Even though whisky was traditionally considered to be a masculine drink, that tradition is just as firmly a part of the past as the Beatles. Nowadays, women are empowered by their increased spending power and the access it gives them to diverse categories of food and beverages, and they are taking the initiative to try new things, embrace new experiences, and throw stereotypes right out of the door. There are a few megatrends at play when it comes to women and whisky, changing the way that the category is viewed and consumed worldwide.
Emily Stockden, COO of the FNB Whisky Live Festival shares the following tips with us
Reasons to drink Whisky
As taboos around mixing whisky with other less hallowed substances come full circle and are yet again removed, we’re finding different ways to enjoy whisky. If you find whisky to be a little intimidating, consumed neat or on ice, the popularity of cocktails means that the category can still be enjoyed in many other ways.
It’s a tricky one to navigate, but drinking whisky is also seen as an act of empowerment, as South African women move away from gender stereotypes. While many feel that ordering a whisky at a bar is a masculine act, the simple fact that more women than ever are taking the initiative and ordering their own whiskies – armed with knowledge about the various brands’ histories and personalities – means that South African sisters really are doing it for themselves. Linking the ability to rethink gender identity with the confidence to order whisky in a bar may be overstating the power of the dram… but then again, maybe not.
If you’re new to whisky and are looking for some pointers on where to start, here are a few tips to get you going:
- Keep the whisky in your mouth for one second for every year that it’s been aged, so that you can experience the full spectrum of flavours popping up on your palate.
- Don’t smell the whisky by poking your nose into the glass, as you would when sensing the nose of a wine. Whisky has a much higher alcohol content than wine, and you don’t want to overwhelm your sense of smell.
- Spend some time thinking about the flavours and aromas you pick up. If something is sweet, is it a floral kind of sweet, or fruity, or like honey? If it’s fruity, what kind of fruit are you picking up? And if you pick up a flavour that you’re uncertain of, don’t hold yourself back from thinking about old leather, wood, or even wet horse!
- If you’re struggling for words to describe the flavour of your whisky, how about giving it a personality? A whisky could be audacious, shy, or precocious, or it could make you think of a particular experience (a spring picnic, a winter’s night alongside the fire, a secret tryst when you were a teenager).
- Having focused on how to describe your whisky, it’s just as important to emphasize that you don’t need to get hung up on highfalutin descriptions. Sip it, savour it, and share it with friends.
- Don’t be afraid to try whisky with new things – it’s not only for cocktails, sipping at a bar, or for post prandial pleasure. You can offer a smoky, peaty single malt as an accompaniment to a cheese platter, or you could pair some whiskies with chocolate. Because what’s not to love about the two most heavenly substances to grace our palates, paired together in a sublime partnership of flavour and fun?
- If you want to learn even more about whisky, or meet the experts and Master Distillers, then book your place now for the FNB Whisky Live Festival taking place from 12 – 14 November 2014 at the Sandton Convention Centre. Tickets available on www.whiskylivefestival.co.za and sell out quickly!