Revisiting Old Friends

If you have read my book you know that my dentist and I have a special relationship beyond molars and gums.  My appointments are always the last of the day and at the end of each bi-annual visit we sit and enjoy a few drams together. Our ritual has been in place for six or so years.  It all started after a December visit in which I brought him a bottle of Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist as a holiday gift. (Still is favorite of mine.)  He was so surprised that he said he would bring in a bottle or two that he had purchased during trips abroad. A spectacular tradition took flight.

Last summer, Dr. Paul while fondly remembering the “beast” as he calls the Ardbeg, commented that he had never tried a whisky older than 18 years.  Except for maybe that one time in western Massachusetts at a beautiful inn, after dinner, sitting by the fireplace – you know the perfect mood kinda place. But he can’t recall the name of the whisky. Oh well. I thought, time for me to rummage through the closet and bring in a few of my older whiskies. With three special whiskies in hand I was prepared for this December’s appointment.

The plan was to start with the youngest and work our way through the years. The three were all from opened bottles that were lingering and waiting patiently for re-tasting. Judging from what I have seen in my local liquor stores, all are now hard to find or not available in the US. But whisky is for drinking, so with my teeth sparkling, the glasses were set up for the pours.

Bowmore 25 YO

Greeted by a burst of alcohol which quickly dissipated and uplifted a swarth of sherry. And the layers continued with a hint of Islay peat. Deep and rich in color. The finish was smooth and sweet and bountiful.  A wonderful dram.

Duncan Taylor 29 YO Longmorn

Light in color and light in taste.  But this is no light weight whisky. There is something there on the palate that brings you back for more. Is it the spiciness? Is it heather? Is it grasses blowing in the breeze?  On a previous blog, I found a hint of molasses in the Longmorn. I believe the Bowmore lingering on my palate shifted the flavor. The only molasses I found this time was in the Christmas cookie I munched on while writing these notes.

Glenfarclas 30 YO

No peat, a touch of caramel sweetness and a steady feel that follows through the finish. The sherry doesn’t throw a bomb but presents itself in the direction of luscious. Color is near to the Bowmore but this is no Islay whisky but a charming, and not available in the US, Speyside.

Let’s just say that the whiskies wowed and wowed again. Difficult to select one over the other. In the end, I gave Dr. Paul the remaining Bowmore, his favorite. Hmmm, might have been my favorite as well.

Next appointment – we will be leaving Scotland. Dr. Paul is going to “borrow” a few Japanese bottles from his son-in-law and I am going to bring a couple of the new American single malts. Stay tuned.

I raise a glass to revisiting old friends and sharing a dram in unexpected places.




Whisky: I want more. A holiday realization

All right. So I am not a spring chicken, nor a summer sizzler, nor a fall fowl, but wishing for magic to make me into a winter wise woman. Fat chance. Anyway. I’ve been looking at all the whisky books on sale this holiday season on and reading the whisky magazines that I subscribe to or snag for free from my favorite whisky shop. And during any given day I scroll through the two hundred plus Twitter accounts I follow to chuckle, sigh, learn and, yes, grow. And then there is Instagram and Facebook to keep up with along with my own blog.  I want more!

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Ah! If I only had a warehouse.

To say I am steeped in the world of whisky is an understatement as well as a misnomer.  Sure, I am the only one in my family who has more than 200 bottles of whisky – makes me wonder if the family whisky drinkers come to my house just to drink the good stuff.  No, that cannot be true.  On the flip side, there are the several friends I consider true bon vivants of whisky, I learn from them continuously; and, when lucky, get to taste their special whiskies. So what do I mean by being steeped in the world of whisky is an understatement? Well, all that book reading, social media scrolling, blogging and the writing of my own book, gives the appearance to the non-whisky drinkers that tippling is my every day occurrence. The misnomer is: my involvement is barely the tip of the ice that is clinking in the old fashioned glass. Like many whisky fans I realize there is so much more. Whiskies I will never get to try – and that is after grazing through Ian Buxton’s 101 Whiskies to Try book – as well as the hard to find, impossible to afford, and new distilleries opening every year. I want more!

No! I don’t want any of the varieties of Spam.

Where does all this leave me this holiday season? I asked for a waffle iron for Christmas – this cookware is less expensive than any of the whisky bottles that drool over and cannot reasonably ask Santa and his helpers to bring me. But wait!  Deep in my secret stash are some very fine whiskies. I can pull out an arm full of those bottles and share an evening with friends and simply be grateful for all that I have. The short list: I have family and friends; a whisky collection and time to enjoy it; a warm home filled with electronics, music and good food. Geez! Life is good. I don’t need more.

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Nature says, “enjoy and appreciate.”

I raise a glass to being grateful for a full life, a full glass, and good times to come.