In the beginning, there was water, then plants and cereals, then yeast and finally, a still moment arrived and so began the creation of “Uisge Beatha” (aka Whisky - The Water of Life)
Like may of us, my personal journey with whisky began as a teenager. Wanting to look and act older than I was, I decided to drink "scotch and dry" mainly because it sounded sophisticated (but also because I didn't like the taste of beer!)
I progressed to drinking “high-brow” whiskies such as Vat 69, Chivas Regal and Hankey Bannister (with ginger ale, of course). Over time, I learnt to drink whisky “neat”, especially if I paid a bit more and got a better quality whisky (Glenlivet in my case) before I discovered my first peated whisky, a Lagavulin 16 yo (still one of my favourite peated whiskies)
As my taste for whisky developed, so did my desire to try different whiskies. I joined a whisky club and I also started to go to whisky tasting events. Needless to say, I was now hooked on whisky and the many flavours presented before me. Unfortunately, my budget did not afford me to purchase the hundreds of whiskies I wanted to try so I started looking for whisky “samples” for sale. I managed to find some online but it was a challenge, but I still had my club and the various tasting events being held to satisfy my “thirst” for new whisky experiences.
One evening, I was at a tasting session with friends when one of them brought a young traveller from overseas. She was a lass on a backpacker sojourn after a stint in the army, and whisky was something she drank with Coke. We said we would let her try some “real” whisky and she was offered what we were tasting. As she nosed the glass and took a sip, she watched and listened. She said she was surprised as to the seriousness of the discussions about each whisky. She commented that it was like watching ministers discussing matters of state in parliament. We laughed but the thought resonated with me and it sat in the back of my mind.
A few months later, COVID-19 descended upon us in Australia and we were restricted from meeting in any sort of face-to-face environment by March. I had previously volunteered to host a tasting for my club (Gillies) in July and wondered what would happen. A fellow member who had a prior tasting suggested and held a Zoom event which went down pretty well, albeit with a few technical hiccups. I said I would do the same if we were still in lockdown and so it was. With 28 members wanting to attend my tasting, it was on! It was a challenge filling 108 little bottles and needless to say, I spilt a few drams along the way by filling a bottle twice (I must remember not to try the samples while filling!) The technology went smoothly and everyone enjoyed the event. We agreed it wasn’t as good as in-person tastings but still very enjoyable and well worth doing, and this got me thinking and excited.
And so the idea was born to start a “virtual” whisky tasting business, now known as “The Whisky Parliament”, with the inspiration coming from a young, newcomer to the world of whisky. Our aim is to provide a platform for newcomers to whisky and seasoned lovers of a good dram to learn, share and discover new, interesting and exciting whiskies. They can do so by engaging in blog articles, joining in a tasting event or trying a sample pack that intrigues them (there are almost 10 themes currently and growing). We hope you enjoy what we have to offer and your comments and feedback are always welcome. So what are you waiting for? Come join the Party! David Jacobs Minister of Tastings