He stands there, hands on hips like a great authoritative Bacchus disciple. You've got to go there. You must be there to get the real feel of what is going on. You must be in Scotland near Islay, so said my dad to us boys as we sat around the fire in our house in Maine. As cold as it was now we always had a fridge full of ice cubes. My father sipped his Dalwhinnie Single malt sans water on Wednesday nights. On Tuesdays it was Laphroaig. On Sundays Lagavuelin which he couldn't even spell and smelt from his breath right through the house. No never with water and if you have to, only a tear drop of water. That was his measure. But we were never allowed to cry. What was missing for me and Robert was that he seems to love his malt whisky more than he loves us. The only one he softens his voice for is Aunt Anne because they share a bottle that she usually brings around when she visits. Every night as we sit snow bound he goes on about his Scotch. The twenty year olds were good but the twelve years took some beating. You tell a good Scotch by using your nose. Not like you Robert picking your nose all of the time. I don't pick my nose...Then your palate recognises the rich liquid. You boys just gulp and swallow and that's being without manners. This was his monotonous theme. How the whisky came from the peat flowing waters running of the Spey. Age made a big impression on my dad. Robert was older and quieter than me but at nine years I had this story for ten years. I could swear I heard this raving in my mother's womb. She is away right now in Spain drinking cheap Riocha wines that are two weeks old. Just to get back at dad that she also knows about these things. Last week she was up and off just before the snows came. Left with a few of her girlfriends for warmer climes. They had an argument just before she left. "How can you spend so much on whisky? Six different kinds at one time. Everyone else orders one bottle and when that is finished they order the same again. But not YOU. A waste of money. And please stop picking on the boys." This is not just any sort of whisky, he would say. It demands respect. This is a generation to generation thing. Every particle in every bottle has got a history, a story a real maturing. Healthy malts that make a tingle down your spine. Say all you want to he said but the 12 year olds are the best; they got breeding. Forget about the 20 year olds too expensive and show-offy. They only have make believe class. My father drank Johnnie Walker, said my mother and he lived for almost a hundred years. No! Your father drank bastard blends. A mixture like different races intermarrying. Sooner or later something breaks down. Say dad, I said can I taste this good old 12 year old you're always raving about? Special water, special glass, special rivers in Scotland, special soil, special peat, everything is special with you. What about me and Robert. I'll be ten next week. Robert is already twelve and you haven't once said to him that he is something special. Go on dad, say something nice to him. He'd like that.