I recently hired Dr. Hmnahmna’s engineering firm to perform a rigorous statistical analysis of some highly sensitive data. Being a notorious drunk, he quite naturally demanded payment in booze– terms I gladly accepted given his firm’s extortionary hourly fees. Specifically, he asked for a fifth of Laphroaig, a Scottish single malt whisky.
Since Doc’s services have been solicited far and wide on this Earth, I assumed that this was a whisky he’d enjoyed (or at least heard of) on a sojourn abroad, that the only brick and mortar stores selling it were in Scotland, and that I’d have to pay an exorbitant fee to have it shipped over here. Happily, Laphroaig is sold in plenty of shops right here in the U.S. Thus I decided this morn, after feasting on waffles and eggs-in-baskets and bacon and sausage and fruit and tea, to stop off at a nearby liquor store and sample the spirit in question myself.
The 10-year-old single malt was about half-again as pricey as my current favorite, which is Glenlivet. I may well have just betrayed myself as a neophyte in all matters whiskyological, but if even better bang for the buck is out there I’ll take suggestions and address them at an appropriate time. The bottle comes with reading material: a small booklet advertising a whole entire square foot of the Isle of Islay, running alongside the Kilbride stream– a square foot I shall be claiming shortly, if I can navigate their website correctly…
…aaaand a teensy bit of Scotland is mine. On lease, anyhow.
The rest of the booklet contains tasting instructions– one reason I’ve never been much of a drinker is that boozing can be so much more complicated than drinking water or tea or soda. I ignored the instructions, dropped a small ice cube in a tumbler, poured two fingers in, swirled it around, held up the glass, and inhaled.
It was smoky. I mean like someone set ablaze some moss and plastic, put out the fire with a bucket of water, captured that smell, and bottled it. I’d had a case of the sniffles this weekend, but that cleared my sinuses. I liked it.
I drank a bit of it. I don’t know much whisky-drinking jargon, so I’ll use my own terms. Let the record show that it was good and I will buy it again, and the Doc made a good choice of payment. It’s smooth, but not so smooth that the drunkenness and wooziness will sneak up on you. There was some spice, but it wasn’t too sharp on the tongue; there was no burning to look past in order to move on to the next sip or guzzle. The more I smell it the more I like it– when I buy my other mansion, that’s how I want the reading room to smell. Thick rug by a huge fireplace, decent lighting by a comfy recliner, lots of brick, lots of oak, some deep red in the curtains, this whisky and a stack of old books.
This time of eve, after writing a test, an essay prompt, and two blog posts (the other will appear tomorrow) my brain’s not working well enough to describe the taste aside from saying it was good. Doc did some good work for me, but is definitely getting the better end of this deal: a very good call on the Laphroaig. Looking forward to the next occasion warranting a sip.