As the sun is setting down over lazy Akita in the thick of Autumn, a slight chill hits the air. Not willing to yet put on the heating, I ring up de Gama of Spain and ask if he can come and keep me warm tonight with some of that Latino Heat! With a chuckle, he whispers “por su puesto” (that means, OOooH Yeah! For us Anglo-Saxons)!
Dusk is approaching by time I hear the knock at the door. There’s just enough sunlight left to see a slick shimmer cut across his oily skin as he walks threw the door, there’s a fresh waft of olives. “Hey I didn’t realise we embarking to club med?” – de Gama just grins and throws a pit from his mouth. “Espana isn’t the only place we are heading… [as he pulls out the baccy] “I thought it might be worth a stop over in London first]
I leave de Gama to prep the Olives, as I pack the pipe. Isn’t it about time we de corked the Whiskey? With the first scent you can immediately smell vanilla accompanied by a sting up the nose (that will be the nigh 60% alc). The bottle recommends you mix with water to bring out the cinnamon and cloves – but we had our doubts. So decide to hit the first one straight: Taste of cloves; thickness of honey, and a burn that almost matches a shot of Spirytus. We looked at each other, and went straight to the freezer! Ice, but perhaps only one rock.
We gave it a swill and took a dram. Immediately you are kicked with a sharp clove burn, that is adjoined with the sting of alcohol. That passes to a peaty taste, which also fades away to a slight honey sweetness, still with the undertones of clove. We didn’t still notice any cinnamon though… Contemplating, we talk over our tastes. As the ice has melted a little, to permeate throughout the whisky, we take our second fill. Oh boy!!! That’s when the flavour hits you with its fullest! The vanilla certainly returns to compliment the honey. And the flavour doesn’t alter so much other than that, it all is just taken up a gear to overwhelm the palette!
Feeling nicely warmed despite the autumn breeze, we take a step onto the balcony to enjoy a smoke. The Dunhill London Mixture. Opening the pack, the smell has a very earthy, woody tint to it. The shag is a mixture of lighter aromas and more course cuts. We light the pipe, and it fires like a charm – creating a slow burning bolus. “How is it?” I ask de Gama “ I feel that, the only way to describe this, is that the baccy is as matured as the very casks that are used to distil whiskey…” I chip in “ aye, it’s got a nice hearty earth, and mellow smoke – perhaps akin to the smoke smelt all them years ago as the Armada burned?” de Gama scuffs this ruse “Calmate, little hermano. This burning wood has had it’s benefits for the both of us!” – and I couldn’t agree more, particularly when accompanied with the peaty smokes of this Glenmorangie, that lay far beyond the wall. The history books tell another tale, but today it turns out the Scots are the conquistador’s over the both of us!
And the olives were nice too…
L. Bertrum, S. de Gama