I'm not much with digging into my emotions, yet I think I'm having one right now. My wife says it's guilt, but I'm not sure I trust her because that's what she thinks I always should feel.
Anyway, it has to do with all this Scotch I've been drinking-specifically some of the greatest single-malt whiskies in the world. It started when I toured Scotland in June, visiting Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Glenkinchie, Macallan, Cardhu and Laphroaig, all in the space of a week. Everybody was generous with their most outrageous malts, but we had one especially idyllic experience on a boat off the shores of Islay, sipping 30-year-old Laphroaig as we looked in at the distillery on the shore, puffins flying by and seals diving off of rocks. Thank you, John Campbell.
I rarely encounter promoters who admit they don't know much about making their product. But I did Thursday in the person of Mr. Martin Miller, who is just recently getting around to promoting his own gin.
Miller, if you don't know, is a Brit entrepreneur who is a self-described dabbler. He started by publishing Success With The Fairer Sex, went on to promote rock concerts and try his hand at photography before creating Miller's Antique Price Guide. In 1999, he turned his sights to making a spare-no-expense, premium gin, which at the time was a far crazier venture than it might seem today. Vodka was king and getting more powerful. Gin had been losing market share for years. "The perception was that it had had its day," says Miller. But he saw the vodka market as too crowded and decided gin was where he wanted to put his name down—literally. Now two such spirits, the standard Martin Miller's Gin (80 proof) and the Westbourne Strength (90 proof)—are branded with his moniker.
As immersed in single malts as I've been lately—a trip to Scotland that has me writing back-to-back feature stories in Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator—it's little surprise I've become obsessive (my wife says excessive) on the subject. One of the things that fascinates me about malt (and malt drinkers) is the aha! moment.
The problem with fantasy camps is they all assume a level of experience or ability that I don’t have. You probably want to have swung at a fastball some time recently before you go off to baseball camp to face down a major league pitcher. And if you’re going to rock’n’roll fantasy camp, you might first want to have spent some time jamming with other musicians, not just strumming chords in your basement while the cat wails.
Just got a bottle of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon (which I adore) and rather than drinking it, I was perusing the label (which I generally deplore, but I’m on duty, and sometimes you have to learn about liquor the hard way—through reading).
…and the Sailor Jerry and the Cruzan 9 and the Black Beard and the Seven Tiki.
Spiced rum, a drink category that virtually didn’t exist before Captain Morgan stormed our shores in the early 1980s, is, well, spicing up the market. New brands are joining the fray and pulling it in new directions.
These are probably not questions you put much thought into. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t either—that is until by wonderful wife, in one fell swoop, cherried out my man room and enlightened me to the joys of customized matches and cocktail napkins.
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