Picture a gentlemen. What would the ideal gentlemen look like? I imagine a well dressed individual with a great demeanor and an air of sophistication.
Perhaps a man clothed in a stylish three piece suit. Not the ‘formal style’ three piece. But the type with an interesting inner vest and a beautifully colored jacket to match. Pants which are not up to the length of the ankle and the most lovely brogues my eyes would have seen.
He’s sitting in front of a fireplace with a cigar in his left hand. I know you may not have this picture in mind, but I do. Think about yours. Oh! That description is not complete; this gentleman has a drink in his right hand.
Not tea my friends. A cocktail, a glass of wine or even better, a pour of whisky. The association between a whisky and a classy person, whether they be male or female, is a long standing one.
This train of thought doesn’t originate from me alone. Head to any modern bar establishment and you’ll see a list of whiskies, whisky cocktails and other fine liquor. I asked individuals around me (millennials, older folks, men and women) their thoughts on a classy person’s drink. The answer was always whisky (not a very scientific study but hey, this isn’t a science blog).
Why Whiskey though? Emma Barnett, explained it right. “Whisky, for me, has the power to immediately slow everything down. It’s also an attention-seeker. You can’t ignore a slurp of it, as the heat hits your stomach and forces you to take stock of what you are imbibing. Other drinks for me blend into the background of an experience – whereas whisky is the experience. I like it for its boldness – a bit like the way I prefer bold fonts on a page or a strong paint colour on walls. There’s just no messing around once you crack open a good bottle of whisky.”
She is right.
Once you experience good whisky, you’ll want to learn more. It brings out your curiosity with its many personality and its different “body”. The wondrous smell and intense taste keep you hooked for more. For some, it’s the history; every brand has a story to tell, a story to sell, generations of making these lovely drinks. Others view it as a form of art. The distiller an artist, and enjoying a drink of whisky is their own way of paying homage to the artist. Some people like whisky for being whisky. For everything that comes with it; its tastes, aromas… everything. It may remind them of a time lost or forgotten.
Unlike other drinks, whiskies have different characteristics that make them distinct. Generally speaking, Bourbon is sweet, Rye is spicy, Scotch is smoky. There is a whole range of flavor for you to experience.
Acquiring a taste for the different types of whiskies is not a difficult thing to do. Each type has a very specific flavor profile. You’ll soon figure out which you like and which you don’t. But its possible to appreciate and respect them all for their individual charasctersrtics.
But above all, there is one thing that gets me hooked whenever someone opens a bottle. It drives me with lust and eagerness. What I’m talking about folks, is the smell of the whisky. Without the sense of smell, you cannot taste. Smelling whisky prepares your brain for the taste (or pushes you away). Its like watching the trailer before seeing the movie. It raises your expectation and makes drinking the whisky all the more worthwhile.
My idea of a gentleman is never a complete without a whisky in hand. He would swirl the whisky (to look badass) and take in the smell and the blend of aromas before sipping it.
So, next time when you’re at the bar or having fun with friends, and crack open that bottle of whisky. Be sure to take a nice whiff, contemplate, smile because you now have prepared yourself and enjoy. Its one of the great joy of drinking whiskies. As Japanese bestselling author Haruki Murakami said, “Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.” Drink up.