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an evening of single malts
Bella
ellen_datlow
Yesterday evening, Mary Robinette Kowal -master puppet maker, artist, and writer--came over to sample my single malts. Until I took them all out, I had no idea how many I actually had on-hand...TWELVE different ones (two of the same brand, aged 12 years and 18 years respectively).

Two were only little bottles left over from the road trip Eileen Gunn and I had made post-Glasgow Worldcon when we bought every sample bottle that looked pretty and/or we'd never heard of--there were many. Eileen and I only sampled about four because she was driving. So we split the rest of them and each took some home.

Mary brought some lovely blue cheese and a fantastic fig bread and two delicious lavender shortbread cookies from Silver Moon on the upper west side and I had some cheddar, mimolette, and mozzarella.

We tried all (I think) the Islays except for Lagavulin (my personal favorite). We rated them...Now although Mary is knowledgable about wine and how to judge it, neither of us knew the correct descriptions for single malt scotch, so we improvised.

We only got through six (we started by finishing off a little sample bottle that we didn't realize till after we drank it was NOT a scotch--horrors--it was an Irish whiskey with the name Te Bheag--don't know where that one came from). We decided we liked the Bowmore Enigma the best (Mary, take note--I just checked that that's what it's called).

By the time Mary left (around 10pm, I think) even though we had very little of each scotch, we were both a bit sloshed --at least I know I was.


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Lagavulin is my favourite, too. I have a couple of others and nothing compares, despite the expert at the shop telling me I'd like Arbeg just as much.
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Oh noooo. Ardbeg is nothing like it. But the Bowmore actually did seem closer.
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I think I like Laphroaig slightly better, but Lagavulin is a thing of beauty.

Just out of curiosity, have you ever read Iain Banks' non-fiction Scotch book, 'Raw Spirit'?
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Hi Ben,
I've heard about it but never read it...does he distinguish between tastes of each one?
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I shall treasure the mental picture of the two of you getting progressively more wobbly while the dolls and paintings gazed on.

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Not to mention the cats. Dinah was very interested in the cheese plate, which was on the floor with us.
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Ah, Bowmore, Ardbegh, Tallisker (before they sold the distillery to whoever they sold it to, after which it got less peaty and more expensive). I like the Lowland Malts in a different way--silkier, but not as interesting. My stomach won't take hard liquor any more, but I still take a sniff now and again, because I love it so. We still have a lot of the nips we collected from Glasgow.

Sigh.

I didn't know Crowley was a Single-Malt head. I'll have to bring some to Readercon.
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Sorry you can't take it any more. I have to say my stomach was fine but I did get a temporary headache--hopefully NOT from the lovely single malts.

ooh invite me too :-)
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Thanks again for a lovely evening!

I just posted the notes we took http://www.maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/scotch-tasting-at-ellens/
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Great descriptions. We'll have to do it again some time. And I'm very glad you were sober enough to not fall onto the third rail.
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I really like a couple of the Irish single malts. Knappogue (sp?) Castle is very nice.

Do you know about the amazing single-malt bar on 44th Street, St Andrews? It is single-malt heaven.
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I have Red Breast and Bushmill's straight from Ireland from my friend Maura. They're lovely.

No, but there's one downtown in Soho. I was supposed to go there in January after dinner one night but copped out. Next year.
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leave the Scotch out...

I'll be there in about 6 hours. I'll bring shortbread.

(& while I'm wishing, can I have a pony?)
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Re: leave the Scotch out...

I'm a-waiting....and my pigs are flying :-)
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Hello, and Singlemalts!

I'm here circuitously due to badseed1980 having mentioned a MaltCon in her LJ, which caused me to do a search on that term, seeing as how I have adored singlemalts since before BadSeed was born. I've also been reading your (edited-your, that is) anthologies since Thom Canty caused my eyes to follow his work, and thus, the covers his work adorns.

Most of my posts are f-locked due to a couple of idiots (usual reason), but there are a few not locked, and my profile is rather detailed, should you wish to check me out.

I was introduced to singlemalts themselves in my college years, in the mid-70s, the first by a physics professor who'd been playing his pipes in the foggy evening on campus, in an intentionally-left wild spot. I had read Catherine Gaskin's A FALCON FOR A QUEEN, and been predisposed to curiosity about them. He let me taste Glenfiddich, which was okay, but it was Laphroaig which caught my fancy when I next tried a singlemalt. I am such an Islay girl that my license plate reads ISLAY MS.

The last two Scottish Cons were sad for me--had memberships for each, plans on board, and finances strongly interfered in our plans to attend. First, my mother has a stroke, and I go through our vac savings in flying visits to San Diego over several months...the next was the year we bought our second house and sold the first and needed that money to do those things instead of have fun.

Of the Islays, Laphroaig holds my heart most firmly, but Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain & Bruichladdich follow closely behind. I'm hoping to get to Renovation, but I do have a membership for Westercon 64. Since I live in a town adjacent to SJose, I can bring a selection of my collection, if there is a MaltCon-like event there/then. I can't drink heavily, so I drink *very well* instead.

I attended a WhiskeyFest in SF (they happen in NYC, too) a couple of years ago, and while we ate beforehand, and I had VERY short pours, I too was rather sloshy walking 3 blocks to our hotel. I went for the oldest offerings, as I was less likely to be able to afford to try those in any other setting. I do have a few bottles well out of their teens, but that's an expensive way to get a single taste, if that's all you're after.

Penderyn Single Malt Whisky was on offer that night, too. A Welsh single malt! Tried it, with no age statement given. Guessed, by the smoothness, 20-30 yrs. Nope. FIVE. We were gobsmacked, as you might guess. Bought a bottle later that week.
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