As told to Andrea Levinge
When I heard that Mensa Philippines was going to "taste spirits", I arrived at the event at the Grand Midori Hotel armed with a Ouija board, the sacred beard hairs of my late great-grandmother Wilhelmina and an antique silver spoon. However, instead of the gourmandisation of ghosts that I so fervently anticipated, I sourly discovered that this gathering of minds was focused, instead, on matriculating a beverage called whisky.
The evening started with Aids Tecson, our expert lecturer, announcing we were not going to dilute the taste of single malt whisky with that awful substance called 'solid food', but were instead going to sip it purely for full impact. On dangerously empty stomachs, and armed with a few more brain cells than absolutely necessary, the night began with 11 members and non-members of Mensa in attendance.
What followed was an in-depth presentation dissecting the differences between the single malt and blended whiskies, and why the Glenlivet Distillery of Speyside, Scotland was chosen for our vertical tasting. Before a taste of whisky could cross our lips, we had to determine the precise colour of our scotch from a urologist's pee chart with more flowery names, that started at 'gin clear' and ended at ‘treacle'. Swirling the whisky in its glass allowed us to admire its 'legs' which are not, I am alarmed to note, bipedal appendages, but a poor jack's idea of describing dynamic viscosity.
We first sampled the Glenlivet 12, which tasted of sweet creamy vanilla and preserved fruit, like raisins or plums, that lingered in the air but did not hold. This whisky is best compared to my attractiveness to the opposite sex; like my aunts say, ‘you’re just like plain vanilla dear, no wonder you can’t get a date!’.
We moved onto the Glenlivet 15 French Oak reserve, which sang of Christmas cake spices and Madeira. As instructed, I rubbed a drop of whisky in between my palms to dissolve the alcohol and inhale the fragrance of the casks from whence the whisky came. Being astute at digging up coffins in my various quests to raise the undead, I immediately named it to be oak. Which did not impress anyone, as it was written on the bottle.
Finally we ended our age-specific tasting with the crowd favourite Glenlivet 18. The 18 is full-flavoured, has notes of honey, walnut and fennel and has been described by drunken online reviewers as tasting like "an angel peeing on your tongue". I haven't sampled urine but I shudder to think how those reviewers sourced their inspirations. Finally we imbibed of the last whisky - the Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve - which is a pleasant blend of single malts of various years, that was indubitably smooth on my plate. That's not a typo. I was about to say palate, but I spilled some.
Each attendee seemed hell bent on consuming at least one dram of whisky per 30 points of their measured IQ. People were - heaven forbid - sloshing all the different single malts together in one glass, gleefully consuming roasted vegetables, cured meats and cheese, mixing flavours be damned, and egging each other on to drink more and more in a manner only seasoned debaters can achieve. Because we were provisioned for 9 more than were present, as overachievers, it seemed only prudent that we drink for the absent also.
I write this letter as a formal complaint, as I am now thoroughly cursed with a lifetime of pernickety arguing about distilling regions & terroir, not to mention backhand-slapping complete strangers who try to mix a fine sipping single malt with a dirty Coca Cola. In addition the dish "scotch eggs" have also betrayed me by being so disappointingly named.
I expect your attention to this matter immediately.