Oh show me the way to the next whiskey bar/Oh don’t ask why, no don’t ask why/For we must find the next whiskey bar….
The Doors, Alabama Song
It’s the world’s favourite nectar and it connects people like no other beverage. Friends bond together over a glass or whisky to celebrate a special occasion or three generations go on a family tour to the legendary distilleries scattered around the Scottish Highlands. Whisky is the social drink that creates special bonds among people of different age groups, professional background and from different parts of the world.
My first memories of whisky are the collection of bottles at my parents’ home. Each bottle had a distinct shape; some elegant, tall and tapered while others round and squat. And my uncle, who enjoyed his whisky from a favourite blue bottle. The emblems embossed on some of the bottles fascinated me too. Then there was the visual appeal of the liquid in the bottles from honey-coloured to amber, gold and brown. The bottles stood side by side in the drinks cabinet and I would admire them. The labels too were delightful – Jack Daniel’s, Glenfiddich, The Dalmore and Johnnie Walker, all distinctive and very appealing. The cut glass decanter with the diamond shape that reflected light was sheer joy and each of the aesthetically designed whisky glasses were very special too.
For most young boys, a bottle of whisky holds a fascination even when they are too young to drink. High school boys will at some time raid their father’s bar for a stolen dram or two, maybe to share with a friend or cousin. The bitter taste is not appealing, but the thrill of drinking from the forbidden bottle is what memories are made of. And then the coming of age in college and the graduation party, when your father shares a glass of his favourite whisky with you; a bottle not opened and kept away for this special occasion. The macho spirit of youth evolves into the spirit of style in one’s taste in whiskies.
All through the growing years the social connect remains a constant factor. Then comes along the excitement of one’s first job; partying hard with friends and visiting all the cool bars in town; life is about the highs and whisky provides the buzz. One is looking for the good whiskies but is also looking for value for money from the bottle. The romance with whisky often defines first dates with special girlfriends.
From there it’s time to move on to success in one’s career and making a corporate statement with one’s whisky – the journey from the affordable Royal Stag pint tucked discreetly in one’s pocket on a night out with buddies to entertaining a select group of friends at home and pouring out Royal Salute 21 YO, one of the world’s top brands, with elan. Or opening a bottle of the very best Japanese or single malt scotch whisky with one’s companion on that very special day, the social connect of whisky never goes away. And planning those special whisky trail holidays with friends and picking up bottles from exotic distilleries to stow away in one’s home bar to be opened many years later to mark a special occasion.
For the 60- and 70-year-old boys, whisky has become their toys to relax with a drink in the evening ; seeking companionship with a friend or two over a glass of a well-loved whiskey – an indulgence for a moment of tranquillity.
Whisky is a great companion, soulmate & witness to many moments in our life, savoured or sipped but Enjoyed Responsibly.