In which I say ‘YOLO’ and ‘crackerjack’ in the same breath

I’m more than happy to take a punt on a bottle of whisky without having tasted it – I’m almost always going to like it, even if it’s not a stunner, so it’s not money wasted. And if it’s a whisky that spins a good yarn, that’s justification in itself. But at the same time, I’m not the richest person in the world, so I’m going to have to be pretty convinced before I fork out the big bucks. So how did I come to spend £150 – comfortably the most I’ve ever spent on a bottle – without trying it first? Continue reading

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Cut off your nose to spite your tongue?

Nothing exists in a vacuum. I mean, that’s pretty much the definition of a vacuum. If you try really hard, you can isolate something to look at it all on its own, but that’s kind of missing the point. Everything relates to everything else, and that’s especially true of the sense of taste. Every now and then I’ll read something about how a group of people tried some food with a clothes peg on their nose, and then tried it without, and it was totally different. I’ll think, “Hah, isn’t that cool!” And I’ll go and not put a clothes peg on my nose. It’s all part and parcel of the experience, and I’d rather get the full package. Continue reading

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Excuse me while I kiss the Skye (or not)

I went to a publicity event for the new Talisker Skye the other day, one of those very PR-heavy, all guns blazing, no-expense-spared jobbies. If I made a list of “Things you associate with Talisker”, they had it in the setup. There were seafood canapés, and a soundtrack of waves lapping against the shore; they had a lump of peat burning slowly in front of an unobtrusive fan, filling the room with a gentle smoke;  the whole thing was held at the London Canal Museum, so we were surrounded by various bits of boating and maritime paraphernalia, and tastings were held on a barge outside. In fact the only thing missing was a judicious sprinkling of pepper, which might have been deliberate – I’ll come back to that later. Continue reading

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