I’m in California this week, working with a music website called Bandcamp. I thought the least I could do was bring a bottle of whisky, so I snuck a bottle of the Jura Prophecy into my suitcase. Of course, my hosts had done their homework, and there was a bottle of Lagavulin 16 waiting for me on my arrival.
The team are having something of a retreat. They often work from home and only communicate with each other online most of the time, so periodically, they rent a big house in Inverness (coincidentally), just out of San Francisco – and stay for a week working together, and just generally hanging out. It’s a privilege to be included – and a whisky tasting seemed appropriate.
We added a Bowmore 15 and a local single malt called St George (made in Alameda, California) to the selection, and we sat around the table on our first night in the house tasting, discussing and comparing whisky.
We started with the St George, which this website describes as a ‘very girly’ whisky, moved on to the noticeably smokier Jura Prophecy, followed it up with the raisiny, rich Bowmore 15 and finished on the Lagavulin.
Of course, it was a bit of a late one and tasting whisky quickly just became drinking whisky. They all had work in the morning – including presentations and tech talks, and at 9am the next day, this was the opening slide.
The Lagavulin was the hands-down favourite, and over the course of the week, we’ve had to open the back-up bottle of that one. I think Diageo might start to notice a spike in local sales after this week.
But while we’ve mostly been hanging out together in the house, I have also managed to get out and about and explore a bit of the local neighbourhood.
I went to a saloon (the Old Western, no less) and I was pleasantly surprised to find Laphroaig on hand, though when I noticed the photographs above the bar of the visit paid to that fine establishment by Charles and Camilla, the pieces fell into place. Laphroaig is Charles’s favourite tipple.
But I’ve tried Laphroaig before, and wanted something a bit more appropriate to the context, so I selected a straight rye whisky called Old Overholt. Surprisingly sweet and smooth.
It’s been a great few days, and sharing the new tastes and understandings about whisky has definitely contributed to the experience of the event. I’ve managed to convert a few new whisky fans along the way, and made a few new friends in the process.