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Appreciating Whisky for Dummies

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by Bigitte (subscribe)
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Published November 23rd 2017
For the uninitiated, whisky is merely an intoxicating distillate retailed at the airport's Duty-Fee shop, sitting on bar shelves and swirling in expensive glasses of some uber-rich businessmen. While the stereotypical combination of suits and cigars in a swanky bar may not be everyone's idea of a good time, whiskies have undoubtedly amassed a significant number of fans around the world. If you're still puzzled by why someone would go gaga over whiskies, read on and perhaps you'll find the reason for all the hype about whisky.

What's the hype about whisky? /Source Pixabay: CC0 Creative Commons

The Bottle
The vessel is one of the first elements to catch one's eyes and hearts. Whisky bottle designs literally come in all shapes and sizes and generally, the quirkier the design the rarer they are, which then become a motivation for some to start their own collection of whisky bottles. Nonetheless, the novelty of the shapes alone does not tell as compelling a story as the reasons and thought process behind the designs. For instance, the Inish Turk Beg's Maiden Voyage by Cooley in Ireland was done with a buoy-shaped bottle that tilts on one side. However, these bottles are extra special because each was partly made with sand from the island where the whiskey matured and then hand-blown into its distinctive shape.

The Label
Let's be honest, nutritional value is the last thing someone would think of printing on the labels for whiskies, but it doesn't mean the labels are less important. In fact, the labels play a huge part in conveying the character and inspiration behind the brand and the particular expression of whisky. Designing companies like Stranger & Stranger have created illustrious and almost poetic depiction of whiskies that would lure in the most unsuspecting consumers. The labels play a part in creating the excitement and atmosphere for celebration. A bottle of Jack Daniels' Winter Jack would probably taste still taste the same without the "white Christmas" label but it certainly will not imbue the same level of joy the season deserves with just it's classic monochrome label.

The Spirit
Lastly, it's time to reveal what the bottles and labels have built up to. While everyone has their choice of poison and what they reckon as the best whisky, price points and age statements are not always reliable in telling if a whisky is 'good' or 'better'. The best whisky is the one you love so allow your sense of sight, smell and taste to be stimulated and judge for yourself. To do so, one will need a reliable apparatus - a tasting glass. We recommend a Glencairn whisky glass because not only is it more affordable but the smaller tapered opening inspired by nosing glasses that professionals use allows a concentration of scents to be delivered to your nose when you take a whiff. In addition, what you smell and eventually taste may not always be compatible, which keeps thing mysterious. For those whose palate is less discriminatory or discerning, admiring the amber fluid swirling in a glass under aureate lighting can be weirdly satisfying.

If this article has not told you things you don't already know, perhaps it is best to head down to whisky events such as Whisky Live Singapore to meet the experts and whisky fans and find out what all the hype is about. You may even be convinced to go home with a bottle or two!
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Your Comment
I really enjoyed your article Bigitte. Unfortunately, your link didn't work to Whisky Live Singapore.
by May Cross (score: 3|7239) 1066 days ago
by May Cross on 11/08/2017
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