There is no traffic congestion on the straight and narrow path. Tommy Dewar
My young daughter Carrie wanted to buy me glasses for Christmas the winter she worked after school at a kitchen and gift shop. She told her co-workers that she wanted the glasses because “My mother belongs to this group that drinks.” It sounded like it was a club of debauchery and alcoholics anonymous drop-outs. The co-workers looked askance at her. A clarifying explanation was in order!
Well this Mom still drinks but the story is so much more than debauchery. As I start off Chapter 1 of my book, Whisky Tales: Tastings and Temptations: it is all Amanda’s fault. Really. She was the one who suggested that a group of us get together and have our own whisky tasting. Being the great followers, we eagerly said, “Sure.” The rest is more than history, more than a deviation from the straight and narrow path.
My ever expanding love of whisky and blossoming collection, has taken me on a journey that was never envisioned during that first tasting. I like to give credit to the shocking preference I had for the Lagavulin 16 Y.O. We were sampling the then “Six Classic Malts” whiskies which were sold as a gift set of nip size bottles (so wish they were still available.) Yes, they are all mammoth-corporation Diageo owned whiskies but they give a fairly good range of flavor profiles. But during that first tasting all I knew was that they were “scotch”; something I thought old men drank. The six expressions included:
- Glenkinchie 10 Y.O.
- Dalwhinnie 15 Y.O.
- Cragganmore 12 Y.O.
- Oban 14 Y.O.
- Talisker 10 Y.O.
- Lagavulin 16 Y.O.
Taste after taste my face twisted and wrinkled and I thought how could this possibly be pleasurable? Was it supposed to taste like medicine, burn the throat when swallowed, and not have any bubbles? After tasting all six, Amanda told us to go back to the one we liked the best. I found the Lagavulin wrapped snuggly in my hands. It tasted like leather, iodine, peat and smoke. Astonishing! I embraced my new found love and set out on a quest to learn more about whisky, to seek out bottles that were not the “every day” and to build a collection to share and experience with others. While I have more than 150 bottles and have traveled several times to Scotland, I am still working my way through Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. So much whisky in the world to taste. It is still a thrill to find a whisky expression not well known or available that awakens the nose, palate and finish! (And is not going to break the bank to buy.)
Many of us who use the word passion when discussing whisky – whether it is single malt, a blend, a bourbon, a rye, distilled in Scotland, Canada, America, Ireland, India, Japan – have stories on how the passion was ignited. For me, the fun of it all was behind my taking up the pen and writing my romp of a book, creating this blog, and tweeting out to all who will listen. Connecting through social media and from all points of the globe continues to fuel passion, expand knowledge and the pure joy of experiences with likeminded souls. We are not on the straight and narrow path. We are not trying to be labeled as experts but simply reaching out and sharing our passion and our whiskies. I still belong to “this group that drinks” – fantastically it is a worldwide group!
I thank you Amanda. I thank you Lagavulin. Whisky drinkers tell your stories!
I raise a glass to my fellow whisky drinkers!