||[Mar. 1st, 2008|10:25 am]
They sent me a questionnaire about spirits. Page after page of pictures of bottles. It was relatively easy to complete; you just clicked on the bottles you favoured.|
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.
I like whisky; also I used to have a job which involved classifying adverts for various products, and whisky was one of them. So this may be more than you wanted to know - in which case I apologise...
There seem to be two different ways in which a whisky (scotch) can be classy: it can be a single malt (ie, produced an one go by one distillery), or it can be an expensive blend (and some of the ones sold in Japan are *very* expensive). In England, which is all I really know about, drinking whiskey (not scotch: bourbon or Irish whiskey), is a matter of fashion and making a statement, so leave that aside.
The Grouse is a blend, and it isn't an unduly expensive one, so in those terms it isn't particularly classy. On the other hand, it's perfectly respectable, seen as good value for money.
Personally, I like it, probably because it has a fair proportion of Highland Park in it, and that's one of my favourite malts.
OK, stopping now.
Were you classifying ads the way they classify films- deciding what age groups could see them?
No, not at all. The company sold information about expenditure on advertising: who was advertising what, where, and what it cost them. And to compare like with like, we had to categorise the products being advertised. What can I say? It was a job, and I'm glad to be out of it.