As I was saying, my parents were out of sight! I had to try that lovely liquid…
It was my chance! No parents were there! And my younger brothers were watching eagerly- hoping that I may unravel the secret of whisky/ whiskey. I unscrewed the cap of this blend and lifted the bottle to my lips. I tilted the bottle, coaxing the liquid into my mouth and a few drops of the fluid flowed into my mouth. And I felt a burn that I never felt before! All I could taste was fire! Liquid fire! I could not understand how something so incendiary could induce so much joy. I had wine and champagne before and had never felt such a sting… no, a singe!
I hadn’t touched whisky/ whiskey for many years after that. But as I got into college, I began to be exposed more to whisky/ whiskey. I had some whiskies from different parts of the world by that time. Some from India, some from the US, some from Canada, and of course some from Scotland.
As I began to add water and ice (and at times soda or some other mixer), I began to appreciate this beautiful liquid. There was also an air of mystery to it, in particular Scotch. Whisky/ whiskey somehow included angels and devils. It took years to make it. One had to wait for long periods of time just to enjoy a wee dram. I wanted to remove this mysteriousness from this drink and decided to learn more about it.
I learned that American whiskies were different from those from Scotland. I also learned that some were smoother than others. I tried to learn more about Scotch and in turn learned a lot about whisky/ whiskey. I learned that the process of whisky/ whiskey making is filled with history and drama.
All of this finally took my family and me to Scotland where I got to visit distilleries and learn more about the process up close. I learned about the landscape. I learned about the people. I learned about the pride that goes into making this lovely dram. I also learned a lot about the history and challenges people went through to enjoy this dram.
This journey has taken me through several different drams. All of which I have enjoyed- some a little more than others. The journey has also allowed me to better appreciate my family- especially my wife who has humored my passion for this liquid over all these years and supported me in the ‘investment’ I’ve made in this education. I appreciate my kids even more as they help me remember to be responsible when it comes to this lovely tipple. I also appreciate my dad for helping me understand that an occasional dram is not an evil practice but was just fine if you were responsible with it.
I also want to say thank you to everyone that has supported my decision to do this. I want to thank all those that have sent email suggestions regarding what they want to see on these pages. I also want to thank all those who have posted suggestions via various social media.
I would also like to acknowledge the following people that made me believe that I should put my thoughts down in writing… Joanne McInnis (The Whisky/ whiskey Lassie), The Scotch Test Dummies, Raj Sabherwal (WhiskyRaj), and Scotch Trooper (you can find all of these folks on Facebook and Twitter).
So why whisky/ whiskey? It is because it is. It encompasses a journey through life. An essence of patience. A moment of luxury. A simple drink. A chance to reminisce simplicity through something so complex.
In the future issues, I would like to explore the history, processes and, of course, tastings with all of you. I hope to pass on the little knowledge I have of this drink to all of you. I also hope that through this medium, all of you will find your own water of life.
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With this I will close the first issue of the dMann’s Whisky Notebook. I would like this to develop into something that will allow you to get ‘in the know’ regarding whisky/ whiskey. I hope to come up with some sort of cool tagline that I can close with. But until then, I would like to remind everyone that, those who are in the know, enjoy their whisky/ whiskey responsibly.