It’s Mad Men season again folks and never mind Don, Roger, Pete and co, whisky is very much the star of the show. But it’s not just the boys who appreciate the rich, complex spirit. Off screen, Joan aka Christina Hendricks (right) is a huge fan. So much so, she was appointed by Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch Whisky to be its US Ambassador.
It’s a perfect match. That winning mix of sex, strength and independence she exudes captures the gutsy spirit of whisky perfectly. “There’s a pride involved when you order Scotch,” the Mad Men star enthuses. “It’s a strong choice, a confident choice and one that more and more women are starting to make for themselves.”
She’s right. Kate Moss and Lady Gaga are just two of the high profile women who drink whisky. Not that you have to be a celebrity to appreciate its many and varied moods. Women tend to have better nosing and tasting skills than men, often outscoring males with their ability to identify aroma and flavour.
“I do ask women why they think whisky is a man’s drink,” continues Hendricks. “I think it’s a fashion thing that’s been cultivated over a long time but with the trend for classic cocktails, there’s a growing appreciation to Scotch that’s attracting a new generation of female drinkers, including me and my friends.” Ladies, take note.
Key Whisky facts:
– Around 90 per cent of Single Malt Whisky comes from Scotland.
– A blended whisky contains anything from 15-50 different whiskies chosen to complement each other.
– Whisky must be matured for a minimum of three years in Scotland to earn its name.
– There are five basic classifications: Irish whiskey, Scotch whisky, bourbon, Canadian whiskey and American whiskey
Note: Scotch whisky is spelt without the ‘e’.
– An opened bottle can be enjoyed for up to five years; unopened for up to 100.
– Whisky is a colourless liquid when it’s laid down – the distinctive amber colour comes from ageing in casks.
Where to drink whisky:
With a whisky sommelier at hand to guide you through the wondrous selection of malts, whiskies and blends, including six whisky ‘flights’ featuring tasters of 4-5 different styles.
66 Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DS, www.albannach.co.uk
Head barman Brian Da Silva is the UK Keeper of the Quaich, the society to promote Scotch Whisky. Try his special cheese and whisky pairings.
22-24 Basil Street, SW3 1AT, www.capitalhotel.co.uk
The Pot Still
This iconic pub/bar in the centre of Glasgow is home to over 300 whiskies, including many rare and specialists malts.
154 Hope Street, Glasgow, G2 2TH, www.thepotstill.co.uk
Trof Northern Quarter
A bourbon bar with a nice range of line of bourbon-based cocktails plus own-label whisky infusions.
6-8 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1EU, www.trofnq.co.uk
Bar, restaurant, speciality whisky shop and tasting rooms offering 300 whiskies by the glass and bottle.
4-7 North Bank, Edinburgh EH1 2LP, www.whiskirooms.co.uk
A 90-minute introduction to malt Scotch whisky, plus tasting. The first and second Tuesday of each month, £35.
Albannach, 66 Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DS, www.albannach.co.uk
Day Aroma Master Class
An intensive day-long session hosted by David Dodd with tips on understanding smell, training your nose and identifying the spectrum of flavours found in Scotch whisky. Costs £195 (including Aroma Kit worth £99.95 and light lunch).
Penderyn Master Class and Whisky Tasting
Get an insight into everything from the production process to whisky categories, including tastings. Twice monthly, £45.
Penderyn, CF44 9JW, www.welsh-whisky.co.uk
Worting House, Church Lane, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG23 8PY, www.aroma-academy.co.uk
Written for The Independent Dish of the Day blog 11/4/2013