Whisky Tasting in Birmingham
It should not be an oxymoron
Today is Father’s Day in the UK and next week, it’s Anthony’s Birthday. I don’t know about you, but I keep forgetting all the time, that we can go out and do things again. I know that many people feel quite uncomfortable going out, and I get that, but for me, it has more to do with the fact that I simply forget it’s an option.
I am trying hard to remember to do stuff and add more joy and brightness to life and so when I chose this gift for my husband, I admit I also chose it for me. If you know me for a while, you will know that I love Scotland, I always say it’s my soul home, I am happiest when I am in Scotland and feel the most rested after a holiday in Scotland. I sleep well in Scotland, too, and I love the landscape and yes, the people too.
My love of whisky came, however, before I had ever been to Scotland, and it started in Ireland, with a glass of Irish whisky in a pub between Dublin and Galway, there was singing involved (not by me, those who know me well, we be glad to hear that) and the group of people I had just met an hour earlier were shocked that I had never had Irish whiskey before, and so I was “bantered” into trying it. I liked it a lot.
My first sip (it was a lot more than a sip in the end) of Scottish whisky happened in a lot less fun setting, but was because a friend had been dumped, and we drank the bottle the ex had left behind in their flat. Apparently, it was a very expensive one. I was 27 and had no clue about these things, it just felt like the thing to do to help a friend through a break-up and felt like a scene from a movie. One can be very dramatic at that age. Well, I certainly could be.
On our first holiday as a couple to Scotland, we got a bottle of whisky to drink by the fire in the cottage in the evening, and so it somehow became a thing that we did as a couple. That was nearly 20 years ago, and we treat ourselves now and then to a bottle of whisky and always buy some from the region we are staying in when we are in Scotland.
As I get older, I drink less and less and so yesterday was the first time in a long while that I had a drink. And I do feel it a bit today, even though it is just a few sips, it’s still more than I have drunk in about a year.
We went to Grain & Glass here in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Apparently, they have been there for 10 years, but I only stumbled upon them a week or so ago. They offer a range of tastings and I went for the Scotland one. As I said: a treat for me as much as him.
Of course, it was mostly men attending it, there was one other woman taking part in the tasting, but thank everything that is holy, the host was a woman and that made - to me - all the difference. She was just great. Knowledgeable, passionate and fun. I am always amazed, at how much difference it makes when a woman hosts something that is considered traditionally the domain of men. If you look at whisky quotes, they are mostly by men comparing women to bottles of whisky, etc. If you look for sexism, you find a lot of material there, that’s for sure. So yes, it was a refreshing difference there.
We stayed for a cheeseboard afterwards and finished off our whisky. I can tell you know that one of the best things is when you sit across a person you have spent the best part of 20 years with, and you think to yourself: “Yup, I would choose you again.” Back then in Scotland, drinking our first whisky together (Muir of Ord, for those wondering), we knew very little about whisky or each other, really. We just knew that we laughed a lot in each other’s company, had a lot to talk about, we were comfortable being silent in each other’s company, and we let each other enjoy the things we enjoyed.
Now, we do a lot more about whisky and also about each other, but the fundamental thing about us is still the same: we laugh, we talk, we are quiet and give each other space. So happy Father’s Day, Anthony.