It's all my Dad's fault. He introduced me to the concept of whisky early in life, although it wasn't until much later that I really developed a taste for it.
Dad was a true Scot in every way. Born and bred in Dunfermline in the Kingdom of Fife he never faltered in his love for Scotland and all things Scottish. He even managed to convince my Mum to return there after seven years in the Lucky Country - Australia. We didn't last long "back home" but that's a story for another day.
Of course, drinking whisky was part of his Scottishness. I have no memory of him drinking any other spirit but Scottish whisky (or Scotch as they called it in Australia way back then). Dad didn't even drink beer, well not very often, although he did enjoy a nice glass of Mateus rose or Black Tower riesling on special occasions.
But, I wouldn't call Dad a whisky connoisseur. In fact his choice of poison at "the club" (often Souths Juniors in Kingsford, Sydney) after dinner, darts, a show or boxing was a whisky with ice and a dash of lime. Trust me, it's not a great mix. The whisky would have been a standard blend (maybe Bell's or some such) and the lime was a dash of lime cordial. Aaargh.
Then occasionally he would get a "Scotch and dry" - whisky with dry ginger ale and ice. So, after being introduced to the concept of finishing off an evening of beer with a glass or two of spirits, like many a young bloke, I followed my Dad's example. Whisky and lime cordial was just too awful so my go-to spirits drink became Scotch and dry. And didn't this sort-of-Scottish drink land me in a world of pain on a few too many occasions.
Anyway, the story moves on. Dad, did occasionally indulge in a bottle of single malt whisky, and it was always the same one - Glenmorangie, a highlands whisky distilled near Tain, north of Inverness.
I never thought to ask him exactly why he drank Glenmorangie, but he swore by it. "The best Scottish whisky" was how he described it, although I'm not sure he tried that many. Anyway, when I finally developed a taste for a quality wee dram every now and then without having had a belly-full of beer beforehand, my first indulgence was Glenmorangie.
And, every now and then I still pick up a bottle to honour my father, now resting in the Great Glen in the sky, and to enjoy the wonderful smooth taste of a glorious highlands whisky.
With my father's birthday in May, I recently picked up a bottle of Glenmorangie 10-year-old Original as a reminder of him. I'm far from an expert in describing whisky flavours but I would say it has a mellow honey feel but rounded off with a fiery bitter edge. Also, it's just plain delicious, especially at the end of a day, sitting watching something on Netflix.
For a more expert description of the taste I quote the Glenmorangie website: "The result is a smooth whisky which welcomes you with a rush of citrus, then holds your attention with layers of luscious flavour, from orange to honey and creamy vanilla, with bursts of peach." I missed the peach, but there you go, I'm just a battler who loves a dram now and again.
So, if you ever grab a bottle of this great whisky, toast my Dad - and your Dad too. They're worth the indulgence.