Reading Whisky

A few months ago I was walking from my hotel to the Bremen Old Town as a notice in a shop window caught my eye. Turned out it wasn't a shop at all, actually, but a pub. (It wasn't open, I'm sorry to say, so parched poor little I went on my merry way.) And the notice in the window was the meeting schedule of the local Whisky society. No surprises there. Lot of Whisky societies nowadays.

What was surprising and not a little exhilarating was the next meeting of said Bremen Whisky society. They seemed to have a different theme for every meeting. The upcoming theme was to be science fiction.

I mean, now there's a brilliant idea - combining whisky with science fiction.

Three authors were to be dealt with and paired with appropriate whiskies. The authors: Lem, Asimov and Bradbury. Which whiskies are they? Wasn't revealed and I've been pondering ever since. Asimov is pretty easy, he's something quite popular and bit underrated by the cognoscenti; yet solid and dependable. Glenfiddich? Or maybe Glenmorangie? Bradbury is more complex. Even quirky. An acquired taste. Sometimes sweet or possibly oversweet. What? Bowmore? The young one's are brilliant and challenging, while the older ones (and the pretty dreadful and wholly misnamed Enigma) are slightly (or at times not so slightly) overproduced, too sugary by far, not even a bit balanced and to be quite frank, not very interesting. And Lem? Now there's a conundrum if ever there was one. What's he? An Islay to be sure. Something perfectly cerebral, something you either love or hate, unequivocally. Laphroaig? Maybe Caol Ila? Probably Caol Ila, that quite impossibly seaweedy Islay that even seasoned whisky vets gag at until that glorious moment of epiphany when suddenly it all makes sense.

Other authors. Robert Silverberg - Macallan? I quite like that one. Philip K. Dick - Talisker? Maybe Cardhu? Jorge Luis Borges - Cragganmore? Do I hear Edradour? Ian Watson - Arran? Douglas Adams - Balvenie? Philip José Farmer - Glenfarclas? Or maybe merely a decent Springbank? Norman Spinrad - Ledaig?

Or one could go quite the other way, have something complementry to drink with each author. Asimov is an easy read so why not pair him off with a difficult whisky? Like Ardbeg. And Lem with Glenlivet or Highland Park? Oban is often refered to as a restrained whisky - so obviously the notoriously unrestrained Harlan Ellison would go well with it. Lagavulin is full and smooth and firm (to quote the late lamented Michael Jackson), therefore a perfect companion to, say, William Gibson?

I'm not even going to go into Irish whiskey. Like Connemara. Or Redbreast. Or Tyrconnell. Not now. More's the pity. Suffice it to say that it's a matter that will be neither neglected nor forgotten. Steps will be taken. Books will be read. Tumblers will be emptied. You have my word as a gentleman.

Well, anyway one likes it, a nice dram goes well with a good book. Come to think of it, a nice dram goes well with almost jolly well anything.

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