The Peatier Principle

I don’t know whether to be delighted or dismayed to discover that David Edelstein’s taste in whisky appears to be similar to mine, and to find him publicizing it. I am not much of a drinker and have been known to comment that ethanol could disappear from the face of the earth without a whimper from me… except for single malt whisky. Single malt drinkers are the snobs of those who imbibe distilled spirits, and those of us who gravitate to the seven peaty varieties from the Hebridean island of Islay, off Scotland’s west coast, turn their noses up at the rest of the run-of-the-mill snobs in the quest for an experience of sublime ferocity. My devotion to the Islay malts led me to make a pilgrimmage to the island the focal point of one of the bicycle touring trips to Scotland, perhaps my favorite place on earth, which I have arranged for myself every few years for the past several decades. Alas, unlike the Islay devotees Edelstein describes in his article, I was not able to bring the island’s aroma home with me.

Edelstein, Slate‘s film critic, does a good job of describing the lay of the land in preparing Slate‘s readership for a ‘net whisky tasting. I was excited to learn that Ardbeg, perhaps the most sublime of the sublime, is to become available again now that the owners of the popular highland malt Glenmorangie have resurrected the distillery. In one of the most thoughtful gift-giving acts anyone ever did for me, a friend searched high and low several years ago for a bottle of Ardbeg when it was largely inaccessible. I still sip from it, but perhaps I do not have to remain so parsimonious if it is becoming available again! Counterbalancing these glad tidings is Edelstein’s news that the other of my Islay favorites, Lagavulin, is becoming rare due to distillery shortages. I hope Edelstein’s influence in creating snob appeal doesn’t singlehandedly drive up demand and hence the price of my next bottles. Think I’ll head for a wee dram now…