Whisky – a paint-stripping liquor drunk by crazy Scots and old timers sitting at the end of the bar. A seemingly endless procession of bottles of Chivas Regal and Dimple Haig given to my old man at the end of each year. That’s the impression of whisky I carried growing up, and one that remained until the end of 2009. That is, until a good friend took the time to introduce me to whisky properly.
I knew that my friend Ryan was into his whiskies, but I had decided to not hold it against him. He persevered though, and on that fateful December afternoon I found myself standing in front of a table set up in the garden, laden with bottles of whisky and whiskey, spring water and a bucket of ice.
I can’t quite remember all the whiskies that were on offer, but those I do remember included a Japanese whisky (“What? They make whisky in Japan? Seriously?”), Clynelish, The Singleton of Dufftown and Compass Box Peat Monster.
I’m sure I pulled quite a few faces because of the taste whilst working my way down the table, but all of a sudden, I had a revelation – there was a lot more to whisky than I had previously thought. The range of smells and tastes as we moved from one dram to the other was astounding. Such variety! The smoothness of an Irish, the earthy goodness of a peat whisky and everything in-between. The bug had bitten, and bitten hard.
As Ryan said later that afternoon, “There is a whisky for everyone, you just need to find the right one for you.” And I knew that to be true.
And now, over a year and a half later, as a self-confessed whisky enthusiast, I’d like to expand on that: there is no such thing as a bad whisky for me anymore, rather just varying degrees of goodness.
Please feel free to share your stories of how you started down your path to whisky enlightenment, I’d love to hear them.
Until next time,