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  • Writer's picturePhilip Ammerman


So … the nice lady asks me what I would like to drink.

I answer “Bourbon, please.”

Blank stare. “What is bourbon?”

I scrambled to define it. “It’s American whisky, distilled from corn, aged in oak barrels.”

“Oh,” she replied, happily, “you want whisky! I have Johnie Walker.”

Now it was my turn to look blank. How could I explain the dismissal a single malt man has for blends like JW. To make matters worse: JW Red. Who drinks this stuff?

I started thinking of the amber roundness of Glenmorangie, the smoke of Lagavulin, the vanilla of a Balvenie. All these years, all these miles, the time spent with good friends or stranded in airports with total strangers, caught by fog in Dnepropetrovsk or staggering home from the Irish Pub in Kosice, or a remarkable dinner that time in New York.

All this flashed by in a second.

I ordered the JW. The lady was happy. She even favoured me with an extra special smile.

“Να το ουισκακι σας.” Ουισκακι the cheerful diminutive of whisky (in Greek).

Truer words were never spoken.

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