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Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Finer Points of Social Etiquette 3 - Drinking Whisky

G'day pitiful inhabitants of blogworld, Auntie Twisted's back again.  This will have to be my last attempt at improving your basic understanding of the vital areas of social etiquette, as duties demand that I leave for the Middle East tomorrow.  Just keep your eyes open for any sudden deaths in Libya, Egypt and Yemen.

Scotland, the birthplace of Whiskey
(Note Islay, on the West coast, just above Northern Ireland. It's where the ambrosial Laphroig is made.)
Whisky Drinking

1. What Country.
There are many types of whisky in the world, but I'm only going to be talking about Scotch Whisky.  Irish Whisky can be quite nice, but it doesn't have the range available to make much of an impact.  Japanese, Indian and Chinese Whiskies belong in the dustbin.  They will not be mentioned again, nor will that abomination referred to as Bourbon. 

2.What Type.

Blended or single malt.  Always a difficulty question to answer, and it probably depends on your mood and your wallet.  A good blended whisky, containing a mix of grain and several malt whiskies can be a truly liberating experience.  I know that after a good few glasses, I feel truly free, and even my whining whinging nephew cannot upset me. A good malt whisky requires a little more attention to tasting to fully distinguish the subtle flavours embedded in the spirit. Except Laphroig. Laphroig is anything but subtle.  The smokey peatiness grabs you from the first sip, and smashes it's iodine enhanced ambrosial flavours straight down your throat. 

You can add any of these to a blended whisky, but personally I think you'd be daft if you did.
3. What Mixers
I will shoot you like a rabid fox
The only real rule concerns mixers.  If you want to spend $100 for a top grade blended whisky and then mix it with Cola or some other sweet fizzy drink, then that decision is entirely on your own head, abhorrent though it may be.  (Notice the clever ambiguity there of whether abhorrent refers to the decision or the head.  Clever, eh.  They didn't waste our time at Sandhurst.)  If however you decide to buy a $150 bottle of a single malt and mix it with anything except the purest water you can lay your hands on, then I and every Scot in the world, will hate you until the end of eternity, and when time and duties permit, I will hunt you down like the rabid animal you are.

4. Who Pays.
To a true Scot, this is the most important decision.  If the drinking takes place in your own home, then the host has to provide his best at whatever rate the guest suggests.  Which is why I'm sitting here on m'nephew's computer sipping a truly excellent 18 year old Laphroig while he sits next door crying out about "Reports" and "That's the last bottle Auntie".  (It is of course incumbent on the guest to repay the host for his hospitality, which is why m'nephew is going to be surprised and delighted when I give him a bottle of 40 year old cask strength Laphroig before I depart) 

If the drinking takes place in a public establishment, like a pub, hotel or the Mess, then the only answer is "Someone else"

I look forward to seeing an improvement in the social behaviour of these benighted colonial isles by my next visit, so be warned and be polite.

I'll be back.


  1. Having a nice single malt m'self at the moment Auntie - a Jura, not Laphroig which is too iodine for my taste and always makes me think I'm drinking in a hospital.

    If I had a choice and wasn;t drinking a Christmas gift from a relative it would be Talisker or Highland Park.

  2. Alistair: (TSB writing as Auntie's retired, pissed again) Jura is an excellent choice. Subtle and warming. Highland Park I enjoy, but Talisker is a close second (IMHO) to Laphroig. It doesn't have that iodine wallop that Laphroig hits you with, but still has an ample peatiness.


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