Whisky Artwork at Glenlivet Distillery

As we crossed from Perthshire into the Scottish Highlands, I stood on the edge of a whisky-filled abyss. The Spirit of Speyside whisky festival loomed before me – five solid days of whisky-splashed hikes, tours, rambles, quizes, and tastings around Scotland’s Speyside whisky region. I’d filled my calendar with a slate of events several months prior, and here I was in the area of Scotland with the highest concentration of distilleries.

And I don’t believe in spitting. Somewhere Mickey Mantle shook his head in reproach.

I write this post on Monday night just north of Speyside proper. The festival – for me – has come to an end and the previous five days are little more than a scattering of mental images viewed through the bottom of a Glencairn glass. The notes I made and discussions I recorded on my iPhone have proven inane, unintelligible, hilarious, epiphanic, tear-jerking, and joyous. And I’m just talking about the list of drams I tasted.

What follows is a metered selection of some of the darker moments in whisky tasting notes history, straight from my moleskine. Just a taste to whet your appetite for proper articles on all my machinations at the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival. Read more...

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Hand-waves of Scotland

Off in Scotland’s hinterland, among the rural villages and close-knit islands, there is a sign language common to all travelers of the road. Native Scots deliver these signs from behind the wheels of moving vehicles with some combination of hand, arm, and head movement, and to the average visitor unschooled in such speech the meaning is always reduced to a simple salutation. Some would simply say that a person is “waving.”

But then, much is lost in translation even between English-speaking cultures.

In fact, the different hand-waves of Scotland are nuanced with myriad meanings depending on the circumstances. Read more...

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Death by street-crossing

Argentina is not out to get you.

Sure, it’s possible to freeze to death on a glaciated ice plain in Tierra del Fuego or die of thirst wandering the blistering Puna highlands. Of course there’s the chance you’ll startle a napping Yarará pit viper or catch a pouncing Puma to the side of the face near Iguazú Falls. As a whole, though, Argentina’s a pretty hospitable place for people. There are plentiful farmlands filled with walking barbeques (i.e., cattle), gorgeous mountain communities, and pleasant coastline.

Lest you think the forest animals serenade you awake each morning, however, you should know there are some very real dangers to the visitor. After spending a month in the streets of Buenos Aires and Salta, I’ve faced each several deadly challenges on numerous occasions and lived to share my survival secrets. Don’t place yourself in unnecessary peril – read on! Read more...

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Post image for An Historic Conversation with Seneca

…We need to bestir ourselves; life will leave us behind unless we make haste; the days are fleeting by, carried away at a gallop, carrying us with them; we fail to realize the pace at which we are being swept along; here we are making comprehensive plans for the future and generally behaving as if we had all the leisure in the world when there are precipices all around us… Read more...

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Post image for The Drink Taxonomy of Guys

…every night around the world bars are flooded with a mosaic of patrons, from happy-go-lucky students to desperate professionals to crusty old timers in the corner. For many, it’s a race to gather as much information as possible about romantic prospects before opportunity stops knocking… Read more...

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