I was strongly discouraged to try Ardbeg 10yr, I did. I couldn’t believe this taste from another world, got drunk while trying to get to know it and fell in love with whisky.
Everyone has their story about entering the world of whisky. If you’re lucky, the opportunity for that will come to you at a time when you’re skipping out on stories and recommendations, but instead, you will let it victimize you for what it is.
Femke was so nice to invite me to share how I fell for whisky as a woman. I don’t know if men and women have different stories. I have mine and maybe it’s title should be “Privilege”.
The taste, the smell, the feel of something I had never experienced. It was sitting on a table, denied to me by a friend who was anxious to open it for me as he was wrongly taught that it was a bad choice for beginners.. more so for women.
Ardbeg 10yr is a discovery that happens once in a lifetime, especially if you like me have tried and never liked whisky before .. I’m sure appreciators and sensual people understand the worth of these moments and suspect the changes I went through after that.
So I had a companion for life. It’s a strange companionship because whisky is solid and always on the spot for you, unlike humans. But it’s also tricky, captivating and keeps showing you that there’s so much more to discover. It would hide behind a distillery tour, a whisky festival and most often behind a talk with passionate whisky lovers. So I end up feeling privileged as well as pushed to look for more of the experience. How nice that it is both dignified and playful, provokes respect and good humour. One more hard to figure and at the same time, funny thing is that whisky attracts complete opposites: both money minded “pros”, investors and marketers of little culture and gorgeous people with taste and love for life. This makes the whisky world a rollercoaster of experiences and may also turn it into a never-ending lesson.
So, if you’ve ever wondered, love from the first sip exists. What comes next is something resembling an obsessive-compulsive disorder to drink and share more bottlings. Reading about whisky seemed like an unattractive idea at first. I was quite sure that this was going to bring some kind of “cold” influence as opposed to me developing a personal view while making independent, intimate discoveries. The more I shared, the more I realized I had to start learning because questions inevitably came up and I was lacking good answers. I enrolled an online course and started visiting distilleries…as if I needed a reason for the latter.
One day I read “Whisky” by Aeneas MacDonald and this is when the idea that reading may corrupt my perception stopped bothering me. There was a crazily passionate, poetic and knowledgeable whisky lover, and there was me re-reading his book and flooding my friends with quotes they politely read.
In the meantime I was coming across the lifestyle show-offs, the know-it-alls and the “women don’t drink whisky” people. Unfortunately, some of the last were even tour guides at distilleries. It is normal that they didn’t know what to do with me, but I didn’t know what to with them either…This was and is an issue. Then some Clynelish malt god or a Cragganmore distillery cow that I fed saw to it that I met the proper whisky lovers, the pleasure-seeking and ill-humoured bad-asses, which I now have the privilege to call my friends. Five years ago I started my whisky culture events, dinners and ‘schooling’ where I keep meeting interesting people with a taste for life. This is where my story ends.
So here is a Nazdrave ( to your health in Bulgarian) to my friends and whisky lovers. May you have nice drinks in your home and friends as real and intriguing as whisky to share!
Written by: Angelina Kancheva
Angelina is the owner of Whisky and Cigar Experience Bulgaria
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