Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Beginning...

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the pub, a large number of Australian rugby players (or were they from New Zealand?) and one very drunk US Army captain introduced me to my first dram of single malt Scotch.  This was approximately eight years ago, and though I have forgotten many of the details of the evening,  I do remember swallowing it and thinking "What the hell was THAT?!" 

"THAT" turned out to be a 10 year old Laphroaig, a rich, peat-smokey single malt from Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland, AND the beginning of a bright, shiny new obsession for me.  I toyed with calling it a love affair, but truthfully, I didn't love it back then. I was, however, fascinated by it (still am for that matter) and ran around Scotland with said army captain collecting books on, and bottles of, various single malts and blends. 

From there on in, no whisky was safe.  Armed with magazine articles and books by various experts (thank you Michael Jackson, Dave Broom, and Charles MacLean), I dissected, discussed, and drank with anyone willing to put up with me.  Fortunately, I lived at the time near my wee Scottish auntie and an uncle who enjoyed a dram on the patio each night, and were amused by my new course of study.  

The next several years had me reading, collecting, teaching, and dramming it up across Germany, France, Scotland,  Ireland, and finally back home to Massachusetts.  By day I teach fifth grade in a local elementary school.  By night, I am... The Whisky Witch.  Well actually, I'm Jess Lofgren, whisky consultant and enthusiast, but after a radio talk show host attempted to label me "The Whisky Maven," I figured I'd best come up with my own moniker lest I get saddled with something worse.  C'mon- maven?  Really?

Am I a whisky expert? Nope.  I do happen to know an awful lot about whiskies (that pile of books just keeps multiplying...) and have been fortunate enough to own, and drink, a fair few of them (No Mom, I do not have a problem). I am someone who loves whiskies, particularly single malt Scotches, and believe that they should be shared and enjoyed by all sorts of folks.  To that end, I teach Whisky 101 classes (think of them as "getting to know you" sessions for Scotch), lead tastings, and talk about whisky with and to just about everyone I meet.  When My sister and Brother-in-law created a blog about their locavore habits, my whisky wheels once again began turning. And so... here we are.  Or at least, here I am.  Hopefully someone else will be here soon, reading, learning, and hopefully heading out to try whisky- "usquebaugh" - the water of life.  You, they, whoever... won't be disappointed!