Whisky Advocate

Thank God for whisky!

February 20th, 2008

My favorite night is always spent at home, being with my family. That would include my wife Amy, my daughter Shannon, our dog Jake (also female–a long story) and our cat Cosmo (yet another female).

I would always prefer a night at home with all of them over anything else in life–even a tour of Bruichladdich by Jim McEwan (sorry Jim). I regularly tell them that.

Tonight was one of those nights. All of us at home, next to a warm fire in our house in the woods on this very cold Pennsylvania winter night. What a beautiful thing. Reminded me of one of those Norman Rockwell paintings.

Until 8:00 pm. That’s when someone (I assume it wasn’t the dog or cat) said, “Hey, American Idol is on tonight–for two full hours!”

That’s what we get for that writer’s strike. No “24”, and only a trickle of “House”, leaving a vacuum of endless reality TV shows that makes me wish I never got that flat screen TV.

And then I thought to myself, “I have the equalizer: whisky!”  Many days I’m reviewing whisky–tasting, spitting, writing notes. Not tonight.

I grab a small tumbler glass (no nosing glass this time!), pour myself a whisky that will see me through the next two hours (a Port Ellen–I was desperate), sit back and enjoy “family time” and the final twelve female contestants (agonizingly stretched out by a constant barrage of commercials).

Sadly, the Port Ellen lasted less than an hour. During one of those many commercials, I felt the need to dig deep into my stash and pull out what was left of my Ardbeg Rennaissance 100ml sample bottle that whiskymaker Bill Lumsden gave me a few weeks ago when I was with him in New York.

Indeed, this was an Ardbeg moment. Not because of my family–I really did enjoy being with them–but I can only handle so much American Idol.

So here I sit, writing this blog. It’s approaching midnight. The rest of my family is safe and warm in their beds, and I’m still in front of the fire, finishing a really fantastic Trappist beer called Rochefort 10. (Drinking whisky makes me thirsty.) I’m about to close my laptop, turn off the lights, and join them. But I can’t help thinking, “Thank God for whisky!”

7 Responses to “Thank God for whisky!”

  1. Mark Davis says:

    But John, who can we blame for Simon Cowell? I have completely missed the Pop Idol / American Idol phenomenon. I’d much rather have a dram over Top Gear, Doctor Who, Torchwood or even Fifth Gear.

    Thank god for whiskey … and the internet 🙂

  2. sam k says:

    As you may know, John, my Mom died yesterday. I come from a people who raise a glass in these situations, and I have done so already and will do so again in the coming day or two. God bless you Mom, and God bless the whiskey I toast you with. It makes life worth going on with sometimes.

  3. Todd says:

    Ahhhh, all that estrogen and Port Ellen too. And how is the Ardbeg Rennaissance? Is this another $10,000 bottle for Hedge Fund Manager Friends of Ardbeg?

  4. John Hansell says:

    Todd: The good news is that it’s the new bottling of Ardbeg distilled by the new owners of Ardbeg. A special bottling indeed. And it’s a really good whisky for 10 years old. The bad news is that it’s not coming to the U.S.

    Sam: Back at you, my friend. I lost my father about a decade ago. Most of us reading this will outlive our parents (as it should be), but it is always a difficult time. I look forward to our next opportunity to share a whiskey (and conversation) together. — John

  5. Eric says:

    Whisky and American Idol – Two of my favorites! I know that puts me in an incredibly small category. Anyway, I watched the Top 12 this week with a tumbler of Famous Grouse myself, saving the really good stuff for later. I will give you a tip though, you MUST Tivo/DVR American Idol. waaayyy too many commercials. We usually sit down as a family a 1/2 hour into it and fast foward all those commercials – then I can make it through on one glass 🙂

    Looking forward to your tasting at Monks in a few weeks….


  6. John Hansell says:

    Small category indeed. Actually, the beginning of the season is okay, watching all those crazy people attempt to sing. Some of them are worse than me, and I’m a pretty bad singer.

    We have DVR. Next time…

    See you at Monk’s on 3/10. I’m still tweaking the whisky list. It will be a fun evening.

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