Last night, courtesy of my friend John, I attended Scotch Night at Rocky Fork Hunt and Country Club, which is a bit strange because I do not care for the smell or taste of scotch. The evening was presided over by a “Whiskey Master,” who described six different scotches that were served as different courses were served. Given my preferences I didn’t drink the scotch, but did taste it and try to detect subtle differences in appearance and flavor. I couldn’t. My palate simply is not capable of determining whether a particular scotch is prepared with orange peel or damper peat. It all smelled and tasted like scotch to me, and seemed to differ only in the strength of the scotch taste and smell.
However, the food was terrific and the company at our table was even better, and we learned the kind of extraneous, often unverifiable facts you learn whenever you go to a presentation about a particular topic. We learned that there are only 13 Whiskey Masters in the world, and how scotch is prepared, and that the cumulative value of the barrels of different scotches used to blend Johnny Walker Blue is greater than the total assets of the Bank of England. (I knew England has been hard hit by the economic downturn, but that seems ridiculous.) One useful bit of information was that, when you drink an alcoholic beverage, if you leave the drink on your tongue and breathe out, the warmth from your mouth will cause some of the alcohol to vaporize and be blown out, making the drink milder and about 20% lower in alcoholic content. This will be handy information the next time I drink something other than scotch.