Well, Specky and I keep playing games where intrigue becomes an integral part of the entire process. We had started a game where we began searching for the various avataars for the term ‘Black Dog’ and were able to find quite a lot in the previous post.

These games are as vital as the characteristics of a good Scotch that needs to be balanced, intense, and bright! This morning too Specky walked up to me and said, ‘How about launching a new search for different interpretations of the word Black Dog?’

‘OK,’ I replied and immediately reminded her of the village in Mid Devon with the same name!

‘She jumped with excitement and added, ‘Yes, I remember… and they also had a pub there, the Black Dog Inn. Oh my! This game with Black Dog is making life so interesting.’

‘Well, I’d say that life is getting amber with golden highlights! That sounds so like a great Scotch!!’

The morning had already pepped up and so we began an earnest search on the net to find some really interesting interpretations of Black Dog. The first one that we could find was ‘the Black Dog restaurant and tavern in Vineyard Haven on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The restaurant was founded in 1971, and became well known for its souvenir T-shirts, featuring its logo of the eponymous black dog. They subsequently expanded to sell other products with the same logo.’

‘Too early in the day to start thinking of a restaurant,’ said Specky with a twinkle in her eyes.

I said, ‘This means you have already stumbled on to something different and much more thought-provoking.’

‘Yes,’ she said, and readout from her laptop screen: ‘Black Dogs is a 1992 novel by the Booker Prize-winning British author Ian McEwan. It concerns the aftermath of the Nazi era in Europe, and how the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s affects those who once saw Communism as a way forward for society.’

Now this one was really thought-provoking as Ian McEwan is one writer who I admire. Haven’t forgotten ‘Atonement’ and ‘Solar’… two novels that all those who wish to graduate to becoming writers must read which is the same as my asking all those who wish to be whisky appreciators, to go ahead and taste Black Dog Scotch! So we had actually connected a scotch even to literature in our quest that had been going on now for a more than a day. We realised that not all the interpretations were adulatory or good or positive. There were a whole lot of other meanings of ‘Black Dog’ that wasn’t so energising, but then they were equally quixotic and attention-grabbing! Take, for instance, the dictionary meaning of ‘Black Dog’ that places this as a metaphor for melancholy or depression and uses it in a sentence as: ‘I’m very happy, but the black dog is there, lurking around the corner.’

‘Well,’ said Specky, ‘If I was in your place, I’d change the ‘but’ in the sentence to ‘and’ to change the complexion and the significance!’

‘Ah! The change actually makes the sentence so much brighter!’ One does have to agree to suggestions that are meaningful, but added, ‘The black dog figures in quite a lot of people’s imagery. So obviously this imagery can be grim, gruesome, bright, or even happy. The way I look at it is that the connection of Black Dog with a world-renowned Scotch gives it an enviable aura!’

So there are movies, songs, kid’s websites, books, metaphors, and eateries that are eager to call themselves Black Dog. The best among all of them, of course, is the Scotch that calls itself by this name.

More Black Dog stories


Black Dog Easy Evenings | Black Dog Scotch | Ginger Claps

Disclaimer: The content of this post is meant only for people above the age of 25.



Arvind Passey
06 May 2014