About Whisky for Women
Whisky has been a part of my life for a very long time. I am not ashamed to confess to drinking Bells from one of their iconic ceramic ‘bottles’ (well, not directly from the bottle although it might have been from an enamelled mug!) in my bedsit, my first time away from home for my first job! When travelling as International Home Economist for Kenwood I discovered the joys of whisky and 7-Up, a really refreshing drink in the heat of the Tropics. I took to whisky like a duck to water.
Later on in my career I was hosting a stand for Waitrose at the Royal Highland Show before they opened their stores in Edinburgh. It was decided to showcase the Waitrose whisky selection and to tie up with Diageo to present a series of tastings. I was nervous, but really rather delighted, when the Diageo guy could only present on one day. After roping in a salmon farming, whisky loving friend for my first presentation I was flying solo. I loved it! It must have been fun as I was soon doing occasional tastings at area managers meetings, and I even hosted a couple of tastings for salmon farming conferences in Edinburgh: a challenge for a girl from Sussex.
Now whisky has become a real pleasure for me. Post menopause, I find that grains suit me so much better than grapes and I am much more happy drinking beer and whisky than wine. I am also utterly intrigued about the role of whisky in community life. From bars and clubs to local dependancy on distilleries for a market place and for employment, whisky can make a real difference to the vibrancy and richness of life, for individuals and for communities.
As a newcomer I see an industry that is growing at an amazing pace, and change is necessary to keep up with world-wide demand. Age statement whiskies may well become collectors items with a new generation of whisky expressions being the norm for everyday drinking. Indeed, everyday whisky drinking needs to adapt to challenge the fashionable appeal of gin, vodka and other spirits. There is the battle of the David and Goliaths of the industry too, with micro-distilleries being in about the same position now as craft breweries were 20 years ago. Add in distilleries developing in India, Japan and South Africa, to name but a few newer producing areas, and the trendiness of bourbon drinking, and you have a fascinating new scene emerging in an industry rich in heritage.
I am, first and foremost, a cook, but one with a insatiable curiosity about ingredients. Some stand alone on their own considerable merits and I see this as being equivalent to the great single malts. However, we mostly eat dishes that are the creative fusion of ingredients, all the better if they are provenance-rich and are slowly cooked. Maybe craft blends, well matured in barrel, are the whiskies of the future? Then again, we are becoming a nation of grazers with palettes for instant and easy flavours from both our food and drink. How will whisky fit in with this trend?
There is so much for me to discover and I am enormously excited about this journey. I hope that you will accompany me along the way - and perhaps we shall meet up at a tasting soon?