A Beginners Guide To Investing & Consuming Whisky
For most, whisky is seen as a valuable source for one thing and one thing only; a great drink for any occasion! Following up from our previous blog looking at whisky as an investment, you’ll be happy to know that the whisky investment is booming! Today, we’ll look at some tips and tricks for you to start your own investment in the glorious liquid gold which is whisky.
1. KNOW THE LINGO
As with any specialist field, whisky has its own language and definitions. Here are the basics.
Malt Whisky: A whisky produced solely from malted barley, yeast and water – whisky is essentially distilled beer. Single malts come from just one distillery, single cask malts from just one cask, while blended malts are from more than one distillery.
Blended Scotch whisky: A mix of malt whiskies and whiskies made from whole grains other than barley. Other types of whisky (or whiskey in the US and Ireland) such as American bourbon have their own specific production and grain requirements.
The Angels’ Share: The alcohol that evaporates while the whisky is maturing in the cask. If the ABV (alcohol by volume) of a cask drops below 40% it can no longer be sold as whisky. Whisky must be matured in casks for at least three years before it can be called whisky. Before then it is known as new-make spirit.
2. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Read as much as you can about the different whiskies and their styles, and focus on the regions that are serious right now: Scotch, American, Japanese and Irish. Get to know how each style employs different recipes, distillation techniques and ageing strategies. The more educated you are about the product, the better your chances of making good purchasing decisions. Touring distilleries is an important part of whisky education; they offer an intimate view of the production process from grain to glass. Learning the similarities and differences between the houses will give you a leg up in making informed purchases. Bonus: collectors are like kids in candy stores in a distillery’s gift shop. It’s the perfect place to store collectables.
3. GET TASTING WHISKIES
Practice is the only way to develop your palate, so sip as many different whiskies as you can. Seek out bars with good collections and sample different brands and styles. Chances are you will find yourself sitting next to a fellow connoisseur, so make friends and talk shop. Also, look for tasting events where you can pay one price to sample some of the higher-end stuff, eventually you'll start to develop a feel for what you personally enjoy. Remember, just because something is popular or expensive doesn’t mean you will like it.
4. HAVE FUN!
This might seem like an obvious one however it’s important that while you’re in the first few stages of investing in whisky, enjoy the new experience and you never know what it may lead to!