Happy Tuesday, people! After two consecutive weekends in the mountains, I was craving some city time – part of my constant quest to find balance between Colorado adventures and “New York” cool. When an email came through touting a Friends of Laphroaig event at Space Gallery, I was in.
Laphroaig, if you’re not familiar, is a brand of Scotch made on the island of Islay. The first time I tried Laphroaig, I was in my early 20s and living in New York. That stretch from 22 to 26 can be a weird one. For (spoiled) me, I was on my own for the first time, (mostly) supporting myself financially and living several states away from family and friends. According to the government, your employer, and the parents who have nudged you out of the nest, you’re a grown-up. But I found myself often unsure, making plenty of mistakes and mostly eating toaster waffles, chips and salsa, and popsicles. (And, of course, pizza.)
Sometime in the middle of those years, I attended a Luxury Marketing Council event at Saks Fifth Avenue, featuring a Laphroaig whisky tasting (excuse me while I pick up those names I dropped). For several years, I had wished very badly to love Scotch – I’ve been obsessed with Scotland since I was two, and I studied abroad in Aberdeen, a short drive from the Glenlivet and Glenfiddich distilleries – but my palate hadn’t evolved past lemon drop shots and Trader Joe’s two-buck-chuck.
I walked into Saks wearing a pencil skirt and false confidence, feeling intimidated by all these people who seemed fluent in a language I hadn’t yet grasped, and walked up to the Laphroaig table. The friendly rep poured each of us a thimbleful of golden whisky, explaining as he went, and we raised our glasses. It was warm and smoky all down through my chest. It was complex, flavorful, challenging, and a little sexy: I loved it.
Laphroaig is nice stuff, so I didn’t encounter much of it until this past Christmas, when a coworker bought a bottle for me as a gift. After registering with Friends of Laphroaig (and confirming a lifetime lease on a square foot of land near the distillery), I proudly displayed the bottle on my mantle, a symbol of inching towards adulthood.
This time, as I walked into the gallery in Denver’s arts district, I had a new pencil skirt on, but the confidence was a little more broken in. We sampled whisky and toasted in gaelic, and even though I did something bone-headed and embarrassing, I laughed it off and enjoyed a sip of Quarter Cask.
Next summer, I hope to tromp across Islay and find that square foot – in the meantime, I plan to raise a glass and toast to everyday adventures. Here’s to yours!