...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, October 25, 2013

This week in French whores and whisky

First of all, if your French whore smells of perfume, violets, and soap, you should count yourself lucky.  Just imagine the myriad of intimate odors she could otherwise smell of.  I understand that FWP is shorthand for characteristics peculiar to a specific era of Bowmore single malt, but if one was to use "French Whore Perfume" as a metaphor then it would work much better with the multitude of stunt finishes currently being heaped upon Scotch whisky.  Murray McDavid comes to mind first.  With their ACEing finishing of almost all of their releases in Chateau Lefart casks and Skittles firkins, MMcD often seems to be trying to hide a warehouse full of questionable whisky with French showers.

Apologies to the French for all of this.

Secondly, I spent way too much time trying to write Tuesday's post.  I wrote then cut four additional paragraphs defending the idea of "bad" whisky then realized I was either going in circles or expending too much energy not talking about the whisky itself.  When it comes to writing about imposing one's personal conceptual structure onto objects being observed, sometimes one can and sometimes one Kant.



*crickets f---ing*


Wow, tough crowd.

We all have our own opinions about what is palatable and gross in whisky.  There seems to be a mixed tolerance for floral notes.  I like the ones that smell like actual blossoms, I don't like the ones that smell like bathroom spray.  Some folks feel the same, others don't.  Soap notes are particularly difficult.  Dish soap is not pleasing to the human palate for the most part.  (If, for some reason, you doubt me on that, go ahead and give your kitchen dish soap a few licks.  Then some hand soap and maybe some shampoo.  Then allow yourself a slug of the 1984 D&M Bowmore I referenced on Tuesday.  You'll find they're all equally pleasing.)  But a hint of soap doesn't negate a whisky, according to my palate.  On that 0-9 soap scale -- with "9" being the old liquid Dove soap I used to use when washing my parents' cars -- I still enjoy whisky that registers a 2, can forgive a 3, and will finish a glass of 4.  But some folks hate the very hint of soap in the mouth.  That's fine.  In fact, that's probably very good, as their brain's defense mechanisms are working better than mine.

Even so, I don't think that all FWP-era Bowmore should be written off as the same.  There's so much potential for variation in whisky -- individual batches, distillery management, vintages, ages, bottlers, casks, warehouse placement, bottle storage -- that there are some good ones amongst the bad ones.  Sadly (or not so sadly in some folks' opinion) that era of Bowmore's whisky brings a sizable purchase price.  I never recommend anyone to buy something blindly, so before you splurge on a potentially weird bottle make sure you do your research online.  The bottlings from '90-'91 often bring positive reviews; and there are some '80s Rattray, G&M, Macarthur, and Duncan Taylor that Serge likes.

I won't say it's not a gamble, every blind purchase is a gamble, but be educated about your choices.  And don't accept every bit of popular whisky shorthand as your own personal truth until you've tested it yourself.  Who knows, maybe you'll find a perfume-free bottle.  Or maybe you're just the saucy type who likes a little FWP.


  1. "When it comes to writing about imposing one's personal conceptual structure onto objects being observed, sometimes one can and sometimes one Kant."

    Is that one yours? It made my day! I've read a book called "Whiskey and Philosophy", but it doesn't hold a candle to this blog! I hope you're in town all week...

    1. Thank you. That groaner is mine indeed. I imagined hurled rotten tomatoes when typed it. I blame Bertrand Russell. I was reading a (serious) Russell essay on Kant last week (nerd alert!) -- I like Russell a lot, but that essay put me to sleep for three nights running. Couldn't even tell you what he had to say about Kant, but I awoke one morning with that pun on my mind.

    2. I've seen "The Conquest of Happiness" on your list there, but I wasn't sure the list was active - didn't you have these same books posted a year ago? Just tell me how it ends: is happiness conquered in the end? Does it raise the white flag faced with the overwhelming force of Russell's logic? Or does it commit suicide rather than fall into enemy's hands?

      And which Hemingway short story are you at? 37? The public needs to know!

    3. Actually, there's been a weird Blogger bug with the text sidebar stuff. Haven't been able to edit it consistently for a long time. I'm actually giving The Conquest of Happiness a second read now. It's startlingly contemporary, so gauging by things nowadays Happiness has not yet been reached. We keep losing the path despite ourselves. And I put aside Hemmingway for a bit. The book was supposed to have been for evening reading, but I find his spare style really intense. I actually started dreaming about some of the stories. All of my reading right now is either related to my writing or my whisky. :)