Scanning the shelves of my favorite shop, my eyes beheld only the familiars, those I had seen so many times before. It was late. I was tired. I stopped in on the way home from a hospital visit, taking the chance that the proprietor, my friend Tony, would have a surprise in waiting. Finding nothing, in my downcast exhaustion, I decided on a familiar highland single malt, called for Tony, and then made my way to the register while reaching into my pocket to retrieve the sum total of my “Squirrel Fund” (which is the secret stash I keep hidden year ’round, feeding it every so often with single dollars and loose change).
The giver of this gift, put me to the test. I had previously bragged to my dear Jennifer that the only curves that rivaled her own were those of my whisky bottles. Needless to say, she did not see the humor.
Have you seen the movie “Rocky”? It’s the story of an up and coming boxer who trains hard, eats right, goes the extra mile, and in the end, gets his chance at the title fight. Of course, everyone expects an exhibition by the reigning champ, a bout expected to last only a round or two. But to the world’s surprise, Rocky gives the champ a sterling run, and in the end, even though he loses at the judges’ tally, he is still standing and the crowd chants his name. That’s Glengoyne; an underestimated contender destined to be the champion.
There are certain distilleries that have earned my reverence. The Balvenie is one. Never have I purchased a particular release from The Balvenie and found it wanting. With every new bottle, when the shipping container cap is removed and the bottle is lifted from its womb, I motion for silence in the room even if no one is there. I want to hear the pop of the cork. It deserves to be heard, because it signals the beginning of a promised, enduring goodness. The rites and ceremonies for this Madeira Cask were the same, and as anticipated, rightfully due.