Anthony Bourdain went to Antarctica recently, where he camped out at a scientific research station near the foot of a giant blue glacier. The group was enjoying some whisky, so one of the guys went outside and came back with a bowl of Antartica ice for their drinks.
“[He] said, ‘The ice I just put in your drink is like thousands of years older than even the idea of whisky,'” Bourdain recalled. “Hundreds—if not thousands—of years ago was when this water was frozen, and has remained exactly like that since.”
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And that is about as Bourdain-esque an anecdote as you can get.
Bourdain told that story to writer Dan Dunn for Dunn’s new podcast Drinky Fun Time from Feral Audio, where he takes a famous person to a cool place, pours a drink, and then records the conversation. Dunn previewed his talk with Bourdain ahead of the podcast’s first episode on August 1. Over a bottle of Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year, aged in bourbon barrels from American oak and sherry casks from European oak, the two talked whisky, and specifically Scotch, which Bourdain is currently developing a taste for.
Bourdain admitted that he doesn’t prefer Scotch neat, like a true whisky snob might. “I’m sure many people don’t like when I say it, but unless it’s something really, you know, rare and high-end like this, I’ll put a rock or two in,” he said. “It seems to open it up a little in a way I like.”
He has a simple rule of thumb: Over 23 years, drink it neat. Under 23 years, add ice. “For recreational, sitting by myself at the bar listening to Tom Waits, I’d be drinking this with a rock in it,” Bourdain told Dunn. And yeah, it might not be masterful, but if you had the opportunity to drink a good whisky with thousand-year-old ice harvested from the base of an Antarctic glacier, you’d be drinking a Scotch slushy.