Monday, January 08, 2007

Whisky Potluck

The potluck is a party standard. Everybody brings something to share, so one person doesn’t have to do it all, and everyone gets to show off their specialty to the applause of others. It’s wonderful. Everyone is happy at a potluck.

So, who says a potluck only has to be food? For a first, we were invited to a Scotch Potluck Party. Everybody brings a bottle to share. Oh, there was gumbo and some food, but the whole point was the whisky.

A little background information for ya, first. The Dundee Dell is a great old bar here that has the largest collection of scotch outside of Scotland. I believe at last count they had over 700 different types of scotch. And once a month, they have a “Scotch Tasting” which we attend fairly regularly. I don’t partake because I drive. But I always have a good time, usually because of the other regulars, who know more about this stuff than anyone and are all pretty funny.

Every 3 years, these regulars go to Scotland for a distillery tour. They’ve gone so often that they have their own tour guide, Willy (how great is that, Simpson’s fans?), who sets everything up and drives the bus. They get real “behind the scenes” tours and some really nice bennies. And this year, we are going, too! I’m very excited about this. Besides the fact that we’ll be going to Islay then up into the Highlands and Edinburgh, it is great because I didn’t have to plan any of it. I just get on the bus. This will be awesome.

So, this potluck party originally started as a reunion party for the Scotland group. Since we’re going this year, we were invited to kneel at the shrine and partake of the life-giving liquid.

Reed’s house is in the Dundee area and is an old house that has had many different roles. Apartments, home, apartment within a home, and now a home. A warm, character-filled home with built in shelves, arched windows and original tile in the kitchen. But the focal point of the front room is definitely the liquor cabinet. It’s over 6 feet of rare single malts and souvenirs, including a Whisky Trivial game that is coming to Scotland with us.

Across from the cabinet was a bar-height slate table where everyone put their contributions. And oh my God, it was amazing. I don’t know all that much, but even I know that a 175th Anniversary Talisker is a huge deal. Al emailed my brother a list of what he could remember, so here’s what he remembers being there, with his short tasting note:

Littlemill 8 & 17 year old (an amazing lowland)
Linkwood 29 year old (great)
Glenmorangie Burgundy wood finish 12 year old (mine)
Glenmorangie 25 year old (not bad)
Edradour 25 year old (hot and spicy)
Balvenie 17 year old (finished in an Islay cask)
Ardbeg (finished in a sherry cask, interesting)
Talisker 175th Anniversary (amazing)
Something 35 year old (can't remember the name)
Some kind of rum (tasted like butterscotch)

Reed had tasting glasses for everyone. I settled for my one glass of wine for the evening because, as usual, I was going to be designated driver. And that brings up another good thing about this trip—I will never be designated driver. Anyway, it was like a bell rung and Al was off to the races. I didn’t see him most of the evening. As is usual for these little tête-à-têtes, I ended up talking to the other wives, listening to stories about the kids. But this time, these woman were going or had gone on this trip, so we had other stuff to talk about. Plus, Reed has a little slut-puppy dog who was just the cutest thing. She just loved being petted, so I spent quite awhile on the floor doing just that.

As the evening started to wind down and thin out a little, I ventured to join in and admire the liquor cabinet. That’s when the stories started, and I love stories. Every bottle has a story of how it was acquired. Al insisted that I try a Littlemill, a lowland scotch that was out of this world. It was very smooth—no alcohol shiver after the first sip. Just a nice, caramel taste with a warming sensation. And that lead to stories about past Scotland trips and what we have to look forward to this year.

I started watching Al pretty closely. I knew he had had too much because he kept repeating himself and he that little twinkle in his eyes. It’s that twinkle that comes at the peak of light-headedness and right before the crash. I started to maneuver us out by getting our coats, getting him a bottle of water, putting the glasses up. He was doing OK I thought, then they had to open that bottle of rum. He only had a sip, but that seemed to push him over the edge. I don’t remember the name of the rum but it was wonderful (I had a sip), but I do seem to remember hearing that it was made by some guy in his garage on some island. Ohhhhhkaaaaaaay. Time to go!

I finally got him out of the house, as another wife was trying to convince her husband it was time to go. We had to walk a couple of blocks to the car, and Al pretty much swayed his way there. He rambled a little about all the single malts that he had tried, saying “You’ll never see a collection like that again. Mo said it was at least $10,000 worth. You’ll never see a collection like that again.”

I got him home and into bed, finally. He valiantly tried to stay up while I filled my friend RJ in on the night (she decided to stay at the house and knit). I watched him as he slouched in the chair and his chin fell to his chest. I got him upstairs to bed, and he was out. He didn’t even notice when I came to bed later.

He was hurting the next morning. Not as bad as I expected because he did drink a lot of water throughout the night to stay hydrated. I told him that we were so concerned about working out at the gym to get in shape for this trip, but that’s not what we need to work on. Either he has to drink less and don’t try to keep up with those guys, or he better drink more to get ready. As tempting as whisky is for him, he said he had decided that drinking less was the way to go. Good choice.

The most important thing about this party, for me anyway, was that I had a good time with these people who I will be spending 10 whirlwind days in March. I think we’re going to have a blast in Scotland.


Jay said...

That trip is going to be a blast!

Ch3ll3 said...

Oh man! That sounds like SO MUCH FUN!! *insert much envy here*

Chelle Y. said...

Oh, Scotland? Can I go? :) Although, I probably could not hold my liquor. Well, I would not know, since I never really drink. Haha!

Gracey said...

I had a shot once when I was 21 and I barely could stay awake after it. I really don't like the taste of alcohol (it's like medicine) but I can't hold it either. I would be a no fun drunk cuz I would be off in the corner snoozing away! :)

Tink said...

Whiskey Potluck! Why didn't I think of that? Only I might have to change it to rum and creme liquors. Mmmmm.

Newt said...

Wow are you going to have a blast! That is so cool.

We had a party with some friends in which everyone brought their favorite drink fixings and made a sample (or larger) for everyone else. That was fun.

The hubster does want to have a scotch tasting party since he is up to about a dozen different bottles.

Betty said...

Scotch tasting doesn't appeal to me, but bourbon, now. I'll drink bourbon. How about a nice Manhattan, straight up?

her indoors said...

you will have a great time in scotland, and you be able to actually drink the scotch this time too!

Neil said...

Scotland is ready and waiting for you all. It's impossible NOT to have a blast.