Friday, 6 January 2012

I Almost Always Drink Beer, But When I Don’t…

This is my contribution to The Session #59, as hosted by Mario over at Brewed for Thought.

The first thing to declare is that it's not necessarily true, or at least not all the time. Certainly at the moment while my other half is rarely drinking I am tending towards beer. For me beer offers a range of flavours to be explored and I enjoy doing the same with other things, particularly wine (I have spent two years studying for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust's Diploma) and, through personal preference, whisky. At other times I am happy to explore other things - a friend of mine became UK ambassador for Armagnac, which I found fascinating too.

If you regard this as heretical then that's fine, but I'd hope most people who really appreciate beer do so for the flavour, and so why close yourself off to other things just because they are made from grapes, or have been distilled?

So with this in mind I have already got a regret for 2012. I've had to let my membership of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society elapse because of that bane of all flavour explorers - cash! For those of you not familiar with the SMWS, they buy individual casks of whisky (occasionally other stuff) and bottle up those single casks as a one-off. So every whisky they put out (unfiltered, at cask strength*) is part of a genuinely limited run, when the cask is gone, that's it, it will not, and can not ever be seen again. Their tasting notes, as compiled by a tasting panel, are the most enjoyable stand-alone tasting notes I read anywhere (and that's across all genres). Having been a member for a while, and having been to some of their tasting sessions, I have had some of the most amazing whiskies, and I hope to be able to return to the fold soon. If you are interested in whisky at all, check out the website and have a look into joining - particularly if you think you'd be able to make their hosted tastings, they are fantastic evenings out.

I will continue to enjoy the whisky I have left, and to be inspired into running better wine tasting evenings and writing better beer tasting notes by these guys - cheers for the good times!

A Caravanserai on the Silk Road aka 35.58: 26 years in cask, one of 294 bottles.

* Geek note: All the bottles are packaged in the same way, simply with a number for the distillery, and a number for the cask, along with a few details of the cask itself. Between us, me and a like-minded friend managed to work out what all the distilleries were for ourselves (too much time on our hands.)


  1. I've looked at it before, but far too expensive for me at the time being!

  2. Noted, the Scottish Malt Whisky Society is one for the future for me. Like you, money is limited at the moment. Your whisky conquests are no doubt enviable and having recently been lucky enough to try a limited 50yr recently, I know I want more in the future!!