I kind of find whisky to be a metaphor for living well. Single malt scotch whisky that is, forget your bourbons, tennessee whiskey, blended shit, and Haig Club can fuck right off. There are a million ways to get pissed, if you really want to you can pick up two litres of cider for £1 and get mashed off that, there are your chemical beers like Stella Artois and Carling, your dishwater like Budweiser, Miller and Coors which is really, as I see it, for teenagers. Then there are things like your craft ales and your single malts.
The thing about the latter two is that a little bit of effort goes a long way, if you take the time to try them out, do a bit of reading about them then you can find stuff which is really good and which elevates a drinking session from simply getting pissed to appreciating what is literally a work of art. You’ll never crack open a can of normal beer or any of those shit attempts at whisky and sit there sipping away experiencing the way the flavours subtly change. You won’t be there after an hour enjoying the after taste, still sipping away as you notice more and more complexity in the flavour and the texture. You won’t get that bizarre experience when you stick your nose in the glass and holy shit, yeah, there is a hint of vanilla and a touch of banana and, yeah, that does balance ever so well with the oak and the tobacco notes. You don’t get to sit with friends and share this experience either.
Gman has a love of brandy and cognac and before I got into whisky it all tasted pretty much the same to me and it tasted bad, it was like rat’s piss as far as I was concerned. Whisky used to be like this for me too, all whisky tasted just of “whisky” and it was horrible. Then Gman’s dad, let’s call him Papa Gman for shits and giggles, Papa Gman loves Talisker and we were out on a canal boat one day, shit faced, and he pulls out his hip flask and starts passing it around. I was at that point where I was pissed enough to drink anything and I was drinking this Talisker and it grew on me. So I started trying out different whiskies and they all tasted pretty much the same to begin with but now apparently my palate has become “refined” and I taste and smell all those subtleties now. So now when Gman offers me a brandy or a cognac I actually appreciate it and I enjoy it. It’s not as good as a whisky, even the really expensive nonsense that Gman buys which is like £300 a bottle doesn’t compete, as I see it, with a decent 12 year or so whisky because whisky tends to be produced in more complex ways which gives it more complexity.
The point I’m driving at is that it enriches my life, it makes getting pissed better, I can drink to appreciate as well as getting hammered, it improves things taste wise, smell wise, even socially. There’s something social about whisky, you can talk about it, share it, people are curious about it and it has that mystique about it. There’s nothing quite like plonking a bottle down in the middle of a room to get things going.
This is how I pretty much approach life, how can I make the everyday, the mundane, the boring, better? What’s the next level up from this? What’s the more sophisticated way of doing whatever that makes it even just a little bit better and helps to elevate life above mere survival.