Why learn about whisky?
Ever wondered whether whisky is really a worthwhile topic for study? We brought together a group of whisky experts and asked them why they love to learn more about whisky.
Our teachers Vic Cameron and Dr Gordon Steele spoke with Fionnán O’Connor (Irish whiskey historian), Michael Walsh (Irish whiskey consultant), Jenny Karlsson (Ardnamurchan Distillery), Scott Sneddon (InchDairnie Distillery) and Andy Colman (Port of Leith Distillery).
Jenny: "Whisky is a fascinating topic for so many reasons. I mean, first of all, the people that make it. So from my point of view, it covers a wide spectrum of things like the science, the biology, the people and the history and the romance. I always mention the romance because I think romantic about where all distilleries are situated..."
Vic: "Why study whisky? Just to increase your enjoyment. If you know something about the topic, I think it helps you enjoy it. And for appreciation. If you could understand how it's made that’ll help you appreciate the flavours, the aromas that are coming through."
Scott: "As an industry, we're very supportive of each other, young, old, new and from what I’ve found is very inclusive. If you ask a question, if the person that you're speaking to doesn't know the answer, then they'll know somebody who will, and they will pick up the phone to you. So I find it to be a very, very friendly industry."
Fin: "It is an industry of enthusiasts and it's an industry of surprises. You know, I think [...] I don't quite understand how I meet so many people who have been working in it for years and years and years and have something very pressing to tell me about something they've stumbled upon, some quirk of distilling or this, and they're somewhat agitated and they've they've stumbled on something. And that seems to be a more or less continuous trait of the industry. And there's a certain amount of joy around all of that. So, yeah, I do think it's a very friendly industry."
Michael: "There's different perspectives. One person's truth is another person's lie and so on. It's a it's no matter what stone you un-turn, there's there's a different angle, there's a different interesting. And it's such a complex subject, whether it's from the the heritage and the categories and the long standing distilleries or the science or the actual technical aspects of how it's actually produced. I'll give it a good go, but I don't think you'll ever get to the bottom of knowing every single thing there is to know."
Andy: "It's such an exciting industry to to be part of. It's it's so collaborative. And even though whisky's been being produced for for forever, there's just there's always something more to learn and there's new developments and and the community, the community is amazing."
Gordon: "Every time I go to a distillery, I always learn something, something new. There’s always something because everyone does something in a slightly different, different way. It really is multi-disciplinary and so no one can ever encompass all of all of all of that. It's just impossible."
Scott: "I think there's always something new to learn and I think if the the day you stop feeling that you can’t learn anymore is the day you leave because within the industry, there's always something new and innovative coming along the pipeline."
Vic: You can never know everything about whisky. It's such a wide topic. You can learn more and more and more, but there's always new things to learn. And I've been 31 years in the industry and I'm still learning."