I agree it seems odd to start a blog about whisky, by saying you don’t like it, but let me put that into context; I held a whisky training session a while back and the first thing one of the attendee’s said to me was exactly that, to which I simply asked “have you tried them all?”. My point here is, whisky is so diverse, there is something for everyone.
Personally I am not the biggest fan of heavily peated malts, they are a little overpowering for me but I’m always willing to give things a try. So when sat in the yard of Octomore Farm recently, it felt wrong to not give the Bruichladdich Octomore a try. Now for those of you that don’t know, this is the world’s most heavily peated whisky, so I was a little apprehensive to say the least. This stuff packs a punch, but with the smoky notes you expect there is also flavours of vanilla and citrus which really compliment the smoke and balance out the whisky. Now I’m not saying I am going to rush out and buy a bottle as it was still a little heavy for me personally, but sat in that cold barn, eating some homemade shortbread and sipping the whisky certainly made me enjoy that dram and I can see why the real peat fans would love it. For me the Laddie Classic or even at a push the Port Charlotte are much more approachable.
Whilst at Bruichladdich I fell in love with their products as well as their ethos, they don’t do things just because of cost or profit (yes of course that is a factor) but they want to challenge the norm; grow their own barley, use their own water, support the local farmers and essentially make their whisky the best it can be.
After a hectic day of drinking numerous different whiskies, broken only by the occasional gin, I was sat on the tiny propeller plane flight from the small island of Islay and thought back to my opening statement of how people say “I don’t like whisky” but the same logic applies to any other drink category - how many people like neat vodka or gin; not many, but pop some tonic and a big wedge of lime in there and those numbers certainly increase. So don’t write off whisky as you’ve only tried it neat or with a little water, it opens up a whole world of opportunity when you use it in cocktails.
So if you do like whisky, don’t just stick to what you know, try something different, make a brave step and pair a peaty malt with your cheese board (or shortbread) a bourbon with your burger, or sushi and a Japanese malt.
And if you’re not a huge fan, bring in the cocktails. Try mixing a premium blended whisky such as Chivas with apple juice, elderflower cordial and just a splash of lemonade for a long refreshing drink, or if you’re feeling a little braver, why not opt for an Old Fashioned (personal after dinner favourite).
Overall, what I’m saying is – just give it a try!
To find out more about Bruichladdich head to their website
or to delve into our new dedicated Whisk(e)y brochure click here