Whisky has never really done it for me. Many years ago I spent much money trying the best single malts I could find and, whilst I appreciated their complexity and characterful nature, I just didn’t like them very much.
Enter Dan and Non-Stinky Jeff. Already [link2post id=”619″]Dan and NSJ have converted me to liking iced tea[/link2post], the bad fellows, and what was about to happen has been even more of a revelatory event.
Toward the end of one of our customarily light evenings NSJ and Dan say they’d like a whisky, and an old blended whisky at that. I immediately leap on this and suggest blended whiskies are boring and don’t have the true character of a single malt. “Perhaps,” they reply, “But try this.”
I hold a small whisky tasting glass with the enthusiasm of a piece of road-kill, then I smell it, and smell it again. I’m aghast! It is smooth and refined with complex, heady aromas which just want to charm you. A blended whisky smelling nice, bugger me backwards with a barge pole. Then I have a tiny sip and let the flavours explode on the tip of my palate. Smoky, peaty but subtly smoky and smoothly peaty. It tastes highly polished and refined. Damned good, for a spirit. Am I starting to like whisky?
Dan and NSJ go to the whisky cupboard and get a few more bottles out, serving precious drops of their quality nectar and we try more blends and some quite serious cask-strength single malts. The blends, including a quite revelatory snort of Johnnie Walker Blue, are all smooth, refined, serious drinks which are not short of class and, dare I say it, enjoyment value. I’m scandalised.
The single malts from a variety of locations had some of the smoothness of the blends, but were largely about rugged individuality. That is how I like my tasting notes so I found myself thinking these single malts really spoke to me as a fellow characterful entity.
So the upshot is I have found that I bloody like whisky! After all these years of sneering and not enjoying the stuff, suddenly it speaks to me and so I look forward to when I next sit down for with a glass for further enlightenment.
This presents me with a bit of a dilemma. In two months I have been converted to liking things that once I would never have let past my lips. I’m worried, what has happened to me? This calls for another fantastic Elitist Review poll!
Readers of my RSS feed will have to come to the site itself to vote.
You’ll be going a bundle on claret before we know it… though I seem to recall you knocking back the “Ballantine’s filth blend” in Alaska…
Keithy old bean, you will also recall me fixing you in the eye and saying, “I *need* Australian Chardonnay. Now”, with only the merest suggestion of violence. There are time when even the lover of fine things gets desperate.
Now I think about Alaska, I took a Cadenhead bottling of cask-strength, 18 year old Highland Park with me. I really liked that. It had an incredible purity of expression, and was 62%.
Liking Claret or becoming less bloody minded are not options; these are qualities I have based my life on.