I think if you asked, most folks would tell you they have a hero. They have someone who always comes to mind as inspiring, someone who emulates a natural prowess within the field of this world’s most admirable qualities, someone who brings a smile to their faces, and not because the person is perfect, but because he or she resides at a higher level—an almost impenetrable consistency of character—that is lacking in a good portion of our society.
Their hero is often the breathing, moving, and speaking vessel into which they would place each and every thing they would describe as good, thereby making the vessel itself “good,” and not as an adjective, but rather as a noun.
I have a hero who fits this scene. It’s my wife, Jennifer.
As someone who works fulltime, each day experiencing the daily grind of social work, regularly dealing in the depths of those things from which most of us would prefer to avert our eyes—as a fulltime, nearly single mother and house manager, Jennifer is the epitome of hard work, devotion, thoughtfulness, encouragement in the face of challenge, supporting strength against opposition, and cheerful kindness before critical down-lookers. She is a never-ending trove of love and energy for her children while mothering them through storms they encounter or create and must endure. She is a secure ear of confidence, a creative homemaker with little time and yet a careful eye, and a genuine friend to any who need one. Above all else, she is humble, which is why she would argue each of these descriptors. She never needs recognition, and yet she deserves it so much more than most.
She is my hero. Today is her birthday. And so, when I sip in honor of anyone of such high caliber, I must always choose a worthy dram. This time around, while she is eating a well-earned piece of homemade cherry pie and opening a batch of gifts that in no way match her value, I am looking on in bewilderment, a dram of the Kilchoman Sanaig in hand, and wondering how I could have ever been so blessed.
I should mention that the Kilchoman distillery and I have a very uneven relationship. I give them money, and they give me crappy booze—that is, the two editions of the Machir Bay that I’ve tried haven’t been good. Well, let me rephrase that. One was terrible and the other was slightly less terrible.
But the Sanaig… ah, the Sanaig… this edition is surprisingly lovely and well worth every penny collected from the couch, floorboards, and street.
The nose of this pleasant little Islay dram is one of peat and campfire conversations breathing in and out the lazily hanging haze of scorched cedar planks and sizzling meats.
A waterless taste reveals that the peat has an animated edge—brown sugar and fresh pepper at war with one another for the seat of most prominence. Neither wins, but rather they both eventually tire out, allowing for an ashier, more oily finish. And still, there’s room for another surprise—a faint sip of Pinot Grigio and a pinch of salt.
To conclude, there is something telling to be observed among all that is occurring at this moment. Jennifer absolutely despises these smoky whiskies, and she prefers that I not open them near her nor try to steal a kiss after having imbibed. And yet, here I am enjoying the Kilchoman Sanaig during her birthday celebration. Even more so has she already granted me a gentle graze with her cheek.