21 April 2007


Cap'n Bill celebrated his retirement last night after 37 years a firefighter. Bagpipes wailed and fireworks burst from the demesne of Castle Lloyd. Delicacies were shared and roast haunches were devoured. A keg of beer was drained and party cake was consumed. Thirty-seven years. If you multiply 37 by 365 (and add 9 leap days) you get 13,514 days. That is one billion, one hundred sixty-seven million, six hundred nine thousand, six hundred seconds. 1,167,609,600. My calculator shows it as 1.1676096 E 09. Now I think I'm supposed to add a leap second in there for the millenium--or is it subtract? I can't recall. I'm sure I can dig it out of the U.S. Naval Observatory website some time when I'm feeling really nerdy. I was contemplating the billion seconds because of the piece de resistance of the affair, namely, a 37-year old single malt whisky called Bruichladdich. Impossible to pronounce at first glance, it is hard to imagine that "brook-laddie" will do, though that fails to capture the aspirated k-sound. Get that first "ch" caught in a gargle in the back of your throat and the whisky sounds like a curse, or maybe a prep move in a loogey-hawking contest. Shame on me--the whisky was too sublime for that! Thirty-seven years in American oak, in a cool, dark cellar on a Hebridean coast, this was a once-in-lifetime whisky. The nose alone had such depth and complexity I was afraid the flavor and finish would be unable to live up the the expectation it created. No need to fear. The golden dram was impossibly smooth, with warm, rich tones, and a long, dry, lingering aftertaste. Memorable stuff, and a memorable night. Amazing what a billion seconds can do.

No comments: