Just a quick blog post before bed. I just got home from a nice, informal Irish Whiskey tasting in San Francisco at Spire. It was a benefit for the Japan earthquake and tsunami victims and I think it has broken me out of my sense of helplessness about the situation in Japan. The thing is, it’s horrible. You don’t need me to tell you that. I have a lot of friends in Japan, and — thankfully — they are all ok. And this is exactly what’s been depressing me so much. I’m in California, but I think I have survivor’s guilt. All the whisky sites are crowing about the distilleries in Japan came through fine, no one was hurt, etc. — and this is awesome, but lots of people didn’t. Whole towns are just gone. Poof. So I have had a weirdly negative reaction to all the “good” news out of Japan.
I think that’s why I really latched on to the idea that Chris at WhiskyWall came up with. He organizes a monthly whisk(e)y tastings for folks in San Francisco every third Thursday, and doesn’t mind when outsiders from the peninsula (me!) join the crowd. This month, the event happened to fall on St. Patrick’s Day, and they had long planned to do the logical thing: Taste Irish Whiskey. Then the disaster in Japan struck, and there was just enough time to turn this into a benefit. They got the whiskey donated at a greatly reduced price and made the event free (again…it was at Spire — thanks to the owner, Roger, for opening his place and hosting the event!), provided you donated to the American Red Cross and directed your donation toward their relief efforts in Japan.
So, what did we have?
- Bushmills 10
- Redbreast 12
- Michael Collins 10 Peated
- A.D. Rattray Cooley 11 single-malt single-cask 59%
The last one was unusual. A single-malt from Ireland is somewhat unusual. A single-cask makes it more so. And so it should not surprise us that it was cask strength. According to ratings, I should have liked the Redbreast best, but I preferred the Cooley (with a bit of water).
The reason I waffled on the 15/16 (age) and the 58.9/59% ABV is that the bottle was clearly marked as a 16 year-old and 59% ABV, but it’s very difficult to find evidence of that expression online. But I did find a 15 year-old that had virtually the same ABV. Ok, Chris set me straight. It was an 11 year old. The bottle was not that easy to read in the dark. 🙂
Props to K&L San Francisco for giving a big discount on the whiskey to help raise money for Japan!