There are two things a Highlander likes naked, and one of them is malt whisky. (Scottish proverb)
Beer does not taste like itself unless it is chasing a dram of neat whisky down the gullet – preferably two drams. (Sir Compton MacKenzie writing in 1907)
Whisky, the golden nectar, the water of life. In Gaelic known as Uisge Beatha = “lively water”.
Many a night I can be found enthusing about whisky (some would say boring) and never did I imagine something could capture my imagination as whisky has.
I’ll never be a collector as simply staring at those beautiful bottles isn’t enough, I want what’s in them!
My journey into discovering whisky has only just begun but I’ve been very fortunate to have sampled some extraordinary drams so far.
Joining Whisky Squad was pivotal and through these informal gatherings I’ve met Brand Ambassadors, industry peeps, bloggers and heard about events taking place around the country.
Whisky Live, The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show and more recently Whisky Lounge Fest are fantastic places to try a huge variety of styles from distilleries around the world.
Here in London finding pubs/bars that stock an interesting and varied range of whiskies is sometimes challenging. Most whisky shelves resemble a well stocked Waitrose, which I guess isn’t a bad thing. However, we are fortunate to have 2 designated whisky clubs — SMWS (Scotch Malt Whisky Society) in Farringdon and The Soho Whisky Club. The Scottish restaurant and bar on Trafalgar Sq – The Albannach has an astounding range and as does Boisdale (Canary Wharf), I’m told.
Restaurants are realising there’s a market for better quality and more interesting whisky. Hawksmoor Guildhall and Barbecoa have some cracking drams on the menu. Any coincidence they also specialise in meat?
Generally speaking it is getting better and I’m sometimes surprised at what treasures some bars have nestled up on their shelves.
I remember Powder Keg Diplomacy in Clapham stocking Compass Box (which you don’t see often enough) and more surprising was Bain’s Single Grain whisky, from South Africa.
It would seem I am becoming a bit of a “Whisky Evangelist” and I’ll happily gush about the wonders that are Whisky Squad and SMWS. Yes, I’m unashamedly a little biased.
A question I’m often asked is what is my favourite whisky. Well that depends on the day of the week, the weather, what colour underwear I’m wearing. You get the picture.
Deciding on a bottle to take with me to the Himalayas was a challenge and it’s by no means my favourite but it encapsulates many aspects of what I enjoy about whisky.
It is predictably a SMWS bottling, a heavily sherried Islay and sipping on it reminds me of all the good friends I’ve made through whisky, the laughs we’ve shared and how much I’m going to miss them all.