We usually make it a point that when we travel we try to get wherever we are going a few days early or tack a day or so at the end. This gives us the opportunity to meet with people, do a bit of the tourist thing or visit distilleries, etc. I am the planner in our family so I had our weekend fully scheduled. Rick Culver, member of the West Side Whisky Society contacted us and offered to pick us at the airport (kindness we find over and over in the #whiskyfabric) and we accepted. A few days later came the offer to take us to the Forty Creek Distillery. Graham and I talked about it and for me the schedule was just too full so I requested we decline. Rick pressed... "Are you sure you don't want to go?" he repeated. So, we rejuggled the schedule and this is how the road starts for dram #10. No, it's not a Forty Creek dram, it's the Isle of Arran 16 year old. Confused? Don't be... hehehe
The day before we were to leave for Toronto, Rick dropped a bombshell on us. Rumor had it that Ralfy was going to Forty Creek the same morning we were to do part of his videos there. I WAS ECSTATIC and I knew my friend Linda L would be jealous beyond compare. Sure enough we spent the morning at the distillery with John Hall, a few people from the WSWS and Ralfy. It truly was a great morning. Meeting him was surreal and he's nothing less, if not more than what you see in his videos. He's well spoken, funny, well educated on all things whisky and best of all - WE nosed/tasted the first few samples of John's next release together. You just can't beat that! Well, at least I thought that moment couldn't get any better?
I watched intently as Ralfy asked many questions and took no notes. He simply imbibed and enjoyed and I remember thinking wow! How does he do that?
Ok lady, you are thinking... where the heck does the Arran 16 fit in this story? Moving along! So flash forward to the night of the Spirit of Toronto and I have tickets to attend Charlie MacLean's Master Class. Heaven! He is a great presenter and had us all riveted to our seats. Then off to the actual Gala where who do I get to talk to again: Ralfy. They have a fantastic area set out that looks like a den with chairs, a sofa, etc. It's brilliant! He went over to the book case and opened a small compartment and pulls out the Arran 16.
Out from behind the bookcase pops Charlie MacLean and the next thing I know the three of us are dram in hand and we are nosing/tasting the Arran together. I pulled out my pink little tasting notes book and put it on the table ready to write everything down. I nosed the beautiful whisky. I talked, shared but mostly listened to Ralfy & Charlie describe the dram. I loved it. I had that moment where all of a sudden you become very aware of your surroundings, sounds, smells and where your brain is screaming: "Remember this moment". To which I always will. It was a great night with fantastic drams. My tasting notes? Yah... there wasn't any and if you asked me what I remember about that I'd have to say: It was a damn fine dram! Fabulous even, but don't ask me why because I truly don't remember any of the nose/palate notes I discussed.
I recorded it in my book as dram #148 for the year but the entry reads: SoT, May 11/13 - Isle of Arran 16 year old. (OMG - with Ralfy & Charlie MacLean) and that's all I wrote. I still giggle at this entry. It truly was the dram that wasn't... So why is it a memorable dram for 2013. Well, I knew I loved it. It was really a remarkable dram and I actually did buy it not long ago (although it's still unopened).
|Courtesy of RM Culver|
If you are still interested in getting a bit of information about the Isle of Arran 16, please watch Ralfy's review. It's spot on to what we were all talking about in Toronto that lovely May night.
PS -> If you live in Canada, Arran 16 is sold out... sorry my lovelies :(