I’m fairly sure in predicting that sometimes, in all our lives, we come upon something that we hadn’t previously considered but in which now, all of a sudden, we have an interest, for whatever reason. This has happened to me on numerous occasions which is why, in a roundabout kind of way, I now do what I do as a co-owner and director of Wineware. My long term fascination with wine and anything wine related pointed me in the direction I now have when my previous working life dramatically changed course causing me to do likewise.
I have recently discovered whisky and have become intrigued and fascinated with everything about it. The production methods, the site of the distillery, the time it takes to produce the final spirit, the nosing, the glasses and of course the taste! All of these are very important and the never ending combinations of all the above can create the most wonderful and varied flavours that I’m sure anyone and everyone can enjoy.
If I ever get the bug about anything, I always do the same thing, rightly or wrongly and I don’t think I’ll ever change. I’m not saying my method is the correct method just that it has always worked for me and given me a reasonable grounding in the subject, enough to have a basic understanding when confronted with someone who does now what they’re talking about! What I do is this – I simply read anything I can get hold of about the subject of interest and then I read some more.
If you, like me, have a new found interest in the world of whisky then I can definitely recommend a few publications which have helped me understand a few things and have pointed me in the direction of what other books to read. Two of the standout whisky magazines which are easily accessible are ‘Whisky Magazine’ (UK www.whiskymag.com) and ‘Whisky Advocate’ (USA www.whiskyadvocate.com)
By buying the odd copy of either or both of these great magazines or by even subscribing to them will introduce you to all the contributors who submit the most varied articles of all things whisky. Most of these writers, if not all, have also had many books and articles published, some of which are considered ‘bibles’ within the Whisky industry.
The World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom is one such book – take a tip and do not live without this ‘must have’ publication, it’s a great read & Dave is a great bloke too, which helps!
Once the initial grounding in the subject has been completed by reading at length you eventually get round to buying a few bottles and actually trying a few drams. The best way is to drink certain whiskies while you read about them so you can appreciate the good points, the bad points and the differences and I’m sure you will eventually arrive at a favourite style, although it’s great fun getting to this point. Even then, you unfortunately still have to try more and more just to prove you were correct all along!
Another way of improving knowledge and trying new styles is by joining a whisky club or an association. One which I’ve joined after attending a fantastic tasting centred around grain whiskies hosted by them in London, is The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (www.smws.com). I’ve found them remarkably friendly and it’s a great way of meeting new like minded whisky fans whilst trying a few drops along the way.
In order to appreciate these fine whiskies you need a fine glass and what better than the Glencairn Official Whisky Tasting Glass which won the Queens Award for Innovation in 2006. Where do I find such a glass and how much is it I hear you ask – funnily enough we have them for sale on our very own website! The Glencairn whisky glass is a great product at an inexpensive price. It is offered in differing guises to help out with your own personal purchases or as a gift for the new whisky lover in your life.
One thing I need to stress is that during my time in the drinks related industry, I have met and been introduced to many individuals and the ‘whisky people’ are as friendly as any – if that doesn’t say something in favour of getting involved with whisky then I really don’t know what does!