Things That Are So Good That I Can’t Live Without Them: The Balvenie


I have a list on my phone. It catalogs things that I keep using or interacting with, over and over. Even though they are just things, mostly, they are things that make my life better. Simply put, the things I feel passionately about, I feel very passionately about. So, presented in no particular order, here is one of those things:

Let’s talk about Scotland. With its windswept crags and soggy moors, one might wonder why anyone would ever visit. But pull back the hood of your rain jacket just a bit and you will be astounded by Scotland’s rugged and unspoiled beauty. There’s the desolate yet dazzling Glencoe mountain valley, Bond’s fictitious home in Skyfall. The picturesque landscapes on the Isle of Skye provide some of the best coasts in all of the United Kingdom. Or visit the neolithic monuments near the rocky shores of the Orkney Islands and it’s easy to imagine a viking invader, wrapped in furs, approaching you from the surf, sword drawn. Scotland the Brave, is also the birthplace of golf (cause of much frustration) and whisky (remedy to that frustration).

While I have a predilection for smoky, peaty Islay malts, one of my favorites is distilled in whisky’s epicenter, Speyside. The Balvenie has been distilled in Dufftown since 1893. It’s one of just a half dozen Scottish distilleries to still floor malt its barley and the only one in the Highlands. The Balvenie has a small offering of regular expressions, but each is rich tasting and luxuriously smooth. Scotch is a drink that appeals greatly to me due to the simplicity of its production, but also because the final product remains in doubt for a decade or more. The success at the end of such a long road makes me appreciate each drop that much more.