Pretty much every Scot and many more of us beyond, has a whisky story. Whether professional, fan or drinker. Stories of likes, dislikes, theories or rules, stories of excess or friendship. My podcast, which this blog precedes for now, will seek out everyone’s story – honest , informative or amusing. Whisky confessions, observations or thoughts. I will not review or taste whiskies although I might share my own ongoing journey from malt to malt.
Today’s blog is about me so that you know where I am coming from. My first memories of whisky were of my father and grandfather drinking their blended whisky almost certainly Johnny Walker, while I played on the floor looking up at their cut crystal glasses reflecting the flickering flames of the fire through the bright amber liquid. It fasciated me as they stood holding their glasses laughing and chatting, conviviality personified.
Now I have drunk whisky for 40 years plus. I until recently I mainly knocked it back at 50:50 with water. only recently did i discover slow appreciative tasting.
A passing knowledge of whisky served me well in my Business life. I remember on my first evening in Sarawak, Malaysia being introduced to a leading timber baron as he sipped Black Label with the man who owned the small Chinese hotel I was living in, they invited me to join them for a dram. After a couple to reciprocate, I brought down the 15 year old Bowmore I had bought at duty free and introduced them to single malt. 2 years later when I had some problems with a local politician (I was served notice that I was to be deported – a whole new story) but a friend told me I would not be in any danger as everyone knew I was a friend of Mr. Tan. Who said drinking was bad for you?
On another occasion in a Moscow Bar an older Japanese gentleman sent his assistant to invite me to join him. I spent a very pleasant evening talking golf and whisky with this interesting man who turned out to be the Head of Sony. You just never now – whisky is the drink of everyman. Ask Rabbie Burns.
As malts became more prevalent iI remember drinking a very old – dated – Talisker, in Aviemore in a Bar called the Illicit Still. The whisky was so strong it took up the moisture in my mouth fizzing like sherbet. i became a malt fan instantly.
I remained a sometime whisky drinker becoming more and more interested in wine. It was only when I moved to central Scotland and joined a group of friends that I discovered that everyone drank Lagavuelin, which then became my drink of choice. Over the years I have had many ‘drinks of choice’ from Bunnahabhain., to Bowmore, to Edradour. At this moment I drink mainly Glenfarclas 12 year old a lovely sweet traditional malt. The best dram I have tasted of late has been a Glen Ord Singleton 15 year old. That may change in the next week or two but that is the joy of malt whisky. All different, all ages different, different friends with different perception and tastes.
I live about 8 miles from Black Grange the very heart of the Scots whisky industry and of course have friends in Diageo the world’s largest drinks company. My brother in law is Chairman of the Malt Whisky trail so I am never short of input from whisky fans and knowledgeable friends. My most regular tasting companion is our local farmer who hails originally from Islay. so my whisky supplies come from a broad church.
I accumulate rather than collect different whisky so whilst I invest in wine I do not want to take the enjoyment out of whisky by commercialising it. I drink it for the friendship and good times I enjoy with my fiends. I profess no great nose or palette.