By Rob Allanson

A Love Supreme

Rob takes a quiet night with a jazz legend to reflect on what whisky can mean
For this column I had wanted to return to rambling on about my recent trip to the United States, the various gems I discovered out there and the wisdom gleaned from spending several days in a magnificent tour bus with a great bunch of journalists – but something hijacked my train of thought a few nights ago.I have been reading with interest the great music and whisky debate which has been raging on the magazine’s website www.whiskymag.com.It seems that this discussion has revealed a Marmite edge to this sort of whisky pairing.Sorry for those of you not familiar with Marmite is –- it is a savoury spread similar to Vegemite only made with yeast beef extract.Believe me you either love it or hate it, a little like tripe but that is another topic altogether.For me, particularly as a musician – a few here at Whisky towers here in Norfolk have seen my ‘attempts’ to wrestle a tune out of the four stringed instrument I call a bass and others have called an instrument of musical destruction – whisky and music are an integral part of life, well at least my life.No two ways about it and there is no escaping the inextricable links that happen in my head from time to time when sampling various whiskies or I put something familiar on the stereo.For instance at the moment, with the rain lashing against my kitchen window – I may have been too previous about the joys of a British summer as it has rained solidly for weeks now leaving several areas of the country underwater – I have a glass of Talisker 25 Years Old and John Coltrane’s ALove Supreme playing at a respectful low level as the rest of the Allanson household is tucked up and sleeping soundly.The waves of Trane’s sax and delicate notes of Jimmy Garrison’s bass are mimicked in the wafts of burning heather smoke swirling in the glass and in my senses.There are songs that remind me of whiskies and bourbons I have drank, and similarly a glass of certain brands of the good stuff can transport me back to gigs, recording studios and such things.I think what the real issue is here is a personal connection, a memory, that magic carpet ride of the senses that for some unexplained reason takes you back to a fonder moment.This does not have to be music, it can be food, a pub, a bar, sitting on the deck with a couple of cigars watching the sunset with a loved one, what ever it may be.This is where I think whisky in all its glorious guises wins over many other spirits.We all take our time to savour what those countless master distillers out there have slaved away to produce, to bring us a glass of golden, or copper liquid that has been lovingly watched over until it reaches perfect balance and maturity.This is why for me the connection to things such as music, literature and other activities that force you to sit back, relax and contemplate life – perhaps it’s time I sent some of the writing team out to find the best drams to fish with, not literally obviously although that may up the success rate – is an interesting thing to explore.We all need something to slow down with.Life these days can be far too frenetic, so here is something to have a go at.Find that old CD, cassette, four track, 78, or head to the favourite chair with a drop of something you have not drank for a while and just contemplate life.Whisky should be about being and enjoying, either with friends, family or even a dead jazz idol in a seminal 1967 recording. Enjoy