Yesterday (28 June) marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, celebrated at the Waterloo Monument at Penielheugh near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders. We were honoured to be singled out as the only ‘Borders whisky’, and at the request of Lord Lothian, R&B was on hand with a very special offering. A single cask bottling of only 134 bottles of Tweeddale 14yo Single Malt as a special commemorative edition for the occasion. Of course Batch 4 of our blend, and Tweeddale Single Grain 16yo came were along for the show as well.
A lowland single malt, the 14yo along with our Coldstream heritage fittingly represents the Borders’ connection with this battle fought on foreign shores. But what exactly does Coldstream have to do with the Battle of Waterloo? According to the Duke of Wellington, who led British soldiers against the French in 1815, Coldstream Guards played a crucial role by defending Hougoumont Farm.
Wellington later named one of these Coldstream Guards, Sergeant Graham, as the ‘bravest man in the Army’. Graham was assisted by his brother, four Coldstream Officers, and four members of the Third Guards in ‘closing the Gate’ at Hougoumont farm – a crucial action said to have been the turning point in the battle.
As the crowds arrived a-top the hill, the sun was shining brightly and we thought we’d cheated the weather forecast for the second weekend in a row! However, just as the battle re-enactment drew to a close the skies opened as if wanting to add to the authenticity of the production and the rain poured, and we really mean poured!
Our R&B tent suddenly served as refuse for soggy patrons, but what better place to be hiding from the rain than a whisky stand! Alasdair began an impromptu tasting with our huddled guests, happy to have a wee nip to warm them up. And if a splash of water was what you desired to open up your whisky, you only needed to hold your glass out from under the canopy for just a brief moment.
The clouds even turned out to be the perfect backdrop for the daylight fireworks, making them clearly visible above Penielheugh. Then, come the last part of the afternoon the sky cleared again and the sun returned spectacularly enough that we considering taking our chairs past the line of the marquee and serving whisky from there.
A Borders Distillery?
Many who visited us asked the question; “where is the Borders distillery?” Ah, there isn’t one – yet! And so we told the tale of Alasdair’s great-grandfather, the licensed grocery shop in Duke Street, and the infamous Cellar Book.
We shared our Tweeddale not only with Borders locals and history fans from across the UK, but we also welcomed to our tent Lord Lothian, whose family built the Waterloo Monument and who is father to the event initiative.
Being just metres away from The Crema Caravan with their unique, ‘burnt to order’ crème brulee, we didn’t last long without trying their salted caramel brownie, and honey and pistachio flavours – amazing! One tent over, Born in the Borders were offering their own commemorative edition ale.
Whisky in History
The main event that was the stunning re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo, in which Olympian Ian Stark rode equipped with Wellington’s original stirrups, was narrated by historian and presenter Peter Snow. He was even kind enough to sign one of our commemorative bottles of Tweeddale Single Malt.
With this exclusive treasure in hand we wondered what to do with it now? Give it away to one of our fantastic Facebook fans of course! Just visit our page, ‘Like’ and comment on the competition post when it becomes available tomorrow and it could be yours.
We have a few Tweeddale commemorative edition Single Malts left, just buy online and be sure to make a note in the order comments that you’d like a Waterloo Single Malt to purchase your piece of history.