And this month’s whisky is: Laphroaig 10yo — and as whisky of the month of December should not be confused with the 17yo Bowmore which is going to be my Christmas present. (Damn, I’ve just spoiled the surprise!)
The alert reader (Hi!) will already be aware that this year I have been trying as many different single malts as possible, and will also be aware that Laphroaig 10 is not a whisky I haven’t tried before. It is, though, the first time I have bought an entire bottle. I wasn’t intending to buy a whole bottle, or even a part of one, it just sort of happened.
This morning I drove up to the Minami Ikoma branch of Yamaya (the single best source of imported booze and kidney beans in the whole universe) to get some provisions of the non-potable variety. And some wine. Lots of wine.
Notice the way I slipped ‘drove up to’ Minami Ikoma into the foregoing sentence? I didn’t walk, cycle or take the train, I drove.
In September I turned 44 (see hysteria below), which means that 45 is next and so have decided that I might try growing up. Driving places in my big car is just one of the things I have been doing as part of my growing up campaign. Referring to the car as my car instead of my wife’s car is another part of the same campaign. When I got to Yamaya I paid for my purchases with my (gold) credit card, like other grown up people do, and absolutely against the instructions of my wife (former owner of my car) because it’s my money and my card and grownups issue instructions, not follow them.
Other grownup things have included listening to lots of Bach and John Coltrane, sprouting grey hairs at my temples, and regarding my younger colleagues indulgently (none have got the message yet, or even noticed). I have given up computer games (see post below) and have resolved — no mucking about this time — to make my fiction writing career a reality by the application of actual pragmatism. I have even considered buying a second car to replace the one I blew up in the summer (hey, it wasn’t my fault, OK?).
I have also been wearing a jacket to work and none of my lumberjack shirts. I have been shaving regularly and am hoping to take up sex with my wife — in a suitably dignified and grownup sort of way, of course.
It was absolutely not my intention to buy whisky at Yamaya. Once I had picked up all the bits I needed I sleepwalked over to the whiskies a decision made for me without consulting my will. I did suffer a major bout of options paralysis at the wonderful selection, but the Laph was a shade under 3,000yen, which I thought very reasonable indeed, if not an actual sign from the supreme being.
I seem to remember Iain Banks making a point in Raw Spirit of saying that we should pronounce this whisky ‘laf-rayg’.
However, the blurb on the packaging of the bottle I bought says we should pronounce it ‘laf-royg’. I assume Laphroaig is a more reliable authority than Banks on the pronunciation of itself, so I will go with ‘laf-royg’.
It could be that I just remembered Banksie’s pronunciation note wrong. I have written to my sources demanding a check.
‘Laf-royg’ is how I used to say it before I read Banks’s book, so I was right in the first place and have been mispronouncing it for nearly a year now. This presumably makes me a Laph-ing stock.