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Issue 10 - Nose out.

Whisky Magazine Issue 10
June 2000


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Nose out.

Jim Murray recounts a nasty case of whisky writer's block.§

There are so many things we all take for granted. Walking, for instance; the miracle of vision, hearing your children laugh. And from recent events I can now add the extraordinary pleasure of two among the most sensual of perceptions: the simple powers of taste and smell.

Most doctors will tell you that at one time or another throughout our lives we lose these two precious senses. Usually it is just for a few days, sometimes longer. In extreme cases, depending on the illness, that loss can be permanent.

For two of the worst months of my life, I wondered in my most despairing moments if that was the fate to befall me. The glass before me contained the most golden of liquids. But for my enjoyment of it, it could just equally have been water.

Over the last decade or so I had heard of blender friends who had experienced similar nose-outs. Usually they were suffering from heavy colds; one had polyps. My heart had gone out to them, I shared in their frustration and hoped the same would never happen to me.

But a few months ago I made the awful mistake of flying to a distillery while suffering from a chest, sinus and ear infection: it was during the time of the ‘flu epidemic. A 4,000-mile flight when the illness is in its early stages is bad enough: it meant a week in bed in Kentucky. But 10 hours at 36,000 feet when the bug has taken hold is nothing short of a disaster. It resulted in nearly three months of total inability to work: the dizziness had nothing to do with alcoh...

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