Now before you get all offended… there is a very specific context to this comment.
It came up at a Whisky masterclass with Master Distiller Stuart Harvey, where one of my whisky partners in crime whispered cheekily:
“Single Malt guys are promiscuous, whereas blended guys are very loyal.”
It echoed something mentioned earlier in the day by Stuart, when asked why Inver House decided to enter the Indian market in 2015.
Stuart shared how over the last decade he has seen a shift across the globe but particularly in India:
“Basically we’ve seen people trading up. Ten years ago it would have been the cheaper and mixed products that people were drinking. That was down to affordability, the price point.
Obviously now foreign travel is a lot more common. And they come back and bring back whisky – a nice status symbol.
Earlier they would bring back a nice blend. Then they moved up the ladder to a 12 year old blend. That’s the signal that it is time to introduce single malts. As going from 12 year old blend to a single malt is easy.”
So far, not terribly promiscuous…. however according to Stuart, 12 year old blends can be a tipping point to become a seeker of diversity over monogamy…
“They start getting more interested in the different flavour profiles, they want to try something different, they want to entertain their guests.
Single malt drinkers have more than one brand. As opposed to blended product where people tend to be very loyal to a particular brand.
They want to try something different. So when they are traveling, they try to pick up something different.”
From that point of picking up something different during travels eventually translates into two outcomes:
- The single malt adventurer infects a loyal local blend drinker into the dangerous world of illicit relationships with an imported single malt!
- And from such exposure, the desire to acquire extends to duty-free airports at ‘home’ or perhaps eventually from the local ‘wine’ shop.
So while blend drinkers are a loyal lot who for years, nay decades, stick to their Black Label, Teachers, Blenders Pride, those who have strayed down the path of single malts are always itching to explore, make that next remarkable whisky discovery!
I was again reminded of this when a fellow whisky explorer requested ideas for acquiring more miniatures… to add to his growing collection of different sets… already at 14, he added another 20 during his latest London jaunt.
So far we have explored the Tomintoul trio, four more minis in August, another set in September… and yet another mini session planned next week!
Before getting smug about such miniature mania, I then thought of our Mumbai based whisky club members creative approaches to sourcing something ‘untried’ from around the globe and my own sampling scores:
Would you agree? Are single malt sippers incapable of fidelity and always seek the novelty of something ‘new’ in their quest for the next great whisky?
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