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Issue 8 - Southern sinners

Whisky Magazine Issue 8
February 2000


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Southern sinners

Lithuanian mead put Michael Jackson on the malt laden road. Here he talks about some friends he met along the way

In a fashionable and allegedly southwestern-style restaurant called the Roaring Fork, in Scottsdale, Arizona, I was recently offered The Quintessential Martini. What's a racey drink like a martini doing in a God-fearing column like this? Come to that, what was I doing in the Roaring Fork? I was consorting with sinners, better that the righteous shall recognise them and their works.

This particular work involved a large jigger of Bombay Sapphire gin; a hint of the brandy-tinged vermouth Lillet; and a drop of The Macallan. With a large jigger of The Macallan, and no gin, it could be the next big drink.

Anything is possible. Did you notice the potion offered by Judy Dench, as M, to Pierce Brosnan in the latest James Bond film The World Is Not Enough? I would swear it was Talisker. Talisker explodes in the mouth, according to one critic. Derek Cooper, I think.

The nearest thing to oral Semtex I have experienced recently was a smoky, acidic, 1992 Longrow. This was slipped to me under the table by someone I met in Austin, Texas. “We must hurry,” he urged, as I finished my Longrow (it was a particularly long one). “Why the rush?” I demanded, preferring to encounter such spirits at the speed of a slow collapse into a leather armchair. “Because it will soon be midnight,” he said, glaring at his watch. “And your Georg Riedel tasting glass will turn into a pumpkin?” I parried.

I could see that our friendship was already under strain. “This is the last day of t...

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