Earning the top spot in The Coolest Things We've Done in China, last night we attended for the first time a Shekou T[something] Uisge Beatha Society meeting at a Spanish tapas restaurant in Shenzhen.
Think of a bunch of old smart guys around a table saying things like "peaty," "caramel," and "I'd give this an 85." Add our young Australian friend who recruited us and Crazy Yours Truly (the only lady there that night), and the night gets pretty darn interesting.
Most of the people were old veterans of the club, but we and another nice fellow named Tom were newbies. (Tom also knows my buddies at McCawley's Irish Pub, so we went there after and exposed our mutual friendship.)
We tasted three over-the-counter Scotch whiskies plus a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottle (of which there are only 220 in existence!), discussed them, scored them, then compared our average score with Michael Jackson's (no, not THAT Michael Jackson; the other one) book of single malts. We were impressively close. Except for that time Mr. Jackson scored wrong.
My favorite of the night was a 10-year (I know! So young, right?) sherry-casked single malt from Edradour, the smallest distillery in Scotland (except for the new "illicit" one, Gavin, the Scot in the corner, said). It smelled nice, but the first sip was followed by a quick "Ooh!" that made heads turn. "Are you okay?" Tom asked. "I think so..." I said. I coined the term 'whiskeygasm,' and we moved on. I gave it a 92.
Next month is the big Dinosaur Steak party (but they love us loads, and they're getting some vegan food, too!) where we pay our dues and get our official shirts for wearing to the monthly meetings. We'll also pick the date for our trip to Scotland in 2012 -- someone's letting us stay in their huge house while we tour distilleries and taste the Water of Life. I don't know if we'll still be in China then, but chances are pretty darn good that we'll book the trip anyway.