All a matter of taste
Regular readers will know I’ve been extremely quiet in 2017. My last post was in February 2017 and, although I’ve been active on Instagram and Twitter, my silence on the blog has been bothering me deeply. Over the festive break I’ve been spending some time reflecting and planning, and I have a modest comeback planned for 2018, but it seemed a bit weird to not explain my silence and just pick up where I left off.
About eighteen months ago, completely out of the blue, I began to experience chronic migraine. I’d always had the occasional migraine, but suddenly the days without a migraine became the exception rather than the rule. Naturally this floored me, and had a major impact on productivity, but six months of trial and error with medication got me to my current steady state of eight to ten migraines per month. It was still crappy, but a significant improvement on where I had been. So it was time to get on with my new normal, or so I thought. My tastebuds had other plans.
My sense of taste had become completely unpredictable. Some days a glass of fino filled my mouth with all the familiar flavours and complexities for which I love it. On others, it assaulted me with petrol, rusty metal and hairspray. Oloroso was more reliable and safe, but disappointingly one-dimensional, stripped of its long generous wander through an antique shop.
To say this was frustrating just doesn’t cut the mustard. My hobby as a blogger and tasting-host, my recently launched sherry importing business, and let’s face it, one of my simple pleasures in life – a fine glass of sherry, all seemed to be at risk. I couldn’t commit to tastings in case I wasn’t well or couldn’t taste what my guests were tasting, I couldn’t write a tasting note and be sure I was sensing the real thing, I couldn’t safely judge whether a product was right for our portfolio. It seemed I was well and truly screwed.
Ten months have passed now since I discovered the tastebud problem, and there are still days when everything tastes wrong. But there are days when it all tastes right too, and they are joyous. Yesterday, opening a half bottle of Inocente and letting the flavours do their acrobatics around my palate, nearly reduced me to tears. It reminds me of the simple pleasure a glass of sherry can bring, and on the days that I can taste well I shall revel in that pleasure. I also know now what throws my tastebuds out of whack, so I can predict good tasting days. I need to write off the two days after a migraine and be patient – my sense of taste does come back. And finally, my old pal Tio Pepe is helping me decide when is a good day. It’s a fino I know like the back of my hand, because there’s always a bottle on the go in our fridge. A quick sip tells me whether all is well in the tastebud department. If Tio tastes right, and I can pick up all its nuance, then I’m pretty confident my tastebuds are firing on all cylinders.
So I’m back for 2018, albeit with a more modest output than I might like. I amassed quite a stash last year whilst I was on the bench, so I’ve some interesting things to taste and share. But before I subject you to any dodgy tastings, I’ll be checking in with Tio Pepe, to make sure I’m on the right track!