I am still in the throes of setting up for a massive sample load and none of the scientific suppliers put prices on their websites. Except Sigma-Aldrich. Thanks, folks, that saves me a lot of phoning. For all the rest I have to hunt down the components, record the catalogue numbers and phone their sales desk in the morning to get prices. I won't order tomorrow, I don't yet know when the samples are likely to come and most of the stuff has a short shelf life. Ah, the joys.
There is a bottle of Laphroaig prostituting itself here (as in, I paid for it) and one of my good crystal glasses, so imbibing is restricted this evening but not zero. I have to get my recommended ten units per day, or I might turn into Don Shenker in the night. A horrible prospect, almost as horrible as waking up as the Dreadful Arnott. I couldn't write a story that scary.
On the back of the bottle is an interesting thing. A drawing of a bottle with '28 UK units' written in it. Whether this refers to the bottle in hand, or bottles in general, is not declared.
A drawing of a glass which looks like a pound-shop cheapie, not suitable for this particular beverage, labelled '1 UK unit per 25 ml serving'.
Unfortunately all my volumetric measuring gear is at the lab and I wouldn't want to drink from any of it anyway. 40% alcohol is not enough to be sure of killing Clostridium difficile. I have no idea of, nor interest in, the volume of serving, only of the state of the bottle at bedtime. I don't want to drink my whisky like you do, Righteous, with carefully decanted aliquots measured to the last drop. I have a glass and a bottle (bottle-glass, glass-bottle, aha ha ha) and I'll stop when I've had enough.
Next to these pictures telling us what a bottle and a glass look like (bottle-glass, glass-bottle, aha ha ha - damn, I'm still being haunted by Tommy Cooper) , is a little box headed 'UK Government's Sensible Drinking Limits'.
Read that again. It's straight out of Monty Python, or Spike Milligan's Q series. 'UK Government' and 'Sensible' in the same sentence constitutes an oxymoron anyway and since I have paid for this bottle, including their filthy levels of duty, I will not be told how to drink it. If I wanted to put the neck of the bottle in my mouth and down the lot in one go, I would. I'm not going to because that will make me feel a lot of pain and I'd be incomprehensible on the phone tomorrow, even if I woke up before the suppliers closed. The point is though, this bottle of lovely smoky drink is mine now. It's not my first. I don't need an instruction leaflet. Really. I've done this before and I'll do it again.
I am experienced at drinking far more than is recommended by 'sensible' drinking guidelines and I'm not dead. I have never been arrested for anything ever. I have never smashed a phone box. I have not peed on your dog nor have I tried to borrow money from your cat. I have not chatted up your pet pig (well, on that one I'm not so sure). I have spent an evening on the Glenfarclas 105 and woken up at home. I was younger then, it might not be an easy feat to repeat. But it's my life, nobody else's and if I choose to be continually surprised when it all flashes before my eyes at the end (That really happened? I thought I dreamt it) then that is nobody else's problem.
As for costing the NHS money, well you can sit on that argument and enjoy the thorns. The NHS has so far cost me enormous amounts of money and I have rarely even popped in to say hello. Yes, I expect them to fix me if I break. I've already paid for it. If you want to exclude me from NHS treatment then in all fairness, you must exclude me from paying for it. Otherwise, you have no argument at all.
The little text box continues...
Men - 3 to 4 units, Women - 2 to 3 units per day.
Leaving aside the blatant gender discrimination (yes it is, I know women who can drink more than me, and yes, they are scary), that only allows me 100 ml of this bottle of organic goodness for the entire night. I estimate that this crystal glass, even only a quarter filled, holds more than that and I've just reloaded it. Pour it down the sink and go to bed? Take a look at the price of this stuff and then dare to make such a suggestion! I'd wring out the bottle if I could. Wasting a glass of Clan Macgregor would be only mildly annoying. Wasting a glass of this would be heartbreaking.
It would be like telling smokers to leave a long stub when they're paying £5+ for a pack and therefore 25p+ per cigarette. Waste half of it? Not likely, is it?
So. My recommendation, which is only for me, is no more than 3-4 units per glass. More than that and I risk nodding off and wasting it. Note that my recommendation only applies to me. If you want a recommendation, invent your own. The alcohol control Righteous invented theirs, after all. It's all just made-up numbers so we might as well make up our own. They are just as valid.
Next up on the Text Box of Righteousness...
'Don't drink and drive.'
No problem. I don't drive. Those who don't drink are free to drive as much and as often as they like. Therefore, logically, those who don't drive...
Finally there is a website.
'For more information see www.drinkaware.com'
I won't bother. I am drink-aware. I'm looking at a bottle of it right now. I am well aware of what would happen if I drank the whole bottle tonight. I would spend all day tomorrow feeling as if I had lost an intellectual discussion with fifteen skinheads, I'd say 'argh' and not much else and I'd crap like a power-washer filled with nitric acid. I would also have wasted £22 (special offer, Morrison's) because I could have done that with a blend at half the price. The pain would be the same.
If Don Shenker is around, I've just reloaded the glass again. There are no more than three units in there, so don't be alarmed. I won't be calling on the services of that NHS I've been paying for all these years just yet. I'll leave that to those who enjoy hospital-acquired infections.
I mean, why put all that simpleton-level instruction on the Laphroaig? Binge drinkers and alkies won't touch it. There is an ex-alcoholic who visits, and I'm sure he'd agree that an alcoholic wants as much alcohol as possible at the lowest price available. Alkies do not peruse the shelves deciding which to buy. They do not agonise between the Tormore and the Laphroaig when both are reduced to much the same price. They do not wonder whether a Singleton might be a better choice this time even if it is a few pounds more. Alkies go straight for the own-brand stuff and buy as many bottles as they have money for. Not the own-brand malts either.
An alcoholic will not pay £22 for a bottle of whisky when he/she can get two bottles of own-brand firewater for that price.
I won't finish this bottle tonight but I will make a dent in it that would have Don Shenker outraged. Nobody buys single malts for guzzling purposes. They are too expensive for that. These are sipping whiskies, not gulping whiskies. They are to be savoured and enjoyed.
I like to enjoy a tad more than the average at one sitting. I do not get into a state where I am incapable the next day. Well, unless it's a particularly excellent Smoky-Drinky and I have nothing important to do the next day but being a generally unsociable swine and one who considers holidays as an inconvenience, that's rare. I have never been drunk in the lab - to hell with the Elfin Safety rules, this is my safety I'm concerned with here and to me, that matters.
We don't need these silly little boxes of text. Not on the malts and not on the cheap stuff the alkies like. They are irrelevant when you're paying over £20 a bottle because irresponsible drinkers don't buy those bottles. They buy cheaper ones and they don't care what's on them because they don't read the labels. It is a complete and utter waste of time and money.
But hey, it's their time and our money.
The concept of 'individual people are different' is lost on the Righteous. They can't see it. There is no point trying to explain it to them because they will never see it. They are not capable of seeing it.
To them I am a problem drinker. Not because I cause problems - I don't - but because I ignore the guidelines. The problem is that I am not under control. The Righteous must bring me under control. They must make me fit the standard format.
All I can say, as I recharge my glass again, is good luck with that, Righteous.
2-3 units per day. Bottle-glass, glass-bottle, aha ha ha. Make it 2-3 per hour and we'll get somewhere.