Highland Toast Around the World

About the Highland Toast

This cooper's tale--of legendary proportions, both imagined and real--is recognized worldwide as that of the famed whisky maker from a remote Scottish island by the name of Jim McEwan. His passion is told in our film, and in my art.


About the Design Elements Within

Location markers always include Jim McEwan's hometown of Bowmore, as indicated by the distinctive pagodas of the Bowmore Distillery. From Bowmore, to Bruichladdich and Beyond, Jim's history takes that journey, across the loch, through the gates of Bruichladdich, across many borders, and all the way around the world. This film hopes to parallel his journey, continuing to tell his story, to share his passion for the blood of Scotland, and to bring his trademark presentation to some of the same cities around the world, and more!

With his hand raised high above his head, with a whisky in hand, he has leads millions into battle with him, against imaginary foes of lore. To the left, to the right, his glencairn as his broadsword crashing down upon the enemy, he returns us victorious to our homes. Slàinte , Slàinte , Slàinte Mhath!

As described for "A Journeyman's Journey", a recent biography of Jim McEwan by Udo Sonntag, [Jim] found the Highland Toast more by chance in a book about Scottish history. It tells how in the old days, the Clan Chiefs used to come together before going to battle against their enemies. Important tactical arrangements had to be made in order to be successful in battle. It was clear to all clans that they could only stand together against one enemy. You, McLeans, you should protect the right flank with your riders. You, McLeods should advance with your archers while in the background the McGregors already have their swords ready. Afterwards the McTaggarts storm forward with their lances and the McEwans stay in the background and take care of the whisky.
Such a battle never took place, but you have to imagine it like this or something similar. Only together could you win... THAT was the recipe for success. So they came together in a highly emotional moment. It was the moment when you might meet for the last time, because after the battle you could already be dead. But, as the book reported, they took the time to drink a whisky together before they might never see me again. So this Highland Toast, which was to follow the tradition, had a touch of farewell.

Here, Jim's hand, symbolically thrusts through the four main ingredients of the traditional whisky recipe: barley, water, yeast and time, carrying a mirror-like whisky glass to reflect the community that helped him to create this legendary tale. 

Each ring resembles a hoop from the very casks Jim crafted for many of his earliest years in the industry. Nearly 70 years later, his story is told in the feature length documentary The Water of Life - A Whisky Film, its slugline etched into the hoops. The craftsmen, chemists, and renegades who saved scotch whisky and ignited a single malt whisky revolution.

Presenting sponsors top the bill, along with each country's flag to mark its place on the globe, all surrounded by a decorative Celtic border.

About the Film

The current world pandemic forced us to take the film's launch online, but before this happened, a few cities hosted screenings. As the situation wanes, in-person screenings are returning, as such, this collection will continue to grow. The Water of Life - A Whisky Film is a feature documentary that focuses on the craftsmen, chemists, and renegades at the heart of the whisky revolution that turned the stagnant scotch whisky industry of the 1980s into the titan it is today. Starting behind the locked gates of an abandoned distillery, Jim McEwan and Mark Reynier share their personal experiences of the risk-taking and wild experimentation they used to turn Bruichladdich into what it is today. The film takes you on the journeys of other early visionaries like Gordon & MacPhail, Billy Walker, Dr. Rachel Barrie and David Stewart, whose mixture of talent, chemistry, hard work, grit, and a little sprinkle of magic paved the way for the next generation of innovators like Adam Hannett, Kelsey McKechnie, Liam Hughes, Iain Croucher, and Eddie Brook.

See the Film Today: www.WaterofLifeFilm.com

Jim's Biography can be found at the aptly-named URL https://www.jimsbiography.com/