Hooray, I’m Not A Whisky Snob! Or Am I?
So… I just realized I have a problem. There is not a single standard expression in my whisky collection. I love Aberlour, so why is there no 10 or 12 year old in my cabinet? Or a Laddie Ten, Clynelish 14 or a Talisker 10? Beautiful whiskies, but nowhere to be found in or around my house. The more I think about it, it’s a disgrace. What am I doing? Am I turning to the dark side? Am I becoming a whisky snob? Let’s do some self-examination.
Most commonly a snob is described as someone who looks down on other people, especially those who don’t conform to his (or her) sometimes ridiculous standards. A snob also likes to voice his opinion and tell everybody what they’re doing wrong. When relating snobbery to whisky, the most used example is that of people objecting to adding water to whisky or to drinking whisky with ice. But I sometimes add water to (especially a cask strength) whisky. I have this young Glenrothes at home that’s bottled at a 67,4 per cent abv. I dare people to drink it at full strength. It just needs water. Regarding to the matter of ice: I don’t like it. But if someone wants to do it, that’s his own choice. That’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt a little if I see someone drinking a priceless Port Ellen ‘on the rocks’. But hey, to each his own.
Conclusion: hooray! I’m not a whisky snob.
But then how do I explain the lack of entry level whiskies at my home? I may respect other peoples whisky habits, but I don’t seem to have the same level of respect for the flagship expressions of a distillery. The Lagavulin 16 is a classic and a personal favourite. Yet, I don’t own it and when I see it in a shop I’ll always find something more ‘interesting’. It might not be better. Actually, there is a good chance it’s worse, considering the quality of the Lagavulin 16, but it is different. Not buying that great Islay whisky, but spending maybe twice just because it seems more interesting, I think that’s a snobbish tendency. I bet there are plenty of whisky lovers out there that fall into that trap.
I think it’s good to sometimes examine your collection and to realize that more exclusive (let alone more expensive) is not always a good thing. I obviously know this, but realizing it when buying whisky is the next step. The thing I own right now that comes closest to a standard expression is the Aberlour A’bunadh. I’m going to make sure that my next couple of buys will make up for this travesty.
Picture: Flickr/Ben Matthews
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.