The Water of Life

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glass of bourbon and three whiskey bottlesLife without passion is no life at all. Some people have a single passion, that one overriding interest that makes everything else fade to gray. While many hit that level of dedication to a singular interest at times in life, few maintain such a focus indefinitely. Then there are folks like me with many passions that all require laser-like focus for periods of time and then–SQUIRREL–WTF was that? Uh, where was I? Oh yes, passions…

I have many passions. Some, like music and cooking, are nearly lifelong and have shaped my world view for as long as I can remember. Others are more recent. Over the last year or so bowling and whiskey have become the latest obsessions to last long enough to qualify as serious passions.

I often envy the first type of person described above and wish to be that person so consumed by passion for something that being the very best at something is in my grasp. Imagine an overwhelming passion so great that it could produce a Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein or an Earl Anthony, and the mind, mine at least, boggles at the possibilities unrealized in the average life.

On the other hand, being built another way entirely, wouldn’t it be boring to be so single-minded? Is there truly room for friends and family in a life like that, can that type of person ever stop and smell the roses, literally, figuratively or bottled with a four in front of the word?

Which brings us back, however short the reprieve from my wandering mind may be, to the focus of this article. I would submit that our passions could be called the water of life, but apparently the ancients disagreed. We get the name for Whiskey from the Gaelic words uisce beatha (ish keh ba ha) which can be translated as water of life. So, if you were hoping this was going to be about bowling, I sincerely apologize for disappointing you. If Amy has her way, I may be able to make it up to you eventually, but for now it’s whiskey.

Like most alcoholic beverages, whiskeys are simple creations. Make beer, distill beer, and then age the resulting liquid in wooden barrels. Simple indeed, but like with wine, what comes out of those barrels can be the some of the most complexly flavored drink on the planet.

From my relatively novitiate status on this subject, I see whiskey as being divided into four distinctive regional types that define styles of whiskey:

  • Scotch Whisky, notable for smooth, smokey characteristics
  • Irish Whiskey, typically velvety smooth and credited with being the OG hooch of this variety
  • American Whiskey, defined by Bourbon, but not limited to it
  • Canadian Whisky, the red-headed bastard stepchild of the booze world, that like good Canadians everywhere, is about to amiably get pugilistic, but will smile and buy you a drink after the ensuing ass kicking

In case you are wondering, the different spellings, whisky and whiskey, are intentional. The rule of thumb is that if the country of origin name contains an “e” then so does the spelling of the word. Put another way, Scotland and Canada produce whisky, everyone else produces whiskey. I might not yet be an expert, but that is one poo pile that many a more accomplished writer than me has stepped in with this topic. Thank you, Mr. Beeson for helping me keep my shoes clean on this one!

So, if in the future you see more stories about whiskey here at AWB, you will know why. We haven’t stopped drinking and writing about wine at all, we (Amy has also developed a bit of a thirst for the water of life) are, as ever, sharing our passions with you, the most discriminating, educated, and frankly best smelling and most beautiful, readers on the planet. Besides, as long term readers know, this site has never been about a single subject, and with apologies to Bill Cosby, there’s always room for whiskey (and whisky)!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s bowling night!