The first time I tried Scotch, I hated it. I was probably less than eight years old, and I had a sip out of my grandfather’s glass. I knew I wasn’t supposed to drink from his glass because it was kind of like wine and wine was for grownups, but I took sips from wine glasses when the grownups weren’t looking so I figured it was worth a shot. It was gross. Kind of like a campfire, and it hurt my mouth like wine did but it didn’t have the sweet taste that wine sometimes had. I decided it was gross and I didn’t want to have it again.
The second time I tried Scotch, I hated it. I was nineteen, and after my teenage years were mis-spent not drinking, I was easing my way into trying various kinds of alcohol. I managed to tolerate beer okay, and vodka & rum were all right when mixed with cola. But Scotch was something I was working my way up to. Even remembering how bad I thought it was when I was a kid, I thought it was something I had to try. I wanted to like it, I wanted to like all whiskeys, because I thought that’s what grownups did. My grandpa did, my dad did, some of the coolest guys in the movies did. So I tried it again. And it was awful.
But this time I kept on drinking it. Partly because I was a dumb kid and wanted to like it. But partly because I knew that when you grew up, tastes changed. Literally. I hated coffee when I was young but I liked when I got older. I didn’t like Brussels sprouts when I was six but at nineteen I wolfed them down at Christmas & Thanksgiving. I figured the same thing would happen with whiskey.
And it did. I remember very distinctly during my “moving out of my parents house” party, I put my glass of Glenfiddich down and went outside to have a cigar. And when I came back in and had a sip of my Scotch and it was like BLAM – I was hit in the mouth with awesome fantastic flavour and I knew that I had finally done it. I’d broken through the Whiskey Barrier and on the other side I found a wonderful land full of delicious amber liquid.
I love the combinations of flavours in Scotch; the sweet caramels & butterscotches, the nuttiness, the deeper smoke & peat. I enjoy Canadian whiskeys and have started to branch out to bourbons as well, but Scotch is the King of Whisky in my opinion. I generally like my Scotch on the lighter, sweeter side, but I have been known to enjoy a peaty monster from time to time as well. My favourites are…well, I suppose I should leave something for the podcast. Suffice it to say I have no less than 8 bottles of Scotch in my apartment at any given time, two blends and six single malts. Usually more than six, frankly, but that’s neither here nor there…