Hot Toddy and Tweed
There are multiple ways of staying warm in the winter, one is to dress warmly, and one is to drink warmly. One is form the outside in and the other is from the inside out. Generally speaking one can do a fair job alone, together however, the combination is a perfect marriage for a pleasantly comfortable winter ahead!
On the Windowpane Check:
We recently held a little event in the shop hosting guests for a Hot Toddy and Tweed pairing in collaboration with our friends at Clos19.
What is Hot Toddy? Well similar in concept to Mulled Wine, it is a hot whiskey brewed with the addition of anything from apple, cinnamon, honey, lemon, water, to herbs and spices and of course served hot. The story goes that a Dr Robert Bentley Todd was known to prescribe a hot drink of brandy or whiskey with cinnamon sugar and water which became known as a Hot Toddy.
Tweed, other than being known as the cloth it is today again has a storied history. Some allude to its name being a reference to the region around the River Tweed where it could have been produced, and indeed some is still produced or the alternative and slightly more entertaining version is that it is a mistaken understanding of the Scottish word Tweel which was used to refer to the type of cloth that Tweed is having been misread as Tweed by an accountant receiving an order of Cloth in England from a mill in Scotland.
The marriage of the two is quite a perfect affair as both whiskey and tweed are created as perfect representations of the exact spot from which they originate.
We invited our friends from Ardbeg and Glenmorangie to showcase their whiskies in coordination with locally produced Tweeds from their regions. Conveniently Ardbeg is distilled on the Isle of Islay (pronounced Eye-Lah) where there is one, and only one, mill called the Islay Woollen Mill. In fact, so close is their proximity that only a few years ago Gordon Clovell, the current owner of Islay Woollen Mill designed in collaboration with Ardbeg two Windowpane check tweeds.
As with all tweeds the colours and design are meant to offer a visual reflection the landscape in which they are created. Many tweed weavers sit at their looms looking out over the moors or grasslands and take inspiration for design and colour from snapshots of everyday life. Similarly, Whiskey is distilled to offer a taste that reflects the landscape from which is comes. At the core of both of these two artisanal industries is water. Both Tweed and Whiskey production rely heavily on local water sources and both Ardbeg and Islay Woollen mills have their own springs on the Isle.
With Ardbeg, the desire is to reflect the abundant soft water, acres of peat and fertile soil of the Isle. With these specially woven tweeds there is no doubt of the landscape that surrounds them. The brown cloth captures the earthy wetness of Peat perfectly with the hints and touches sky and greenery throughout the isle depicted in the classic Windowpane Check. The Green version plays on the lush colour of the island above its peaty base as an inversion of the same colour palette, an alternative Windowpane Check. Together a perfect complement of Tweed and Whiskey, or in this case Hot Toddy.
We then travelled across Scotland to Tain which sits across the Moray Firth from Johnston’s of Elgin, where you will find the distillery and small town of Glenmorangie.
There is some question as to how best to pronounce the name and with the advice of the Brand Manager, Julian, we were instructed that the emphasis sits on the MOR in the middle to sound like GlenMORE(a)ngie. Glenmorangie was originally founded in 1843 by William Matheson who was inspired by the surroundings. The East Coast of Scotland has a different climate and landscape to the Western Isles and as such the single malt Whiskey of Glenmorangie is a perfect mirror.
Not too far away in Elgin in 1797, Alexander Johnston had founded Johnstons of Elgin on the banks of the River Lossie, which was to become the only fully integrated woollens business in Scotland and in the Tweed producing world to bring in raw materials at one end of the factory and release finished textiles at the other.
Johnstons became synonymous with Estate Tweeds in Scotland, Great Britain and beyond from the Victorian era. We had 4 tweeds on display for the event.
With these cloths you really get a strong sense of the drama and variety of the Scottish landscape of the region. There is both the subtle hand of mother nature blending beautiful colours of flora and fauna as well as moments of high drama which you can imagine to be the same landscape responding to changes in the weather, different lights depending on the time of year and even man themselves.
There is quite a popularity for Tweed that stretches back decades on Savile Row. It is refreshing to see cloths such as these featuring such strong designs. Important to note as well is the modern slant they can take when tailored for garments other than shooting or stalking garb. The windowpane check is both classic and also very modern. Such graphic detail is more high fashion than Country Life, and yet on the various tweeds they feel sporting and also fresh.
At Norton and Sons we have a strong history and tradition of working with Tweed. We seek out the best selections from both established mills and small weaver/producers that might only be capable of weaving 60-80 meters of single width cloth a week. We have in the region of 3000 Tweed cloths available in our range that feature a multitude of designs from plain twills, and classic herringbones to more contemporary style designs and textures and of course these graphic Windowpane Checks. We also have access to further stock of Tweeds to inflate the number available from some 3000 to nearly an endless supply of custom tweed options. For customers truly desiring to delved deep into the world of Tweeds and Estate tweeds, you can even have your own tweed designed and woven specially for you. The options are endless, after all this is Bespoke we are talking about.
Prices for Tweed jackets start from £990 for Made to Measure and £3170 for Bespoke.
For appointments please book through the website or by contacting us at the shop.