The MOF Whiskey Review

Matt Crawford:

I love Redbreast Irish Whiskey for a few reasons:

* It’s¬†immensely “flaskable.”
* You can drink it in coffee, too
* You can call it Scotch and piss off the Scotch snobs

Greg McReynolds:

Famous Grouse

A better bargain-priced, blended scotch you will not find.
The grouse is ideal for drinking when it’s raining, especially while surfing or reading the greatest American novel ever written.
I was drinking it when I met my wife, so it’s pretty classy to boot.
Plus, it’s named after the king of gamebirds.

Tosh Brown:
If we are truly products of our respective environs, then that pretty much makes me a beer swiller. It’s hot where I live, and I rarely find the need to pull warmth from a bottle.
But, if I had to pick a favorite distilled product, it would have to be a Macallan single malt. A buddy gives me a bottle for Christmas each year, and I usually try to make it last until the next one arrives. I suppose owning a bottle of pricey scotch could spawn guesses that I might be more of a highbrow “Scotch Snob” than I appear. That’s why I make a point of leaving the red bow and the gift card attached.

Bruce Smithhammer:
I’ll admit to enjoying the occasional bottle of Laphroaig, if only because how often do you get the opportunity to simulate falling face down in a peat bog and not being able to get up?
I also used to dabble in the Irish Whiskeys, until an evil voice at the bottom of a bottle of Jameson’s whispered in my ear that 2nd story balcony railings are great places to dance. Surgery and 6 screws in my ankle later, I have an immense amount of respect, mixed with fear, for residents of the Emerald Isle.
But lately my tastes have gone firmly in the Highland direction, and I can’t get enough of the fine products emanating from the Glenmorangie distillery, even when I’ve been repeatedly told that I’ve had, “more than enough.”

Camp coffee

The explosion wakes me from a mostly sleepless night
Outside the frost covered hood of my sleeping bag, a raging fire burns
My companions are huddled too close to the flames, one clutching a can of Coleman fuel
It’s too cold to stay in the bag
Out into the biting cold to rummage around for the coffee pot
The excesses of the previous night are evident
A tin coffee cup is frozen to the table; a solid whiskey and coke ice cube in the bottom
Stumble to the water, bust the ice, dunk the percolator
Coffee boils over a gasoline fueled fire of wet, frozen wood
Early morning fix
Warms the body, defrosts the brain

Agave recall

It’s a long way from dorm-room shots of Pepe Lopez, this Patron Reposada. I’ve mixed it with lime juice and a touch of Cointreau, even added just a little sugar. It’s one a hell of margarita.

But a smooth margarita on a cold New England winter night is a drink poured from the fountain of bittersweet. That little burn in the throat, almost medicinal in nature, always flashes me a few winters back to when I was a virtually unpaid editor of a small, quarterly bird-hunting magazine. In exchange for a laughable monthly salary, I had the chance to travel and hunt – with one of the most memorable trips being an exclusive bobwhite/dove/duck lodge in the Tamaulipas region of northern Mexico. There, the locally produced tequila was kept in an small oak cask, ours for the taking 24/7, if we were so inspired. That tequila was smooth and creamy and much like a brandy. We sipped it straight. No shots or lime or salt. It was infinitely better than the so-called good stuff I’m drinking now.

But, like good tequila does, it made my uvula spasm. So, whenever I feel that peculiar sensation at the root of my tongue I am reminded of my short stay at that lodge, of the brandy-like tequila, the Mexican guides, of the covey after covey of wild bobwhite quail exploding from the arid landscape. The 65-degree days and 35-degree nights.

We ate some sort of smoked chicken wrapped in tortillas and smothered with green salsa for lunch. I drank Coca Cola lite out of glass bottles. We hunted behind a pack of English pointers that were trial rejects from Texas and Mississippi. An older gentleman I spent a day with shot a rattlesnake he nearly stepped on. We hunted in orange groves. The guides unnervingly yelled “SHOOT, SHOOT, SHOOT!” when coveys erupted – like a parent screaming at a kid’s soccer game trying to will a goal through vocalization.

I missed, I don’t know, the first 10 birds I saw, unable to pick one bird out of covey rise and stay with it while others flushed. I finally connected. And connected and connected. So many points, so many shells, so many birds. Wild birds, all of them. My shoulder was sore. My hearing’s never fully recovered. I shot a double. Several times. We ate the birds at night, barbecued and spicy and washed down with that nameless mellow tequila.

I’ll probably never hunt wild bobwhite quail like that again. And tequila will never taste so good.

– Crawford

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