“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
― Mark Twain
A few years back I wouldn’t have been caught dead drinking whiskey. Couldn’t stomach the stuff. Couldn’t even muster the will to sniff it. I thought it was a vile substance purposefully brewed to torture people and I was absolutely convinced that anyone who claimed they liked whiskey were lying.
Then hubby and I visited Scotland for the first time and it was in Glasgow I had my first ever whiskey – because I thought there was no way I could get away with not having whiskey in Scotland. When in Rome, et cetera et cetera.
And that’s when my latest love affair was born, sitting in the Wee Pub at the Chip and being directed in how to “chew” my whisky by a native Glaswegian. I have never looked back ever since.
I mean sure; whisky isn’t the easiest drink to stomach and you should never approach it light heartedly. It’s got a bad-ass attitude to boot, and an alcohol level that kicks the proverbial behind of any beer or wine or even most spirits.
Like many of life’s great pleasures, whiskey is an acquired tastes but it is definitely worth the pursuit. And, in case you didn’t know, technically whisky is nothing more than distilled beer, and I think we all know how I feel about beer (I bloody love it).
Anyway. Whisky is a surprisingly versatile drink and every measure is an adventure. I personally like my whisky smoky as a bonfire and peaty as hell. That is not to say that there aren’t other kind of whiskeys out there; sweet, floral, spicy, vanilla… I mean it is almost an endless spectrum.
And yeah, you do probably have to “learn” to drink whisky but let’s be honest, we “learn” to like most of the things we like in adulthood. I doubt anyone had their first sip of red wine and went “oh my God yes, this is exactly what I have waited for all my life”, and if you did, your palate must be much more evolved than mine. I can’t say that my first ever encounter with whisky when I was at the tender age of 18 was in any way a pleasant one, but this golden nectar grew on me.
And hey, anyone (and I mean anyone) can look cool hanging at the bar with a double measure of the malty stuff. Seriously.
I think everyone should have a little whisky in their life – to get you started, here’s some of my favourite ones.
Lagavulin – 43%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
My first love and all-time favourite. This bad boy is a smoky and peaty bruiser. Lagavulin is not for the faint-hearted, it smells of laurel and light cereal, but is always sweet. A bottle of whoop-ass sets you back around fifty big ones, and it’s probably the best pennies you’ve ever spent.
Talisker Skye – 45.8%
Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Talisker Skye is an easy-drinking Talisker, taking the distillery’s classically rugged character and softening it out, while maintaining the smoky and sweet notes the distillery is known for. You don’t need to be a fan of the original gangsta to enjoy this whopper, and it’s realy reasonable priced at around £40.
Rock Oyster Cask Strenght – 57.4%
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Anticipate a blast of sea air on the nose and a tempestuously oceanic storm on the palate. Rock Oyster Cask Strength brings a big peat hit full of Islay phenols, iodine and coal dust, with a shake of pepper softening to a distinct honey sweetness from the Arran casks. And if you’re into upcycling the bottle is probably one of the coolest around. The damage is around £45 per bottle.
Single Minded Douglas Laing – 48.4%
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
This bad boy is a 6-year-old single malt is a a rich, smoky and feisty whisky. It’s got attitude. It’s Light, citrusy and zesty, with a darker smoky belly that’ll charm the pants of you. Literally. A bottle of this charming little number will set you back around £50.
Let’s share some whisky love! What’s your favourite? Tell me all about it, pronto!