What’s in a drink? That which we
Call a potion
By any other name would intoxicate
As much.

Or something of that nature…

We all have out poisons: the Big Hairy One might like fermented mammoth milk while ENIAC Gamma the Ninety-Second may opt for the jolt of alternating current. (I have been on a wee bit of a Kuttner kick lately. It doesn’t show too much, does it?)

In any case, Yours Truly has quite a liking for expensive single malts and bourbons. Which is why I would be terrible at being an alcoholic: the fortified wines and such would not make it past my palate. There is nothing quite like going to bed with an expensive limited edition bottle of whisky and waking up not too hung over (because of the high quality of the alcoholic beverage in question) on a work day. Yes, that was me a year ago. Needless to say, being a man of modest means, that did not last too long. However, initially as a precaution and later as part of therapy, I have been eschewing the allure of the golden tinged liquid washing up and down my palate and embouchure, slightly burning the sensitive flesh, and, eventually, slowing down and calming my worried mind.

It begs the question, how did a poor immigrant kid, unfamiliar with the western ways, develop such a rarified taste? Well, upon first moving to this land of milk and Honey over twenty years ago, I have met a young man, originally from the same part of the world – only few years older than me – who would become my friend and mentor. He is still my friend and, due to my unfortunate tendency to not interact with the outside world, he does still manage to play the latter role from time to time. He always had “good taste”. Though not snobbish, he does like the good things in life. He was the first person to introduce me to Scotch whisky. Later on, I have met other people, read about the alcohol, tried different stuff… But I will always remember myself as a 17-year-old, drinking my friend’s Johnny Walker Black Label, and trying to learn thus insane to English language.


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