Scotch drinkers are social, Laird told us. They like to stay up late swapping stories. They aren’t there to get drunk, they’re there to taste flavors. They aren’t pretentious—Laird suggested what we might nose in our glasses, but he reminded us that “whatever you nose, you’re right.” Since we were mostly nosing yellow mustard and not vanilla notes and hints of Scottish heather, that was a relief. Laird next went on the hard Balvenie sell. Balvenie does things the old-fashioned way, malting its barley by hand, stirring it for five days on a floor the size of a basketball court. Our minds drifted to the Lady Terps’ game against Princeton, but we were pulled back to scotch and stories of the hand-coopered barrels at Balvenie, its on-site coppersmith who hand-hammers the stills, the five generations of family who keep up the traditional scotch-making ways.