Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fun With Whisky

It's funny how many people assign you missions when you spend a year in Scotland. I already mentioned how my buddy Chops directed me to go visit his old stomping grounds in Edzell (challenge accepted, and accomplished). Another buddy, the Man of Steel, wants me to bring him back as much IRN-BRU as I possibly can. My buddy Gus, who came here with his own two feet on my dime, has yet to orchestrate a mission he volunteered me for to get him a bottle/cask/flagon/tankard/some other such measure of some specific alcohol. On that note, a buddy of mine from my days of working with the Army, Sergeant G, has repeatedly insisted that I locate and consume a dram of a whiskey called Edradour. The Edradour Distillery is apparently located outside Pitlochry, apparently not quite fifty miles outside such cities as Dundee ("Scumdee", if you're Aberdonian) and Perth.

The thing about Scotland's many, many whiskys - not to be confused with Irish whiskeys, which are pronounced the same, but spelled and distilled differently - is that there are tons of them, and some are more rare than others. Orkney, for example, is home to two distilleries: Highland Park, and Scapa, which are literally within walking distance of one another just outside Kirkwall. (By contrast, Shetland has no distilleries.) Highland Park is ubiquitous in Aberdeen's pubs, while I've only ever found Scapa a couple of times. Part of the reason why I had delayed on Sergeant G's orders was that I had no clue how common Edradour was - when I'm out for a dram, I usually just default to Highland Park 12.

A few weeks ago, I was at The Tippling House with CN GBU-16 and CN Homeboy. We were about to leave when we sort of accidentally got roped into another group's pub crawl when an attractive young lady who was almost tragically inebriated began "twerking" and got our attention. GBU-16 and Homeboy were able to extricate themselves, due in no small part to my assistance; I, on the other hand, got roped into joining the pub crawl. Our next stop was a place I'd been hearing about for months called The Grill, whose claim to fame is that it boasts Aberdeen's best whisky selection. Of course, having only ever read the name of this particular whisky a couple of times from Sergeant G, I was unable to try it.

Earlier this week, I changed all of that. I checked, and re-checked, and checked once more, from the instructions Sergeant G had sent on Facebook...
Tom: Hey, what was that whisky you were on about? I finally found the whisky pub here, so I want to try it out this week if they have it.
Sergeant G: Edradour
Tom: Cool, thanks.
Sergeant G: Let me know which finish you tried and how fantastic it was to your mouth!!!!
... and went into The Grill on Saturday evening for a dram of Edradour. Before I'd gotten even halfway into it, I snapped a picture with my phone and posted it to Facebook with the caption: "Sergeant G: Mission Accomplished." And you know what? Even without my usual single ice cube, it was a damn good dram.

The Grill is a pretty neat place. The outside makes it look like a rough, beat up old pub. Once you're inside, though, it's actually pretty impressive. The bartenders are smartly dressed, the woodwork is beautiful, and though it could do with a bit of renovation, the bottom line is that it provides the best selection of Scotland's various whisky offerings of any pub in Aberdeen. If you're like me, and just enjoy an occasional dram of Highland Park 12, there are plenty of pubs that will make it happen for you; but when you need something specific that you can't find anywhere else, The Grill may just be able to make it happen.

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