June 18, 2012

Don't' F#@! with the Lone Wolf

Ardbeg Brand Ambassadors circa 1983
Did I just cross the line, go against all I've been taught, soil the purity of our spirit? Yes, I broke the law. My head held high and my chin sticking out like a middle finger to the guy who just cut me off on the parkway.

Why the rebellion? No real reason actually. It was a fluke. Born the way all evolutionary moments are born; chance, accident, right place/right time… with a small peppering of laziness. I had just enjoyed a glass of fine ruby port that I happened to win in a draw the other day. The glass being as empty as a glass can be without a proper washing, when the 'Lone Wolf' (Ardbeg 10 yr old) caught my eye from the corner of the cabinet. The kitchen being 10 feet away from said cabinet, a distance much too far for this slothful half-Scot, I made a Darwinian decision to pour a dram into said contaminated vessel.

I think I could go for some Meatloaf actually.
The 'Lone Wolf' is named as such for a reason: he doesn't play well with others in games of taste, he doesn't like to be compared to others, and most of all, he despises other Islay malts. They are weak to him, and he knows they cower in his glorious light. So when embarking on the path to malt madness, and when Ardbeg is your companion, you don't mess around – he'll go straight for your jugular if you don't respect his power. But of course, like most Scots, I shrugged my shoulders at the beast and poured away. The ruby-throated port residue in my glass immediately stained the wolf to a hue of blood and anger. Now, you'd think any contamination at all would devastate a single malt, destroy it's long journey of singleness and singledom. But all I did was wake the beast. He came out with renewed vigour and gnashed his teeth.

How about a nice ham sandwich instead?
A delight! A joyous delight the wolf brought to my mouth. 'On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with red roses?' …sure. Did the ruby port add anything? I'd answer by saying it added resolve. Resolve that you can't tame the wolf. (Ned Stark would grin about now) The port only made our wolf bolder. Stronger. More cantankerous. What's the lesson? That allowing our sacred spirits to mingle may give us a glimpse of what a single malt may have become if allowed into wedlock, but also that a defiant single malt can withstand a wee bit of swill. They are after all, from the land of the thistle, not fairy fluff.