Whisky Wind-down, 5: High-Altitude Impulse Purchase

Three glasses of whisky clink in airline cups. Inset: A mini-bottle of Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Today’s dram: Buffalo Trace, Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Today’s tasting notes: Excellent, as always. It’s a great balance of sweetness, warmth, and burn. Drinks smooth, finishes clean.

Also? It smells glorious — a mild, sweet aroma that puts me in mind of a ready-to-harvest field of grain.

Today’s thoughts: Yeah, I could have (and did) pack some travel whisky, but Buffalo Trace is a favorite. Seeing it listed on the in-flight menu was a pleasant surprise, so The Empress, a friend, and I went in on an party pack that included three bottles at (by airline standards) a reasonable price.

It might surprise you to learn I don’t regularly order whisky when I’m out and about. Selection can be iffy, and while I’m no miser it does pain me to pay by-the-dram prices that typically run anywhere from a fifth to a third of what you’d pay for an entire bottle of the same whisky.

I will occasionally spring for an unusual dram that’s new to me. And (obviously) I make some exceptions when I’m on holiday.

Also? I can’t not drink on Spirit Airlines.

Today’s toast: To the travelers. May your flights be on time, and may the babies on board be sleepy.

Traveling Notes: Chicago

(Travel Log is about the destination; Traveling Notes is more random observations and tedious details — the “there and back again” aspects of traveling that are not necessarily specific to the destination.)

When booking through a travel website (as opposed to directly with the hotel) verify the advertised amenities with the hotel. It’s a pain in the ass, for example, to discover that the airport shuttle you are expecting does not, in fact, exist.


TSA is TSA is TSA. 

Some day I will complain in detail about security theater, but for now, simply, “Ugh.”


Are hotel shower controls purposefully designed to baffle and confuse the weary traveler? I say yes.


I remember the first time I stayed at a somewhat-fancy hotel (for a friend’s wedding) and discovered the bathroom phone. So, I imagine, does the friend of mine who, upon calling my room, was greeted with, “There’s a phone in the fucking bathroom!”

Shortly after checking in, my wife, from the bathroom: “Why is there a remote control in here?” 

Seconds later: “Never mind. There’s a TV in here.”

There was also a phone.

Apparently, we don’t stay in enough fancy places.


Rainfall shower heads are nice. Probably not nice enough that I will remodel our bathroom, but really quite nice.


I’ve traveled semi-frequently to the north in winter. I love it. I love winter, anyway, but I especially enjoy the opportunity to experience proper winter, with the snow and the ice and the wearing of my best winter garb. 

It’s also nice to be somewhere snow and ice are expected and easily dealt with in small quantities. 

More snow and ice fell in Chicago over the few days we were there than have fallen over the past couple of “snow days” here in Atlanta. 

It’s easy to laugh at how little snow it takes to shut down southern cities, but, well, I consider that among the charm of southern cities. 

The fact I am writing this whilst lounging at home midday with a drink to hand may indicate a slight bias on my part, however.