Monday, February 21, 2011

Strathspey by the River Spey

You know who's from Moray by Greater Speyside? Macbeth. Duke of Moray. King of Alba. When he was around 30, he may have met Cnut the Great, then King of England, at Malcolm's court, like around 1031. Then, you know, later, King of Scotland, blood, death, witches, ect.

Then, 980 years later, his birthplace is full of belching distilleries, and we all gathered together on the edge of the great Western continent, to listen to a lecture by another Knut, about Speyside Scotches.

Scotch is about memory. It smells and tastes like whatever you associate with it, if that's the memory of peat or war or boyfriends or dark musty bars or the empty bottle you left on top of the fridge falling that one time and bruising the fuck out of your big toe. It tastes like cold car rides home, or walking in Tremont at night. It burns in that familiar "I am not making a face" way. It shines gold like a night light.

That last statement is, of course, completely untrue (yet absolutely the truth at the same time), and all the boys with me that night would argue against it, but there were also charts. Knut's drawings are like Roald Dahl illustrations. I love his casks. Molecular bonds between alcohol and water were discussed, and even argued. Why does the water turn cloudy? Because the alcohol beats the crap out of it, because the alcohol throws that water on the street and curbkicks it in the head. No. Something about the impurities shining through because the water is a mirror, just like it shows your impurities when you go swimming in the lake at high noon. No. Something more scientific than that.

The idea of Scotland paints pictures of crazy old saints, with long beards and antisocial tendencies, hermiting in already decrepit falling down monasteries, wrecked on the fierce Atlantic coasts, covered in bird shit. Scaring village children, drunk all the time, writing out the words of god that came to them in psychotic breaks.

Scotch tastes like that. Like God is forcing the visions on you from within the evil depths of your chemical imbalances, from the part of your brain that can't identify the rough tear of reality, doesn't see the imperceptible shift between what you're remembering and what everyone else is seeing. Scotch, made by schizophrenics for practicing monks and ex boyfriends.

It also tastes like a ghost of someone much cooler than you is slipping you some tongue.

There were a lot of princes and princesses at the table that night. Two warriors. One troubadour. And one witch. Who stayed up later than everyone again, and sipped the Glenrothes while trying to read the Confessions of St. Augustine, just to keep the whole lives of the saints thing going.


  1. 1. That looks like a helluva Scotch Night. 2. I'm now really sad because I just realized how long I've been with out a bottle of Glenrothes. 3. I will rectify that sad situation, post haste.

  2. I'm partial to the Balvenie doublewood, but occasionally need to fortify my resolve with Lagavulin, which tastes like Glenlivet that has been filtered through the contents of a well used ash tray and had several drops of iodine added - in a word, sublime.

  3. Lending credence to my theory that scotch is for people who want to poison the crazy inside of them.

  4. My Scotch choice depends on my mood but some favorites are Dalwhinnie 15, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Oban 14 and Talisker 18. Yeah, I like peaty and smoother whiskies. Don't hate but I also like whiskey as well.

  5. Dude, I am never ever ever going to be enough of an afficionado of any liquor to have an opinion on the strength of your character as a whiskey drinker.

    As long as you don't solely drink jaegermeister, we're cool.

  6. No Jaegermeister for me. I have friends that only drink Scotch and would NEVER touch American or Irish whiskey. Hence the comment. Granted, they are Scottish but I won;t hold that against them.


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