Tonight featured a group of my good friends getting together for second Christmas. The theme of second Christmas is generally being selfish together, where everyone brings a thing and/or drink they want to enjoy, and then proceed to enjoy it themselves in the company of good friends.
I brought a bottle of Ardbeg, which is a new scotch for me. Overall, I’m a very happy camper. It is the strong peat start you expect from an Islay, but a smooth finish that is lighter on the smoke than I expected. It won’t be replacing Laphroaig 10 as my favorite Scotch, but it is a fine addition to the pantry.
I think the reason I like my Whisky tasting like biting into a burning chunk of peat has to with the trip my family took to Ireland when I was 13. Part of the trip was spent in a cottage in the village of Oughterard. These thatch roof cottages were primarily heated by burning peat, and it was a wonderful experience. Beyond the inner pyromaniac in every thirteen-year old boy loving any fire, the smell of a steady peat fire was amazing. The whole time, place, weather, cottage and fire were just so right. Even at that age, I knew it was a special. It turns out that a peaty Scotch is the closest I’ve been able to come to recreating that aroma, taste and warmth inside. For me, the more smoke and peat the better in my Scotch, so I generally stick to the Islays.
We rented three 1998ish Renault Menganes, two manuals and one with an automated manual. They were garbage.