Yes, once again it’s been a long while my whisky friends. I managed to skip all of autumn and the first chunk of winter with nary a post to satiate you, my rabid and devoted thewhiskymafia.com readers. In order to get you, and myself, back up to speed, I felt it would be wise to grant you a slew of mini-updates regarding my whereabouts as well as some general musings from the past several months.
1) New Job
The primary source of my attention being drawn elsewhere as of late has been the start of a new job at the prestigious Union Club of British Columbia in beautiful downtown Victoria. The historic, members-only club is home to the wonderful McGregor Bar & Lounge (far and away Victoria’s most well appointed whisky bar), where I’ve been spending some time bartending and dispensing wisps of whisky wisdom to anyone who will listen. I’ve even had occasion to co-host a dynamite Laphroaig tasting (featuring an official 27 year old bottling) with my old partner in whisky crime Adam Bradshaw for a room full of eager Union Club members and staff. Various other work duties have kept me a particularly busy bee, especially in the run up to the holiday season, but we appear to be over the hump now. 2019 promises to be a time to implement some exciting new whisky-centric plans at the Club, which has me looking forward with great anticipation.
2) Christmas Cake
You read that correctly, friends: Christmas cake. I’m personally not a fan of the stuff, but my wife and family are all ravenous fiends for it, so I set out to make a whisky-laden treat for them back in late September of 2018.
Borrowing a recipe from the BBC, I employed a bottle of Teacher’s Highland Cream to feed the cake every fortnight for the months leading up to Christmas. To say my family was delighted with the end product would be an understatement; they were all positively flabbergasted by the results. After several holiday drams I finally got up the courage to try a small piece myself, and while I appreciate that I was able to summon up a desert of good quality, I still can’t say I really dig it. To each their own I suppose…
3) Infinity Bottles
Yes indeed, I’ve been working on a pair of infinity bottles the last several months. I’m actually planning on writing a longer post on the subject as they mature and progress, so for now I’ll just say that they exist, and are coming along rather nicely. Stay tuned!
4) Covert Whisky Tastings
Not covert by design or by choice, but simply by necessity. The British Columbia government is notoriously iron-gripped and heavy handed when it comes to anything alcohol related, and a series of awful and tasteless raids and crackdowns targeting whisky bars and events almost exactly one year ago has forced a number of whisky clubs, groups and events to go underground, particularly as far as social media is concerned. I’ve attended a number of fantastic tastings in the last several months that I would love to share details, photos and generally wax poetic about, but due to fear of reprisal I’m forced to omit them from any postings.
Something is obviously terribly wrong when adults sharing and enjoying legally purchased alcoholic beverages are made to feel like scofflaws, but that is sadly the situation we find ourselves in at the moment here in our little corner of Canada. Perhaps things will change soon, but in the meantime I’ll have to enjoy these various group events in anonymity.
5) Whisky With Friends
So as not to end on a sour note, I will happily report that I’ve been enjoying a great deal of fantastic whiskies in the privacy of my own home, mostly in the company of close friends and family. One particularly memorable get-together happened in my living room during the hazy in-between days that exist between Christmas and New Year’s.
A variety of whiskies, snacks, and cleansing ales were enjoyed, all under the warming glow of Christmas lights, a beeswax candle, and an unending stream of Horst Luening YouTube videos. With my pal Adam and his good lady Kristen, our malt mate Tyler and Mrs. Whiskymafia all in attendance, it was an evening of malt merriment, thoughtful reflection, uproarious laughter, and unfiltered joy. Cheers to 2019, and cheers to more of these get-togethers, and more of The Whisky Mafia to come.