Monday, October 6, 2014

Can you say light bulb!? Virtual tour of Islay whiskies...

This little exercise was something we did in late summer of 2012. Some friends of mine wanted to experience a few Islay whiskies. Graham and I put our heads together and created a virtual tour of the distilleries on Islay. We had a whisky from every distillery and presented them accordingly.  The ladies had a great afternoon, learned a lot about the Islay whiskies and better yet - Got a free Islay vacation :)

Here is the reprint.... Hope it gives a few people some ideas on how to present or host an evening in your home. Cheers!

I haven't been blogging for the last couple of weeks for good reason: I was busy getting everything done at work so that I can leave for a short sailing vacation, helping my youngest daughter get a job in NS, pack and move, having fun trading samples with fellow bloggers/enthusiasts and getting my fall schedule ready for tastings and whisky events I want to attend.

Bad influences - SMYC ladies!
So, a funny thing sort of happened after the four young ladies from Show me your Canada where here. I, for one, drank too much; which doesn't usually happen. I recall finishing a bottle of Compass Box Spice Tree and I think we also drank a lot of Tobermory but I could be wrong because things got a bit fuzzy as the sun went down on our evening boat cruise...  :s 

I do remember Graham driving us home and walking the dogs with my brother in law at 1:00am so that's good. What I seem to remember the most was the reality at 6:30am - getting up for work and being one hurting unit! So after sitting at my desk for almost 2 hours waiting for the Advil and coffee to kick in, I had had it. I went to the Feel Good Store here in Saint John (A GOD SEND) and Anne was there to save me. "I need something for this hangover, please!" I begged. She has a tea that she makes herself called Cold Blaster Tea, rich in vitamins and nutrients to help the immune system. I HIGHLY recommend you have this in your cupboard, not only for colds...  :)

Long story short, Anne had attended my ladies introductory class to whiskies and we talked while she was preparing my tea. She reminded me how much she had enjoyed the Bowmore Darkest 15 and I basically told her there was a whole island of whiskies that were delicious like that. She gasped and lit up like light bulb, which in turn I lit up like a light bulb with my next tasting adventure. 

I made it through the end of that day and by the time I got home that night was feeling much like myself again. I told Graham about my idea and he lit up like a light bulb. The next day I tweeted a few of the other girls I had met at the tasting who had said they liked the peaty ones the best and invited them to my home for a "tabletop" Islay tour. I invited another friend who I had recently introduced to whiskies and she lit up like a light bulb too (I was starting to notice a trend!) Date decided, total we were 6 girls in. I asked Graham if he minded being in the "chair" so that I could sit back and relax a bit.. NO prob! Graham asked me one question: What whiskies do you want them to try? I gave him a list and he did the rest. Now our collection is quite a good one I think and we have at least one bottle from almost every distillery on Islay, except Port Ellen which I can't afford so we knew we were going to have a great night and really introduce these lovely whisky maidens to Islay in proper style! The excitement built over the course of a few weeks and finally, Sunday came. Around 4:00pm, Graham flitted about getting all the whiskies, glasses, and everything else he needed including a HUGE table top map of Islay ready for the arrival of the ladies.

Once arrived and all seated, Graham took us along a lovely whisky trail visiting distillery after distillery on Islay. He went into a bit of detail and also had a few other surprises (including a very nice dram of the Octomore and Kilchoman Sherry Cask). The ladies loved it! We started the evening at 7:00 and it seems to me they left around 10:00pm. 

It was a great night with five wonderful women who love Islays as much as I do. I'm discovering more and more that I'm not the unicorn I thought I was, all alone in this part of the world with only the "boys" to drink with. Most of the time I am ok with but I have to say there's something special about being in a roomful of women who experience whiskies with all their senses. The stories, the whiskies, the friendships and the knowledge we all shared made our table top exercise a rather beautiful and at the same time serene experience for me, although we were noisy and boisterous sometimes laughing like fools, on the inside I was at peace and feeling like I found a space I belonged. To the whisky sisterhood I raise my glass! To the #whiskyfabric, thank you for bringing me the sisterhood, at last  :)  To Graham, thanks for the great tour!

On my bicycle (ring, ring) pedaling down the Islay trail, humming a happy little tune.


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like an amazing night. I think I'll make it my life's aim to have a bottle of something from every Islay distillery - similarly sans Port Ellen...