Lost it – and getting it back

It’s an age thing, apparently.

I started losing things.

“Losing it” started small – my hair, what day of the week it was, knowing why I’d come into a room, my eyesight (never really been that good), hearing, the keys, my memory and my temper.

Then the losses spread to my balance, what direction I was headed in, reality and – some have been overheard to say – good taste.

But losing things recently took a huge turn for the worst!

Looking Down In The Mouth

It started when I wanted to write to you about a particular whisky I was going to taste.

I poured it out and, in the best tradition, took a big nose-full to check it out.

Strange!  I was expecting much more nose presence than than I am getting, but the nose is almost non-existent.  Water?  Odd for a high-end, high abv whisky to have no aroma at all.

Her weapon of choice has a cotton bud at the business end which she proceeds to shove up my nostrils

Now I come to think about it, food hasn’t had a whole lot of taste recently.  I wonder …….

What have I got that has a strong smell that I would recognise?  I go and pour a couple of drops of my wife’s Lavender Essential Oil into the palm of my hand and take a big sniff.

Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch and Zero.

My nose has gone on strike!

And so have all the taste buds.  Out to lunch – a totally flavour-free, rather boring lunch!  My sense of smell and taste have left the room.  Totally.

To test or not to test

Fortunately I don’t have the dreaded sore throat.  Three home Covid RATs over the next 24 hours are all negative.

These are followed by an ocean-going Covid test at the doctor’s.

Coming for you!

The nice nurse lady wipes an unnecessarily long stick around inside my mouth.  Her weapon of choice has a cotton bud at the business end which she then shoves so far up my nostrils that I’m sure I can feel a small bump the back of my head.

Now I understand the stick’s length.  It’s so she’s got a little bit to hold on to and she can get it back!

And my eyes are watering enough to make the world appear to be viewed through rained-on window pane.

Again, this test is negative too.

Turns out the no smelling/tasting is the result of a sinus infection,  That’s shelved for a while the plan to make whisky tasting an enjoyable passtime!

A Tasteless Joke

Having no taste sensation is really no joke, but it’s funny the way my mind plays tricks on me; not so much with smells, but certainly with tastes.  Like the sporting muscle-memory, taste seems somehow to be attached to my awareness of what I’m eating: for example, bacon has no discernible taste at the moment.  But I know from life experience how bacon should taste, so in my mind this tasteless bacon has a bacon taste to it.

Generally speaking though, all food has no identifiable taste.  There’s only sensation – the sensation of eating polystyrene.  When all the food feels like polystyrene, it tastes like polystyrene.   Breakfast feels like polystyrene, so does morning tea, lunch, dinner, between meal snacks.  Sometimes the food crunches, sometimes it’s soft and pliable.  But it’s till universally polystyrene,

And when any liquid tastes like water, I may as well drink water.  Sometimes heated and called coffee

Getting it back

My wife’s immediate answer  is a course of her garlic-and-horseradish-and-liquorice-and-vitamin-C tablets.  Daily.

The good side to losing my taste is that I can’t taste garlic-and-horseradish-and-liquor-and-vitamin-C tablets.  Believe me, that’s a blessing.

Another good side is that the tablets are gradually making me better.

As I start to get better, though, the bad news is that I can start to taste the garlic-and-horseradish-and-liquor-and-vitamin-C tablets.  Not quite such a blessing, there!

The good news is that, at the time of writing, the polystyrene is fading.  Smell and taste are slowly returning.  At this late stage there’s not much I can do about the other losses, but there is whisky to look forward to!

Some Tastings

These notes were made before my senses of smell and taste departed (well, smell anyway.  My taste has always been a matter of opinion).

Douglas Laing’s Provenance

From Benrinnes Distillery


Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%,  Age: 12 yo, (distilled 7/07, bottled 2/22)

Colour: Light Amber, Non-coloured and non-chill filtered  (NC2)
Nose: Raw green beans and fainted fried eggs, old rusty tin can, a “low voltage” nose (not much action), brown toast.
Palate: Heat, Black peppercorns, sweet, nutty, cloves.  Sours.
Finish: Hot pepper stays around mouth edges.  Bitter, but no tannin.
Length: Medium/long
Comment: Simple but pleasurable.  You can’t go past a Benrinnes!


A Speyside dram

ABV: 46%, age 13 yo
Colour: Dark Amber
Nose: Wood on a hot summers day, dried fruit peel.  Mouth-watering and makes me want to drink it.
Palate: Soft, smooth.  Well integrated, sweetens.
Finish: An oily finish on lips and tongue.  The taste drifts away.  Very drinkable dram, but it doesn’t stay around long.
Comment: Session whisky.  Dangerous – I could drink too much quite quickly.

Glencadam Reserva
Glencadam Reserva

Andalucia single malt (Andalucia is an orange-growing area of Spain) (sample supplied by Pat)

ABV: 46%, no age statement, NC2.
Colour: gold
Casks: Oloroso & Bourbon, then oloroso finish.
Nose: Oloroso sourness.  Citrus peel and golden syrup.  An astringent note.
Palette: Heat in the middle of tongue.  Sour oloroso.  I keep wanting to go back and re-nose it.
Finish: Drops off quite quickly.
Comment: A quaffable dram.

Tamdhu First Edition

ABV: 59.9%, Age: 14 yo,  Single Cask Sherry Butt

Colour: Dark Gold.  Hangs on to the glass, light legs.
Nose: Rich, nose prickle, Sweet sherry, Manuka honey.  Cloves!!  Fruit steamed pudding.  Gorgeous nose!
Palate: Soft and hot, The cloves cut in, and the initial tongue heat settles.  There is a slight dirtiness in first sip.  A wee bit tannic later and a bit white peppery.
Finish: Heat & dry tongue stays.  Clove flavour overlay, but nice.
Comment: where can I get this?? Love it!

Bendromach 15

ABV: 43%,  Age: 15yo.

Colour: Light gold.
Nose: Sherry, medical (bandages), sweet.  Oak sawdust.
Palate: Smooth, peat (that was not expected!), tannic.
Finish:: First peat taste dies quickly, at the second sip it stays!
Comment: The peat starts to over-ride, with nothing to ease it.