In: General1 Dec 2010
Well boys and girls, we’ve come to the end of another enormously successful Old SNOTS year. Despite my occasional desire for time to stand still so I could live in a moment forever, mercifully for me and those with me, I’m not God and can’t make time stop. (This gets me wondering about metaphysical questions of what time standing still really means and whether God can be immune from passage of time, but this is a website devoted to the love of single malt whisky, so I’ll let those lesser issues pass for now.) Without time continuing to pass, none of the following could have happened.
We started the year celebrating Robert Burns’ birthday at the Scottish Arms restaurant where a piper preceded the reading of Burns’ famous “To A Haggis,” and several of the Old SNOTS participated in a whisky and cheese pairing event. We made friends at Loch Fyne Whiskies (Andy Burns in particular) and enjoyed the benefit of their redoubtable expertise when they suggested whiskies for two tastings. We had an evening where we enjoyed the whisky donated by Republic National Distribution Co. via Alyson Anderson, a friend of fellow Old SNOTS member, Gail Wojtowicz.
And it was this year that the average Old SNOTS gathering attendance nearly doubled from the previous year, from eight to fifteen. In July, we broke another attendance record for gatherings with twenty two. We also introduced the wonders of single malt to a number of people outside of Illinois, from Minnesota to Miami, Seoul to Stuttgart. Occasionally, a few of the long time Old SNOTS would pass through and stop for a gathering and we were thrilled to see them again—Don Lustig, Bill and Lisa Webster and Brian McAllister. We were even happy to welcome back some Old SNOTS who had stepped away for a bit. Jim Spaulding returned to Illinois and one of the three founding members, George Risse, couldn’t stay away from his brainchild.
This year, the Old SNOTS received a nod from their newfound whisky acquaintances in St Louis. In an article written by the Bureau of Malt Sippers (BUMS) published with www.whiskyintelligence.com, the following notice was given: “Whisky Clubs all over are increasingly sophisticated which is reflected in some of their sites such as the outstanding, L.A. Whisk(e)y Society, http://www.lawhiskeysociety.com/ which can be contrasted by the grass roots effort of clubs such as The Old Snots (Old Scotch Nosing or Tasting Society) a group in rural Illinois with a basic but fun site at http://theoldsnots.com/.” We’re probably pretty happy being basic but fun.
For many, whisky style preferences changed over the year. One in particular, started with the Old SNOTS believing that tasting Islay whiskies was akin to licking a freshly asphalted parking lot at McDonalds. I do believe that at the last gathering, that very same person voted for an Islay whisky. We tasted some old favorites and ventured to a record number of the more obscure and difficult to find whiskies, one of which, the Macphunn, ended the year as the Old SNOTS’ favorite for 2010.
It was, by all accounts, an excellent year for the Old SNOTS. And from all accounts, 2011 will be at least equally brilliant. We may charge off into different directions with our tasting themes in the upcoming year. Perhaps we get creative with our tastings, rather than confining our samplings to traditional whisky regions. For example, we could do some comparisons of whiskies from the same distillery. Or perhaps we’ll have an evening where we compare single malts with a bourbon, rye and blended scotch to better appreciate the single malt. Or perhaps we’ll do an evening of comparing Scotch whisky with Irish whiskey. Perhaps, perhaps not. Time will tell . . .
Oh yes . . . All the Old SNOTS wishes everyone a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Now, back to my earlier pondering. If God can stop time, then what is the interval between when God stopped time and when God restarted it called and if God did something during that interval didn’t that take time . . .?
A group of men and women from all walks of life and all parts of the globe who, when the situation permits, warrants or demands, succumb to the reverence of Scotland’s most distinctive product—uisghe beatha, water of life, single malt whisky—and firmly of the conviction that “Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most other things.”