Monday, March 28, 2011

"Why Do You Drink That Shit?"

Said the Irish da to his son. Well, that was in an episode of "Rescue Me." It's a TV show about NYC Firemen, and drinking. And I mean drinking. I recounted the scene to a friend of mine, last week, after he told me the story about how he and his buds made the whole bottle of Jameson disappear, on St. Paddy's Day. Oh. The "shit" in question in the quoted scene was Jameson. Apparently, as far as even the limited class of Irish whiskeys go, there are many more higher quality drams than that.

And that brings us to the real motivation behind this post. I'm reading this spy/mystery book, and it's moving along nicely. But in this one scene the one character pulls out a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red, and the narration describes its aroma in what I thought was over glowing terms. I quickly concluded the writer was not a whiskey drinker. She really did not seem to have a clue. Then again, here is the tale of my rake's progress.

Sure, I had had tried bad low end American bourbons, and even some of the Canadian stuff, in high school. Now peg the mark about mid way through college, and I had already progressed past Canadian Club, and on to JW Red. By the time I graduated, I knew that JW Black was gods yes, much more refined. So that summer after graduation, I went on a trip to Europe. It was when I was taking the overnight boat from La Havre to Portsmouth that I finally got past the amateur class. I was at the bar, thinking I was all sophisticated, ordering my JW Black and this short Scotsman next to me says something like,"Aye laddie. Try the Glenfiddich. That's the good stuff, aye."

Let's just say that I have never gone back down hill to JW Black, never mind JW Red. (Not if there was a choice, that is. Could have been a banquet or two with a limited selection at the bar. But for the most part? Particularly what I bring home from the liquor store. Ya. Only the good stuff!)

Turns out that likely the last bottle of good Scotch I bought was Glenlivet. Well, I still have the tumblers that came with the bottle. I actually prefer the deeper complexity of the 'Fiddich to the 'Livet. But the 'Livet is nice. It's an individual taste thing. But qualitatively both are in a class way above the low end JW labels. Haven't tried the Gold or the Blue labels yet. They are notoriously good. I'm not sure if they are best buys for quality at those prices. That's when the rankings both get tricky and perhaps more important.

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