A Wee Dram

A Wee Dram

It’s been a long day. And a late night is looming--got to get the May issues of the magazine off to the printer. Taking a break to check my email, I’m reminded of an invitation to a single-malt scotch tasting this very evening. In celebration of Tartan Week (whatever that is—the Irish have their day, the Scots have their week, I guess), it’s happening just across the street from the office, so—swearing to myself (and my boss) I’ll be gone no more than a half-hour, I descend into the still-light, but still-cold April evening, an associate in tow. Five minutes later, we are sitting on a banquette in the private room—more of a closet, really—within the dark, chandeliered confines of townhouse-turned-watering hole Tavern29. Before us is a small plate of fruit, cheese and charcuterie, and three bottles of Bowmore—a single-malt from the Isle of Islay—aged, respectively, 12, 15 and 18 years. Our taste guide is a charming gentleman garbed in a kilt and a soothing burr. Under his direction, we sniff, then deeply smell, then sip, then take a real swallow of each amber liquor. Being more of a bourbon girl (born and reared in Kentucky), I’m not a scotch devotee, finding it thin and alcoholy; Islay single malts in particular tend to taste very smoky, reeking of the peat used to make them. But under the direction of our tutor, who is eloquent on everything to do with whiskey, from the trees used in the aging barrels to the meaning of the term “proof,” I grow to appreciate. Fatigue evaporates as the whiskey warms—first my mouth, then my throat, then my entire insides. My colleague and I return to the office, spirits restored by the spirits. I zip through my work—an article on alcoholic beverages, as it happens. Well, you know what they say in publishing circles: Write what you know. You can sample Bowmore’s single malts neat, with water (perfectly acceptable, contrary to scotch-snobs’ belief) or in cocktails at Tavern29 (47 E 29th St., 212.685.4422).