Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For Single Malt Scotch Lovers, A Very Sad Sight

When this....

Becomes this:

I blame Beverages & More. BevMo is a West Coast alcohol superstore, famous for their 5-cent sales of bottles of wine (I'm still waiting for the "Buy a bottle of Laguvalin, get another one for a nickel!" ad).

First of all, BevMo makes the Bowmore Legend even more enticing by having it on sale this week for $24.

Second: The clerk removes the bottle from the container to scan the price. When he returned the bottle to its box, did he secure the top? Hmmm....

Third: BevMo's cheap plastic bags. When transferring your newest, bestest friend from the car to the house, those flimsy bags with the nearly invisible handles make it a challenge to properly carry your prized possession. Yes, fumbling with a plastic bag carrying a bottle of single malt Scotch while stepping into a home with tile floors may be the purview of aging baby boomers. But can any single malt lover blame me for hurrying to the kitchen?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, don't you know "down" from "up", especially when carrying a bottle of Bowmore?

Again, I blame the cheap plastic bag. And bad vision. And impatience.

As I stepped over the threshold and into the hallway, life became a slow motion nightmare. I heard the bottle hit the canister lid. The lid hits the floor, followed by the bottle of Bowmore, hurtling downward like a rocket.

For a split second, I was hoping: "It looks like the bottle is going to land on its head. Perhaps the cork will cushion the fall onto the tile, and the bottle will slowly teeter onto its side, coming to rest, gently."


Instead, it was the sickening soft explosion of glass against tile, echoing throughout the hallway.

My epithet of choice at that moment, as the liquid slowly streamed down the hall: "Oh, God bless."

My wife laughed. 
Excuse me, but you are laughing at the unwanted destruction of one of my all time favorite single malts, the Bowmore Legend. Fleeting dreams of relaxing in the hot tub, enjoying the soothing vanilla and toffee aroma of the Bowmore with the hint of a peat finish, vanished quickly.

I flashed on a memory of the 1970's, when my neighbor spilled a vial of cocaine off his coffee table and onto his carpet. In one of the oddest sights I have ever beheld (and a sight that showed me quite clearly the dangerously seductive, addictive power of coke), both he and his cat dove nose first for the shag carpet. His cat had more sense. One sniff, and the cat jumped backward. Ron, on the other hand, remained prone for the next 15 minutes, snorting white powder, dust mites and dead skin cells. And cat fur, too, probably.
Looking down at the streaming amber liquid, I then imagined myself getting horizontal with the tile, licking up the pride of Scotland. And glass shards, too, probably. 

No, I will stay vertical. Instead, I offered myself this consolation: at least it wasn't the $70 bottle of Caol Ila I was eyeing at BevMo that day. But when it's one of your faves that is splattered on the tile, that is a small consolation.

Bowmore is a pleasant change from its more famous Islay brethren: Laphroiag, Caol Ila, Laguvalin, Ardbeg. One is not taken over by dominant peat and smoke at first sniff. (Neither is the person sitting at the next table).

David Wishart, in his book "Whisky Classified", ranks whiskies by their aroma and taste, not place of origin, price or age statement. He places the Bowmore one cluster away from those aforementioned peat monsters (sorry Compass Box). The Bowmore is described by Wishart as "Medium-Light, Dry, with Smoky, Spicy, Honey Notes and Nutty, Floral Hints").  

And that's a fair assessment. Please don't turn your nose up at the relatively low price and supermarket availability of the Bowmore Legend. Try it!

Although the Bowmore Legend may be sniffed at by some single Malt aficionados (I'm staring at you, Jim Murray), I find this readily available, reasonably priced single malt Scotch to be very pleasing to my nose and palate. So pleasing, that it is one of the two single malts I would choose if stranded on a desert island (BevMo does ship to desert islands, right?). The other I'd want with me: Macallan 10 Fine Oak, also reasonably priced and widely available.

After mopping up the liquid and vacuuming up the glass shards, I realized my pants legs and shoes now had a slightly peaty, slightly smoky bouquet. And the entire house had a wonderful spicy, honey, peaty aroma the rest of the day.

Not that I would recommend this as an air freshener. But if Glade marketed a Bowmore-scented PlugIn, I'd have one in every room.


  1. I have a cure for those flimsy bags.

    Bring one of your own Re-Usable bags into the store with you... ta Da!!!!
    Based on this blog post I think I'll pick a bottle of this up on the way home tonight.

  2. I have an even better cure than Mike L's suggestion.

    If you bought your fine Scotch in a plastic bottle -- this wouldn't be happening.

    You may thank me later.