Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2013 Contents Friday, August 23, 2013 • Issue 102
Scotch Whiskey connoisseur and Johnnie Walker Global Brand Ambassador, Jonathan Driver,
sat with Douglas Gordon to refute some popular myths about the age old libation.
SINGLE MALT IS BETTER THAN BLENDED.
The truth is that they are both different from each other.
Single malt whisky predates blended Scotch Whisky. How-
ever these early malt whiskies were inconsistent and vari-
able in quality. It is only when the great blending houses
set to blending malt whiskies with grain whiskies in the
mid-nineteenth century, that a quality and consistency was
They each have loyal followers but are quite different.
WHISKY IS BEST DRUNK NEAT.
Many folk like their Scotch Whisky neat. Some insist there
is no other way to really appreciate a fine Scotch. In reality
there are no rules except to find the way of drinking Scotch
that "you" like.
Adding a little water can make a big difference. In many
whiskies a whole spectrum of new flavours becomes ap-
parent when you add a tiny drop of water.
So, experiment away, don't over dilute, just find the level
that you like best. And if neat works for you then stick with
that. But we're all different and that's the great thing about
Scotch Whisky, there are a lot of different ways to find the
flavour you like.
DARK WHISKY IS BETTER THAN PALE.
No doubt that colour affects perception but there are
many influences on what makes one whisky darker than
another which have no bearing on whether a darker whisky
is better than a lighter one, or vice versa.
Light whiskies can be really powerful in flavour, dark
whiskies do tend to be heavier, perhaps even sweeter, but
it's impossible to be 100% certain without tasting.
AGE + PRICE = QUALITY.
Many people believe that older whiskies are better than
younger whiskies. But, and this is the problem, there are
some older whiskies that haven't taken age well and lose
their vitality and gain too much character from the wood.
Age is only one factor that affects the quality of a
whisky. The original distillery character is important both
for single malt whiskies and for the blends that they com-
bine to make. Then again the wood, the cask the whisky is
kept in, is critical. So is how long the whisky ages, it has to
be just right for the style of single malt or the role of an in-
dividual Scotch Whisky in a blend.
A blend like Johnnie Walker Blue Label has older
whiskies from the West Coast (that need longer to mature
properly) combined with some relatively younger whiskies
from the East, to give both maturity and vitality to the
GLASSWARE DOESN'T MATTER.
Glassware matters a lot. Great whisky needs great crystal.
You can't make an average whisky better simply with a
good glass but if you get the right crystal for the right
whisky at the right time in the right place then that's going
to be a great experience.
THE BEST COMES FROM SCOTLAND.
Only Scotch can come from Scotland. Scotch Whisky is
unique amongst whiskies since it has an enormous diversity
of flavor; more so than any other category of whisky.
That said, there are other fine whiskies around the world
but Scotch has the edge in terms of choice and heritage.
Johnnie Walker will be 200 years old in 2020 and that's a lot
of whisky sold to a lot of places and people over many, many
years. That's a hard provenance to beat.
WHISKY IS THE ULTIMATE 'MAN'S MAN' DRINK.
Historically that has been the case and the business has suf-
fered as a result.
In talking about aroma, taste and flavour, the idea of enjoy-
ing great Scotch Whisky is for everyone and not some old
fashioned idea about it being just for men. Since the millen-
nium many brands have set out a broader platform to enjoy
Scotch Whisky with no real barrier to gender.
REAL MEN DRINK WHISKY NEAT.
Real men make their own rules and find out how they like to
have their whisky. Nothing is wrong with neat but there are
many other ways to enjoy whisky and it's a bit sad if some-
one (man or woman) is missing out on their preferred way
because of a misguided idea that you can only have it that
way. Splash a little iced water, put in an ice cube. Enjoy.
JOHNNIE WALKER INVENTED SCOTCH WHISKY.
The first record of Scotch Whisky being made is by a priest
Johnnie Walker were one of the first great blending fami-
lies; using blending to make great whisky, consistently and of
great quality and then ship it around the world. This recipe
for success has led to Johnnie Walker being the best selling
and most popular Scotch Whisky around the world and
that's down to the generations of master blenders who have
continuously made whisky for people to enjoy and savour.
It would be an exaggeration to say that Johnnie invented
Scotch Whisky, but they were certainly one of the most im-
portant contributors to its global appeal.
Douglas Gordon is the Editor in Chief of OCEAN Style Magazine
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