No, I didn’t spell that wrong.. Thin Lizzy might like Whiskey with an E, but I prefer Whisky with a Y and no E.. As in Single Malt Scotch Whisky.. Particularly of the Islay variety, a rather unique strain of whisky from the wind swept, small Scottish island of Islay which are generally known for their distinct smoked flavor owing to a production process which involves smoking the malt over a peat fire.. Me, I loves me some smoked flavor so naturally this is right down my alley..
And apparently even more down my mom and her boyfriend, Klaus’s, alley.. As they’ve actually spent the last week or so touring the island of Islay and participating in the yearly Whisky Festival taking place there.. Needless to say, I think my mom and Klaus are total bastards.. Well, not total bastards.. But bastards to at least some extend.. A great extend. Okay, I’ll stop now.. Anyways, I must’ve quite vocally expressed my jealousy and dissatisfaction because they had almost just but returned once they summoned me for dinner, tall tales, pictures and what was to be a few unique experiences.. An offer that I willingly accepted, even going so far as to decide I’d play the role of the better man and bring them a curiosity from my recent trip, in the shape of a rareish Belgian beer, and a few stories of my own.. And of course the batch of French onion soup I’d promised Klaus earlier and the production process of which I cursed to high heavens in an earlier post.. The idea was then that my mom and Klaus would provide the rest of the dinner experience and, I figured, wine, coffee and the likes.
All in all, it was a huge success. We kicked things off with an aperitif in the sun on my mother’s terrace in the shape of Campari and soda which wasn’t really my thing.. But then, I really never fancied bitters. To go along, we shared a few tales from our respective journeys after which I spun the story into mine an Tina’s trip to the Beer Mania store in Brussels and presented my pièce de résistance in the shape of a large bottle of Mea Culpa beer I’d purchased at that very store. A beer that’s apparently the brain child of the owners of the store and is brewed especially for this particular store.
This, of course, raised a few eye brows with the beer lovers in the crowd, all three of us, and a few smiles as well once we got to corking it a sampling the goods. It turned out to be nice, lively, sparkly, light, crisp and refreshing with a distinct wheat-like freshness plus notes of citrus and light spices (coriander?) to it. Definitively a hit on a warm summer day, and just about every bit as good as I’d been led to believe it was gonna be. I’m not sure if it was Zascha or Zeb who first recommended this to me, but thanks! And Zascha, no leaving Brussels for you.. Coz, like, I need to come visit and bring home more beer!
Ahem, anyways, after beer and more tall tales, we figured we’d better get dinner ready, so we heated up some onion soup and some cheese toast while firing up the BBQ and sipping some Rosé wine. Again, the onion soup apparently brought joy, especially with Klaus, who was caught between dishes licking out not only his bowl, but also the pot which had been used for heating the goodness.. Hmm, I chose to take that as a compliment. Tina, upon being informed, seemed a little upset, though, as she was apparently hoping for leftovers.. Which she should have let me know in unmistakable terms and she’d have gotten some.. Next time, babe, promise 😛
Klaus, upon finishing licking stuff, spent the next hour or so working his magic on the grill serving up sausages and grilled pork tenderloin.. So good! But it wasn’t until dessert.. Which was really just coffee, that he produced the really good stuff, and pulled out a bottle of limited edition 16 year old Bruichladdich cask strength whisky pulled directly from the cask by him and my mother not three days earlier. This beast (bottle 510 out of only a 1000 to ever be bottled) weighed in at just over 56% alcohol by volume and was about as feisty as it was rare. Smoky, pungent and with a raw edge of alcohol bite to it.. In a really good kinda way. If this sounds weird, it probably is, but it was still an awesome experience none the less to sample a whisky that will only ever be tried by about a few thousand people world wide.
Speaking of awesome, the old couple had another couple of surprises up their sleeves. The first being that my mom had brought home a half bottle of Laphroaig 10 year old for us to sample afterwards. I’ve always hailed Laphroaig as being my absolute favorite whisky thus far and as one of the most unique ones out there. Well, apparently it’s rubbed off on a few people and they were only too willing to pour out a few drams while we spoke about their tour of the distillery. A tour that was of particular interest to me as I, owing to my membership of the Friends of Laphroaig Club, own a small piece of land on their distillery grounds. Klaus, having never head of the gimmick, brought along my deed to the land on their tour of the distillery and not only got to see the land, take pictures and plant the Danish flag, he also managed to create so much awareness and interest among the tour group that they all fell for the gimmick as well and joined the club of land owners. Which apparently so pleased the nice people at Laphroaig that they sent a miniature bottle of their Quarter Cask Edition plus a small whisky glass back home with my mom as thank you and as payment for “lease” of my one square foot of land. Which just goes to show that these people not only make awesome whisky, they’re awesome, too.. A quite touching gesture for a fan such as myself.. Even if I still wish I could’ve been on the tour myself.. Sigh, some day..
By the time of the evening we’d gone through most of the tall tales and odd ends about our various trips and I’d gotten my special miniature as well as samples of good wine, good ale, rare whisky and good whisky in general.. Well, we all sorta started getting somewhat sleepy. A side effect that may have related to neither of us really haven’t slept much, but on the other hand having spent quite some time sampling 40+% ABV spirits, so before things got too tired and rambling, I decided to call it a day and venture on home. I had quite a walk ahead of me after all. It had been a good night, though, full of good talks, good experiences, good samples and awesome gifts, however small.. Hey, when’s the last time you got a personal gift bottle, however small, courtesy of one of your favorite distillers? Right.. I’ve found yet another reason to love Laphroaig 🙂