Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Whisky in the Jar (and Help from the PaMonk)

As The Monk noted, he went to Scotland but wanted to square this circle: how to procure as many Scotch whiskies as possible for his collection and enjoyment, all of which should be hard or impossible to find in the US, whilst adhering to US duty-free import regulations. Priority for independent bottlers -- companies that buy casks from distilleries and bottle them without norming the taste. Most distilleries sell the majority of their distillate for use in blended whiskies. Those that produce single-malt scotches use only malt whisky (from barley) from one distillery (i.e., Glenmorangie) but they can blend different casks together to get a specific taste that ensures a 12-year old Macallan has a uniform taste. Independent bottlers buy casks from the distilleries and do not "normalize," thereby ensuring the uniqueness of each vintage.

The Monk picked up six whiskies, three of which are unavailable in the US, two of which are nearly impossible to find and one which is difficult. And here's how he did it legally: (1) Two 20 cl advance samples from independent bottler Douglas Laing & Co., producer of the Old Malt Cask line of whiskies -- a Clynelish (rhymes with sign-leash) and a Bunnahabhan; (2) a 20 cl straight-from-the-cask (and poured on the premises) vatted malt from Cadenhead -- a combo of Caol Ila and either Lagavulin or Laphroaig (the seller said he wasn't allowed to say which); (3) two half bottles from independent bottler Gordon MacPhail -- a Scapa and a Linkwood; and (4) a full-bottle Signatory bottling of a 1989 Cragganmore distillation -- one of less than 400 bottles available. Total booze = 2 litres, one for the Monkette2B, one for The Monk. But because The Monk is law-abiding, he had to make some choices. Ah, the need for temporary cloning of one's self as the next great invention . . .

PaMonk needs to help out his favorite youngest son. Two words for possible Xmas presents: Longmorn and Springbank. Both available at your duty-free (I hope) when you leave your lovely trip; the Longmorn is first choice because a Monk knows where to find Springbank in the US. If no Longmorn, then Springbank 100 (EU only, I think).

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