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Of all the things the world has come up with to dedicate days of the year to, I think whiskey is the finest. World Whiskey Day, May 20, is a Scottish invention as expected, and it’s all about nursing that glass.

Whiskey drinkers, as far as I know, are the most chilled out folks to become friends with. Secretly, I thought they might show up with dentures and walking sticks one day, or do something that would give away their oldie-ness with that fancy whiskey glass in hand, but in fact they’d still be up and talking long after the Kingfisher-guzzlers were passed out in toilets or popping Saridons. The day I switched to whiskey, that’s when it struck me that age has nothing to do with the big fuss around this old spirit.

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Ryner Lobo, a 29-year-old DOP from Bandra, remembers how he switched from whiskey to beer to whiskey again, “The first drink I ever tried was whisky, I think a DSP Black. Now, 10 years later, I’ve moved on to Jim Beam, JD, Blender’s Pride or even Peter Scot. I drink beer too, but for a fine evening of conversations with a good taste in the mouth, it’s always whiskey I’ve liked. Beer is to create a ruckus, but single malt is smooth. Of course I like it more now that I’m older, but then really, I’d rather have three stiff pegs than knock off a crate of beer and still feel like a teetotaller.”

The most recent whiskey trends, surprisingly, are gearing towards mellower tastes for younger consumers. A number of brands have introduced special editions targeted at millennials, with names like ‘whisper whisky’ and with tones that are less smoky and more sober. It is assumed that younger drinkers like younger whiskies, but actually the rising economic profile of millennials means more dosh to buy aged single malts.

Besides, ‘millennial’ doesn’t mean teenagers sipping Breezers in hiding from their parents, nor does it refer to veterans getting gloomy on scotch as they smoke their cigars. Good single malts are now available in most decent liquor stores, and even more convenient are airport and mall outlets with the tempting variety on their shelves.

The product is the same (hopefully) but the packaging is new. Last year United Spirits launched Silk, a home-grown honey flavoured whiskey targeted at millennials. Even Glenfiddich launched in Mumbai last year promoting whiskey cocktails, which are usually scoffed at by whiskey connoisseurs. Jack Daniel’s India too launched smaller bottles for the growing number of millennial drinkers. Malt whiskey sale charts can no more ignore us.

Flavoured whiskey may sound gross, but at least we can expect to have more appealing options to woo our beer drinking friends on to the other side! Care for a wee dram?

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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