It’s a well-known fact that women tend to be better at detecting nuances of wine and whisky smells versus men (this link is an article that talks about results of experiments done to compare women’s ability to distinguish scents versus men).
This begs the question: Why are there fewer women in the whisky industry?
I don’t think I’ll ever come up with an answer that’s incredibly fact-based (maybe I should launch a study?), but speaking from personal experience, there are two general answers: There are too many men who think women can’t handle strong, grain-based alcohol like whisky; And (again, I stress that I speak from personal experience) there are very few venues in Manila where women feel safe enough to really explore the drink.
While “at home with my pseudo-adoptive older brother” is at the top of my mind when someone says “safe places in Manila to enjoy whisky” (followed closely by Whisky Live), I discovered another group of people I could really let my hair down and have an intelligent discussion with: The Whisky Society of Manila, Philippines.
I’ve written about a couple of the key gentlemen in my last Whisky Live post, so I’ll save myself the trouble of the group’s ability to talk about whisky. What I’d like to say about them is that they not only know their stuff, they can truly have fun.
At this time of year, of course, fun normally coincides with a Christmas party (or two), so it came as no surprise that the group came up with one of the best whisky-soaked Christmas parties last 5 December 2018 in Brewery at the Palace.
Here are my highlights of the event:
Mixologist Ameka* Burning Down The House (Because Bacon Makes Everything Better)
First, the dude made me a fantastic cocktail with Chilean Pisco (I am partial to the style as opposed to the Peruvian).
Then he lit up a wooden plank on fire.
Then he gave me a cocktail with bacon, with hints of smoke than came from that plank he lit up.
The Staples: Chivas Regal, Remy Martin, Jameson
I call them staples because my stash (and/or my friends’) never runs out of these babies. I’ve written about Remy Martin Cognac before, and Chivas Regal can trace its long, colourful history in Aberdeen (and is blended with whisky from Strathisla Distillery, which I discovered I couldn’t pronounce to save or end my life). Jameson holds a special place in my liver heart because this smooth, triple distilled Irish whisky is one of my best friends’ “breakfast of champions”.
Cult Whiskies: Bruichladdich, Wild Turkey, and Michter’s
Here’s what the guys behind the label have to say about it (video does not belong to me or 2shotsandapint)
Little Distilleries, Big Fan
I’m a big fan of small distilleries (*pats myself on the back for using big and small in a sentence*). Typically, minimal production means the ability of producers to pay closer attention to production details. Such is the case for the evening’s Douglas Laing lineup, which featured the Big Peat (a blend from famous Islay distilleries), Timorous Beastie (blended from Highland Malts, its name was derived from the famous Scottish poem, “To a Mouse”), and Scallywag (the tasting notes make this Speyside blend a perfect Christmas drink).
Also, my good friend Travis Halverson (who I mercilessly teased all night, sorry!) treated me to a tasting of his whiskies and gin: The Glenalmond (an easy drinking, everyday Highland Single Malt), The One (a fruit-forward, nutty, slightly smoky British Isles blend), Whitley Neill Handcrafted Gin (the idea of the gin was to marry the English heritage of distiller Johnny Neill with his wife’s African roots by using botanicals that included Cape gooseberry and Baoab), and City of London Square Mile Gin (this Double Gold Medalist in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition was perfect as Travis’ version of the G&T).
The Clincher: Booker’s Bourbon
I couldn’t believe this limited release whiskey is by Jim Beam. It’s a barrel-strength bourbon and is lethal at 60+% ABV but is absolutely delicious. I wouldn’t kill a bottle in one sitting, but it’s good to sip and savour.
That said, I’m looking forward to the next Whisky Society party, which I’m sure would be another one for the books. People interested in knowing about the organisation could check out their Facebook page. People could also find excellent recommendations on whisky (plus different spirits, and where to find them) from the page. 😉 Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Shoutout to Kris Yeung whose booth I apparently failed to mention in my Whisky Live 2018 article 😉
Very, very special thanks to Frank Kona Shrope and Leonard de Guzman. Happy birthday you two!
*I will be the first to admit it if I failed to spell Ameka’s name correctly 😉