I suppose it was wishful thinking expecting some existential answers to questions like ‘Why has whisky captured the human spirit?‘ or ‘ Candrinking whisky sooth a troubled soul?‘.
The Philosophy Of Whisky is however an easy – if brief – entertaining introduction into the growing global reach of distilling, maturing & enjoyment of the brown spirit.
Chapters covering the big 5 producers – Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada & Japan – along with mentions on Sweden, Taiwan, India, Australia & Mexico to name a few – give a welcome & refreshing world view on this tasty beverage.
The author still appears to elevate Scotch above the others – even when world whisky is winning tasting awards – & fudges facts over the earliest written records for aqua vitae – the forerunner of whisky.
Yet for all that – anyone still restricting their whisky drinking to Scotch is missing out on a world of exciting tastes, flavours & growth.
Excuse me while I pour some Titanic Irish Whiskey!
It’s a question I often ask myself after coming across various examples of this particular malaise.
But what is Scotch Centrism?
Viewing the whisky world via the optics of tartan spectacles leading to undue bias – intentional or not – towards Scotch, positioning it on a pedestal beyond reproach, usually coupled with scant regard – veering to disdain – for whisky producing countries that aren’t Scotland.
My first encounter with this affliction was a few years ago.
A Scottish internet publication invited non Scottish cities citizens to give a flavour of whisky spots within their environs.
One resident had proclaimed there were no whisky distilleries in this particular location – despite myself having visited one!
The sufferer had such a bad dose of Scotch Centrism they were blinded & unable to see the distilleries operating in their own backyard!
The Scottish publication in turn failed to do any checks & subsequently released this false information.
A more severe example pertains to rules.
Sufferers believe any whisky produced outside of Scotland that doesn’t comply with SWA – Scotch Whisky Association – rules is basically ‘not doing it right’.
Effectively this shows a complete lack of respect for the different ways each country make their own whisky – and verges into cultural imperialism.
Such a position belittles the ‘other’, limits diversity & stifles innovation in the global whisky category.
A final – often milder – example is where the Scotch Centric drinker eventually does get round to sampling a non Scotch whisky & invariably expresses surprise at how enjoyable & well presented it is – often with a hint of patronisation thrown in.
Luckily Scotch Centrism isn’t a permanent condition.
Sufferers merely need to ditch the tartan glasses & open themselves up to a whole new world of enjoyable tastes & flavours.
Treating countries with different rules to those of Scotland with the same respect & having an open mind – and palate – to exploring their produce helps too.
Perhaps then we can learn a bit of ‘kinship, belonging & inclusiveness’ – to borrow an Irish Distillers marketing missive – & ‘Widen The Circle’ along the way when we’re at it.
Tartan glasses courtesy zazzle.com All other images authors own.