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Marcella and a cask of Lagavulin whisky. It’s OK, she didn’t drink it all 🙂)

What’s on your A list?

My ridiculously fun travel in 2024 continues, and now, instead of boasting/moaning about climbing Ecuadorian volcanoes, I can casually let drop that Marcella and I are just back from a whisky tour of Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland, where they produce some of the fiercest whiskies in the world.

It’s the home of brands like Bruichladdich, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Marcella’s fav (and not only because it’s vaguely pronounceable) Ardbeg.

Most people find these whiskies too Over The Top. They’re heavily peated, meaning you’re getting smoke, old socks, seaweed, and brine as flavors. To be honest, they’re a bit too much for me.

But those that like them, like them a lot.

Exhibit #1: Marcella.

It reminds me of another Scottish spirit, Hendricks gin. They were one of the first to break the mold from the classic London gins (brands like Tanqueray and Gordons).

Rather than a clear glass bottle, theirs was squat and brown, like an old-time medicine bottle.

Rather than a bright square modern label, theirs was diamond-shaped with calligraphic text.

Rather than the usual strong juniper taste, theirs featured “rose petals and cucumbers”. (They suggested you serve it with a slice of cucumber, rather than the usual lemon or lime.)

I loved their early marketing. “Preferred by 1 out of 1000 gin drinkers”.

When I read that, I immediately started drinking Hendricks because I definitely wanted to be that one in a thousand.

After all, I’m special, don’tcha know?

There are a lot of things to which you could give your heart. People too.

Choose bravely. [Tweet this.]

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.