The Whiskey Snob

by Terry Martin Black

When was your first whiskey experience? For many of us, it happened in our teenage years, early college and for some of us, the first pass during basic training. For me, it was a lot earlier than most. It was a long summer holiday weekend in southeastern Kentucky, where several families crammed themselves into my grandparents’ home. My grandmother, a staunch religious woman, never allowed liquor into her home and my grandfather pacified her by keeping it away from the house and to keep the law away, they lived in a dry county. As I walked along the creek bank, fishing for crawdads, I noticed my father, several uncles and some local men gathered near the barn, chatting and laughing behind a car with the trunk lid open. As I walked over to attempt to join in their fun and conversation, they passed around a glass jar, sharing the contents. As I walked behind the car, I noticed several other jars of the clear liquid they were sharing and laughing over the flavor. I asked if I could have a sip and my grandfather abruptly told me I didn’t need any of that, but my father and uncles encouraged me to try it, after all, I was ten years old and a half-grown man. I will never forget the smell and when I turned the jar up and took my first swallow of the locally brewed whiskey, it set me on fire. I quickly ran over to the creek and drank from the stream, hoping it would stop the burn and then the nauseous feeling in my stomach, that stayed with me for the rest of the morning. My grandfather walked over to make sure I was okay and as he looked down on me with my face in the creek, he told me; that will teach you to stay away from that stuff. I didn’t touch whiskey again till I was in my twenties and I didn’t acquire a taste for good Whiskey till I was in my fifties.

The two whiskeys I want to share with you are both Scotch whiskies. “Grand Macnish” is a fifteen-year-old blended Scotch that has been aged in sherry oak barrels. Is has a warm oaky bouquet and the sweet sherry finish and has a light charcoal color. I’m not a big fan of most blended Scotch, but I’m a big fan of this one. If you want to break into Scotch whiskies, I encourage you to try “Grand Macnish”, you will find it in specialty liquor stores.

One of my favorite Speyside Scotch is ten-year-old “Glenmorangie”. It has a golden color from the white barrels, a light peaty flavor with a soft and mellow finish. You will find this in most good liquor stores.

Unlike my initial introduction to whiskey, these whiskies are made to enjoy, not just alter your being. Try them out and be responsible and raise a glass to a…. Good Life!