The Legend of Tommy's Bottle

A few of our friends have asked us to write about whiskey and beer on this blog. After all, wine isn’t the only type of bottle we share.

I won’t promise this will become a habit, but here’s a story. It’s the Legend of Tommy’s Bottle. Ok, it’s not really a legend, but it’s still a story.

Last summer, Sally and I traveled to Scotland and Ireland. One of the reasons for our trip was to tour some Scotch and Irish Whiskey distilleries.

It turns out that wine and whiskey have a lot in common. They’re both made from a few basic ingredients. A master craftsman then takes those ingredients and coaxes out different flavors through careful processing. And, just like wine, when you go tasting you always angle for a bonus pour of something special.

Our “house” Scotch is Chivas Regal 12 year old. It’s a smooth-drinking blended Scotch Whisky made up of several single malts including approximately 22 percent Strathisla. Naturally, we had to make a stop at the Strathisla distillery, the oldest operating distillery in the Scotch Highlands.

We met a man there named Tommy who had worked in the distillery for many years. He loved his job so much that he took a job in the visitor center after he retired from making Scotch. Tommy was such a cool guy that we took a picture of him holding a bottle of Strathisla 12 year old that he had likely made.

It’s now hanging above our liquor cabinet.

We were told that so much Strathisla went towards Chivas production that they didn’t have enough to export it to the United States. This was too bad because Strathisla was really, really good.

In April of this year, Sally and I spent a week touring several California wine regions. Our trip included a few nights at the Albion River Inn, which is perched on top of a cliff overlooking the Albion River, about 10 miles south of Mendocino in Northern California.

Their restaurant features a bar with 150+ different Scotch Whiskies. With friendly and knowledgeable bartenders and a room within stumbling distance, it’s hard not to get into a little trouble.

We made friends with one of the bartenders, Megan, on our first night there. She gave us a tour of some of their more interesting and exclusive Scotches. One that stood out was a 1976 Strathisla single malt that was aged 27 years. It was incredible.

 

Drinking leads to stories. We told Megan about meeting Tommy at Strathisla and she shared a few stories of her own. I’m sure we raised a glass to Tommy at some point since we were probably drinking his Scotch.

Flash forward to last Wednesday night. Sally and I decided to hit up K&B Wine Cellars since they sometimes have some interesting and unusual items in their inventory.

Sally was scanning their liquor wall when she spotted a bottle of Aberfeldy. This is a single malt Scotch that’s one of the main ingredients in Dewar’s blended Scotch Whisky. It’s also another bottle we were told couldn’t be found in the States.

It was an exciting find so we decided to take a closer look at their Scotch collection. And what did we find? Sitting next to the Aberfeldy was a lone, dusty bottle of Strathisla!

We headed straight home, opened the bottle, poured ourselves a dram or two, and raised a glass to Tommy!

Posted on August 31, 2013 and filed under Adventures.