This one comes up a lot.
And if you've arrived here looking for THE answer. We're sorry. This is not a list of do's and don'ts.
We know from experience that part of the whisky category’s allure is to be found in its rituals, conventions and ‘ways’... but equally, they can (and they were for us) barriers to actually discovering the real charm of whisky. In this blog post, we unpack the ‘right and wrong’ way to enjoy whisky and argue that simply saying they don’t exist anymore isn’t really good enough to overcome the barriers that we believe are keeping people from being able to really enjoy the category.
Thankfully, the industry-wide narrative has moved on a great deal since the days of a 'right' or 'wrong' way to enjoy whisky. The 'rules' have been replaced with a relaxed attitude toward enjoyment suggesting that so long as you're enjoying yourself (responsibly) then pretty much anything goes.
(photo by dylan-de-jonge on Unsplash)
BUT WHAT DOES 'ANYTHING GOES' ACTUALLY MEAN?
It is on the surface inclusive - but if you go to a whisky show or pour over brand websites you quickly find that the category barriers still exist. The Mixing good whisky with anything other than a few drops of water is still frowned upon in the whisky world at large and it was quietly suggested to us that by showcasing cocktails alongside our whiskies we were signaling that the liquids were not worthy of consideration on their own merits. We disagree.
We try to talk about numerous ways to enjoy each of our whiskies - from ideas or rituals that elevate the tasting experience without altering the whisky to recipes that involve mixing the whisky in cocktails or other serves... for us - we want to invite people to try a variety of different ways to have whisky experiences that goes beyond the 'anything goes' narrative. If we are okay with everyone being able to find their own personal whisky utopia - via serve, ritual or brand - how can we expect them to truly experiment on the journey there if brands aren't showing alternative ways to consume the product?
MOST WHISKIES TELL YOU HOW YOU SHOULD TASTE. WE ASK YOU WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO EXPERIENCE.
The 'ah ha' moment someone has with a whisky, where we were propelled head over heals in love with the category does not have to be through the purist incarnation of a whisky experience - there's a broad spectrum of cultural or experiential touchpoints that can offer people the 'hook' that invites them further into the category. At the heart of our brand is the simple idea that whisky like no other spirit inspires connection to people, places and ideas and the more 'ways in' to the category or those experiences that define it - the better.
What is the charm of whisky? For us, it’s a combination of marveling at incredible flavours and remarkable experiences… sometimes as an end in itself - but sometimes as a means to an end. And when we start unpacking that idea - that sometimes it’s not ALL about the whisky, but the wider experience within which the whisky sits - then very quickly you come to the (in our opinion correct) opinion that Whisky should be enjoyed in any damn way people choose to enjoy it.
And in order to help broaden whisky’s appeal, and offer even established drinkers an ongoing sense of discovery that we feel helps make the category continually exciting; we plan on working even harder to ensure that rather than stopping at the ‘drink it any way you damn like’ narritive - we continue to offer multiple suggestions for people that are not offered to imply that you must drink it this way or that way, but to offer a more tangible answer - or spectrum of answers that people can look at and decide for themselves if it is something they might want to engage in, try or offer to someone else.
It was those small moments, where we were introduced to something alongside something esle, or in a particular way that give rise to those ‘click’ moments where suddenly you understand what all the fuss is about. Whether it be a ritual experience that sits alongside the drinking experience or an elaborate way of introducing other flavours into the liquid itself - each has a role to play in the ever broadening narrative of the whisky world.