All things Whisky & Cigars
There’s a Bottle for Everybody…
To the uninitiated, the world of single malt scotch can seem like an intimidating realm of strange and elaborate tasting notes
(“drinking espresso in a log cabin surrounded by wildlife”….eh???), complex techniques and horrendously detailed trivia. While it may be all those things to some, at its very core, whisky is a simple distillate that is accented and characterised by its core ingredients, how long it’s been aged for, and the cask or casks it once called home.
Like two lovers striving to find out every single detail about each other, in an attempt to intensify their bond, the inspiration a fine whisky can kindle knows no boundaries; but it is always uniquely yours. Whether you simply just enjoy the occasional dram casually, or feel it’s your moral obligation to find out what the master distiller did the morning he or she laid down that particular barrel, there is no benchmark that qualifies an appreciator.
During the infancy of my own initiation into scotch at Robert Graham 1874
and being friends with quite a few seasoned whisky drinkers, I was plagued with the self-imposed pressures to sound as if I knew what I was talking about; I found it quite difficult to genuinely find any specific tasting notes unless I was comparing a “bog” standard Islay style to any other non-peated whisky. Powerful revelations, like “tastes like an ashtray” or “yep! Tastes like whisky alright” were the extent of my prowess.
It wasn’t until I tried a Tamdhu 10-year-old single malt that my brain finally learned how to decrypt the messages my palate had been sending it for months. “Rich Marzipan, candied almonds, creamy milk chocolate and…. no wait, a crunchie chocolate bar! YES!”, an endless stream of adjectives spilled from my mind, Christ! I was nearly giving the thing human qualities; it was personification on an unprecedented scale, to the extent where I was contemplating checking into a hotel with this beauty, asking the thing if it wanted to meet my parents! It was like Steve Martin finding his rhythm in the movie “The Jerk”!
As the months passed,
my ability to nose and taste evolved. Appreciating a whisky was no longer limited to the realm of bland comparisons and tired adjectives; personal experiences, scented, clad memories and unexplored nostalgia now formed the backbone of the journey I took with each new dram.
Islay malts that once reminded me of charmless soot, now had me hazily reminiscing of my Uncle burning hay on his farm, and the distinct scent the summer rain inspired as it lazily, dampened the smouldering heap. “Marzipan” was no longer the go to note when tasting a heavily sherried Speyside; now I was roaming the hallway of the house I grew up in, on Christmas eve; the scent of holly and pine, a red berry reduction bubbling away in the kitchen, the wisp of sherry trifle setting; Can “warmth” & “comfort” be tasting notes?
My point is, there is a bottle for everybody,
a whisky that will recalibrate yours senses and evaporate any preconceptions you may have had about the stuff; a whisky that will take you to a place you’ve never been yet which feels vaguely familiar; there you’ll connect with the water of life, for whisky is the embodiment of its own experience, just like you and me.
Whisky tasting is a good way to start your journey into the world of Scotch. Robert Graham 1874 shops in Cambridge, Glasgow and Edinburgh Canongate regularly organize whisky tastings. Check our website and Facebook page for updates on upcoming events.