DAVID GINSBORG, chairman of the program committee, introduced the speaker, STEVE BEAL, who apparently is a public relations man for Johnny Walker Scotch. Because of discussions we’ve had in the program committee, some of us started our stop-watches when David began. But he did his job in very reasonable time, and he had us laughing several times in his short intro.
Beal turned out to be a jolly representative of the liquor company, although he didn’t nuzzle up to the microphone sufficiently, and some of us (including at least one who does NOT have a hearing problem) found that we missed a lot of what he said.
So my notes are far from complete. But here are some of his thoughts:
He used to be a minister, but he moved into Scotch – thus trading one spiritual experience for another. His job, he said, continues to be evangelizing people.
Whiskey, somebody said, is the water of life. And the secret of life is in a grain of barley. Barley, he told us, was a form of money in the Middle Ages.
All whiskeys, he said, are made from a grain, fermented naturally and distilled at least twice. In oak barrels for at least three years. Some whiskeys are made from corn. Scotch and English whiskeys are made from Malt.
Curious: he said that the true flavor of whiskey comes out after a drop of water has been applied to it. That caused ALI BASSIRI to approach the speaker after the talk and to question him about that, since many of us drink our Scotch on the rocks.
Richard Romney observed that he’d been told that a great way of enlivening oatmeal is to add a drop of Scotch to it. What followed was a little confused, so I never quite understood Beal’s response.
TOM HASTINGS asked a question that certainly is on MY mind when I drink Scotch: Is there really a difference between Johnny Walker Red and Johnny Walker Black and the relatively new (and highly expensive) Johnny Walker Blue. And what IS that difference. The speaker says that it’s a matter of aging. Black Label is aged for 12 years. Blue is much older … and much “smoother.”
Part of the presentation rested on little bottles of Scotch which he had placed on the tables. A lot of the bottles were opened, and small amounts were poured into glasses on our tables. We tasted it. And he asked us to literally hold our noses while doing so. I never quite understood the purpose of that.
A fun program.
Summary by Bob Kieve
Photos by Paul Tumason