19 October 2011

Whisky in the jar, or cup, or bowl….

Usually once a year I visit a whisky tasting event here in my beautiful hometown of Alkmaar. Tickets for this event have been a returning birthday gift from my lovely wife for a few years now. This Sunday it’s once again that time of year. While a folk band plays old Irish and Scottish folk music and the Scottish restaurant is preparing salmon and haggis in bite sized portions you are invited to come and taste form a selection of something like 200 whisky’s ranging from cheap, Irish disinfectant to the glorious Scottish Islay’s spread over two large halls, one with the good stuff and one hall with the “let’s try them anyway” category where you can find some interesting surprises like Fryske Hynder, Dutch single malt… good too. Keep drinking and you can barely hear the badly tuned bagpipes at the entrance.

depicted: Whisky, band, people getting in the way
Typically I will try and taste as many whisky’s as possible, I will make those 50 Euro’s go as long as possible. Keeping in mind which we might want to buy the coming year we always try to find the most interesting whisky’s but also those interesting single malts where price, quality and taste are balanced best. Which means I will be drinking, talking loudly and trying to stay as sober as possible for as long as possible, while my wife stands next to me with a list, pointing me to which whisky’s to try and writing down my ramblings and ratings. A three star system slowly changes to a five star system when “even better than the last” whisky’s start to present themselves. Exclamation marks are used to indicate an even better whisky than the last five star whisky and around the time we’re finishing up and I quickly go and taste those last few on the list, the critical comments of my wife are added to my own now somewhat less discriminate opinions… by the time the Irish whisky’s start to taste good it’s slowly starting to be that time to head for the exit and “walk it off” and head home, normally a ten minute walk, now a taxing half an hour.

The one thing that always bugs me about whisky is getting drunk. I am no saint and like a good drink every now and then, don’t get me wrong. But I really dislike getting drunk or being around people who are drunk. A slight buzz can be quite entertaining, but the status “completely pissed” is one I try to avoid at all costs. Any way, up till Sunday I will be humming all known versions of Whisky in a jar ranging from Dubliners to Metallica.

Musha ring dum-a do dum-a da, Whack for my daddy-o,
Whack for my daddy-o, There's whiskey in the jar-o.


  1. I firmly believe you were Scottish in a past life :)

  2. Well we've traced back and I have got Scottish ancestors. Tuttel, the branch I'm from comes from “Toot Hill” and appears to be a band or clan of some kind who were ultimately chased off to the mainland because of witchcraft and immoral behavior. Or so I’m told.

    Yes I have highland blood. Going out in a t-shirt while it freezes, being able to take in ridiculous amounts of alcohol were also strong hints even before tracing back. I’m more Scot then Mel Gibson at least, which is funny because it’s the Australians face people around the world have in mind when you say “Scotland”.