Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Scotch Mist


For the first time since the birth of Jesus Christ, a Brit is ranked Number One in the World Tennis League. If one referendum had just gone the other way, it would be a Scot who is No.1, and England would be even lonlier than it is already. Conversely, if Murray had lost, then it would be to the shame of all Scotland and nothing to do with us.

I developed a head-cold yesterday, and what with that and the weather, I allowed myself to buy a bottle of Scottish single malt whisky. 12 year-old Bowmore, the oldest distillery on Islay - or so they say on the box, but you know what lying bastards the Scots are.

When everything looks as though it is going to go tits-up, I fantasise about moving up to Scotland, in the same way that millions of Americans are currently dreaming of moving to Canada, sleeping giant of the North.

Of course, the reality is that - although there is plenty of room in Scotland and Canada relative to the sizes of both populations - neither places are big enough for the two of us. The Scots haven't yet got over the Highland Clearances, so would not be welcoming thousands of English with open arms, even if they did bring their life-savings with them.

As I was selecting my bottle of whisky from all the rows on the shelf last night, I found myself standing next to a young woman doing the same thing. We both stared for a while, then I sensed her turn and stare at me.

"You look like someone who knows about whisky," she said. I chose not to take this as an insult.

She explained that she wanted to buy a good bottle as a present for a friend, but was bewildered with the choice. The florid descriptions of peat smoke, peaty spring water, peaty mist in the heather on the peaty moors, peaty crofts nestling in the shadow of 200 year-old peaty distilleries etc. etc. didn't help.

I said that I was no expert, but I agreed with Iain Banks when he described Laphroaigh as having strong overtones of burning car tyres.

"An acquired taste, then?"

I pointed to the Islays and Juras, saying that they were light in colour and flavour, so she chose a bottle of Bowmore and made my mind up for me at the same time. We parted with a promise to exchange notes the next time we ran into each other.

30 years ago I would have asked her for a date, but then I would have not looked so much like an expert on whisky.






50 comments:

  1. That flavour of peat is very prominent in the Islay single malts; I rather like it. I'm cracking on with my Aberlour which, I'm told, has a remarkable harmony marrying subtle aromas of spice with hints of Autumn fruits, giving it a long and soft finish. Which is exactly what I'd thought.

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    1. Your poetic description matches the maker's exactly then.

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  2. I don't like whiskey but I do like Andy Murray ..... his brother Jamie is No. 1 doubles player as well ..... Scotland and the Murray family have done really well. I have been known to chat for a long while with people that I don't know down the aisles of Waitrose !!!! Hope you feel better soon Tom ..... you've got to put on the charm at the weekend and sell loads of H.I's paintings !!! XXXX

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  3. I'm glad you said his name because that means I don't have to. Scottish ,pisspot!

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    1. So you're not a fan, then? I think he should mix voice classes as well as tennis.

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  4. A fan? Coventry and Aston Villa fans will share a pint together before I call myself a fan!

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    1. That means nothing to me, but I can guess.

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  5. Laphroaigh is an acquired taste. I first tasted it in Brighton and secondly over here with the same person. I can only liken the stuff : as rank as bog water mixed with poteen !
    I much prefer a glass of Red Breast 12. The nose is nutty and rich. There are notes of dried peels and spice, an oily note and cut fruits. The palate is spice and of good body. There are notes of nuts and citrus and the peel and juice thereof. There are hints of marzipan and dried peels and a hint of sherry. The finish is long and creamy with custard and spice.

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    1. So it's you that writes all that bollocks?

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    2. Is your poorly foot suffering from gout or did you damage it kicking authors /blurb writers and poets ?

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    3. Not gout. I know the symptoms. Anyway, I love the blurb on Highland whisky boxes, and would love to be able to write them. As far as kicking poets are concerned, now that would be a good opportunity, but there are too many to choose from.

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  6. Thank you and the prior commenters for the additional single malt information.

    I've often contemplated what it would be like to live in Scotland. Really live there, not just dream of it.

    Hoping that the Bowmore will speed your recovery.

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  7. She was thinking he looks great for his age

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    1. She probably felt sorry for him because of his poorly foot.

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    2. My foot is much better today, thank you. Maybe you were talking about my face, for which there is no cure but death?

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    3. I would countenance that as being a fact... if you see what I mean [wink!]

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  8. Wonder if you will both be lurking around the booze aisle now in the hope of bumping into each other again..purely to find out if the gift was appreciated of course.

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    1. I certainly won't, but if I bump into her again I am not sure I would even recognise her. They have to be walking away from me before I can spot them in a crowd.

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  9. it could have been worse, she could have asked you what the cheapest cider was?

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    1. Dat's my kinda gal (if you discount special needs).

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    2. .. or even the Special Brew

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    3. A Double Diamond works wonders... I am delerious...

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  10. I've added another photo up there. The blurb, the whiskey and the glass.

    If anyone is interested, the glass is a circa 1740. tear-stem, 'ship's glass' - very similar to a 'firing glass' but a little flimsier. They had low centres of gravity for obvious reasons.

    It's worth around £200, but I am not so vulgar as to talk about that.

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  11. That glass is beautiful....it looks very 'pick me up and use me'...and no.. don't go there with a joke mister...

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  12. Come on T.S. get your whisky and whiskey sorted. The Glass is somewhat upmarket but is so very tactile I bet. Love the bubble. We had J&B with ginger ale last night that made a pleasant change.

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  13. So which would you rather be then - a whisky expert or a dashing you glamour boy?

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  14. Replies
    1. Once I could have been both. Too late now.

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  15. I am so ill today - it's real man-flu. I'm going back to bed after a chore I have to do.

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    1. I wondered whete you were. Get well quick I am missing you.

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  16. Oh no, I'm sorry Tom. Stay in bed to recover. Get well soon in time for the 29th! Best wishes.
    Greeting Maria xx

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  17. The first single malt I ever had was Laphroaigh, at a pub on Holy Island of Lindisfarne. It is an acquired taste, and I acquired it.

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    1. And when you can't find it, all you need to do is set fire to a car tyre and dream.

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  18. Whisky with lemon and honey is a great cure for man flu.

    Hope you're feeling better asap.

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    1. I tried that last night, and it didn't work...

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  19. I'll come and rub Vick on your chest !!!! Get well soon. XXXX

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