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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: veronica_milvus
2008-03-01 04:00 pm (UTC)
Ah. Because of my Scots heritage I've become a whisky aficionado of sorts. All the blended ones, like Famous Grouse, are really for mixing with ginger. I like them with Stone's Ginger Wine on a winter night. But the real joy is the single malt. In 2000 the town of Dufftown on Spey did a millenium whisky tasting in the village hall on Saturdays. Four of us were up there on hols and solemnly sniffed and swished and made tasting notes. Afterwards they gave us a few "blind" to identify, and we could not! Best drunk either neat or, if you insist, with a soupcon of water or a couple of cubes of ice. My faves, if you want to try some, are:

Bruichladdich - light and citrusy
Lagavulin - the creme de la creme
Talisker - heavily peaty with a hint of TCP...

and if you insist on an American one, look for something called "Woodford Reserve" which you can get in Waitrose, and from time to time in Tesco. Sniff at it and you will be reminded of the interiors of churches.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-03-01 08:46 pm (UTC)
I love those names.

I've got a single malt in the cupboard. I just went and looked at the label and it turns out to be a nameless variety specialy produced for ASDA.

Maybe I'll pour myself a wee dram.
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