You might be wondering just who this guide to enjoying whisky is for. Is it for beginners? Absolutely, so you can learn how to approach new whiskies and to avoid bad habits that could lead to spending more than you need to or enjoying whisky less than you could. Is it for more experienced whisky drinkers who are looking to try new categories? Of course, because we can all use some guidance on what else we might like if we like Whisky X, Y, or Z; more whiskies to enjoy is a beautiful bonus in life.
We wrote it for the young whisky drinker looking to build up their confidence with solid knowledge. It’s most definitely for the newly-hired whisky representative, the bartender, the store clerk, the whisky bar chef, because we’d like you to have solid information to form your opinions and passions, and then pass that along to others. And yes, it’s for you, the 20-year subscriber to Whisky Advocate as well, because no one knows everything. So read, enjoy, expand your knowledge!
What to do once you’ve got the basics covered
Well, you’re educated now. We taught you how to get more whisky value for your dollar (pound, Euro, yen, etc.), how to read a review, and what to do with that information. We told you about all the other whisky people out there who’d love to make your acquaintance and share whisky with you at clubs, retailers, festivals, and bars. There was direction on tasting whisky and on simply drinking it for pleasure, and further direction on matching whisky to the mood, the scene, and the cuisine on offer. We laid out the classic whisky cocktails. We gave you advice on how to store your precious bottles, both before and after opening them. You learned about the myths of whisky, and the truths to defeat them.
It was a real Whisky 101, and you’ve got a great basis to move forward. So…now what?
You can always just enjoy your whisky. With this additional help, you’ll enjoy it more than ever. But maybe you want to do more. Here’s a start: visit some distilleries. You’ll learn a lot, just by walking around and sniffing the air, and you’ll make a connection to the origins of that whisky. Broaden your palate: try another whisky category—with an open mind—and learn what else whisky can taste like. Read some whisky blogs and observe what has whisky drinkers excited (or angry). Read some whisky books, too, and you’re already reading Whisky Advocate magazine.
Most of all, though, drink more whiskies. Not more glasses, more whiskies. If you’ve been cautious, it’s time to break out. Go to a good whisky bar and break out of that comfort zone. Try some local distilleries, try some classics. Scared of peat? Ease into some Highland Park. Think Canadian’s just for Highballs? Sip some Lot No. 40. Is bourbon your only friend? Say hello to rye.
There’s always something new. Welcome, the next tour’s starting now.