winter, seeing the glow of a log fire reflected in the amber liquid of the glass and losing myself in the story


I hope you will enjoy these as much as I will.

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