Monday, May 26, 2014

Scotch Whisky Appreciation

“The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man’s determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed.” -David Daiches
No other spirit has been associated with manhood like Scotch whisky. Whether it’s the hooking punch in the mouth or just the raw and earthy process by which it is brought forth from barley and water, Scotch has held a prominent place in the lives of men from kings to authors to titans of industry. What separates scotch from its alcoholic counterparts is not just its unique background (to be labeled Scotch, a whisky must be distilled and initially matured in Scotland), but the commonalities shared by the men who partake in its liquid mysteries.
The man who drinks Scotch is one who lives life to the hilt, savoring new challenges and discoveries on a daily basis. He doesn’t settle and he doesn’t drink something just because it’s there. Few men drink Scotch to get drunk. First off, it’s too expensive, the cheapest bottles of single malt costing around $40. But secondly, and much more importantly, each bottle of scotch contains so much history, tradition, and attention to detail that the men who drink it are not just downing a beverage, but participating in a celebration of artisanship and the deep pleasures of life.
Becoming a Scotch drinker takes a little work and a bit of tongue maturity. The young man that saddles up for his first bout with the historic elixir is often taken back by its overt potency. But upon returning a second and third time, he slowly begins to get a sense of what makes Scotch so alluring and enjoyable. In developing a taste for Scotch, a man is embarking on a lifelong journey that will take him along the clear waters of the River Spey, the rugged Highlands, the Isle of Jura (which George Orwell described as “an extremely unget-at-able place”), and various other parts of Scotland where distillers like to say, “It’s as good as life used to be.”
Therefore, to truly appreciate a good Scotch, a man must have an understanding of its rich history and the process that transforms ordinary barley into an extraordinary drink.
With this idea in mind the Art of Manliness ventures into the world of scotch, not because we believe you must drink alcohol in order to be a man, but because if you choose to do so, it should be in the tradition of gentlemen, with a clear conscious and a full heart.

Watch the master blender Richard Patterson talk about how to drink your favourite scotch in the right way:

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