Thursday, October 13, 2011
Woe is me...
Hello my bourbon breatheren. Sorry once again for the delay in updating my blog but I have been very busy -- what's new, right?! Anyway, I received an email from a gent who's been reading my blog. He introduces himself, gives some background and then asks what my background is. Of course, I could have written a novel with my experiences in the bourbon world but I simply replied back summarizing my bourbon background, dedicating no more than 10,000 words. Anything more would have been ridiculous.
So, as I'm about to put an outline together to begin writing my next blog entry which was, "Bourbon-ation -- The Matuaration of bourbon and how it affects the 'meat bone,'", the phone rings. On the other end of the line is a man with a very thick accent, sounding very much like a Leperkahn. I ask him to kindly repeat his introduction but much slower and he does. Turns out this dude is from Scotchland and has a vlog and blog that is very big across the world. His name is Ralfy and his website is ralfy.com. His v/blog is all about Scots Whiskey, its history and review of each type of Scots - Single Malt, Double Malt, Blended, etc.
It was as if we were desdined to meet. We were on the phone for more than an hour trading stories of our respective whiskeys and the impact it has on our lives, etc etc. So Ralfy wraps up our conversation by extending me an invitation to Scothland to tour the distileratories (I know, sounds weird, doesn't it?! We call them distillerators and they...distileratories!) while staying at his estate! Not house, home, lodge, lean-to, but ESTATE! Of course, I jumped at the chance.
Sporting morning wood the following day, as I headed to Sandoval Int'l Airport in Tuscaloosa, I couldn't believe this was all happening. Last night I was home with no particular plans for the following day other than to write my blog entry and the the next morning I'm picked up by Coach Limo at Ralfy's expense and I'm being shipped COD to Ralfy's address in Scotchland.
Now, as you all well know, I'm not a Scots fan at all. I mean, the people are great and all that but their Scots Whiskey leave a lot to be desired. But shit, this a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly to the british isle of Scotchland! No way am I passing this opportunity up, no matter if the Scotch no how to make whiskey or not.
When I arrived at McGrady Int'l Airport in Gualway, I was greeted by a man dressed in all black holding a sign with my name on it. From there I am whisked off, by stretched limo, to Ralfy's estate and would you know it, it's equipped with Bourbon Whiskey, not Scots! hahahahaha. Ralfy's got a sense of humor, he does.
As we pull up to his "Estate" (there's a reason for the quotes), I quickly realize that the Scotch have an entirely different definition of "Estate" than we Americans. This "Estate" of Ralfy's had a 3-ft tall wooden gate with what looked like a tiny garage about 10 feet behind it. Turns out that's no garage. That, my friends, is Ralfy's "Estate" home!
I am immediately greeted by Ralfy who jumps out of a tiny hedge drunker than an irish-cursed albino. In his hand is his Scots of choice, Arbdig 10 year "case strength" (that's barrel strength to us bourbon lovers -- why they call it "case strenth" I still don't know).
Ralfy is about 4' 7" with the absolute tiniest hands I've ever shaken. Geez, this guy may really be a leperkahn after all! With a GlennKaren glass in his left hand, he pours a rather large drink from the bottle in his right and hands it to me. His hands are so tiny that they don't even wrap halfway around the tiny glass. Being a generous guest, in a Cousin Eddy sort of way as I noticed lip marks all over the glass, I accepted the glass and took a swig of this delightfully awful burnt ember-tasting liquid. Making a funny face, I say spit out the words, "Oh how delicious," while almost vomiting my tonsels out.
As he tours me around his "Estate" grounds -- all 100 feet of it -- I see a plastic water fountain that Ralfy refers to as a well, tiny little "loove" equipped with a half-mooned door hiding a hole inside used for the releasing of various human waste. GREAT, no indoor plumbing. Immediatley beyond the "loove" is a malted barley vine. Wow! Breath-taking (note sarcasm here)!
As he takes me inside, I almost wanted to run like a Mick to Happy Hour, but I follow as if I'm in some strange trance. In this lush home, I notice to the right a hot plate with a tea keetle atop, a collection of whiskeys in a mult-paned glass cabinet with a desk before it full of whisky, syrup, medicinal and prescription-looking boottles. On the left was a large whiskey barrel stood up straight with bottles on top and a little shelf in the back. And finally, the peace de resistance, Ralfy's bed - a poor excuse for a twin bed.
Stretching his right arm out and moving it from right to left, he says "Welcome my willing whisky wallower to my humble abode."
Immediately I ask where my sleeping quarters are and he point a pudgy index finger to the bed. I then quickly ask where he's to sleep and again Ralfy points to the bed!
This is what I like to call a What The Fuck moment! Are you kidding me?! We're sharing a bed?! But of course I don't say that out loud. Instead, I put on a reluctant smile and say, "How delightful your home."
The limo driver, who had initially left, was back carrying my suitcase and hanging clothes into the house. Rubbing his hands together, Ralfy says, "Well, shall we?" And off we go, into the limosine and of to our fisrt distileratory.
A short distance from the home of Ralfy, located in Lancanshire, was a tiny peninsula called Islay (pronounce Izlee) where there are two famed distileratories -- one called Arbdeg (his fav) and the other called Laproyg (pronounced Laff-Roy-Gee). We were headed there first.
On this shorty but bumpy voyage to Islay, we have a drain (that's what the Scotch call a pour) of Laproyg 52 1/2 year old Case Strength Scots Whiskey and a boongoggle of (ginger and palmagranite juice as a chaser).
Once parked at the Laproyg Distileratory, we tumble out of the car, put on our best sober face, and trip our way into the gift shop on our way to the Put Stills (we use colemn stills while they use put stills). Wow, there must have a benn 250 of these big bad boys, churning out a bunch of Leperkahn's Gold, as the Scotch say. The smell wafting out the stills was magical, I must say. I felt as if I was in Whiskey Heaven. The nose knocked the buzz out of us both and we immediately coothed ourselves and walked down toward the office of Joynathan Webley Laproyg IV.
...I will finish this delightful story off tomorrow. A bit tired now...Until tomorrow.