This event was actually held at Elsie’s Banquet Room down the street from Surdyk’s, but Surdyk’s was running the thing. I ended up going solo as one of my high school chums bailed on me (legitimate reason, truly). There was a bit of trouble finding the place due to some heavy construction near there, but I found it nonetheless. I also had Gerd drop me off because I intended to not be in any condition to drive after the event. (Well played, in retrospect…)
I joined a table full of guys my age who didn’t look too doosh-y. Two were kind of the intelligent poet types, and the other two were the college 5 o'clock shadow kind of guys. I didn’t butt in on any of their conversations, but they included me a couple of times. Nice guys actually.
The instructor’s assistant filled everyone’s glass with scotch and then the class got started. I learned all about the history, legal terms, distilling, bottling, and regions related to scotch. And with a different sample of scotch every 15 minutes or so, it went very smoothly. Now when I say sample, I mean two small glasses of scotch (multiply by 7, and you get 14 – actually, what you do is lose count). Sure you can dump remainders into the bucket in the middle of your table, but why waste good scotch when you’ve got a designated driver?
There were two glasses for each person. A smaller wine glass and also a highball glass. The instructor said you get different flavors and different aromas from the different glass styles. Additionally, you get a different aroma by smelling the bottom rim of the glass than you do smelling the top rim of the glass. Prior to this, I would have called Bull-jive. But after testing this theory, he was 100% right. See, I learned something. 4 TOTALLY different smells. Freakshow science, I tell you.
There were also table settings with three kinds of fancy cheese on them (all sold at Surdyk’s) and small pieces of bread and nuts and such. To sort of cleanse your palette or soak up alcohol in your guts.
I learned a ton of other things which were super cool, and I got to try out some Scotches I wouldn’t have wanted to gamble a purchase on (since it’s not cheap). The guy giving the class was REALLY knowledgeable and pretty funny. I don’t know that we’d hang out or anything, but he was a great instructor.
In order of liking on my part (purely opinion – I’m sure this will make SOMEONE mad)
1. Speyside 12yr Single Malt
2. Bruichladdich 12yr Single Malt
3. Islay Mist Blended
4. Springbank 10yr Single (not to be confused with SpringBreak)
5. Dewars Blended
6. Glen Salen Blended Malt
7. Laphroaig 10yr Single (tasted like a cup of dirt – two cups of dirt actually, heh heh)
If you get a chance to do any sort of tasting or class event with Surdyk’s, I’d recommend it highly. They have a class act operation. I was hoping they’d have some sort of announcement about a scotch sale, but they didn’t. They did offer 10% off retail price if you bought scotch that night though. I didn’t. Though, I do need to stock up. I’m running dangerously low on scotch right now.
Top 5 things about the scotch class
1. Really good way to learn to appreciate scotch
2. Speyside might need a visit from Chao
3. Awesome Cheese – especially the Aged Gouda from Amsterdam
4. Great mix of history, present, operations, and tasting
5. Classy banquet facility, despite being in a bowling alley (my family loves bowling alleys, don’t ask)
Bottom 5 things
1. Laphroaig is VERY peat-y
2. Made me want to drop a few hundred on alcohol
3. Made me want to drop a few thousand on a trip to Scotland
4. I was a loner
5. Finding the place