Wednesday, 3 December 2008

...a good ole, green-eyed gal

I was never a big fan of Scotch whiskey, nor bourbon for that matter. Bourbon (cheap bourbon) was too sweet, and Scotch tasted like someone had made an ancient celtic rocket fuel and, added a pair of old socks but forgot to add a few ingredients to make the brew less of a solvent and more like something you'd want to pour down your throat. But by my late 20's I had warmed to a few Irish whiskeys, Jameson being the most well known. Jameson (Bammo) is a full-bodied, smooth and balanced drop, not too sweet and not too dry, though I still preferred to mix it with a generous dose of dry ginger ale and ice.

And after a while I even began to appreciate the odd cheapo Scotch and dry on winter's night out, a classic warmer, though I never thought I would be able to quaff the stuff neat or on ice (though that probably has more to do with a cold and fateful night in 1988 that involved three teenagers, a trampoline, a bottle of VAT 69, and consequently a bucket and alcohol poisoning. That night was enough to take Scotch off the menu for the next 15 years).

But I never used to like olives either, or capers or anchovies. Now I can't imagine life (or pizza) without them. Such adult-acquired tastes do more than just demand attention, they are the culinary equivalent of a right-arm uppercut to the cheek on the footpath outside the pub of a Friday night. Pow!

So I now have the pleasure of introducing you to my new love, my sparkling green-eyed beauty, my unlikely romance..... Ardbeg 10yr old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskey!

Like a shag on a dry-stone wall in a glade (sea bird or other), Ardbeg takes you there, and then some. Distilled with the crystal waters of Loch Uigeadail and infused with the rich, peat-smoke dried malted barley from a place that just made me throw up my tonsils on the keyboard like a startled sea-cucumber when I tried to say it. The barrels are exposed to the cold northerly gulf winds on a remote island in the Irish Channel, occasionally being pissed on by a Jack Russell Terrier for 10 years or more, bringing subtle hints of brine and seaweed, haddock and Pal to the heady, smoky but smooth vapours. And the shits kinda greenish too.

Whisky comes from the Gaelic word uisge beatha meaning 'Water of Life', derived from the Latin aqua vitae, which goes to show that there was fuck all to do pre-1700 except sit around getting maggoted. "Ooooaaaiiii, I likesh dis ere drink. Makesh my prize heap of dung seem more.... interestin'.... hic!" The good ole days, when rum to a poor man was like gold ("just need something to make me forget about my miserable existence for a bit!)". Well there's heaps more to do these days, with computers and shit ("Makesh my blog seem more.... interestin'.... hic!"), and I'm starting to realise that Ardbeg is a sometimes food (at ~$80 a pop, so not on the cornflakes) and that life is about more than just heaps of interesting dung and rocket fuel, it's a wonderful, lucky, comparatively privileged and perhaps indulgent life I'm having on this awesome, diverse, weird and incredible planet, Earth........

..........all made better with a tumbler of Ardbeg 10yr old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskey on the rocks!

Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible 2008 awarded the Ardbeg 10 year old expression the title of 2008 World Whiskey of the Year and Scotch Single Malt of the Year. If I had a Whiskey Bible, or knew any thing about whiskey for that matter, I probably would too. So that's why I'm giving Ardbeg 10yr Single Malt 4.5 packets of beer nuts.

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At 4 December 2008 at 21:13 , Blogger eleanor bloom said...

Water of Life? Wow, I need me some of that. Finally inebriation makes a whole lotta sense!

Do you think Lindt might mean Chocolate of Life? Cornetto, Ice Cream of Life? Surely these consumables are actually all essentials to life.

That trampoline story sounds familiar (was that you?). I was similarly put off Southern Comfort. For life. But have managed to get by occasionally on Makers Mark and stuff. Severe physical suffering and humiliation can't stop me!

At 5 December 2008 at 17:11 , Blogger Kath Lockett said...

Hmmm, Scotch of any kind tastes to me like it's been strained through a peat-stained kilt that suffered through a Mel-Gibson-inspired battle and then spat on.

I'll stick with good champagne, a crisp white or a fruit red thanks.

And my 'trampoline' moment was brandy, St Agnes of Shite, during an 18th birthday party, 1986. Still can't even look at the stuff, let alone drink it.

At 6 December 2008 at 20:03 , Blogger Miles McClagan said...

Scotch is going to form at least part of my retirement masterplan...the rest, involving a big housecoat, slippers and telling punk kids about my day, well, it's still all to unfold...

At 13 January 2009 at 09:15 , Blogger Melba said...

I don't know if you'll read this comment, but try Laphroaig, from Islay. You can taste the thousand-year old peat bog in it, and the smoke. It's sensational.


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