Mario recommends…

Mario and Matt
UK trumpeter Matt Halsall with Mario from Mario’s bar

Another tale of European travel.

I was in Genoa in the northern part of Italy a week or so back, and as is my way, I decided to go looking for a single malt. To my delight, it seemed that every bar in town had a genuine Scottish single malt whisky.

To my dismay, they all carried the same single malt whisky, it was cheap, abundant, a mere 5 years old – and not one I’d encountered in Britain.

I was a little surprised to find it somewhat unremarkable. I thought it’d be downright awful. Still – it was 2am, I was hanging out with musicians, I didn’t know the Italian for “no ice, please”, and they were pouring generous measures. I was delighted to find a single malt at all – not least of which one that was perfectly palatable.

And when I say generous measures, we’re talking easily 150ml. With a handful of icecubes on top of that, we were more or less filling the tumbler.

As the reviews mention – it’s fairly insubstantial. Not unpleasant by any stretch of the imagination – but a quaffable malt.

And for some reason, you can be pretty much assured that you’ll find it in any bar you walk into in Northern Italy. But personally – I recommend Mario’s Bar.

Apart from the big, prominent TV, the bar is incredibly relaxing. Mario himself is friendly and generous – and will recognise you and talk to you at length whenever you go back there.

He’ll only talk to you at lenght in Italian of course, so I’d just smile and nod whenever he did that – but it’s all enthusiasm, beaming smiles and welcoming gestures from him, so that’s good enough for me.

I’m sure that bottle in the picture was full when we arrived…


  1. In places that relaly know their scotch, they will also offer you little water on the side of your neat drink, so you can dilute it a wee bit (brings out some of the hidden aromatics). A good scotch place would never insult you by offering such a fine beverage on the rocks. You can ask, but they will give you a well deserved eyebrow. My mantra is that if it tastes so horrible that you need to super cool and massively dilute it to handle it don’t drink it! If you are too weak to handle the drink straight up don’t drink it!

  2. Hey Jim! Found your blog and I think it’s a great topic to cover! I’m a big fan of Scotch myself and just got a very nice 10yo Laphroaig from my best frenid, so I’m about to crack into a new tasting on that one.I would REALLY like to subscribe to your feed, but dude it’s broken. It only shows your about page and nothing else. I run my own blog and am a programmer by trade, so let me know if I can help you get it working.At any rate, nice blog and I look forward to reading you more often!

  3. I was just lamenting my own feelings of “not enough” yesterday, especially. I just feel so uninspired and so, well, bored. I don’t know what kind of change I need, but i think I need something… I don’t want to change the fact that I’m a stay at home wife and mother, but I just get so tired of the day-in, day-out crap. It’s uninspiring, it’s tedious and it’s as boring as hell. I don’t have the answers, though. If you find any, let me know!

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