Quarterly favourites – how to pick?

Whisky Lady is actually a spin-off of my blog Everyday Adventures in Asia –  created as I recognised my interests have two rather distinct audiences.

  • Those that enjoy a good dram or two! (or was that three?)
  • And those interested in the adventures of a crazy Canadian who calls India home and traipses around Asia

However I still impose share on Everyday Asia a monthly round-up of Whisky Lady’s adventures. This quarter featured:

Whisky Lady

Whisky Lady

In my round-up, I try to pinpoint which was my favourite for the month. And I struggle. What I realised is I can’t pick ‘one’ as I like different whiskies for different reasons in different settings.

As it is not my habit to numerically ‘score’ whiskies, I have no easy number to help ‘rank’ the month’s samples either. After all, while a nice neat number seems authoritative, there are experts out there who have perfected ‘scoring’ whiskies. Who am I to add to their numbers!?

A number also doesn’t convey how taste is a very personal thing. My palate and yours may be quite different – which is why I enjoy sampling both alone and with others. Why descriptions can help you discern what might interest you or not. Some read ‘dirty socks’ and go eewww! Others know that’s just one of many elements you can find in a whisky.

A number also doesn’t recognise that some drams are great for a particular mood but don’t quite match a different setting or company. Some are like elegant ladies and must be treated accordingly. Others grab you by your (ahem!) nether regions with a rollicking good ride!

That said, I have contemplated keeping in mind a few simple factors when sampling whiskies. Something that could help hone a list of ‘favourites’ based on vague criteria or descriptive triggers to remind me “Ah… that’s why I liked it!”  or not!

A few factors for consideration include:

  • Mood: What kind of setting could I envision sipping? Quiet evening curled up at home? Clinking sociable glasses with some colleagues? A bad-ass party of mad men n women? In short – what kind of mood does the whisky put me into? Or mood would it compliment?
  • Mode: Neat, drop of water, or (gasp!) with ice or mixed. Could it work in an exotic cocktail? Or one that absolutely under no circumstances should be messed with – neat n only neat! Or is it a whisky I wouldn’t cringe serving at a party and watching folks liberally dump in ice cubes and drown in soda?
  • Money: Would I buy it (again)? Is it value for money, rare commodity or rubbish for the price-tag? After all, you can’t really expect the same quality of a $20 whisky as you would from a $200 one!
  • Mmmm….. This is an indefinable quality. You just know it when you find it! I favour more complex whiskies with nuanced elements. Ones with great body, balance, finish with a little something ‘extra’ going on… Yet how many decent drinkable drams actually achieve (or come close) to this elusive quality?

I may not always assess a whisky referring to some of these considerations – particularly ‘Money’ as we source individually for our tasting sessions. While I could use a UK online store as an indicator – it often bears little relation to the kind of prices we incur in markets closer to our home in Mumbai, India so may not be of significant benefit to others.

However ‘Mood’ and ‘Mode’ may make a regular appearance and it might be fun to have quarterly ‘top picks’ based on ‘Mood’ and ‘Mmmm…’ Perhaps a topic for our next monthly tasting session to discuss!

Curious what others think. Those with tasting groups, do you ‘score’ or ‘rank’ whiskies? Or have a rudimentary way to categorise whiskies? Other ideas?

You can now also find Whisky Lady on :

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