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The Albion River Inn boasts a whiskey collection to rival any on the north coast, with over 150 varieties of whiskey on offer from all over the world. Because this is an Irish holiday, it makes sense that Irish whiskey would be the drink of choice for many of you this evening. However, if you visit the bar tonight at the Albion River Inn (and we hope you do), you can’t blame us if we try to turn your attention to the joys of Scotch whisky in honor of one of our guests. Fred Campbell (pictured here to the right of ARI owner, Flurry Healy) has recently completed all of the Scotch whisky tasting flights we have on offer at the bar. That’s right - Fred, a frequent guest at the Albion River Inn, started working his way through our scotch tasting flights on Valentine’s weekend, 2008, and completed his journey this past Valentine’s weekend, 2015. Here is what Fred had to say about this milestone in the world of scotch… Albion River Inn: How do you take your scotch? Fred Campbell: I take my scotch neat, in a Glencairn glass when possible, wi' just a kiss o' the dew. ARI: How and when did this journey begin, and how long did it take you to make your way through all of the Scotch whisky tasting flights offered by the Albion River Inn? FC: I began my love and interest of fine single malts in 1993, when I was elected Chief of the South Bay Scottish Society, and was sworn in with a 16-year-old Lagavulin. My journey with ARI began Valentine's weekend, 2008, and concluded this past Valentine's weekend, 2015, when I completed all of the tasting flights offered. Many of the other wonderful offerings were tasted elsewhere, either at other organized tastings, or on my own. And, by the way, I don't think the journey ever ends! ARI: What do you look for in a scotch? FC: I look for a dram with some complexity and maturity (NOT AGE!) - one that I can linger over and savor slowly. I look for something that makes me want to come back over and over again. ARI: What scotch would you say is your "go-to" scotch? The one you always make a point of having on-hand? FC: The ONE scotch that I always try to have on hand is a very inexpensive yet wonderful unassuming little dram called Lismore. It's a Speyside, medium body, with a delicate fruity nose, light spice and citrus, warm bread, vanilla and malt on the palate, with a warm smooth finish, and just a hint of lingering spice. ARI: If you were stranded on a desert island and could pick three bottles from our collection to have with you for the duration, which would they be and why? FC: Really? I have to choose?! That's a really hard one to try to answer in a quick email, especially without your full list in front of me… Without going into detail as to the ‘whys’ - except to say that I find them all very enjoyable and diverse - they would be… a) Highland Park 25 year... b) Glen Ord 30 year... c) Glenmorangie Nectar D'or... All wonderfully complex and satisfying drams! ARI: Any advice for beginning scotch connoisseurs? FC: All I can say to the beginning aficionado is, try to find a guide for your journey, try as many as you can from all regions, and keep a journal of your travels through the wonderful world of Scotch whisky ... and ... don't be afraid to try some of the wonderful blended whiskies and blended malts ... some of them may surprise you! ARI: The Irish claim that they invented whiskey - but the Scottish say they perfected Irish whiskey by turning it into Scotch whisky. Care to dive into this controversy on St. Paddy's Day? =) FC: I'm not getting into any controversies ... LOL ... except to say the Scots certainly HAVE perfected single malts! ARI: LOL! So we probably shouldn’t get into the different spellings the Irish and Scottish have for this fine spirit. It’s probably enough to say that whether you drink Irish “whiskey” or Scotch “whisky” on this fine St. Patrick’s Day, we at the Albion River Inn lift a glass with you. Sláinte!