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Tony Grist

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Whisky [Mar. 1st, 2008|10:25 am]
Tony Grist
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. 

[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2008-03-01 02:34 pm (UTC)
When I was a kid, my folks drank cheap American beer (Hamms, mostly) or Seagrams 7. Now me, as an adult, won't touch cheap beer. My favorite is Guinness, but I enjoy experimenting with beers from all over the world. I wouldn't be caught dead drinking a cheap American beer. If I drink American, it is always from some esoteric micro-brewery.

Yes, there is an image thing going on, but this is besides the fact that I find a pint of Guinness to be one of the most pleasurable, sensuous experiences on earth.

What you drink can be a bit like sex... it is not only how it feels to you, but, how does s/he look on your arm? There is a bit of joy that comes from people looking at you and thinking "Wow, how did s/he get her/him?"
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-03-01 08:31 pm (UTC)
Guinness is too heavy for me. I start getting a headache after about three quarters of a pint.

I like authentic cask brewed beers. I don't drink them often, but if we're in a "real ale" pub I usually go for the brew with the most outlandish name.

And, yes, I guess there's an element of "look at me" about it.
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