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What’s in the “welly”?

June 11, 2012

I’ve wanted to blog about whisky-bearing-wellies for quite some time, and recently was impelled to do so.

A few weeks ago Jacqueline (my wife) and I attended an event, titled Spirits Confidential
at the Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, NH. There were representatives from distillers of tequila, vodka, whisk(e)y, and liqueurs including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Canadian Club, and one of our favorites, Laphroaig. It goes without saying that one of the reasons to attend was knowing our friend Simon Brooking, Master Ambassador for Beam Global/Laphroaig would be attending.

Maker’s Mark dipping glasses, as they do the product.

We arrived early enough for myself to be encouraged, by Simon, to take some pictures of the assembled representatives outside of the Inn, before the official start of the event. I recognized two people, Kirsten Ininger and Matt Marshall, from a previous event at Demer’s Steak house in Portsmouth, NH and during the course of the evening I met and chatted with Natalie Banks as well.

25 YO

The Welly Treasure; found !

After the photo opp we spent a few minutes walking around outside while waiting for the official opening. Eventually my curiousity got the better of me and we walked into the hall. No one accosted me; perhaps the camera made me look “official” but we were soon told we had to check in at a different door from the one we had entered. Eventually the event started with a gathering in a very nicely appointed lounge where we heard various anecdotes from the representatives. I was sporting my Laphroaig tie and was told by a “competitor” that I needed one of their ties. I am always agreeable to augmenting my wardrobe, but I never received a tie.

After the gathering we entered the main hall and visited the various tables while sampling spirits, and munching on absolutely delightful hors d’ouvres served by smartly dressed and very polite staff of the Inn. Maker’s Mark was there dipping glasses in hot wax, and my wife grabbed two of them (different styles) for our collection of whisk(e)y glassware. Additionally, in the center of the room was a table piled high with vegetables, cheeses, crackers, and the largest shrimp (is that an oxymoron?) I have ever seen !!! Delicious too !!!

I must confess that I am not a fan of “fruit infused” whisk(e)y, or sweet spirits in general; although The MacAllan holds a special place in my heart. To my way of thinking, and I’ve discussed it with various folk, there must be a different way of encouraging the non-whisk(e)y drinker to begin the journey. For more on flavored whisk(e)y and “flavor-less whisk(e)y read this blog entry.

When we “checked in” at the event we received a ticket/voucher that could be redeemed for two cocktails at the bar, and during the evening I was encouraged to visit the bar and sample a Laphroaig/peach creation. It was unusual to say the least; I have found that whisky such as Laphroaig tends to over power just about anything else that tries to share the glass and this, to my taste, was no exception. Whilst near the bar I mentioned to another attendee that I prefer “neat” whisk(e)y to cocktails, and before I knew it the bar-tender handed to me a dram of “try this”. “Try this” is better known as (ri)¹. The last time I tried rye whiskey I found it to be a bit sharpish but that dram was very nice and I will have to expand my horizons a bit.

In any case, let’s get to the welly/ies, but to do so we need to travel backward in time. Some years ago my wife and I attended a whisk(e)y event at Julio’s Liquors in Westboro, MA. and Simon was there, with a pair of wellies in view on top of his presentation table. Being ever curious I peeked into the wellies and what I saw was a bottle of 25YO Laphroaig. On a different occasion it was an 18YO expression. This year I did in fact peek into the “beets” (as they are called in Doric) but did not take a dealbh (Gaelic for picture); tha mi duilich (Gaelic for “I am sorry”).

Regardless, we were thrilled to see Simon again and it’s always a pleasure to be toasted by him, and have our picture taken; one of our favorites is of the three of us on Main Street in Bowmore (Islay) with Loch Indaal in the background. I have not yet seen that evening’s picture but apparently there is some sort of plant growing out of my head. Plant or no, it was great fun, and I (we) encourage anyone who has not yet done so, to attend an event at which Simon will be present.

Slàinte !

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