Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Malty Motion Pictures: Angels' Share

Ken Loach's Scotch Whisky focused film Angels' Share created a stir in the Scotch community when it opened in 2012, but it only spent a nanosecond in US theaters.  Recently, it started streaming on Netflix, and I highly recommend it to any whisky fan.

Angels' Share tells the story of some troubled Scottish youths who get introduced to whisky through a kindly mentor and then plan a heist of a rare cask of Malt Mill - think Trainspotting meets Sideways.  If you're a Ken Loach fan, you'll recognize the portrayal of the working class hero and the share the wealth mentality, but he also nails the whisky subculture.

Longtime whisky writer Charles MacLean plays a whisky expert in the movie and also served as a consultant, which likely explains the films dead on portrayals of distillery tours, novice tastings and a high end auction.  Most lovingly and accurately portrayed is the way the characters develop their knowledge and palates. There's something wonderful about watching a kid who grimaces at his first taste of Springbank develop an appreciation, and quite a nose, for whisky.

The only real flaw is that it perpetuates the myth that a real whiskey expert will know the exact whiskey you're getting from a single sniff or sip, but that's pretty standard in movies (a collector takes a quick nose of the Malt Mill out of an unmarked bottle and immediately realizes what it is).

Angels' Share is a delightful film, and even though I missed it in the theater, I'm guessing it's better to watch at home, since the best way to see it is clearly with glass in hand.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I also liked the movie (thank you Netflix for including subtitles) but I found it a bit jarring how the film becomes a lot lighter in the second half. While the main character's old gang feuds are explored in the first half, that element goes away once the heist section begins (yes, I know that plot is part of the impetus of the heist). So as a film it's a bit uneven