When I was young (Not that I am not young now, I am) I always thought whiskey was sweet. It’s because I would see uncles sitting around with these glasses filled with golden liquid and gently clinking ice cubes and think there is no way you can enjoy having something in that much quantity and for that long unless it’s sweet. I mean, why else? It was only much later that I learned the bitter truth, literally.
On Friday, I was asked to attend a ‘Scotch Mentoring’ session by Black Dog and I was like, no thanks, I don’t want to learn how to wear a kilt and play bagpipes. After I amused myself with that joke, I immediately said yes to learning about Scotch because it always fascinates me to learn the intricacies of something like a drink, things we easily dismiss. I am more of a vodka cranberry person, knocking back cocktails is how I enjoy drinking. Having scotch is certainly for a more evolved drinker and someone who appreciates the finer things, not someone like me. And how wrong was I. Not in the fact that I am not an evolved drinker, that I still am not. But this session was super interesting and here are the bits you would want to know.
What’s in a name?
Oh plenty. You know how you can’t call sparkling wine Champagne unless it’s produced in that area of France? Yeah, it’s the same with scotch. You may not call a whiskey a scotch unless it is produced and aged in Scotland. Yes, that country specifically. A lot of countries do produce whiskey but scotch continues to remain special.
Topography means a lot
Since Scotland is the only place that produces Scotch, it should all taste the same right? Nope. As our Scotch Mentor (yes, that’s a real designation) Aanchal Kaushal told us, whiskey grown in different parts of the country tastes different. In fact, the taste changes almost every 50 kms. That’s plenty of tastes for a whole country.
Eat it up
Did you know that Scotch can enhance flavours and the subtle spices of a particular food? Yes, and you thought you should only do cheese and wine together. Aanchal arranged for us to try a variety of foods with our Black Dog drams. There was feta, mascarpone and Edam cheese and when we swirled the Scotch over it, the flavours were could feel were very interesting. And with the cooked food, some of the spices were enhanced, some underplayed. Overall, the food pairing was super interesting.
Not your type?
There’s a scotch for everyone. Yup, it’s true. You just have to keep trying them till you find your scotch soul mate, said Aanchal. And even in scotch, there are so many types to choose from. There’s a single malt, single grain, blended and lots more. Each of these taste different and have a different aging process. Which means you could be a doing a lot of tasting before you find your own – the kind you can spend the rest of life with.
Mix it up
As you can tell, I am more of a cocktail person. So having scotch and water wasn’t my thing and I told Aanchal this. A misconception this is. Apparently, scotch makes for some fabulous cocktails too. Aanchal had worked with Black Dog at this event to create some cool cocktails and they were yum. Here’s a picture. It may be a little blurry because you know, I might have had a couple of cocktails.