…but Today, a Little Less or Thanks to Matchstick The Macallan is the Sweetest Revenge.
Allow me to tell you a quick story of love lost and re-found in 3 scenes.
Opening scene: mid-August 2008, Edinburgh Scotland.
Enter from stage left: Me.
Arrive at the bonny hills of Edinburgh after an incredible week in Glasgow with my lovely Glaswegian friend Marcello. The Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow Four still running through my veins like a drug. Hungry for more adventure (and maybe some steak and ale pie….and oat cakes).
Met at the train station by life-long friend, sometimes troublemaker (in the best sense of the word), and then-Canadian expat, Jenn. Together we’re unstoppable. Edinburgh Festival shenanigans are bound to ensue. Plans include a solo and LONG-AWAITED Scotch Whiskey Distillery tour. Could the world be any grander?
Time: Fast-forward through a glorious 3-day intermission of Scottish hi-jinks. Have my game face on: time for the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh Castle and The SCOTCH WHISKEY DISTILLERY TOUR before a very tired Pamela has to head home.
Scene: Edinburgh Castle, overlooking the empire.
Enter stealthily from stage right: BEE
Long story short(ish), I accidentally folded a bee in the crook of my arm that day. The ensuing swelling, pain, and feverishness put me in a Benedryl-induced coma for the better part of three days. My arm was completely mangled and left me confined to the city. Alcohol was out of the question.
And that’s when I lost my love: I was leaving Scotland empty-handed. The Whiskey dream had died. END. SCENE.
Or so I thought.
Fast forward a year.
Time: Late October, 2009
Scene: One restaurant at the Hazelton Hotel
Enter from street: Me
Imagine my surprise when in October I received an invitation from Matchstick Inc. to join their The Macallan Scotch Whiskey blogger tasting event. First of all, with only ONE blog post to date (I’m not complaining….thanks Matchstick!) I didn’t seem like the most likely candidate and secondly, it seemed just as unlikely that almost a year after my bee-induced disappointment, fate would so freely gift me an experience I had crossed an Ocean to find AND HAD LOST.
What transpired over the next few hours was fascinating and, consequently, one of the neatest experiences I’ve ever had with alcohol (Feel the power of he pun. Feel it!). Much akin to a wine tasting, I, along with a group of equally lucky Toronto bloggers, was lead through an educational taste journey by a lovely man named Marc.
To distill all the things I learned about whiskey from this absolute delight of a man would be extremely difficult (too busy writing puns, perhaps?) but some key elements are these:
- Like wine, the wood used in a whiskey’s casket greatly contributes to it’s flavour.
- Colour, if natural like it is in the Macallan, points to the wood used in aging and not age itself.
- All good things in life have great legs. (Yes, this applies to whiskey too.)
- Everything in life is better when it’s done with love (and an 100 year sustainability plan doesn’t hurt either.)
Over the course of the evening I happily tasted the 10 year, 12 year, 15 year, 18 year and 21 year-old varieties. I was really shocked to see how different each year was – it’s an entirely different drink/experience with each vintage: smokey, spicy, fruity, you name it.
In the end, the 18 year old scotch was my favourite (“dried fruits and ginger”), very closely followed by the 10, on the rocks (“light, with hints of fruits and heather honey.”) A brief look at my bank statement has informed me that I will only be buying the 10 year Scotch for special occasions but after I secure a new pair of winter boots, buy it I will.
Needless to say, I came out of the event with a new-found appreciation for a complex, smooth, and luxurious drink. But what really opened my eyes about scotch appreciation is that water or no water, provenançe or not, the love of scotch should really only come down to only one thing: taste. And I really like it.
Scene: Living room of my new apartment
Time: Way past my bedtime, throat too scratchy to sleep. Reading Wikipedia to better inform my Macallan post.
When trying to ascertain where, exactly, Speyside, Scotland is located, I happily learn that the Macallan is actually one of the ingredients in the cheaper blended scotch I was going to try in Scotland. And while there is nothing quite like a Scottish experience© I’m left feeling I got an amazing scotch upgrade, surrounded by great friends, all in the comfort of the Hazelton Hotel.
To you, my little bee friend, wherever you are : HA!