Everyone who has some decent bottles of whisky at home will have experienced this dilemma. A friend or two come over and you decide to have a dram but they are not that experienced with whisky.
Should you ply them with the cheap stuff rather than waste your better bottles? Or should you treat them to something amazing that might just get them further down the path to enjoying the finest imbibing liquid on the planet?
I have heard this many times from people tasting something a little higher end and amazing… “this whisky I’ll be keeping just for myself” and “can you taste me on a good everyday bottle that I can share with my friends”?
It seems that the rule of thumb if you are a novice whisky drinker is that you will be missing out on your buddies better offerings.
I rather take the opposite view and am happy to offer up almost any of my more delicious whiskies as long as the company in question has shown some interest.
Inevitably one dram turns into a couple and seldom the same dram twice so I normally offer up a number of choices and let my guest choose their poison..ahem um nectar.
Perhaps it stems from the Scottish penchant for stinginess that people would hide away the special and serve the mundane when company calls. There are those, trapped in the drinking culture of their native land (Newfoundland for example) that just tend to drink more and so do not want their crowd of invited guests plowing through their 25 year old. I can absolutely empathize with why this would be just such a scenario that would warrant a few bottles of palatable but unexciting whisky.
Heaven forbid if you were having a party that you would leave an untended bar brimming with 20 year old this and 30 year old that.
It would be like coming home to find that your sister in-law had raided the wine cellar and “randomly” grabbed that special bottle of which there was only one in the entire country (that you had been cellaring for a decade) and opened it as the evenings quaffer (true story).
But at the end of the day it is only booze. Delicious, expensive and sometimes irreplaceable but still at it’s core just a drink. We could be teetering on the edge of the investment vs drinking debate but I will save that for another time. Let me just be clear that I am a drinker of whisky not a collector. Any bottle that I have in my home is fair game and I love to share it all (sometimes forcing one or two drams more than I should on unsuspecting guests so my wife tells me).
It is so easy to get excited when someone is just getting into their whisky journey and I, like a kid in a candy store, want them to experience it all straight away.
I guess one of the questions you might have to ask yourself is how many friends do you have that are on this whisky journey and specifically those that you like to sit down with you regularly to work on all those open bottles in your cupboard.
Outside of people that I have met on my industry journey’s I have probably less than a handful of friends that really salivate at the prospect of hitting my place for some “dram time”. Perhaps that is why I am so free and easy with my bottles. If I had a small army of thirsty friends then I might quickly revert to those hum drum offerings that currently take up pretty much zero space in my collection.
My appeal to everyone out there in the spirit of education and enlistment of any and all friends into this passion that we share, please be generous with your whisky.
Be especially generous with interesting and unique bottles that could just get someone hooked for life. I guess writing a blog and plying everyone and anyone that will stand still in front of me for 10 seconds with whatever yummy dram I have in hand would make me a pusher of sorts. Well guilty as charged I say and if you meet me at a show or in a class be sure to come on over and demand that I make good on my promise to give you a taste of something delicious.
Live free and drink well …