Every month The Scotch Malt Whisky Society holds at least one tasting event at Legacy Liquor Store, the only retail outlet in Vancouver selling The Society’s scotch. Society buyers ship it by the cask from Scotland, and bottle it in Vancouver.
As we take our places around a large wooden table with trays of appropriate finger foods spread about – figs, sausages, olives, dried fruit, cheeses, chocolate and nuts, the evening begins with our host enthusing about our great good fortune at being here tonight. This is followed by some chat about a very large distillery by the English border who sells all of their whisky to one city in China that we’ve never heard of.
Thus, it is especially important for us to fully comprehend the blessings we all share; that is, scotch whisky is still to be had in Scottish distilleries farther north, where they haven’t yet realized how much faster they could sell this liquid gold without any distribution bureaucracy by shipping it straight to Asia.
I don’t need any reminders about my good fortune. It was a miracle I got a ticket. After they are turned over to the riff raft online, there is a window of opportunity of 1.45 minutes, with no warning when it’s coming, to grab a spot.
We are reminded as we savour each sip: When it’s gone, it’s gone.
And before that, before it’s gone, if I brought all $286 in my piggy bank in the hope of buying a bottle I would probably be out of luck because I don’t belong to the Society.
After inhaling a portion of the glass I’m ready for a wee taste. Yikes, that’s strong. 60% strong. I drop in a little water and taste again. Better.
The polite formality slowly slips under the table as we make our way through the offerings.
If you don’t drink scotch, or your whisky drinking involves ice and coke, you may have never considered that the dram you are drinking is a cousin of Genie in a Bottle. – from the Summer Picnic outturn: “…a puff of flittering, well rounded, perfused smoke.” [emphasis theirs]
Or A Ballerina at the Barbecue: “Our ballerina sits on damp decking tending to her weary toes with TCP antiseptic and lint bandage from an antiquated first aid box.”
“A Bloody Mary revives her flagging spirit as she lights a fire pit to start cooking white fish wrapped in bacon and spritzed with lime juice.”
ok, it’s getting better
“She snacks on popcorn with sea salt and cracked black pepper and cucumber sandwiches from warm Tupperware.”
There’s the “Juicy, oak & vanilla” of Tantalizing Tannins, the “Sweet, fruity & mellow” Lay Your Head On My Pillow, or the “Deep, rich & dried fruits” of Summer’s Night In Lovers’ Lane: “…butterflies of scent…The palate was equally multidimensional – Danish pastries and butter croissants, juicy grass and pipe tobacco, plus ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg spice. The reduced nose was just as inspiring…hot summer nights in Lovers’ Lane after rain (telegraph poles and honeysuckle).
Who makes this stuff up?
… oh, honeysuckle, yes, I’m getting that now.