Friday, August 22, 2014

Scotch Night - Pacific Rim Edition

When one has completed a long day of work, there's always choices.

Does one come home and do the chores, vacuum, sweep the garage?   Is it  time to clean up and burn some  of the dead branches around the flower bed, that look untidy and can attract termites?  Regular termites are a problem with old homes, though not as much as the exploding ones (thermites).  (They can do some damage.)

There's things that need doing,  but three's also a warm chair, a cold drink. . .
What's that?  I have  message.

D. - "You do know what night it is, don't you?"

Me  - "Oh!, And I'm here drinking a  lukewarm diet 7 Up and contemplating chores!"  (Warm diet 7 Up, for the uninitiated, tastes like alpaca spit with lemon, but I was out of Green River.)

D. - chuckling.

That night was Scotch Night.  (first Monday in the Month with a bunch of interesting folks)
The one above was well you guessed it -  "Irish Night".

Everyone has their favorite adult beverage. There are as many different types of alcohol as there are people.

When you think of beer - you think of sports and cookouts, gatherings of college friends and more sports.  A beer is what I would have out on the patio with the grill, at the pub after a long bike ride with friends on the Monon Trail.  It's pretty hard to screw up beer unless you make it light and throw fruit flavors in it.

There's wine - it can be an elegant pairing to gourmet meal or a girls night out flirtation of the senses that can quickly  lead to tacky shopping purchases and regrets involving Ibuprofen or an attorney.
There's  the "cocktail" - some are wonderful, delightfully intimate little romps of ice and elegant glassware.  The rest  involve high alcohol content, fruit, umbrellas or plastic pirate swords, the drink equivalent of the guy or gal your parents warned you about. Sure they look good, but if you get too well acquainted,  you're going to be crying later on.
There's Bourbon -  some is quite good , it's 5 a.m. duck blind and coffee, summer porch and old steam engines. There is usually a bottle of Knob Creek on the bar at the Range. Then, there's there's some that tastes like whiskey that's been in a bar fight, suitable for a toast to "hey no one's lobbing shells at us right now".

And there's Scotch.  Scotch is what grownups sip on quiet evenings, sitting around a fire, after a days hunt, for man or beast. It's life contemplated, sitting in a library or den, raising a toast to fine ladies and gentlemen, history and bravery, protectors and conquerors.
There's such rich history in every sip, layers and layers of it.

Scotch Whisky is something to be savored without hurry, the bottle then put aside to carefully wait while you live out the adventures that will be told over its next sup.  You drink to enjoy it, not to get a "buzz", the beverage not being the sort that usually ends up with you wearing the cone of shame the next morning.
It's hard to decide which  ones to try. There are so many good ones, single malts, single grains, blended malts, blended grains and blended Scotch Whisky.  The Scotch Club (and their errant roving reporter) tries an assortment each month, coming up with a favorite, discovering new things. There's something about a bit of it in a crystal glass, a king among the dazzle of the other beverages holding court on the bar. You pour, noting the colors of burnt amber and flame, gleaming with an inner fire that is worth more than gold.  Then a sip, the taste upon the tongue, complex, distinct, swallowed with a gentle surge of something almost hot, nearly exultant.

I should probably be doing chores, I thought to myself, but the tapering glow within my mouth disregards the thought, invulnerable to rebuke. For once in a while you just have to do Scotch Night.

But this last one was something unusual  Scotch Night - Pacific Rim Edition. 
Well, the ones I have tried, were interesting, (though I think Old NFO would pick a different word).

But it wasn't as bad as the Trader Joe's Scotch Whisky which can be summed up as follows:

Nose - It's a breakfast of Wheaties on the brand new deck overlooking green grass. The wood still looks wet in that one spot.  Oh *#(@ it is! I've got oil on me now. Sniff. Wait, is that glue?? I hope not, the party starts soon.

Palate -
The smell from the morning deck has faded, darkness falls, someone just lit the citronella candles. You're pretty content though, when you first think about it, cozied up next to the medium bodied honey blond that you just met. So many tastes and scents wafting up around you, the tarp of a bass boat, the smoke from the neighbor's burning yard clippings, you take it all in as you watch the fire die and munch on overly salted beer nuts. Somewhere in the distance is the barest of florals. A familiar scent, soft, yet now cloying. Did you invite a your girlfriend to this shindig?

There is a bitterness, suddenly, at the back of your throat.

Finish -
It lingers like a bad memory, the bit of lemon from the iced tea your girlfriend flung in your face as she stomped off, the sweet honeyed blond in her wake, gone before you barely knew her. You are left with sullen barbecue ash and bitter regret.

With water  -
Slightly improved, but that faint shower curtain smell that lingers only reminds you that you're still showering alone.

No, the Pacific Rim Scotch's weren't  on par with Trader Joe's.   But I think I will simply sum up my preference for the origin of my Scotch with a  photo and call it a night. 


  1. A great post for a Friday Night after a long week indeed.

  2. Although I do like fine Scotch, it seems it is Bourbon I really prefer. And I find the same contemplativeness (is that even a word?) and history in a good Bourbon as in a good Scotch.

    Perhaps a little Basil Hayden's or Knob Creek Rye tonight...

  3. Rob - That's Book of Barkley. It has been a LOOONG week. :-)

  4. You forgot my favorite pain killer 3or 4 shots of rum.

  5. I'm partial to brandy myself, having only in the last few years overcome my allergy to scotch (it always gave me vertigo).

    A fellow hunter brought a bottle of Japanese scotch to moose camp last year. No. Just no.

  6. Sitting here reading my favorite redhead with three fingers of Maker's, both are very good.

  7. Gin is my preferred poison. Got 6 or 7 varieties to choose from on my shelf--it's weird that I can never work up to spending the cash on Scotch but don't mind spending the same amount on gin. Probably says something bad about me.

  8. I think the next book you write ought to be Scotch reviews. That TJ's description was priceless. :D

    I'm a dark beer girl, dark lagers and stouts for me, please. If you can't see through the glass and there's a nice thick creamy head, I'm probably going to love it. I've only tried a couple kinds of Scotch, one was good, the other not so much. Apparently I'm not a huge fan of peat.

  9. Stout beer for the bar-b-que, scotch for affirmation of life. Really enjoyed this post.

  10. Those looking for a shot of rye should be aware of this recent scoop:

    Note that that doesn't mean it's bad (in fact, their products are said to be pretty good). What might leave a bad taste in one's mouth is paying extra for a supposedly craft-distilled local whiskey, only to find that it's a mass-produced generic product.

    More on the renewed popularity of one of the tipples of the Founding Fathers at

  11. It has indeed been a very long week. Thanks for this respite !

  12. I was enjoying a fine Dublin Bottling Ginger Ale in front of a recording of this week's "Mythbusters" when Adam and Jamie announced the cast change surprise.

  13. I was at your Trader Joes last night, and I thought about swinging by but didn't know if you'd be there, and it has been a long and emotional week (This was the week of the Oglet heading off to university) so I just went home, rubbed a pizza in my hair, and slept in the duck pond.

  14. What Gigi said: best drink review ever.
    But honestly, you had me at "thermites".

  15. Glenmorangie and, especially, Longmorn. Both quite light.

    There is / should be an international treaty that says Scotland won't make sake, and nobody else is allowed to make Scotch (except on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, which is pretty much an extension of Scotland anyway, Gaelic and all).

  16. BLACK BUSH! EVERYONE should have a sixteen year-old in their lives! Bushmill's is not only the BEST Irish Whisky, it is BLESSED by God Himself, who taught the Monks how to make, ferment and age this Heavenly dew centuries ago!

    This is ONE of the reasons "they" say the Irish are favorites of God Himself!

  17. Deadmandance: perhaps it's not the funds, but the color.... Some people are more partial to clear than brown. The alcohol is probably close to equal; after a couple shots, flavor is meaningless. So, it has to be color.

    Take my advice: pour out some gin and then some of your preferred bourbon or whisky and spend an enjoyable afternoon ignoring your chores in the mane of Scientific Research!

    You'll thank me later!

  18. Hello Ms Squirrel,

    Our beverage of choice is Arberlour 12 year old single malt. We don't particularly like the "peat moss" found in most sm from Islay.

  19. My only New Year's resolution has always been: "Learn to love liquor", but it makes my gag reflex kick in.

  20. I'm partial to tequila, especially Hornitos.
    It's a SW thing. I do like margaritas, but sugar-free marg mix is hard to find, of quality.
    Then there's bourbon, usually Maker's Mark - sentimental - got started on it by an old former almost girlfriend!
    And SM Scotch! Fortunately, I've friends who have gifted me with same! :-)
    I don't drink as much or as often as I used to, or I'd be dead!


  21. I must say, Brigid, that I have spent most of my Heavy Metal Liquor Time with working with tequilas, and I feel like I have Margaritaville under control.

    While I was on safari in Africa last year — and believe me, I have waited many many years to be able to write that sentence!!! — we'd come back to camp after dark cut up by the thorns and exhausted to a cold gin and tonic, as noted by Robert Ruark, much renowned on the Dark Continent as a "bone-building" elixir.

    My current favorite is Ted Leopold's Navy Strength Gin matched with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water and just a squeeze of lemon. It is a drink I'd be proud to share with Mr. Ruark AND Master and Commander Jack Aubrey. Wouldn't that be one heck of a dinner party? Add Teddy Roosevelt, Everett Hitch and Dorothy Parker and it would indeed be a night to remember.

    I have also resolved, BTW, to be a more adventurous cook. I am a pretty good cook, but I think I might be in a rut. I've been studying Nigel Slater's vegetable garden cookbooks, authentic Mexican cookbooks and some clay pot stuff. I let you know how it works out;;;

    Michael B


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