This happened in a discussion I had with a bartender of a well-known pub in the NCR. I asked him, ‘What is more important to a whisky blend, the way the nose sensors behave or the way the taste buds respond?’ The bartender thought for a while and then replied, ‘What is more important to a bird, the left wing or the right wing?’
Sometimes the answers are way more thought-provoking than the question actually deserved. Just as to love and to be loved are equally important, all facets of a good whisky are vital. I mean, if you have unclean casks, the final product goes for a six, doesn’t it? So right from the choice of casks to the choice of whisky that is blended with a malt… every little action or inaction may leave a mark on what is finally bottled. When I told this to that bartender, he simply said, ‘This is why the world loves Black Dog TGR.’
The truth is that the Black Dog TGR or Triple Gold Reserve is bit of an enigma and there are aspects that go in its making that are enshrouded in a mystery. But then a genuine lover isn’t so much bothered about solving mysteries as much as appreciating the yellow golden liquid gold sloshing around a few well-formed ice-cubes in his glass.
One good tip for those who wish to end up as connoisseurs of scotch is that being chatty with bartenders helps at times. One of them at one time informed me that there is an entire universe of truth between when a whisky is poured in a glass to the moment a person swallows some of it. Obviously, the choice of whisky, the choice of glass, and the choice of adding water or any other beverage make all the difference. Let us discuss water here in this post.
Some people love their whisky with water, and some don’t. However, even a few drops of water have the power to open up a whisky, ‘revealing the intricate workings of a dram’s flavour, helping you identify the constituent parts more easily.’ So it is water that helps you make all the sniffing and sipping of a whisky a much involved affair that can end up causing your nose and the palate a bit numb.
The next question I asked him was, ‘How much water is generally to be added?’ To this he told me that many master blenders choose to dilute to just 20% so that should make the ordinary mortals happier.
The final piece of advice that the bartender gave me is one that I personally think is the soundest. He said, ‘There’s a world of difference between drinking your Black Dog TGR alone or with friends. Choose to go around with friends. You’ll enjoy the experience and you’ll probably end up swapping notes and thus learn more too.’
So while water opens up a whisky, friends open the gates of a universe that you love. Now this is really more than just sound advice… having friends always helps!
26 May 2014