It began in the winter of 2003-2004. I was a student back then and had a fewer/flu that I was nursing at home. I don’t really remember what brought it on, possibly an conversation on IRC, but I had this idea in my head that whiskey would cure the flu. So off I went and walked the 2-3 kilometers to the nearest Alko(state owned store with an monopoly for selling alcohol) in the -20 degree Celsius weather.
It’s probably no surprise that the bottle I chose was Jack Daniels. It’s an iconic whiskey that pretty much everyone knows even if they’re not familiar with whiskeys. Still, when you’re left with around 200 euros for other expenses after paying rent, the 20 euros for the bottle was an fairly large investment.
When I got home, poured the first glass of JD and tasted it, I was less than pleased. I paid 20 euros for this? But, over time, as I drank it more, I began to like it. It had a nice oak flavor to it that I quite enjoyed. Oddly enough I haven’t actually bought another bottle of Jack Daniels since then even though it is what got me into whiskeys.
Whiskey can be quite an expensive hobby, especially for a student, so I was lucky in that my father began bringing me bottles of various scotchs from his business trips. Usually they were the small 0,5l kind of bottles. Thanks to him I ended up with bottles of 12 year old Glenfiddich and Chivas Regal, Black Label and Tullamore Dew just to name a few. Though he brought the smaller bottles they lasted me for quite some time. It was only a year or so ago that I actually finished the Chivas Regal he had brought me and at that point the bottle had been with me for a few years(though once I opened it it was only a few months until the bottle was empty).
So it’s not like I’m an alcoholic. The bottles I buy tend to last months because I usually don’t drink more than a glass or two at a time. And when I say glass I mean a glass you’ll get when you order whiskey at a bar. It’s really hard to say why I’ve taken such a liking to whiskeys. Cognac tends to be quite smooth and easy going and while whiskey can be that too, they usually are more aggressive and sometimes can make you feel like you’ve just walked through an burning apartment without an oxygen mask. Maybe it’s the combination of strong flavors that still let subtle tastes come to surface that has won me over.
That is pretty much how whiskey entered my life. Did it cure the flu? No. It has however brought an interest and a world of tastes to my life that would otherwise have gone unknown.