Master Class with Jim McEwan – Revelry Untamed

Back in the early days of my learning curve about whisky drinking I attended a Master Class led by Jim McEwan and hosted by Federal Wine and Spirits at the historic Omni Parker House in Boston. The date: October 25, 2007.

Up until that point I had learned two things: 1) Write down what you drink and what you think of it; and 2) save your notes.

When I heard this past week about the imminent retirement of Jim McEwan, my mind when back to the night I met him and fell under his spell of showmanship. The class was full, of course, of men and just two of us ladies. We sat in the front row. The lesson I hadn’t learned, and still have trouble with, is sip and spit. Especially when tasting ten good long pours of whisky.  I do hydrate with lots of water but not drinking the full shot of Bruichladdich or any other substantial whisky feels a bit like heresy.  My palate was young and unskilled. I was ambivalent about several of the expressions and wowed by a few others.  But, I was totally enthralled by Jim and his presentation.  I wrote about this class in more detail in my book Whisky Tales: Tastings and Temptations.

To give you a glimpse of the tasting: my top three favorites of the night – as my notes detail were: 125th Anniversary, 3-D Peat Proposal 3rd Edition, and the PC5. And, somehow I have at home a signed bottle of the 1973 30 Y.O. Laddie.  Remember what I said about sip and …..sometimes one doesn’t actually recall the minute details or purchases! Did I purchase it that night or another. Lost. Another lesson not learned at that point: put the sales slip with price paid and date purchased in the box the whisky comes in or keep the slips or write it down in a safe place.

Times have changed since that 2007 Master Class, some bottles are now off the shelves and tucked away in personal scotch cabinets, some sold out and in the hands of collectors, and others simply basic bottles still available.  Here is the list.  You tell me where they are and how much they now fetch $$$.

1. Rocks                                      $51.95

2. 12 Y.O. Second Edition       $64.95

3. 14 YO Links Carnoustie      $77.95

4. 14 YO Sassocaia                     $79.95

5. 14 YO Gaja Barolo                 $79.95

6. 125th Anniversary                 $495

7. 40 YO                                        $2395

8. Infinity                                      $77.95

9. 3-D Peat Proposal 3rd Edition $69.95

10. PC5                                           SOLD OUT

To Jim and all his expressions I raise a glass.