The king of spirits rewards his drinkers


I don't drink alone.

I think maybe I was used to coming back when I was very lonely. I honestly can't remember. I am sure that when I was single I occasionally opened a beer on a Sunday afternoon; but I can't imagine ever opening a bottle of wine for myself or pouring myself into a movie like people always do in movies. Actually I'm sure that if I ever gave a lone shot it would be an imitation of the films, by Paul Newman as Frank Galvin in The verdict.

In other words, I've always been a social drinker, which is a lucky thing. We all start drinking – if we start drinking – for reasons that have nothing to do with keeping us healthy. We drink because we see others drinking and they are curious; because drinking is presented as something romantic, something that gives adulthood. We drink because we think it makes us look beautiful.

This is a bad place to start; but all of us were towards men and women who will eventually become. Some of us love to drink, others don't, and there are always people who shouldn't. As someone who writes occasionally about alcoholic beverages, I sometimes think how dangerous it can be to make the occasional intake of some psychoactive poison reasonable.

No one should drink because he thinks it makes them look beautiful, because he doesn't. He didn't even make Paul Newman look fashionable. Paul Newman made a good drink. Probably Paul Newman could do vaping or drive one of those standing scooters with a fashionable look. Making things beautiful was his superpower.

And, as Stan Lee knew, great responsibility comes with great power.

Although you won't find many examples of Newman's drunken behavior in literature, he probably had a problem with alcohol. He famously drank a lot of beer. He might have even said once: "24 beers in one case, 24 hours a day, coincidence, I think not."

In the middle of the 70's it was what a student of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, claimed to have said. So, as university students will do, he and his friends took it as a pretext for "Paul Newman Day", in which they would attempt the feat that Newman's "citation" suggested. It became an unofficial tradition in Bates and spread to other campuses, mainly in the Northeast, but Newman did not discover it until 1987, after a particular Newman Day caused the university president to try to ban the celebration.

Newman was shocked to learn the practice and applauded the president's action. He sent her a letter suggesting that he would be more honored than "a day in the pursuit of athletic excellence with paid participation" with "the proceeds to be returned to the community in ways you chose."

The students ignored it, as college students will do, and Newman Day continued to be observed by some to date.

The moral being that it is possible and should seriously think about the consequences of what it seems to support, most people will still do whatever they want to do.


However, there's nothing inherently wrong with drinking alone, it's just one of the rules I made for myself to make life more interesting. One of the ways we play is to complicate simple things, challenging us to do things we don't necessarily need to do. So I don't drink alone. There are no consequences if you violate the rule; I can cheat the loner if I like it.

I say this because a few days have passed since I drank the whiskey. We tried, a few sips a head, in the evening I brought the bottle home.

Now Karen goes to Mexico for a few days, and I've been left to do the things I do when she's not here, which is mainly playing guitar, watching baseball and inventing ways to entertain dogs. Once or twice during the week I will go out and meet friends and then drink a drink, but while I'm doing Macaulay Culkin, I abstain.

But that doesn't stop me from smelling the whiskey. Or remembering it.

And maybe it's as good as drinking it. Maybe it's better.

The whiskey I'm talking about is the 9th Single Malt anniversary of Rock Town, which was just released a month ago. I call it "scotch" in my mind, although legally it isn't, since the Scot has to come from Scotland and Rock Town is distilled right here in Arkansas. But let's put legal fictions aside for a moment; in Scotland, scotch is made from 100% malted barley and is typically double distillation in copper stills. When this product comes from a single distillery, it is known as single malt.

Rock Town is 100% malt distilled from barley. The last time I checked – Rock Town used copper stills. Seeing is so scotchy as 12 years of Yamazaki. If I slide ah & # 39; n & # 39; ca scotch (and you won't, fur copy-editing) you don't need to adapt to it. They age for two years in ex bourbon barrels and finish it for a year in a cognac barrel.

Whatever you call, it's an impressive spirit – one that lives up to its retail price of around $ 70.

Probably not a bread and butter product for Rock Town, I guess they earn their money with their excellent vodka from popular prices and those flavored whiskeys that some love. But they showed a genuine touch with their higher end releases, the eighth anniversary they released last year is excellent and I'm currently crushing both their single bourbon barrel and their four sour grash (which could be my favorite bourbon right now). They have come a long way since 2010 and their original lines of Brandon's Gin and vodka. Their South Main distillery has become a regular stop on our liquor store street.

The long-time readers of this occasional column might recall my general ambivalence towards Scotch whites (and Scots). There are many topics on which I feel competent for a long exposure. Scotch is not one of those subjects; it's something I know enough to know how little I really know. It is an oceanic subject, and although I tried to explore single malt, I chased it through the valleys and burned beaches of Islay, from Bowmore to Laphroaig and back to the lost distillery in Port Ellen with its famous High Malts – I finally gave up.

The single malt scotch remains mysterious to me like a novel by Alain Robbe-Grillet. Each new bottle looks dense and defamatory.

I was in default at Macallan, mainly the strength of the barrel (although now that it has been interrupted and the remaining stock is approaching $ 200 a bottle I have to think again), with Hibiki being my favorite scotch mixed (not legally). We keep a bottle of Famous Grouse for mixed drinks; Karen pours it more than me, adding it to Drambuie for a Rusty Nail. I decided that, unlike most spirits, the price is more or less a reliable indicator of quality with tape – the highest stuff is generally thinner and more pleasant for the trained palate than the run of the mill ( and there are some cheap scotches that are really horrid) but I'm not an expert. I greet those who can negotiate this dark and tangled wood; I refer to the people who keep the scotch chambers in their homes and keep up with the journals.

Scotch is complicated, and probably very rewarding for those who can afford it and want to lean on his studio. He is the king of spirits and rewards his loyalists.

That said, I liked the single malt of Arkansas, which seems a little pimp, more mineral than floral and, if you close your eyes and allow yourself to imagine it, it evokes the rocky terroir of our state. Scotch is like wine in this way, it has in itself a little of the place where its grains were rooted. It is a reminder of where it has been. And you can learn to appreciate the bite and the smoke; like life itself, it stumbles rough and smooth, warms and soothes.

You can find life itself in a shot of whiskey; simply don't do it too often or exclude other explorations.


I'm writing late at night, with the bottle of Rock Town open in front of me, and it's just been poured into a stemless wine glass. (Somewhere we have the balls of brandy, I'm too lazy to look for them right now.)

I take the glass and hold it to my nose in a way that I know I would never have been there there was someone around to see me do it – I guess it's pretentious but I've seen other people do it in public and I never got it thought in one way or another; no one cares about how you present yourself as much as you do – and I breathe in what I imagine is not just the distillation of wheat and the flavors imparted by the wood permeated by the ghosts of other spirits but by industry, by the sweat and dreams of those melancholy to do such a thing. More breath, more I believe.

We all believe in the ineffable, don't we? We all believe that there is a realm beyond the concrete and governed by physics; we all believe that the intention and intuition are important. Otherwise we do not believe in art and ourselves.

I don't drink alone, because none of us is just looking for communion.

I don't drink alone, because I don't need it. I know I'm lucky this way.


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Style on 07/14/2019


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