I live in Portland, Oregon, and consequently, I’m supposed to consume only brown liquors. What? I don’t make the rules. Take it up with the hipsters.
Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t much of a liquor drinker. However, I had a date way back in the summer of 2011 who demonstrated his sophistication by drinking Maker’s Mark on the rocks. Then he talked about his BMW and playing a round of some goddamn sport I was too bored to pay attention to at someplace called Pebble something or other. The point is, I also drank Maker’s Mark that night. To impress him. I know. I am an asshole.
To be clear, my Maker’s Mark on the rocks experience wasn’t bad. I mean, it wasn’t good either. Nonetheless, it was my first initiation into the wide world of whiskey.
Fast forward to a few months later. I was out for drinks with a gentleman I consider both a friend and a mentor. Our evening started with a series of my favorite tequilas, so I should have known it wouldn’t end well. At some point, our conversation turned to Scotch whisky. I indicated my desire to learn more, and before I knew it, I had two glasses of Scotch placed under my nose.
If I remember correctly, which I don’t, it was a Macallan 12-year and a Lagavulin 16-year. Thanks to the tequila, I was already pretty drunk. But I wanted to impress this individual with my liquor drinking prowess. So, I jumped right in. I remember the Macallan being pretty tasty. The Lagavulin, however, tasted like mother fucking dirt on mother fucking fire.
Again, because I was trying to impress, I downed the whole glass. Approximately fifteen minutes later, my friend was explaining the barrel aging process when I was overwhelmed by a Scotch-induced hot flash. I held up my hand and said something eloquent along the lines of, “Me need go home now. Urp.”
The next thing I remember is waking up in the fetal position on my bathroom floor, my pants and underwear crumpled around my ankles. I had somehow managed to vomit up and over my head and onto the back of my brand new leather jacket. I was so drunk, my vom defied the laws of physics. I remember being incredibly confused. Had I fallen off the toilet mid-pee? Or, was it a botched attempt to negotiate a bad case of the spins? Oh, how I wish I could recapture those magical moments.
Despite this somewhat inauspicious start, I have a renewed interest in Scotch. Micah and I are going to Scotland and Ireland next summer. He’s going for the World Pipe Band Championships. I’m going for the wool sweaters and unintelligible accents. And the whiskey. We will be meeting a good friend of mine and then we shall journey together along the great distillery trail.
Anyway, I want to know what I’m getting into. Therefore, I will be drinking an unhealthy quantity of whiskey over the next 8-10 months. For knowledge.
And to prepare for the Ireland portion of our trip, I am taking old-time Irish step dancing classes. Full immersion, yo. I just bought some tap shoes, so I’m guessing that Micah will soon find our house uninhabitable.
I will chronicle my liver-withering journey (the parts that I remember) on this very blog. To kick things off, please permit me to drop some learning on you that I just now retrieved from the Internet:
“Whisky” is the Scottish spelling. “Whiskey” is the Irish spelling.
The more you know…