Sunday, 15 September 2013

"My take on Whisky" - by Steph

While Steph (my wife) has been a regular contributor to this blog in the form of support, joining me at the many, many tastings/events/tours, and allowing my growing Whisk(e)y collection to take over the living room, this is her first post. Hopefully the first of many!

If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be immersed in all things whisky at this point in my life, I would have given you an odd look and walked the other way. Whisky had the reputation, at least with me, of being an old man’s drink that even my father wasn’t interested in. When Martin, my boyfriend at the time (now husband) ordered  a dram at Marble bar a good few years ago I turned my head in revulsion and demanded to know why he would choose to drink something that smelt (and presumably tasted) like Iodine?! My taste buds have shifted since that day.

Whisky tastings are a great way to spend a weekday night, and a nice way to explore different varieties. I love it when the structure of tastings change and evolve because I am so sick of hearing how whisky is made!

I love whisky fairs now that we know so many of the people there. I love the energy, passion and humour of many brand ambassadors that we have been lucky enough to get to know. I particularly love when stands have high quality chocolate sitting alongside the bottles of whisky (HELLO Glenfiddich!) I am always frustrated when exhibitors discredit me and my interest in whisky and talk solely to my husband. Gender inequality much?

Coincidently, many whisky fairs often occur around the time of my husband’s birthday (October) which allows me the opportunity to observe what he enjoys before I make an excuse to use the ladies while I race around to the shop and buy him what he covets (I bought him 4 bottles in 2012). It makes birthday present shopping a breeze!

My favourite time to drink the stuff is on a rare Friday night that I happen to be home alone. I put on my pyjamas, cue up a girly rom-com, and explore our liquor collection. I'll either stick with my old favourite (Lagavulin 16), try something that I know I like (Laphroaig PX cask, Balvenie 15, Gentleman Jack) or explore something different (e.g. One of the Glenfiddich special editions, a Scotch MaltWhisky Society interestingly-labelled bottle - Pulled Pork with Chocolate Mousse - anyone?)

These days I still can’t handle the strength and bitterness of new make (please don’t tell me it’s smooth because how can something so strong that it burns my throat be ‘smooth’?) and I do add a few drops of water when the alcohol strength shocks my system. I prefer the aged whiskies, particularly when they are aged in a sherry, sauternes or port casks.  I appreciate a good Islay whisky as I have developed a taste for the smokiness.

I am thoroughly enjoying this journey into whisky and the great people that we are meeting along the way. I am proud of my husband for his dedication to his blog, which is opening up more opportunities for him to be further immersed into the whisky world, while taking me along for the ride.

- Steph.

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