After joking about it in the 2013 Review Thingo, I’ve decided to make 52 Whiskys In 52 Weeks my new Pointless* Project. It’s just the logical thing to do…
- Geography – Living in Inverness I’m surrounded by Highland distilleries. The famous delights of Speyside are a short drive away. Orkney and Skye are mere weekend trips now. It would be rude not to explore!
- Cheap thrills – I don’t plan on buying bottles of the stuff so I’ll need to be crafty. Distillery visits = free tastings, sometimes even multiple ones. There’s local whisky shops and whisky events. Gareth has a modest collection that I can exploit. If I get desperate towards the end, there’s always miniatures.
- Glamorous moments – I’ve budgeted in a monthly bar visit. At Christmas a client took us to the swanky Caley Bar at Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hilton. I said to a colleague, “Wouldn’t it be great to be the kind of person who hangs out in these places on a regular basis?”. Later I thought, what are you waiting for, woman? I’m not getting any younger so I’m scheduling in decadence, dagnabbit. Every now and then I’ll get dressed up and go somewhere fancy for one drink. At my slowass rate of consumption I can make a dram last for hours. Gareth, you can come too but you may need to upgrade your hoodie.
- Sensory workout – I like the infuriating challenge of figuring out what’s going on when tasting whisky. So far it’s very much like the Perfume Project… “I know that smell… what the bloody hell is it?”. Wonder if I’ll get any better at it over the year?
- It’s fascinating stuff – the history, the unpronounceable names, the mystery & myth; the marketing BS… it’s intriguing and I want to learn more.
- Marital harmony – Gareth developed an unexpected interest in whisky during his MA Brewing & Distilling course (he had come for the beer). So it’s fun having something we’re both interested in. Try as I may, I can’t get jazzed about homebrewing or mountain biking!
- The whiskys must be single malt Scotch whisky. No blends or foreign stuff.
- Just to assure you that I won’t develop a problem – I don’t have to drink a whole dram for it to qualify as Tasted. A sip or two is all I need to make a verdict.
- Tasting notes to be entered into swanky new spreadsheet (surprise, surprise)
- Champion whisky to be declared on 31 December 2014. So none of this “winding up the project a year after the deadline” malarkey this time.
The story so far
I’ve tried a Lagavuillin 16yo and a Clynelish 14yo from Gareth’s stash. His parents got us Historic Scotland memberships for Christmas (free entry into all HS properties) so this past weekend we went to Dallas Dhu historic distillery near Forres, which promised a free dram at the end of the audio tour.
The distillery closed down in the eighties but it’s well-preserved Victorian goodness is open as a museum. There were shades of Scotland’s Secret Bunker with the creepy mannequins dotted about…
… and the free dram was a blend, derr. We should’ve thought of that; they’re hardly going to give tourists a splosh of their ye olde single malt which now goes for hundreds of quid per bottle.
But it was all totally worth it for the audio visual extravaganza at the end. While sipping your dram you get to watch a history of whisky as told by the ghost of Roderick Dhu. With stunning 1980s special effects, he pops out of the bottle like a boozy genie to impart his wisdom. Once you’ve got the lowdown he whizzes back down into the bottle bearing his name and beardy visage. If you’re ever in Scotland and want a side of cheese with your whisky touring, be sure to add Dallas Dhu to your itinerary!
* Pointless = as in having no point, i.e. for the pure fun of it and not being about work and serious stuff.