As I stood there with my pjs on at 6:45am making coffee I thought to myself, is it inappropriate to open that first door now after all my nose and palate are really fresh?! I ran back to my whisky room and propped open my lovely advent calendar. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I found door number 1 and touched it with my index finger. I began to get butterflies in my stomach and giggled. Knowing day 1 would be the beginning of a 25 day whisky adventure made me feel so exuberant. I poked the little front door. It twisted but didn't break. I used two fingers this time and it spun off unto the floor somewhere below me. Reaching in, I grasped the mini whisky bottle firmly and closed my eyes. It felt cool to the touch. I spun it around in my hands a few times then stopped, unscrewing the top and taking that first inhale straight from the bottle. My olfactory senses went into overdrive.
You see, I have this lady that sits up there, her name is Mabel and she operates my memory bank of whisky smells like a switchboard operator. This morning, she's on point and she's plugging in those scents faster than my 89 year old neighbour can share the street gossip. Rich velvety ripe peaches, honeyed custard and fresh coconut (thanks Mrs. Dave). I really want to take just a small sip, but after all I'm supposed to be headed to work in about an hour?! So, I refrain and screw the cap back on. I am so tempted to look at this little bottle and see where this whisky comes from but I choose not to, slipping it into my robe pocket. I bound back up the stairs to find Graham standing in the kitchen looking a little sleepy and plenty confused. I grin, he smiles and shakes his head: "Couldn't wait, could you". I laugh all the way down to the bedroom, coffee in hand.
I think about the little whisky bottle most of the morning. At afternoon break a coworker asks me why I seem so happy and for a split second I consider telling her about my wonderful whisky advent calendar but then I hesitate because she might think I'm just a wee bit crazy if I reveal that I was sniffing scotch before 7:00am... So I simply state that I have something really nice waiting for me at home. I bounded through the door, threw down my coat and went straight to the whisky room only to remember I had put the little bottle in my robe pocket. Back up the stairs, two by two (you'd swear it really was Christmas morning?!) and I literally run down the hallway. I reach in and pull it out of the pocket. It's finally time for the big reveal. Whisky #1 for my Secret Spirits Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar is: Speyside 18 Year Old. What a fabulous way to start!!
Listed as 58.1% ABV, and as the bottle says it was matured in a refill bourbon cask. I poured myself a healthy dram, kicked off my shoes and sat down at my desk to finally imbibe this first and inaugural dram!
Nose: Still the ripe sweet peaches, but now that I have a proper nosing glass it's much more of a peach pie with a large dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Palate: It is a bit hot, but then again it is 58.1%. Silky on the tongue, ginger snaps, with a bit of "tinned" taste. A few drops of water brings a creamier texture, again a fruity custard with a hint of citrus.
Finish: It doesn't linger for long but it's quite pleasant. Slightly peppery, a sweet heat, so to speak. Then a touch of smoke? Am I imagining that...?
The door swings open and Graham is standing there. "I figured I would find you here". I smile and flip the small bottle at him. He looks at the label and opens the sample. He reaches for my glass and I oblige. I watch as he noses and then takes a sip from the glass. He nods and winks. "Worth the wait then?"
"Yes, yes... every minute". He closes the door behind him and I sit silently as I enjoy the last of my dram. Jonathan, this was a fabulous day 1 dram. I can only imagine what is to come.
Christmas often holds traditions for many of us, so for the next 25 days I plan on doing the same thing every day. Wake up, run downstairs, poke through the door, nose the whisky then wait until later on in the day to experience it fully. I, will be celebrating every single day with a brand new whisky. I hope you will join me on this latest of Lassie adventures.
For now... here is my Christmas card this year to all of you. It's called Throw back to the 80's, this is "Archie & Ethel"