If that heading above got yoiu excited, then you’ll know why I’m thanking the fine men and women at Auckland’s Whisky Shop for conducting a very enjoyable whisky tasting last night: introducing us to the beautiful Ardbeg whiskies from the Scottish island of Islay, accompanied by perfectly matched foods, perfectly weighted commentary, and perfectly knowledgeable hosts---and a perfectly packaged gift pack to take home containing two tasting bottles of Ardbeg 10 year, and Ardbeg Blasda.
If you get a chance to attend one of their regular whisky tastings, I’d definitely recommend you get along.
And speaking of Islay … it reminds me of a story that helps explain why the wonderfully warming Islay whisky is so popular there. When I was working in London a few years back, a colleague married an Islay girl and moved up there, to that small windswept island thrust into the North Atlantic, and he asked me to design a few renovations for the traditional stone cottage they were moving into. He returned from Islay with plans of the cottage for me, and photos of the island and his cottage, perched on a windswept plain sloping down to an iron grey sea. They were perfect photos for what I needed, but I complained to him that the photos must have been damaged in some way, because they all had these strong horizontal lines running back and forth across them.
“Those aren’t lines on the photos,” he replied. “That’s rain.”