Read the winning entries of the Michaelmas competition, chosen from many entertaining answers. These five alumni will receive a bottle of Glenfarclas 15-Year Old Single Highland Malt Whisky each, donated by Pol Roger Portfolio.
… in an elegant decanter, with a mortar-board shaped stopper, on a silver salver. Its flirtatious, perfumed high notes would conjure romance on the wildflower banks of the moonlit Cherwell. It would be balanced with the robust, masculine core strength of the whisky maturing after 1979 a rare privilege, a celebration. Its ambience would transport me to an ivory tower. There, the whisky genii would weave spells with the essence of wisdom and distinction, mixed with laughter and handfuls of history. I would treasure it, be inspired by it and reminisce; souvent me souviens.
Dr Paula Sells (LMH, 1967) Zoology
... frowned upon by one of its most famous fellows, John Wesley. As a founder of Methodism he implored good Christians "to taste no spirituous liquor... unless prescribed by a physician." It is worth knowing, therefore, that the medicinal qualities of whisky are recognised even by modern science. Studies have found small doses can help protect against heart disease, strokes and cataracts. So I for one would be grateful for a bottle or two of Glenfarclas in the medicine cabinet. Just as a preventive. And I hope my venerable antecedent, who did so much for our spiritual health, would understand.
Stephen Smith, (Lincoln, 1999) Physics
… Dalwhinnie 15 years, from the highest distillery in Scotland. At Christmas a bottle of Dalwhinnie 15 years arrives a present from one of my wartime friends. This recalls the time, in January 1942, when one of our mountain artillery batteries found sanctuary at the distillery when overwhelmed by a sudden blizzard. Mules were rubbed down, blanketed and fed, then tethered under cover. Time now for the gunners to spread their sleeping bags on the floor of the distillery. The warmth and the mingled aromas are still remembered.
Geoff Tudor (Christ Church, 1945) Modern History
… the Arran Malt Amarone Finish, which like Keble stands out on the shelf from its caramel and golden-hued neighbours with bold carmine notes gleaned from finishing in fine red wine casks. It is a younger whisky from a younger (but still independent) distillery who hold to traditional methods of production while offering good value for the price. Such is Keble, a place where students from all walks of life are welcomed and vatted together in iconic brick walls to develop greater complexity through years of extra maturation.
Judson Laughter, (Keble, 2000) English
… Lagavulin matured in a Pedro Ximénez cask.
St Hilda’s and the Lagavulin distillery share an out of the way location by water which largely defines the character of both college and whisky. Lagavulin is stacked with character as were the undergraduates of St Hilda's in the early '70s. But the maturation in Pedro Ximénez casks adds a softer facade to the Lagavulin - as the St Hilda's members of my day were women first and foremost One has enjoyed, savoured, and long remembered fondly the whisky and the college.
Elaine Stead (St Hilda's, 1971) Geography
Images: Luke Hughes, Andrew Lawson, Oxford University Images