I've had a really busy week, not only at work but during my "after hours" life as well. You would think it was Christmas related but it wasn't. It was mostly whisky related. Lots of emails, writing, meeting with people for planning purposes, skype sessions to discuss things and a bit of a "dance party' on a Tuesday night with friends who are leaving for their own little adventure. My whole week was spent with others "doing". My Saturday mornings are usually mine, just mine... It's my selfish time to get up somewhat early, grab my laptop, a hot cup of coffee and I sit (you guessed it, in my big arm chair) where I watch the world go by and sit in silence. It's my reflective time, it's... peace.
I didn't get that this morning. I had a commitment to meet a friend at work and help her with an issue she had been having. I, worked overtime, finishing a few things and getting my desk/head ready for the week to come because frankly it's going to be shit show! And then... I went to pick up Campbell. He's our best friend's little guy, not yet three. He simply calls me "Jo" and when he sees me, he lights up. There is nothing more genuine or heartwarming then to watch him scramble and grab his backpack because he knows it's time to spend the morning with his crazy friend Jo. The magical part of it all is, we don't have to go anywhere special and better yet there is no TV, video games or anything else other than some books, dinky cars, or building blocks where we are headed.
Unless of course, you are almost 3 and decide today is the day Jo and Campbell are going to run around like two madmen and have a dual with pool noodles, which is exactly what we did.
Not long after lunch, I dropped off an exhausted little boy to a mom who managed to get her entire upper level cleaned while we were away. She always thanks me for taking Campbell, and I never have the heart to tell her how much I should be the one thanking her, because frankly, time spent with this little person is worth thousands of $$$ in therapy and is likely adding decades to my life.
I think it's important for all of us to find those "things" in our life. The ones that completely empty your mind, provide you with a few hours of laughter or release and create connections to the soul. Not the heart but your inner self... Maybe that sounds a bit floopy in nature, but when you get to be my age every happy moment erases ten bad ones. It helps heal and recenter me.
I'm not ashamed to say I often have those moments of awe when I'm at a whisky show or with a group of friends and I suddenly look around to realize that we are all talking, sharing, laughing and I think to myself... wow... whisky did that for me! It's truly a magical elixir that I will emphatically say is the only one that will ever make me feel that way. Can you imagine people posting photos of vodka bottles on twitter and the rest of us getting excited!? Errrrr.... no... hehehe
So with all that said, I didn't even get to my advent calendar today until about 3:00pm. My basement, no longer filled with the shrieks of joy as Campbell attacked me with his pool noodle screaming: HA-YA! back to its darkness and solace. I walked over to the advent calendar and opened up the doors once more. #10 easily popped open to reveal the day's dram: AD Rattray Glenallachie 8 year old. This calendar continues to surprise and delight me! I've only ever had a small handfuls of whisky from this distillery. I instinctively reach over the piano and grab a Glencairn. The smell is almost whimsical in nature. Back up to the armchair for a proper nosing/tasting I go... Ready, let's go?!!!
AD RATTRAY 2007 Glenallachie 8 year old, 64.9% ABV Sherry Cask #900831.
Colour: Sunlight yellow. It's quite bright.
Nose: Honey Cruller donut with powdered sugar. I almost lost my mind. I LOVE those!! It's creamy, honeyed and "doughy"... Which is a bit confusing since this is a sherry cask?
Palate: Rum soaked sultanas on a bed of pear custard, followed by fresh lemon peel zest! Ok, so now I am really confused as this is not at all what I expected for... a sherry cask?!
Finish: Well, that really high ABV leaves an afterburn like you wouldn't believe but there's a clean and wonderful flavour of fennel... Fresh fennel. Then, a drying effect.. almost of Sahara desert proportion.
Hmmmm.... wait a second I think to myself?! Was this a "white" sherry barrel perhaps? A fino or a manzanilla? Time to add water!!!
Nose: Becomes even creamier... I'm talking poached pear in a vanilla pudding cup!
Palate: There's more fruit now, but again not what I would expect for a sherry cask (too young for the full influence perhaps?!) I can find apple compote with hints of ginger, with maybe a bit of crushed graham wafers...
Finish: Subdued, and much sweeter now with just hints of pepper... Fennel all gone. :(
All in all, this was likely the most balanced of drams thus far and once again the whisky surprises me greatly. Jonathan I'm wondering if there's a way to find out what type of sherry barrel this was, as it's completely different and polarizing from what we would normally suspect?
And speaking of Jonathan two things:
1. Check out his thoughts on his blog: www.singlemalting.com
2. We are all going to meet on Facebook this evening for a fire side chat about this whisky! If you have an advent calendar, come join us and even if you don't... pour yourself a dram, put the fireplace channel on and come enjoy the #whiskyfabric friendships as we create yet another magical moment and memory together.
At this rate, the rest of the 15 days to come on my advent
adventure may end up being some of the best of 2016. All I know is, I'm one lucky lassie and I appreciate all the wonderful moments, people and sublime drams in my life....