Why “Angels’ Portion”?

I am a Lutheran pastor. I enjoy Scotch. Yes, really.

In the Bible, the Greek word for “angel” is ἄγγελος (angelos). It means, quite literally, “messenger.” It is the root of the word εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion), which is “evangelical” or “Gospel.” In the Book of Revelation, the pastors of the churches are called angels because they are messengers. Pastors are messengers, men who bring what the Christian church calls the Good News of Jesus Christ.

With that, distillers refer to the portion of whisky that evaporates during the aging process as the “angels’ share” or sometimes the “angels’ portion.” The point is, the longer it ages, the more the angels appear to take, sometimes as much as forty percent of a full barrel.

The name fits.

So, how did a man of German descent discover that his veins carry forth in swift order with the blood of Scots?

On my way home from Russia, while in London, I walked into a little liquor shop just to look around. The owner, noticing my wanderings, asked if I liked whisky.

“Not really,” I said. “Never had a taste for it. I’m more of a beer person.”

“Well, you’ve never had the right kind,” he answered, and not in a way that suggested he was merely trying to make a sale, but in a way that suggested he truly believed what he was saying and he intended to convert me to his creed. I was enticed enough to spare the time while he shepherded the way.

He led me to a few open display bottles and one by one gave me a sip, each time from a clean dram. He was right. I’d never had the right kind (not that American whiskies are bad – they’re just not this good). The bottles I experienced that day were never aged less than 18 years. One, a 30-year-old, was exquisite indeed, but my inexperience judged it far too extreme for my wallet. Knowing now what I lacked in knowledge then, I would have captured the fine single malt and made the appropriate Visa payments.

Not long thereafter, I left the store as a devoted disciple and the proud owner of a bottle of William Grant & Sons Limited Rare & Extraordinary – Twenty Five Year Old. Sadly, because of its extremely limited bottling, I will most likely never pass that way again. But our time together was sweet.

There are few things in this life that I truly love. My wife, my children, my family (both biological and “chosen”), these all hold that station. There are few things in this life that I enjoy just enough that they call with regularity across the chasm between love and enjoyment, petitioning a more prominent place. Of course, these things will never fully receive that station, but they will continue to bring meaning to the words, “Τὰ ἅγια τοις ἁγίοις” (holy things for holy ones).

This site, principally dedicated to whisky, contains a record of these things, and God willing, a little bit more.

16 thoughts on “Why “Angels’ Portion”?”

  1. Very interesting… I guess being raised a Southern Baptist, I have never encountered a pastor who admitted to enjoying alcohol. I might be inclined to enjoy the company of someone who was more honest like yourself, and even find my way into a pew to hear him speak. I am not on good terms with the church.

    I am intrigued.

    I thank you for visiting my blog. I will be following yours and finding my way here again. You have a fine and authentic voice and I like it.

  2. Fellow messenger and servant…thank you for visiting my site! I will enjoy yours also these moments that we are here! Many blessing to you this morning!

  3. This is a very interesting introduction to the blog. I wish to read more of you! Wishing you the very best!

  4. Thanks for the like on one of my post
    All the best, Jenny

  5. This was so interesting!
    This was an education on priests/pastors (whereas I have held, I’m sorry do basically hold, a disregard for, for the pedophile prevalence) – but to your parish, yes, I would risk to spare my time.

    I like your plain English, your honesty and your humanity. I really do raise my hat to you : cheers. 🙂

    • Glad you gave it the time. I would certainly offer you a place in the pews if you visited, and I would greet you with a genuine peace of the Lord. Stop by again, please.

  6. Dennis Smoke said:

    Thanks for the insights I own a small place called Rumors in Hudson Mi. We are starting a scotch club and your reviews are quite helpful.

    • That’s great! Glad they have been helpful. Just looked you up and it would seem that you aren’t too far away. I’d love to stop in to one of the scotch club gatherings and see for myself, maybe even write something up for the site.

  7. Good to read, Master Scotch!!

  8. Dear underservant of Christ and fellow brother in Christ (I am a an american expat living in Denmark, recently renounced my LC-MS membership, I support ACELC, and now looking at joining the sister church in Denmark http://www.vivit.dk).

    While I may never tasted scotch (good of bad) I thank you for the interview you recently did on national radio (http://steadfastlutherans.org/2015/06/dealing-with-pietism-on-a-mass-scale/). I grew up in a roumanian Baptist conservative church and family where drinking (any size of) alcohol was among the NOs list.

    Glad to understand the true freedom we have under God’s Grace, and not add more burdening laws and rules to our consciences or God’s divine Commandments.

    If visiting Scandinavia, feel free to stop by Europe’s oldest kingdoms. Maybe you will find some scotch-related worthy event.


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