Shadesbreath's Great Scotch Adventure
I decided I’m not drinking enough these days. I try to drink every day, and usually I am successful, but there are occasions where I fail. I pride myself on being goal oriented, and I have been accused by more than one person of being anal retentive when it comes to achieving things I want. (Don’t be fooled into thinking I’m trying to say I’m some kind of super-guy, because I’m not. I have set myself the task of getting rich and failed, not to mention getting published by a brick-and-mortar publishing house with one of my novels… also FAIL—so far anyway—but I digress.)
So, in an attempt to broaden my sodden horizons, I decided to acquire a new type of booze to enjoy. Now, I already like vodka, and tequila is my favorite kind of booze by far. In particular, Heradurra, kept always in the freezer, is beyond good. But I decided I needed to try something else. So, because so many great writers and movie characters drink Scotch, I embarked upon my life’s first official Scotch experience.
My journey began in the alcoholics’ Holy Land known as BevMo--formerly called "Beverages and More." (Apparently even the corporate guys were too hammered to say all those words every time they talked about themselves, so they gave up trying and just went with what the CEO slurred out at the last corporate meeting they ever had: “Bevmo isss the greatesss store intheworld."
Upon hearing this, the CFO, on his seventeenth shot of a rare Russian rye vodka, hoisted his glass in the air and sent a crystal gout of expensive liquor flying across the room. Everyone around the boardroom table was mesmerized at the beauty of the shimmering stream as it sparkled beneath the florescent lights. Then, upon recovering, the CFO shouted, “Thass a signfromabove. BevMo issposed be ournewname.” Then they all cheered or threw up depending on how lit they were, and they renamed the company that moment. It’s been like that ever since. But again, I digress.)
See, I don't lie.
So, there I was, in BevMo, seeking Scotch. I know nothing about Scotch, but I did know enough to wear a kilt when I went so the people working there would know I was serious. My legs are kind of white right now, it being so late in the year and me having not been outside in at least a decade, so it was a bit shocking for them. A sales clerk came to me and, shielding his eyes, said, “May I help you?”
“I need Scotch,” I said. And so he began to tell me about single malt and blends, and about how they do something in a swamp somewhere with peat moss and warm bricks under barrels of oak or something. All I could think of was that documentary I saw once on the Discovery Channel where anthropologists found an old dead Scottish guy from like 5,000 years ago perfectly preserved in a peat bog.
Or else that was a Nordic guy named Pete partially preserved in a regular bog. Anyway, it was something like that and some old white guy died.
The bottom line was, he told me stuff and I nodded and then I bought a really expensive bottle of Scotch off the top shelf since that’s where the good stuff always is.
Top shelf. That’s why people say stuff like, “This Scotch is top shelf.” It’s because it comes off the top shelf. Although sometimes I wonder if that’s always true. I mean, does everything on the top shelf really work better than the stuff on the shelves below? What if the store has really tall shelves? If the shelves are like eight feet tall, putting stuff up there would make it hard to buy for most people. If you owned a store, you wouldn’t really want the expensive stuff you are trying to sell to be out of reach of your customers would you? Not to mention, what about things like tampons or yams? Is there really a difference between yams and tampons? And what if you needed tampons but there were only yams on the top shelf? Then you would be in a pickle having to decide whether you wanted quality or, well, absorbency. I mean, I suppose you could use a yam, but that seems weird to me. But hey, I’m not here to judge you, I’m just trying to write an article on Scotch. Do what you want.
Anyway, I bought some 18-year-old Scotch. This Scotch was in a barrel in some peat bog before my daughter was born. I was pretty stoked to bring it home and drink it. My wife was too. She was all fired up to try it with me. I even watched some videos about “how to drink Scotch” so that I didn’t drink it in some way that was un-cool or uncultured. I think it’s very important to practice your vices in a way that is in keeping with how other people do their vices. Doing a vice wrong is a good way to undermine it. A vice is already wrong, so doing it wrong makes it double wrong. Not right. Everyone knows two wrongs don’t make a right, and this ain’t math class with all that negative positive stuff. Doing a wrong wrong is like double-reverse negative karma or something. So don’t ever do it if you can help it.
So like the videos said to, we used narrow wine glasses, and I poured the caramel colored liquid into them as instructed. I whirled it like you always see those snooty wine guys do, and then gave it a whiff. You’re supposed to whiff it so you can smell what you are about to experience. (Works for wine, women and, apparently, Scotch whiskey too... must be something to do with the "w"). This is a proven strategy, and of course I gave it a sniff. So did my wife. That’s when her face crinkled up and she said, “Eww,” and then, “Gah.” Her eyebrows looked kind of like someone had just hacked a caterpillar in half and its parts were having seizures above her eyeballs.
“WTF?” I said. “This is a $55 bottle of Scotch. Don’t be making that dying caterpillar face at me. This is serious business!”
She fixed me this sort of empty look, then said, “If I drink this, I am going to puke. I can already tell.”
Well! And to think I thought she should be allowed to participate in the manly ritual of Scotch. Clearly it is too advanced of a drink for a woman, someone weakened by ovaries and the leeching such organs impose each month, not to mention the effect of having yams stuffed in uncomfortable places all the time. Such a gender has no business trying to drink Scotch. No wonder the merest whiff of it nearly turned her inside out. Frailty, thy name is woman!
Fortunately, I am a man and was able to step up. I snatched the elegant crystal from her hands and poured the honey of Scotland into my glass. A double. THIS is how a real man drinks.
I whirled it round my glass again, now nearly half full. Whirl, whirl, whirl. I was mixing out and sterilizing any estrogen particles my wife may have left in her portion to weaken it. I scented it again. Delightful. Warm wood and buttery, slightly sweet with an aspect of ash.
My instruction video said I should sip it once, a small taste mostly for the tip of my tongue, and let it linger. So I did. Sip.
When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, my dad used to make me fill up his truck with gas. We had these old fashioned gravity-feed gas tanks with simple nozzles, the kind that don’t have any pressure shutoff valves like the ones these days do. Back then, the way you knew your tank was full was when gasoline geysered out at you. I remember this one time, gas shot all over my pants and I had to wear the gas around, rubbing against my leg through my jeans, for an hour or two. I had this big red burn/rash thing on my skin with little blisters.
Well, that’s what happened to my tongue when I drank this Scotch. It was like my tongue had been wrapped in a gasoline soaked cloth for four days. And then set on fire. All my tongue-skin was instantly burned off and fire actually shot out of me. Mount Saint Helens didn’t do what happened in my mouth. My tongue was a nuclear flambé and blue hot flames were shooting up my sinuses and out my nose. Then I flew over the Shire and burned all the hobbits to death. It was brutal.
Did you know that Scotch can be as much as 60% alcohol? My God!
It turns out that is why sometimes people mix it with water. Before I started drinking it, I was fairly certain that only pussies put water in their Scotch, needing to weaken it because of their being such sorry examples of manhood.
NOW I understand it has to do with chemistry. It’s the same reason fire departments use water to combat fires in people’s houses and that sort of thing. Firemen are very manly. In fact, I would say firemen are amongst the manliest types of men there are. Big brutish fellows who run into deathtraps to save babies and stuff. Heck, many firemen have their own topless calendars to show off their muscles and chest hair. That’s pretty manly in my book. I don’t know any doughy, white writer types who get their own calendars. Despite doughy whiteness, however, I consider myself to be as masculine as you get short of bull riders and firemen. So there you go. You got bull riders, firemen and me. All using water to fight fire. Well, except the bull riders. Although, I’m sure they would if they needed to. That’s all I’m saying.
Anyway, I had to put a tourniquet on my left eyeball for a while, but then I added water to my Scotch, and it was delicious. I think.
I’m honestly not sure because my face was still in shock most of the night. But it seemed very good. And I did finish the whole glass, no thanks to my extremely un-masculine wife. (I hope she never tries to be a fireman because they will not let her be on their topless calendar with her weak attitude!)
So, if you are thinking of trying some Scotch, I think you should. It is very tasty. And I even think you should taste it without any water at first too. Just be prepared. That’s all I’m saying.
~ Fin ~