My Fellow Inebriates,
With New Year behind us and 363 days until the next one, it feels like a good time for an anti-drinking/driving message. We all want to survive for the next party, right?
I started thinking about it when I read an interview with MI police officer Eric Hornbacher, who pulled a drunk from a burning car December 30—so soused that he’d fallen asleep with his foot on the gas pedal. The car was enflamed minutes after his rescue. Thankfully the would-be driver’s neighbors phoned the cops to say he’d been revving his engine for an hour. Lucky for him he was so loud—had he not made such a racket, the neighbors’ complaint wouldn’t have concerned noise— but rather a weird KFC-like odor coming from the street.
Drinking is awesome, but burning to death obviously sucks. This drunken idiot (who spent the night in jail, which beats the burn ward) really needed to take a page out of my friend Christine’s book. You see, the other night Christine visited with a canvas bag full of single malt scotch. Together we started drinking pale ale, progressed through two bottles of red wine, and finished with samples of three gorgeous whiskies.
At which time Christine did not get into her car, slump across the wheel and rev the engine until the car exploded. Instead she retired to our messy guest room for the night.
This is why Christine is so smart, and partly why she is my newest best friend. Any woman who shows up with a bag full of whiskey is okay in my book, but the three she brought were exceptional. She even left them out after she went to bed, although my paws suffered the typical defeat at attempting to pry them open.
Christine is actually perfect. I think, if she had known me a little better, she might have even suggested a dram in the morning. But I guess it didn’t strike her as kid-friendly at the breakfast table. Perhaps she reckoned my parents to be too boring. Perhaps if we’d been alone…
But on to the TALISKER 18. Apparently this stuff is as scarce as hens’ teeth, but Christine is savvy about scotch; she espied the bottle at a specialty shop in Vancouver. Immediately she recognized the treasure it was (unlike the shopkeeper, who parted with it very reasonably).
TALISKER 18, 2007’s “Best Single Malt in the World 2007,” is one of the peatier non-Islay products. The sole distillery on the Isle of Skye, Talisker dates back to 1830. The malt comes from Muir of Ord, the water from Cnoc nan Speireag, which flows over peat.
TALISKER 18 is leggy in the glass, the color a deep, golden amber. The first scents are of caramel, vanilla, honey and maple, with a floral essence aloft on those warming notes, balanced against the slightly medicinal tones of brine and iodine.
On the palate the peat is striking but not predominant; toffee and roasted nut flavors weigh against it, along with dried fruits and smoke. The mouthfeel is extravagant, almost buttery on the tongue. It coats the throat with an engulfing warmth, its peppery nuance emerging to join with the soft peat. It has a moderate but generous burn. This whiskey is polished, with every note in perfect harmony. Drinking it conjures up a damp seaside, with distant soot and smoke drifting across the senses. If it weren’t so evenly crafted, TALISKER 18 would constitute sensory overload. But its triumph is to balance on the head of a pin, like so many dancing angels.
I’m grateful to Christine for this glimpse of supernatural perfection. I am at her service forevermore, and—needless to say—am available for cuddles.