BUSHMILLS IRISH WHISKEY TASTING NIGHT
Shared among friends since 1608
By Harvey Sid Fisher
“Life is like tennis. Sometimes we are required to serve.”
A whiskey tasting event is a pleasant way to pass the time until my turn comes around to serve again.
Los Angeles,CA(Spiritsman)10/5/11/—Bushmills Irish Whiskey was in town last night, and threw a promotional bash in Los Angeles with Elijah Woods as the guest DJ and spinning only one song, e pluribus unum, that my ancient ears recognized: ‘Be My Baby’.
They say when the heavenly creator wants to remain anonymous he goes by his other name: the nom-de plume we call ‘coincidence’. On a whim I asked Elijah’s co-DJ, Vance, if he ever heard of my Astrology Songs (.com) and he introduced me to his girl friend Misty, who sang back up with me at the Hideout Bar in Chicago in 2001. You can’t make this stuff up. But enough about me.
Bushmills’ event of the evening was a pre-party, special invitation, whiskey tasting session presided over by COLUM EGAN, Master Distiller, who was flown in first class from Bushmills, Ireland, brogue and all, for an impressively entertaining performance of show and tell.
I wonder if a dominatrix and a Master distiller could have a seriously satisfying and lasting relationship. Don’t you? I could spend a whole column on Colum. He was funny, informative, convivial, a 5 handicap golfer, and disgustingly loveable.
If I were a 5 handicap I seriously believe I could be a nice guy too. We, the invited assemblage, sat with four Bushmills variants in glasses before us; Regular, Black Bush, 10 year old and 16 year old and Colum walked us through his liquid world with all the expertise, nuance and panache befitting his station as high priest poet whiskey wise man.
He explained so clearly how the whiskey is made and processed with so very few ingredients. From my memory (I could be wrong here and there) you take crushed barley, warm water and yeast that munches on the sugar in the barley and poops clear alcohol for 60 days, distilled three times to 170 proof which translates to 85 percent pure alcohol, and then it sits in a wooden cask for five years and that gives the alcohol it’s whiskey color.
I wonder how many home brew firewater stills his free info has innocently generated. Don’t you? Back at the plant they make a new batch every six hours. One batch is 12,000 gallons or 150,000 bottles. Colum’s job at home is to make sure that his 400 year old company puts out whiskey that tastes the same today as it did 20, 50 and 100 years ago. There are only two or three people in Ireland equal to his palate talent.
ME: Do you have any special biological gift for taste that most others do not?
COLUM: Maybe my big nose. But I do it everyday which helps keep my senses sharp. I can even hear it whisper when I put the drink to my ear, “Try me, take me, love me.”
ME: (This guy is good.)
ME: Do you have a special regimen or diet to alert your senses?
COLUM: I taste better in the morning. My senses are more heightened. I don’t drink coffee and I don’t eat onions.
ME: As a supreme expert on the subject of booze, can you suggest a good cure for a hangover?
COLUM: Personally, I would suggest: Don’t slam it. Sip it. Take it easy and drink a pint of water after a couple of drinks.
As Colum savored his way through the sample drinks he had a toast for each and we raised our glasses.
For the 10 year old: “A quick death and an easy one. A long life and a prosperous one. A beautiful wife and a rich one. A Bushmills and another one.”
For the Black Bush: “To our wives and girlfriends. May they never meet.” After the tasting we joined the growing throng in the main room with the music and the finger food being carried through the crowd. The bar served various mixed whiskey drinks. The one I chose had some frothy blended cucumbers in a hi ball glass. Most peculiar, but very tasty in a raw vegan sort of way.
The guests were sociable and responsive. No drunks, No fights.
A great tasty time was had by all. I was served.
When I got home I followed my after drinking routine.
I have heard that when the Japanese drink alcohol they do not get hangovers because they take something salty before they go to bed; Miso soup or an umeboshi plum. The reasoning is that the alcohol dilates the blood vessels in your head which causes the hangover and salt is thought to contract the vessels. Works for me.
On my way out of the party I thanked Colum and shared with him my story. When I was younger I sometimes drank heavily and when I woke up the next morning my clothes were all over the room and I was in them.
He got a big laugh out of that.
…and that is a way I serve.
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211