A Kinrowan Estate story: Brandy (A Letter to Tessa)

PA letter from Lady Alexandra Margaret Quinn, Head Gardener here in the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India, to Tessa, her botanist friend who is on an extended collecting trip in the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere.

She copied her letters into her Journal and her will stated that they should be shared after her death.  Alex as she preferred to be called lived to be well over a hundred and indeed outlived her beloved Queen. She was Head Gardener for sixty years and died while overseeing the blessing of the first planting of the growing season from what we think was a cerebral hemorrhage from the way it was described by Those who saw it.

This letter which you can read here concerns the addition to the Estate of producing apple brandy.

Dear Tessa,

I must confess that I just got over a headache brought on by drinking more than a bit of a most excellent apple brandy that we laid down ten years ago. We were celebrating  the birth of a daughter to a couple who works here, Ingrid and Jacob. It’s their first and she takes after her mother in both her blue eyes and flaxen hair.

Our idea for doing apple brandy came to use from a Several Annie whose family in Normandy in the northwest of France was fond of Calvados, their version of apple brandy that is produced as a rather coarse, rough brandy that must age for several years to acquire its flavor, amber color and the right amount of alcohol  which our Brewmaster, Sven, says is ideally between 40 and 43 percent.

Sven got the distillery equipment that he needed to produce it from France and didn’t The Steward  complained about the cost as he approved the funds transfer to our agent in Normandy.

We sampled it after the preferred two years of aging, then at five years, and now at ten years. Sven figured long aging would make it more smooth, less biting, and he was right. Sipped cold, it’s simply wonderful. And all too easy to drink while sitting by the fireplace in the rooms of The Steward near a roaring fireplace on a bitterly cold winter night.

We were also celebrating the occasion of Angela who is being promoted to Lead Publican in the Green Man Pub now that her baby is past nursing, the first woman to hold that post. She’s been studying for several years now with the retiring Lead Publican whose moving back to Glasgow so he and his wife can be near their grandchildren.

As always, I’m looking to your return as I’m missing you very much.

Love Alex



About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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