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.




Off the Beaten Whisky Trail

Every now and again those of us who love single malt scotch come across something exquisite, unusual, and hard to find…and still within a working man’s or woman’s budget.  Well, maybe, for a bit of a splurge.

The most recent foray was actually precipitated by a single malt tasting with the extraordinary Nate, local buddy of mine. Suffice to say, the bottles at his table  were enough to bring whisky drinkers to their knees. The star of the night was the Longmorn 35 YO, 53.6% bottled by The Perfect Dram and bought in Switzerland. This Speyside whisky came from ex-bourbon hogshead barrels, was mellow yet flavorful, like blossoms with caramel.  One comment said it all, “This is a fresh, warm buttery croissant with honey!” Oh yeah. Naturally, I said I wanted a bottle. Chuckle, chuckle, this one bottle came by way of Switzerland and is one of only 187 produced. I persisted and contacted fellow Party People across the continent and beyond. Not happening, none to be found. What’s a girl to do? I dug into my own scotch cabinet and came up with a Duncan Taylor Cask Strength Longmorn 29 YO (1973-2003), which is one of 120 bottles.  I’m drinking it right now. There is an unexpected sweetness, though it matured only in oak casks. The finish lingers with touch of molasses. The alcohol is only 47.6% so the cask strength moniker is a bit deceiving.  I am pretending it is the 35 YO that I drank six months ago.

The Party People have stayed in touch with Switzerland for that certain something special and I was finally contacted a few weeks ago about a bottle of Girvan 48 YO bottled by The Whisky Agency – one of only 487 bottles. It was matured in an ex-sherry butt and was reviewed by Serge at The word “rum” comes up a lot in his description. Serge’s ending comments: “a lovely concoction, greatly both rummy and liqueur (sp?), eminently drinkable. No ideas as for the price but if it’s fair and if you haven’t got any old grain in the house, well, I know what I would do.” 90 pts.  I offered Nate first chance at it as a thank you for allowing me to be  part of his immense tasting.  I (and Nate) didn’t want to lose it, so the move was made to have the international team grab it. While the bottle hasn’t made it to my scotch cabinet as of yet, it has been secured by fellow Party People and is expected to make its way to the US this summer. Nate will be present for the cracking open.

The hunt for that exquisite splurge is most definitely part of the fun for me. Drinking it after bringing it home….

I raise a glass!

Coming home to Mama....and friends
Coming home to Mama….and friends