Jimmy talks scotch.

[Editor’s Note:Β  Being that we are inching towards the 3-year mark, and that the prospect of us going our separate ways seems more and more unlikely, we’ve decided it’s high-time Jimmy started speaking up here on Caviar and Codfish. I like to think of me as the Caviar and Jimmy as the Codfish. I urge you to do the same, and to leave him encouraging words because I’d love to have him stick around.]

“Honey, I don’t think your P.O. reads my blog.” This from Robin on numerous occasions when I complained that one of her posts mentioned me and alcohol in the same sentence. I was not allowed to drink, you see. And yet I did. Regularly. (We hid the liquor bottles behind a fake wall of Phyllo Dough in the freezer.) I did not want to go back to the clink.

I sometimes wondered what my P.O.—a teeny-tiny Hispanic woman who once told me she thought she’d found her “niche” in criminal justice (never a good sign)—would think if she stumbled across my girlfriend’s sunny domain and noticed a wine pairing, say, or even some mention of a night out drinking. Considering that my five years(!) of probation stemmed from my teenage years as a thug-druggie, you’d think that this blog (written by my lover/partner/best-friend/everything) devoted to seasonal cooking and humane carnivorism would, if anything, prove that I’d changed my ways. (I’ve never met a meth-addled locavore.) But of course I couldn’t take a chance: these were stupid, petty people I was dealing with—or at least that’s what I had to keep on telling myself for fear that they’d prove me right and crush me.

Anyway, that’s all over. October 24th was my last day of probation, Robin and my parents threw a party for me, and I’m guest-blogging today to tell you about two of my presents, both bottles of the scotch. The first, from Compass Box (my new favorite whisky makers), is the aptly named Eleuthera (Greek for “freedom”). A light-colored smoky blend of twelve- and fifteen-year-old malts, it goes down surprisingly smooth for something 92 proof(!), though “smooth” does not stand for “boring” here: there’s plenty of peat (more than Talisker,” less than “Lagavulin), plus, I think, the slightest hint of something sweet that keeps bringing you back to the glass. In short, it’s one of the best scotches I’ve ever had. And I was sad to read on the Compass Box website this morning that because one of the fifteen-year-old malts they were using became unavailable, Eleuthera has been “retired” since 2005. Apparently it’s still in some stores, though. If you see it, get it.

The other bottle is noteworthy for being good and cheap. At about thirty dollars a 750ml bottle, Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Malt Scotch Whisky is significantly cheaper than the Macallan or Dalmore 12 Years, and to my mind about as good (certainly better than the comparably priced JB Black). It’s marketed as accessible scotch (the three blends are called “The Smooth Sweeter One,” “The Rich Spicy One,” and “The Smokey Peaty One”), and that’s exactly what it is and exactly what it should be (I don’t want a “complex” bottle under forty dollars). If you already like scotch, you’ll like it; if you’re trying to like scotch, it’s perfect. I was given The Smokey Peaty One, of course (actually that’s the only one I’ve tried, so the others just might suck, though I doubt it), and I’ve taken to drinking one glass of the Eleuthera and then switching to Jon, Mark and Robbo’s—it really works.

I hope you enjoyed reading this guest-post as much as I enjoyed writing it (I really, really doubt it); depending on your comments, it might not be the last.

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33 thoughts on “Jimmy talks scotch.

  1. Here! Here! to that, Anita.

    And, Jimmy, I loved your post and I love that you are off probation and I can finally drink a glass of wine without being afraid of a knock on the door. …oh, and I love being your everything, and you being mine.

    …off to Liqurious.

  2. I think scotch is something I could get into someday, but for right now, California makes some unbelievable wines for $2.

    3 years until you allow him to post on your blog? Sounds like you’re his P.O. =)

  3. yes!! About time the man behind the codfish comes out to talk πŸ™‚ I hope you guys had a wonderful time partying and celebrating. Here’s to more prob-free years…

  4. Oh, I love this post! I am a HUGE Scotch fan, and my partner too – this gives me an idea of what to get him for Christmas. Thanks for the recommendations.

  5. Well, yay to no probation! I read your book and had been wondering about the alcohol issue. Hope that doesn’t make me sounds all stalkery-like but I look forward to reading more from you!

  6. Arthur Crown says:

    I don’t know anything about scotch, but I’m prepared to learn. What does ‘peaty’ taste like? How appalling that you’re not supposed to drink while you’re on probation. Still, they’d never look behind the phyllo dough, I’ll have to remember that one next time I’m doing a burglary. It must be hard to shift frozen phyllo, though.

  7. I just read your book too, Jim. You have no idea how excited I was to come to this page today and realize I get to hear your present “voice.” It actually made me jump up in my chair a little.

    I am *THRILLED* for you for your milestone. I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved your book and how much it meant to me. Rachel, don’t worry about sounding like a stalker, I’ll do it for you. πŸ˜‰

    You and Robin are both very lucky. πŸ™‚

  8. Congrats on the whole “no probation” thing. Must be odd to have such a weight lifted overnight.

    Envy your love of whiskey. I’m a Scot living in Scotland with an aunt who is a whiskey broker and I can’t stand the stuff. Do like to read about it though. πŸ™‚

  9. Mmm, Scotch. I have to say I’m very partial to Talisker and Laphroaig myself. I think my trip to Scotland 5-ish years ago definitely got me in the mood for it and it hasn’t left yet.

    Enjoy your sipping and look forward to reading more here!

  10. As someone who loves his peaty Islays, I’m jealous of your Eleuthera and glad to know about the J, M, & R, which I might actually be able to afford. And of course I’m voting for you to continue the Cod-posting… as long as it doesn’t distract you from other writing!

    *looks menacing, taps billy club meaningfully*

  11. jamessal says:

    Wow, I had no idea I had such a fan base out there — I’m positively blushing. Thanks all! The posts will continue!

    Nicole: Laphroaig? Now that’s serious. Ever since I drank their cask-strength straight, everything else seems tame. And Talisker is just about my favorite out there.

    Rachel and Melissa: Thanks so much for reading my book. I’m looking forward to spending some time on your blogs now. Robin tells me you guys are awesome. This kind of stalker I can handle.

    Crown, my friend: Although dictionary.com (entries drawn from Random House) offers two defintions of “peat,” the first being “a highly organic material found in marshy or damp regions, composed of partially decayed vegetable matter” and the second “a merry young girl; darling (used as a term of endearment),” pace scotch, it’s only the second that’s relevant: good scotch tastes like a young girl. Seriously, though, to me, peaty means woodsy. Scotch falls into two spectrums, the sweet and fruity and vanilla-y (closer to bourbon), and the smokey and woodsy (often, as Steve points, from the Island of Islay — there’s a reason for this, explained to me once, but I don’t remember it now). The former is more a before dinner drink, the latter more an after (and also more of an acquired taste).

    Steve: *holds hands in air, backs up, turns slowly, reaches for typewriter* Thanks for stopping by. You’re the man, as always. (Everyone out there with an interest in language need click on the name and read this man’s blog.)

  12. Nicole: Laphroaig!? I thought I was cool for being a scotch-drinkin’ girl. But man, I can’t go near Laphroaig.

    And I’m actually a fruity, vanilla-y scotch lover. Jim and I have had many a heated, drunken discussion over that one.

    Hello to Arthur! Your salmon was amazing!!!

    And to Steve, thank you for keeping Jimmy in check!

  13. jamessal says:

    How refreshing to see someone else talk openly about their sordid, drug-addled past. We aren’t all housewives and self-employed cookie bakers, after all.

    Yes, I’m here to spice things up a bit. *chuckles, bows head in shame*

  14. famdoc says:

    James: I didn’t read your book, nor am I a Scotch fan, but I wonder, sincerely, how, your reconcile drinking hard liquor in view of your prior addiction. This is meant to be a serious, not obnoxious question. As a health professional, I have always counseled patients with a history of addiction to one substance to stay away from others. Can you share your insight on this subject?

  15. This Blog reminds me the reason I like bloging so much, the interaction is very important with readers and you guys have it right. Looks great too, will be back for more posts, David the mover.

  16. jamessal says:

    famdoc: Thanks for writing. I don’t subscribe to AA’s once-an-addict-always-an-addict/addiction-as-a-disease line of thought (at least for myself), so for me there’s nothing really to reconcile. I was once a confused teenager with so little drive I let myself develop physical addictions to life-controlling drugs; I’m now an adult, with a life, who enjoys scotch. Period (or maybe not quite period — I know I have to be a little extra conscientious — but that’s mostly how I look at it).

    As far as advising people with past addictions not to indulge in other chemical substances, I think that’s appropriate for some people — certainly not all. Getting drunk or even high (everyone has to find their own balance) can be really fun, and I don’t think someone’s who’s let themselves lose control in the past should necessarily be disqualified (especially if they’ve changed their lives in other ways) from indulging themselves. They should strive for moderation, really work at it. Who says fun should be easy? (Not that this is the advice I would give someone in rehab, of course: if they’re there and they’re wondering when it will be OKAY to take a drink again, they probably have a problem and need to make some serious changes in their life before they can even think about it. It’s one of those funny things: you have to stop wanting it before you can have it. I waited over a year before having a drink. Now, nearly five years later, I seem to be doing okay.)

    Heather: I was shamed by my “spicy” pun, not your comment. But thanks for caring!

  17. oh hey, i’ve been wondering about those john, mark and robbo’s and now i think i could be willing to buy one. i tend more towards the sweeter side, but i do like laphroaig from time to time. but, if you like the sweet, robin, have you tried aberlour? it’s v. nice.

  18. Hey! Awesome! Knowing that you were a writer, I’ve long wondered if you would ever guest-post. Great writing and wonderful suggestions. I can’t wait to try the Smoky Petey One. I can’t wait to read the next post. Mazel tov!

  19. Jimmy! Congratulations on closing a very important chapter of your life, you deserve every drop of that tasty Scotch.

    When my girlfriend Gretchen (She is the Bratwurst of the WasabiBratwurst) and I met, she was more of the Whiskey drinker and I was the wine guy. Things have flipped around three years later and I am really starting to enjoy my Scotch. I think the woody tone is what Gretchen is not fond of, but that just means there is more Scotch for me. One of my favorite is Yamazaki, medium body single malt from Japan.

    I am putting both of these Scotch on my list to try although with the economic Armageddon, I am in no position to be buying bottles after bottles.

    Keep them post coming!

  20. Jessica says:

    Jimmy, I just finished reading your book and have to say that it was absolutely intriguing. With your eloquent writing you illustrated the dangers and horrors of addiction. I must say that of all the things that you did in the past to prove how “tough” you were, writing this book was without a doubt the ultimate way to prove that you ARE indeed a tough person as it obviously took immense bravery to document these events for the world to read. I’m quite positive that you’ll save many lives by telling your story. Hats off to you and your sobriety.

    An Avid Fan,
    Jessica from Louisiana

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