My mum and I used to bake yuletide cookies every december, and every year they came out burnt. As a child I was convinced they should be baked until the bottom part was nice and dark, after all, my mother made them that way. When I asked her for the recipe last week, to make them in my own home for the first time, she added after listing the ingredients - don't let them burn like we always did. So here I was, making dough with a house full of foodie friends who were visiting to have an early christmas feast. Yet another excuse to eat well and be merry. To celebrate, in times where there is so much sorrow. I bought my first christmas tree, named him Marcus and the plan is to plant him in the garden for next years christmas feast. On sunday morning we decorated Marcus with the cookies and he filled the living room with the scent of butter cookies and pine.
My dad has been drinking Whisky for as long as I can remember and on the occasions when he actually let me sip his glass ... I hated it! I wasn't drinking it the way I should, 'nosing' it ... turning the glass ... 'nosing' the warm aromas again ... and then ... taking the tulip glass to my lips and just wetting them with the fiery golden liquid. Then licking my lips and warming the Whisky with my mouth ... a whole other flavour appears ...chewing the small amount of alcohol and feeling its scent rise up in your nose ... blossoming. At the back of your tongue the flavour matures and becomes sometimes masculine with notes of tobacco or feminine with hints of vanilla ... add a drop of water to this godly spirit ... taste ... and experience how the flavours evolve ... Trying a new kind of Whisky is an experience ... a journey ... so much more than a drink. In my early days of Whisky savouring I got an email from John Lamond, one of the world’s leading authorities on Scotch Whisky. The winner
of the prestigious 'Master of Malt' title and he is the author of The Malt Whisky File, The Whisky Connoisseur’s Book of Days and The Whisky Connoisseur’s Companion. My lucky day and a chance to ask him the questions I had as a newbie to Whisky. It has taken me nearly a year before posting this interview with John, I felt I had to taste some more Whiskies and grow up a bit in my knowledge before being in the right place to post it. So here it is, the questions of a Whisky 'virgin' to a Whisky expert. Why do you love Whisky so much? I was weaned on whisky. Both my parents drank it as did all four of my grandparents. Several amongst my ancestors have been involved in the hotel business, so it goes with the territory I suppose. I worked with Dewar’s in Perth for five years and then with Low, Robertson & Co., a small Edinburgh based whisky company for a further nine years. Whilst I was at Dewar’s I was introduced to cask strength whisky, to single cask whisky on a visit to Aberfeldy distillery and this, in 1976, was a revelation to a 23 year old. I truly believe and preach that Scotch Whisky is the world’s premier spirit: nowhere else in the spirit world can you experience such diverse flavours and such degrees of maturity for so few pennies. I find this diversity, both of flavours and of the people involved in the industry exciting, friendly and very often also humbling.