14 October 2005

Whisky Fest

One of the arts celebrated but not practiced in New Brunswick is the art of distilling single malt scotch. It's an arts practice that can only happen in Scotland. While in Scotland I have managed to tour a few single malt distilleries.

2005 Whisky Festival ticketHere in New Brunswick, as happens worldwide, we can practice the highly pleasurable secondary art of nosing and tasting single malt whisky. Societies have formed around this interest. In Fredericton, one such has taken it a step further to create an annual festival.

Tonight's the night. I'll be there! Atlantic Canada's largest whisky and spirits fest. I guess there were workshops or master classes last night with distinguished nosers/tasters and songle malt distillers.

Nosing single malt, like nosing wine, is all part of building within oneself a larger appreciation for the complexity of scents within a whisky. In a Western Isles malt, it's more than smelling the musky peat, the smoke of its burning, the air-borne spray torn off the surface of the ocean and permeating everything subtlely with hints of its salt. There's the sun and Scottish mist, heather beds, flowers, the clear cold waters off the hills, and so much more . . .

It's time to "release the serpents," as some Scots are wont to call it, by adding a touch of spring water. Not more than a quarter, 25 per cent by volume, of water to whisky in your glass. No ice. Never! Don't drown the single malt either. Add just enough water to let the single malt breathe. Nose it again. Taste it. Then drink. Ahhhh . . .

There's water and food, including smoked Atlantic salmon, available to eat and cleanse the palate between single malts. By the end of evening some of the finer points are lost and you can be quite tossed. But the price of admission includes a taxi ride home within Fredericton city limits.

shirt: knit, black long-sleeve
loc: accounting desk
temp: 6 C
sound: Jimmy Rankin, Handmade

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