Friday, September 30, 2011

Why I like Whisky . . .

I was thinking this evening why I like whisky.  I guess I liken it to great art.  Huh?  Yeah, great art, in all its forms, whether it be writing, film, dance or music.  There is a link.  Now, just bear with me.

I can tell you every great whisky I have had.  I can tell you where I was, what I was doing (or shouldn't have been doing), the color of the carpet, the angle the sunlight poured in through the window, and what we were talking about.

Great whisky, whether it be American, Canadian, Scotch, Japanese and Indian too, has the ability to crystalize a moment in time.  At times, it makes me pensive.  I think ever so briefly about the profound issues of life.  For a moment,  I realize my materialism is wrong, my career ambitions are not important, and what is important is time with family and friends, whether it be a barbecue, playing cards, sinking a long putt, and of course enjoying great whisky or even a cheap one.  Someone once said, "you will be dead a long time."

Great art can do the same.  Certain songs frame a moment in your life, make you reflect on the past, maybe something you don't want to do, but know at times it is important to do.  Have you been there?  I have.  Don't believe me?  Listen to Suspicious Minds, Bridge over Troubled Waters, Killing Me Softly or Wild Horses.

Why I drink whisky is not for the intoxication.  Nor is it exclusively for the taste.  It's something else, that intangible, the hard to express, maybe a catalyst for the occasionally needed melancholic introspection.

Jason Debly

Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2012. All rights reserved except for photo of Aberlour A'bunadh which belongs to David S. Bloom. Video of Killing Me Softly by the Fugees is presented solely for entertainment and nostalgia purposes.  The song copyright belongs to Charlse Fox and Norman Gimbel.  


  1. Scientists envisage "stay-sober" pill. A pill that would allow you to drink as much as you want without getting drunk is being developed.

  2. Now, if there was ever an excuse to skip one's medication, that pill would be it . . . .

  3. Jason, nice post! It's a question I've asked myself (and my wife has asked me!) and is difficult to answer, but you've done a nice job articulating it. Whisky is able to give that extra dimension of mental stimulation that you don't get from beer or wine (although, sometimes a good bottle of wine can make a memory like whisky can).

    Ever heard that the scent and memory functions of our brain are closely linked? Can it be that since we are concentrating on the inherently potent aromas and flavors of whisky, that it stimulates the memory portion of our brains? Ah, excuse me. I am an engineer, and maybe I'm getting a bit too analytical here!

  4. Eh, Ryan, I think you are making a lot of sense. A less scientific explanation that I would have would be the fact that scotch is like a good cigar, neither one can be rushed, and maybe the ceremony and the experience of enjoying those pleasures is forever embedded in our psyches. Maybe?

  5. Love the pic of Aberlour. I have the Aberlour 16. I love the taste, especially while enjoying a cigar. I find it relaxing. Like the cigar, take it slow and enjoy.

  6. Very well said. So much artistry goes into these brews, and the result is being able to focus on the moment (quite the opposite of why many people drink).


  7. Hi Jason,

    I'm planning to buy a scotch in the $50-$55 price range. I saw the following one's in my area's shop. Could u rate them in order of most-awesome to least awesome?

    Aberlour A'bunadh, Macallan Cask Strength, Benromach 10Yr, Glenfarclas 12 Yr, Clynelish 14 Yr, Aberlour 16 Yr, Glenlivet 18 Yr, Chivas Regal 18 Yr (Yes, I hav read ur not-so-happy review..but for $55 incl tax, isn't it a gud value?) & Dalwhinnie 15 Yr.


    1. My top three would be:

      (1) Clynelish 14 (incredible!)

      (2) Dalwhinnie 15 (very underrated, but great!)

      (3) Glenlivet 18 (everyone assumes because Glenlivet is so widely available it can't be that good. Well they are wrong! Glenlivet 18 with a drop or two of water is fantastic!)

      Mind you, I prefer gentler/more subtle flavor profiles. If you like sherry bombs, you would prefer maybe the A'bunadh or the Macallan Cask Strength.

      Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks a lot. I'm gonna go with Clynelish 14 & Glenlivet 18 as of now.

      Also, what about Chivas 18 at that price?

    3. I am not a big fan of Chivas 18. Here is my review:

      I find it too simple for the price. Just a flat, uninspiring deliver of honey, caramel and cinnamon. If you want something similar but very well done, I recommend Glenfiddich 15yrs Solera. Really impressive and probably at the same price point.

      Good luck!

    4. Yesss...the Glenfiddich 15yr is one of my all time favs. And, it's cheaper thn Chivas 18. In Duty Free, Glenfiddich 15yr costs $55/1L, while Chivas 18 is $68/750ml -> tht's equiv to $91/L(Geez...tht's crazy..isn't it?)

    5. You also might want to consider Cragganmore 12 years or Dalwhinnie 15. Both are priced below Chivas 18 and in my opinion much better.