Calling your whisky space a “whisky bar” is a clear bundling of the commonality of taste, preferences, or should I rather say, the dogmatic preferences that many of us held all this term. While we are trying to go above and transverse boundaries that nations/regions/classes have defined for us, it’s a pity that we still classify the golden beverage in a stratified orientalist manner.
If you are not scotch, you’re not whisky enough. If it’s an Irish, peat doesn’t make sense. Oh! Indian whisky! That must be doused in molasses! Such sweeping generalizations have been internalized and accepted by generations of whisky drinkers. These generalizations, often expressed as a statement of expertise, perhaps not characteristic of a true connoisseur
But then, one fine morning, Mr. Jim Murray declares a Japanese Single Malt called Yamazaki as the “Best in the World”! Coming from across the world from the island country known for its manga and technology, this declaration sent shockwaves across the world, from bewilderment to pleasant surprise. Scotland sat up and took notice. And a new tribe of whisky lovers was born !
I’m certainly not a believer in declaring one whisky the finest, since I feel there is a best in each category and chapter. As a mentor, guide, guru, one can offer opinions and discernment that may vary at the stage of appreciation and can be great guiding tools for making our choice of brands. However what this enabled was the lens with which we saw Japanese whiskies.
But I can’t help taking the Yamazaki news as an extremely positive one. It enabled a new outlook with which the western psyche looked at not just Japanese whiskies but also Asian whiskies. The standard Scotch lover could look beyond the fields of Tennessee and the bars of Ireland to a new whisky microcosm.
For instance, Amrut, meaning “elixir” in Sanskrit, is another whisky that has been highly acclaimed internationally. It started as a rum and brandy producer in the late-1940s, however it was in 2004 that they launched their brand of Indian single malt whisky. Breaking the stereotypes of Indian whisky, Amrut is an excellent spirit which is moulded by the climate of Bangalore.
There is no end to such whisky anecdotes. Punctuated with generous fables and labels, in the world of whisky, there are numerous myths to break, and many true stories to recount. Some anecdotal references simply add to the mystique of the whisky world, making it beyond just a technique and more of an enchantment. We are eager to discuss these with the like-minded “you”. These are the musings and the stories that we would love to discuss with our whisky enthusiasts.
For the sake of brevity, let me put it this way. Let taste be the sole judge. If you like the aroma, flavour, taste, that’s your dram for the evening.
So now coming back to the original premise, go ahead and recreate your whisky space. Dunk that “whisky bar” and redesign it into a “whisky closet”. For if you love your whisky, try more brands, expand your selection, walk into it, and that will be your own very private WHISKY CLOSET.