In my times imbibing it has been important to know what you like and should pursue, and for the most part what items just don't work for you. With that being said it is probably a good time at this point in my writing as you are gazing at a logo near to my left, that I should mention I don't gravitate towards scotch whisky to imbibie on.
Sure, if you saw my long ago posting of the Johnnie Walker event, it was a good romp and one I enjoyed. Regardless, I don't seek out scotch often, I appreciate it for what it is, but an opportunity arose and when it comes to good drink I am always up for new experiences. Cedar Crossing Tavern in nearby Takoma Park Maryland was offering a tasting at their bar for anyone wanting to try a 27 year old Highland Park Scotch that was aged and bottled for a private party. I never would have bothered with this, except the suggestion came from my wife, and if there is any surprise that gets to me more than anything, it is when my wife wants me to go out drinking with her. Such invitations come around the frequency of the word "never" or "if at all".
Ah you my good woman of fine deed, I shall take you upon your offer of this! I said without hesitation. We made our plans and set to try this at the bar for a taste, and if we so desired to buy a bottle if we wanted.
I went in with some sort of anticipation, but the mood turned a little sour as the rain kept coming in. It seemed like it never stopped and the rolling gray for the past two weeks seemed to be a good presence that wouldn't give up. I sat at the bar, I was ready to take pictures, I was ready to make tasting notes. But somewhere in the back of my mind I just couldn't get motivated. I would have perhaps liked to take a picture for your perspective, but honestly you weren't missing anything in that. What was really missing was desire, instead of just the pursuit of something aged, highly cultivated and crafted, and perhaps really obscure.
As my wife arrived we ordered. The bartender pulled out two small Cognac snifters not unlike the ones I used to use. I say "use to" here because I have discovered what a Glencairn glass really does to a good whisk(e)y. In my thoughts I was thinking I should have brought mine, but going to a simple establishment as this, which had some happy hour folks in, and lots of swinging conversation, it did not make a good environment for tasting, or perhaps the rude stares I might get from patrons wondering, who does this guy think he is?? I sat my pen down, and just went for the tasting and figured I could go from memory later, and in hindsight it was the right decision.
In the end, long story short, I was put forth with a very aged scotch that felt wet. The nose probably couldn't get too descriptive mostly to the probably too tapered cognac glass highlighting the alcohol, but there was the typical peat and lots of wood, some faint cigar tobacco managed to come out. The palate felt thin, there was a strange sense of caramel not unlike a good bourbon but then the grass hit, and suddenly the finish lingered and felt like ashes from a cigarette tray. And it lingered loooooonnnnnggggg. It was still enjoyable but this did not by any means make me a bigger scotch fan.
I put my glass down, turned to my wife nonchalantly and said, "So what do you think?" since after all this was her idea. "It's really strong" she sort of grimaced, to which I sort of replied yeah well that might be because it's whisky... go figure. I kind of took a devilish grin, but she went with the anticipation of getting to try something without spending money on a bottle she may not have cared for. She has found good drink this way quite often, where as I have plenty of unopened bottles lying around my house to drive her crazy.
In the end, we had our tasting and left. I walked away sort of ambivalent thinking this didn't make me any more knowledgeable or crave scotch more. I did not mind Johnnie Walker Blue and Green (my wife is a fan of the green), but I was not getting in on the scotch train ride this time.
I don't know if another scotch tasting is in my midst anytime soon, but it's important to know going in what you enjoy imbibing and what sort of leaves you unimpressed regardless how aged or obscure a drink might be. I put my glass down thinking about a scotch fan who could have come in with a Glencairn and sat in a corner to really enjoy this in some comfort on a gray night that would warm themselves up. Sorry to say that person was unfortunately not me.