Getting into Whisky with the Whisky Wisemen
I’ve never been much of a drinker, and when I do it’s usually either a glass of red wine or an icy beer. But there’s something grown up and sophisticated about enjoying a glass of whisky or an old-fashioned.
However, there’s so much more to it than feeling like Don Draper.
My first question after arriving at the Whisky Wisemen event in Vancouver was, what’s the difference between ‘Whisky’ and ‘Whiskey‘?
The Scots spell it without the E, and the Irish use an E. The American spelling uses the extra E.
Then what’s the difference between Whisky and Scotch?
It was pretty noisy and I didn’t hear the barman, so I found this explanation from Mental Floss:
“The main difference between scotch and whisky is geographic, but also ingredients and spellings. Scotch is whisky made in Scotland, while bourbon is whiskey made in the U.S.A, generally Kentucky. Scotch is made mostly from malted barley, while bourbon is distilled from corn.”
Surrounded by business owners, industry leaders, movers and shakers. Supported by sponsors like CROP agricultural infrastructure, and Victory Barbers (my personal go-to) and the entertainment of the Canadian comedian, Damonde Tschritter and the feature speaker, David Chilton, who talked about his time on The Dragon’s Den and his book The Wealthy Barber, we tasted three whiskies by Bruichladdich.
One of which was the most peated in the world, which meant it tasted smokey and very strong. It came all the way from the Scottish Island of Islay where they’re very much part of the community and traditions of the area.
After the tastings, it was time for the open whisky bar where I tasted samples like Nikka from Japan, Bourbon from Kentucky, USA, and Ardbeg from Scotland.
The Japanese Nikka whiskey surprised me at how smooth and easy to drink it was. The taste was subtle and not at all powerful. It tasted refined and made me feel the same. There’s oak, winter spice, and a little fruit.
The Bruichladdich sponsor brand felt like it was too powerful for me, a mere amateur but the people around me looked like they were more experienced. If you’re looking for something that’s still ‘peated’ but doesn’t squeeze your lungs like the Bruichladdich then the Lohin McKinnon Single Malt will suit you well.
I also tried some Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon and was surprised to find it to be another easy drink. There was a slightly more forceful flavour that made me think of bonfires and cowboy adventures.
Whatever your style, there’s a whisky for most. From light and floral to a heavy thump of smoke, you can find something. I’d recommend going to your local whisky bar and ask for recommendations. Mix it with water, ice, or neat. Just don’t mix it with Coke, that’s frowned upon in these parts.
Disclaimer: The Whisky Wisemen organizers invited me to attend. The blog, reviews, and photos are my own. Oh and drink responsibly. Know you’re limit and stay within it.