I was really excited when Femke asked if I would write a guest article to go on whiskygirl.nl and then it hit me “what do i write about?” there’s so many things involving whisky that I could write about. ….
I’ve got a list for my own blog of things that i could possibly write about in the future so a quick look at that and i decided to go with “how to taste a more varied range of whiskies without costing the earth.” Anyone who gets serious about whisky will try spend time getting to know as many different expressions of whisky as they can, but if you’re only doing that by buying bottles then it can become very expensive, so how else can you do it?
A lot of based on what is available around you, so to be fair I’m going to go through all the options I can possibly think of and chat about how to get involved and what they offer.
So first up is buy some samples or miniatures, there are a few places you can get these,for samples try
www.whiskysamples.eu, www.masterofmalt.com, www.thewhiskytastingclub.co.uk and www.passievoorwhisky.nl. For miniatures try www.thewhiskyexhange.com who have a vast range and www.justminiatures.co.uk. You can also try you’re local off-license to see if they have any. The advantage of these samples/miniatures is that you get to try a dram or two of a whisky to see if you like it without splashing out the money required to purchase a full bottle, the costs of the samples/miniatures vary but they are generally very good value.
Next on the list would be whisky festivals, there’s plenty of them about, in the UK the choice of Whisky Live, The Whisky Lounge Festivals, The Whisky Exchange Festival, Whisky Stramash, Whisky Fringe, Spirit of Speyside, Whisky an’ a’ That, Feis ile and more and there are always a range of whisky festivals going on throughout the world so you could try to get along to one of these. With these the ticket prices covers a range of samples and you get to try some whiskies you would may not try anywhere else, they also allow you to socialise with other whisky drinks which is never a bad thing and if you keep in touch it will help with one of the points to come.
There’s always whisky bars, always worth checking your area to see if there are any whisky bars around where you are, i’m lucky in that there are around 10-15 very good whisky bars within about 45 minutes of where I stay where i can try from a selection of anything up to 300/400 on display. Even the most basic of bars usually have a bottle of two of whisky or whiskey that might be different to what you’ve had before.
So what else can we do, well you could always join or set-up a local whisky club. If there is one that you can join i’d always advise doing it as you get to meet with like minded people and go to meetings where 4/5/6 whiskies are tasted and tried and you can enjoy a variety of different whiskies.
If there isn’t one already look at trying to start one, even if it’s only with a group of 4/5 friends you can start small with just a couple of bottles, or check out the whisky specialists for 35cl and 20cl bottles to split between you to save costs in the beginning.
Organised Social Media Tasting events. These are good fun if you can get involved, so go onto facebook and twitter and follow every whisky company you can and enter competitions and register for tasting events and you may be lucky and be able to join in with some of them.
Femke, here on whiskygirl.nl, organises some tasting events that are cheap and interesting and always worth trying as she tends to pick interesting whiskies to get involved in.
On twitter make sure you follow Steve Rush from The whisky Wire www.twitter.com/thewhiskywire as Steve organises a number of twitter tastings throughout the year where samples are sent to you and you taste which tweeting about them, a really intriguing idea that seems to work very well.
Many of the whisky distillers have also done these types of tastings also so keep an eye out for that.
Lastly and related to the point about events and talking to people, is to make friends both online and offline that like whisky, that way you will have a range of people with different bottles of whisky, you can then swap samples with each other, this costs you nothing but the price of a sample bottle and some postage and the benefits are great.
Overall there are a huge number of ways to be able to taste a wider range of whiskies than you think you can afford, so go for it, there’s loads out there.
Written by Tom Thomson Febr 2013
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