By The Kenyan Bar Guy
I don’t know what about whiskey that has everyone’s panties in a bunch. The golden-brown liquid that comes from rye, barley, wheat, and corn was actually used as an antibiotic before but in all irony, it does not stop the spread of the infection that is the whisky culture. Which maybe is a good thing or not?
Over time it developed an air of elegance, became snobbish and for some reason, the older and more expensive it was, it earned a reputation. It became a drink enjoyed by a select few that you would never find spewing banter bout football or anything sport related. Even the F1 elusive and vindictive crowd could not make for a suitable suitor. You either had to be well versed in world politics, economics and finance, advanced art and culture that was beyond the manicured fingers of wine drinkers or simply a mysterious gentleman with a sketchy background as an underground gangster.
Then in quick succession, came the secret society of that golden looking liquid drinkers that would need connections with someone more powerful than Pope since after all, he prefers wine as his poison. People so intense that they would ask about the age of the drink sitting in your glass as is they were expecting an illicit affair. But I get it. There is an allure to something held in such high regard and kept rare that you would definitely jump hoops for.
Now, that does not mean no one should enjoy the sensual kiss when the liquid gold touches your lips and seduces your taste buds. It’s just that like with any kiss, there is a buildup. Of course, there are those moments when you know it’s just right and go in for the kill, but with whiskey sometimes you have to read the room. Woo her (or is it him) for a kiss. Find out if they actually want to share their glory with you and if the moment is magical then you have a match.
This though, takes time. It’s like building up a dynasty. There are many ways to go about it but what I think is going around it by age. Not the whiskey bottle though. But your own. Think about it, look at your peers, there’s those you think are way too young to be into something or way too old. Whiskey does the same. So, let’s get into it.
Are you 20-25?
The pressure is on. Some of your age mates have made it and have come from well-established families and you’ve heard about a couple of whiskies with price tags longer than your ID number. Don’t try and be like them. Instead, try out the lower shelve whiskies. The ones in the green and maybe clear bottles that everyone trolls. Get your palate used to it, enjoy the sting, drink copious amounts until your hangover has a hangover and just let it be. The one thing no one will tell you at this age is that you are not sure. Get through the “ignored” pile and maybe just maybe you might find something you love.
Are you 25 – 30?
You already probably know the world isn’t an excrement. You are on your first job on the way to make a career out for yourself. Maybe you went into business whose legality I am keeping my nose out of. But it does not matter. You have found a stable footing in life, possibly, and you are allowed to try and impress. Here is where you go for the household names in the world of whiskey. Try them all, impress the women in your circle and when you are with the crew reminisce on the price tag on a whiskey you spent money on.
Are you 30 – 33?
Well now you have some footing. Abandon the reckless banter. Whiskey is not just whiskey. Each bottle has its own personality. It is a work of an art that needs to be appreciated. At this point age and price need to actually influence your decision. You are not out there to impress you are actually making a subtle statement. You are telling the world who you are and what you believe in. And, in retrospect also telling them what the size of your wallet really looks like. That sounds superficial, but hear me out, your potentials are looking, and your choice of whiskey would be your version of peacocking.
Are you 33 – 38?
Whether you know it or not there is a prospect that looks at you like a “baba nani”. Here you have explored through the murky waters, found your taste regardless of age or brand and really don’t give a sh*t what anyone thinks. You might have developed a taste for cigars thanks to peers and you probably send a well-meaning compliment to the wait staff that serves you. At this point, it is not about knowing what you like and what you don’t but everyone around you knowing your preferences. It would go a long way if you had some whiskey related jargon in the bag too.
Are you 39+?
You scoff at young whiskey drinkers. The ones that get the cheap bottles. The ones that get bottles that are a tad older than your first born. You have the permission to be snooty and carry your shoulder high making snarky comments. The topics of your conversation are dominated by the impact that they will have on aspects of your life. At this point you are allowed to be a little adventurous but only trying new whiskies older and pricier than what you are used to.
So, what say you? Shall we whiskey?