I drink whisky. Sometimes. Not very much.
Why do we drink the stuff we drink? It's got a lot to do with image, hasn't it? When I was a kiddo I settled on whisky because it seemed like a serious drink- the sort of drink a learned professor would choose- and I wanted to be thought serious.
My friend Stephen- who is a learned professor- drank a lot of Pernod. He's a francophile. Pernod also connects you to that whole poete maudit thing. Sort of.
I say "sort of" because Pernod is a sissified version of absinthe. It's had the stuff that makes you mad taken out. And that's rather the point of la sorciere glaque, isn't it- that it's bloody dangeous? Why else would a decadent bohemian drink something that tastes like licorice allsorts?
It's next door to an alcopop.
And spirits aren't supposed to slip down easy. They're a test.
Your first sip is a rite of passage. After that you have to persevere.
When I was young I mixed my whisky with ginger ale to take the taste away. Now I drink it neat. That's also about image. People think I'm well hard.
Once, at a party in Scotland, I got through the best part of a bottle and was still standing at the end of it. Respect! Actually, I'm afraid I cheated. A lot of it went down the sink or into plant pots.
Do I like the taste? Er-um. I'm still not really sure. A little goes a long way.
But I like the images it puts in my head- heather and peat-bogs and bracing winds and brochs.
I'm afraid all that stuff about blends and single malts leaves me cold.
Can I tell the difference between a good whisky and a cheap whisky?
Same thing with brands. If it comes in a tall bottle and it's honey-coloured, it'll do.
The survey asked about brands. Which ones are fashionable? Which ones are a bit naff?
How would I know?
My daughter drinks Jack Daniels so that has to be fashionable- right?
My dad used to drink Famous Grouse and my dad could afford the best, so I've always assumed it was a classy brand.
But yesterday I saw it for sale in Netto and now I'm confused.