A long time ago, on a random Yahoo message board, I stumbled across an interesting conversation. In between all the trolls and spam, through the collective wisdom of the internet, I managed to pick up this thread that described the natural progression of the relationship between an aficionado and Scotch Whisky.
A recent conversation with a friend about the somewhat obscene collective amount I’ve spent on Scotch over the years made me recall this thread, but despite my best efforts I couldn’t dig it up anywhere.
In the interest of those people just getting on to the slippery but oh-so-fulfilling slope that is Scotch whisky, I feel compelled to piece it together from memory. It just might save your marriage, relationship or at the very least, protect your finances. Jokes aside, let’s look at how, like any other relationship, a relationship with Scotch too, can be split into 5 broad stages.
Stage 1- Curiosity
The novice tries a couple of varieties of Scotch, probably enjoys them, and is now curious and eager to explore this brave new world. Or perhaps he or she has just heard good things about Scotch, probably from people who are way past Stage 1.
Stage 2- Enthusiasm
Like any relationship, the Scotch enthusiast now takes the first steps towards a long-term commitment. Reading, researching, surfing, collecting. The unquenchable thirst for Scotch whisky (and information) leads to buying books, accessories, maps and other Scotland paraphernalia, and of course, bottles of Scotch.
This stage is often where denial first kicks in. Setting a budget and refusing to go over it, is one way enthusiasts pacify their guilt.
But sometimes, you need to go over budget, to get yourself that great bottle of Scotch whisky. And you find yourself making up excuses, justifying it as a one-time thing. Except it’s not. And that’s when you know you’re sliding towards Stage 3.
Stage 3- Fanaticism
The fanatic sees a Scotch he wants, and gets it. His collection keeps growing at a breakneck speed. He’s probably planning a trip to Scotland, or has already visited, and returned with suitcases full of bottles. And the online shopping. He probably has a separate credit card just for the Scotch purchases. Maybe he has a special room where he stores, and drinks his whisky.
Now, somewhere in stage 3, two distinct types of aficionados emerge. The connoisseur and the collector.
The connoisseur firmly believes that great Scotch, no matter how rare or expensive, is meant to be consumed. What good is Scotch if it’s sitting on a shelf collecting dust? The connoisseur is generous and enjoys sharing a dram or two with friends.
The collector on the other hand hoards his bottles, puts them on a pedestal to worship and shows off his collection to the people who come over, probably while offering them some low-grade whisky to drink.
That’s not to say that connoisseurs don’t hoard too, but they’re probably just saving it for a special occasion. Obviously, connoisseurs hate collectors. And vice versa.
Stage 4- Obsession
The obsessed Scotch drinker probably has collected more whisky than he can possibly drink in his lifetime. He probably also owns shares in a few distilleries. And can tell you more about Scotch than the manager of a distillery! Most likely single, or has a very understanding partner.
Stage 5- The Terminal Stage
This one is rarely seen, but usually involves grandiose plans of purchasing a distillery, or attempting to distill and blend Scotch oneself. I haven’t seen anyone progress this far, but I know a few people who might just need a gentle nudge, like say, winning a lottery, to fall headfirst into Stage 5.
I’ve self-diagnosed as somewhere in Stage 3. How far along are you?
Article By: Viren Fernandes
Viren writes for food, beer and his own amusement. His interests include reading, travelling and envisioning himself as the director (and the audience) of a comedy based on everything he sees.
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