On January 6, 1996, I turned fifty. Alan Pugsley, our British/American brewer friend spent the new year with us. Alan gave me one of his collection of miniature whiskies: a 1969 Macallan.
It always seemed too rare and precious to drink. But his daughter is getting married this fall. I‘ll bring the Macallan to share with him.
A dram in his daughter's honour.
It was at Glenfiddich that I first understood the sisterhood of whisky and beer.
Both share barley malt as the foundation. Unlike most spirits, barley malt is mixed in a vessel where natural enzymes break down starches into malt liquid called wort.
Brewers boil this, add hops and ferment it to beer. Whisky makers ferment the wort without boiling or hops.
The whisky fermentation is like Scottish highlanders, wild, spontaneous, uncontrolled. The vessels used to ferment are often wooden, contributing their own flora and character to the whisky that is then distilled.
Here’s a photo of my wife, Ellen Bounsall and Jessie, our loyal yellow lab, on a Fall day in 2006 in Dunham, Quebec.
Ellen is a pioneer in the craft beer business, one of the first female brewers in Canada. Her beers won over 60 international and national awards over 25 years.
She still inspires me every day.
Happy International Woman’s Day to everyone.