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When my wife and I go out for dinner and the waiter or waitress steps forth to invite drink requests, I always resist the temptation to order a Scotch. I may ask to see the liquor selections. I may even walk to the bar to scan the horizon’s offerings. However, I rarely place an order.

It is this way for a couple of reasons.

First, we’re not much for restauranting. This is primarily true because we have four children. That fact alone is both cost and noise prohibitive—but mainly, we are penny-pinchers, and we do the best we can to make every dollar count. Second, the restaurants in my area are stereotypical—Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesdays, and the like. With chain restaurants like these, the whisky selection, namely the Scotch selection, is always predictably shallow and incredibly overpriced. You can be assured that a “two finger” dram from one of the bottles considered “the better stuff” (almost always the Glenlivet 12 or some rendition of Johnnie Walker) will be somewhere around $12 to $15. At this, my wife becomes the prohibitive element in the dinner date, reminding me that at $15, I am 1/3 of the way to buying the whole bottle. Sad but true.

But this raises a question: Is there really anything for which you would willingly pay a lot, knowing you would only get a little? I’d have to say yes.

For example, I loved the movie “The Avengers.” Great flick. I saw it thrice in the movie theater and bought the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack at Walmart for $24. As it would go, there’s really only one short scene that makes the whole movie for me. It is the one in which Thor lands atop the transport craft carrying Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s helicarrier. Captain America is on board guarding Loki alongside Tony Starke in full Iron Man gear. Thor rushes in, grabs Loki, and flies out of the transport, intending to bring him to justice alone. Iron Man jets after them leaving the flightless Captain America behind. He looks around for a parachute, saying he’s going after them. Black Widow (flying the transport) says that he should just sit this one out because, essentially, these guys were gods. Without missing a beat, Captain America responds, “Ma’am, there’s only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that.” And then he jumps out of the transport, having won the scene.

That singular scene made the whole movie for me. Of course, there is the scene near the film’s end in which the Hulk so brutally pummels Loki just after he begins ranting that all are beneath him, that he is a god and will not tolerate such lowly creatures bullying him. As the Hulk is lumbering away from a pulverized Loki, he growls, “Puny god.” For me, that scene is icing on what was already a Christological cake.

So, yes, there are some things that I’d pay a lot for knowing I’d only get a smidgen.

I believe that perhaps The Balvenie 21 Portwood also rests in this category. Bearing no small price tag, you can imagine what a two-finger dram would cost in a restaurant—$20 to $30, at least. And yet, if I am out on a date with my beautiful wife—no kids, no cares, no pressing concerns—as the server is iterating the Scotch list, if I should hear that The Balvenie 21 is available, I’d order it. I’d pay a lot for a little.

The nose carries a sensual hint of fruitiness, which is perfectly appropriate for dinner with a classy woman. I can only imagine the wonderful olfactory delight that would be concocted as the scent of the Scotch and my wife’s perfume began to mix.



The palate is delightfully full, offering a hint of raisins and an ever-so-gentle undertone of chocolate. The finish is substantial, carrying away the relatively firm warmth while leaving behind a slightly sweetened nuttiness. Exquisite. Worth every penny.

It’s been a while since we’ve been to Applebee’s. Perhaps we’ll go, and I’ll immediately ask if they have The Balvenie. And if I should hear, “No, we don’t have The Balvenie, but we do have a Johnnie Walker Red blended Scotch that’s just as good,” I shall immediately interrupt and say, “Ma’am, there’s only one Balvenie 21 Portwood, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t dress like Johnnie Walker.”