Another round of: "Meh... Why do I bother, nobody reads these anymore anyway... or worse - I've really got nothing to say or add to the #whiskyfabric anymore. That last one likely hit me the hardest. Do people even care about stories, real reviews or crazy whisky adventures?" The following week I would read twitter, delete more emails, read a blog, sigh and then walk away from the computer yet once more. Meh... Meh... Meh... Repeat... Meh...
Over the last five months I've travelled, done lots of sailing, had some fabulous and mind blowing adventures, drank some great whiskies, spent time with friends and family. These filled most of the nooks and crannies of my life. Writing, however, was an itch that wasn't getting scratched at all. Something needed to kick start my ass again but I wasn't sure what that was. In late May I received a package while I was at work. Graham, my wonderful partner in most of my crimes, sent me a message on his lunch hour about it so I casually said open it and let me know what it is. He wrote back: "Holy shit Jo!" Ok, so now he has my attention. I stare at my phone waiting for another message. Nothing... "Errr, yes?" I write quickly. Nothing... "Hello?" I type, now with a bit of impatience and annoyance. Nothing like getting click bait messages from your husband :) Then the photo comes in: A copy of Don Livermore's dissertation: "Quantification of oak wood extractives via gas chromatography - mass spectrometry and subsequent calibration of near infrared reflectance to predict the Canadian whisky aging process". Now, if you are a regular reader to this blog (poor attempt lately my apologies) or a new one who doesn't know who or what that means to me - Dr. Don Livermore is the brilliant and creative master blender at the Hiram Walker & Sons distillery in Windsor Ontario Canada.
I know the adrenaline shot through my entire body when my brain registered what I was looking at and unless you are a full out whisky or chemistry geek like myself you may simply giggle at the thought of someone getting an adrenaline headache, her heart skipping a few beats and maybe suffering from a bit of hyperventilation as a result of seeing a photo of a paper about infrared sensors, barrel charring levels and whisky. Let me elaborate just a little (indulge me here...) = This is a PhD paper that demonstrates how the quality of a barrel can be determined by using infrared technology.
I've really become a fan of Don's and many (MANY) of the whiskies he has created since taking the helm of Master Blender in 2012. I had a copy of the dissertation now I had to try the whisky. May 30th I stepped on a plane, hopped the Go train and headed directly to a liquor store in downtown Toronto where I purchased 2 bottles. (It's important to do a lot of trials - spoken like a true chemistry nerd!) I didn't make it back home to Saint John until June 21st but a few days later I quietly popped the cork while sitting on the boat. It was nice to simply enjoy it, no note book, no pictures for social media. Just me, the sunset and the whisky. It was glorious. I loved everything about it as many of you know I often say sometimes the whisky is simply the backdrop to the memory that is created. Over the course of the next 5-6 weeks anytime I opened my copy of the Dissertation, I also poured one (always made me smile when I did this!). I can't even begin to explain the satisfaction I had knowing that I was reading about Don's work and sipping the whisky that allowed him to successfully acquire his PhD.
Monday August 7th, my daughter Erica's birthday. She turned 27. I can't get a hold of her as she's off having an adventure (apple doesn't fall too far from this tree) but a great reason to pour myself a dram! Except this time, I'm drawn to my notebook. I open the page and the last notes taken on March 4th stare back at me. Halifax, whisky show - Bowmore Vault 1st Edition. Scribbles, my friend Celinda's name with a big happy face - Nice, salted with butterscotch sweet notes. I flip back a few pages, many more descriptors - most almost looking foreign to me now. Scented potpourri soaked cedar shavings (Won't mention the name of that whisky but good God it was horrible!) Yeah, I miss doing this. Maybe I needed the time off or away from writing so that I could appreciate how much I do love whisky?
It was quite refreshing writing a blog for the fun of it. It's nice to be back and I'll do my best to keep writing about what this Lassie does, thinks and experiences after all why should I keep all the crazy and weird things that I get to do locked up in my head ;)
Cheers from Saint John Canada wherever you may be.