Blog: Olly WehringHow I take my whisky? The Jura's out

Olly Wehring | 14 July 2009

Since I joined just-drinks about six years ago, there has been one ongoing row in this great industry of ours that still refuses to go away. No, I don't mean between Bacardi and Pernod. I'm referring to the quandary that is how one takes one's whisky.

When I started working here, I would go to whisky tastings and blindly drink too much, too neat. Then, I got into adding a little water, claiming to those less knowledgeable than I (yep, both of them) that doing so “opened up the whisky, giving you so many more flavours”. Now, as I become more wizened by the day, I do what my dad does – and has always done – I add an ice cube or two.

Later this week, however, I'm looking forward to finding which of the three stages of my whisky life is going to win out in the (hopefully) long-haul.

On Thursday (16 July), Whyte & Mackay's Isle of Jura Distillery will broadcast an online showdown between (it says here) two of the world's greatest drinks experts. The debate will feature Richard Paterson, master distiller at the Isle of Jura distillery, and Colin Field, head barman at the Ritz Paris.

“For years I’ve been forced to stand by and watch as barroom dandies sully the world’s greatest drink with a range of inappropriate mixers and sacrilegious frills, but enough is enough,” said Paterson.

Field, however, countered: “The purists can complain about it as much as they like, but with the right mixers and a splash of imagination, (single malt) can be conjured into a world-beating taste experience that will knock the spots off anything the whisky snobs might offer.”

The clash can be seen here on Thursday at 1900 GMT. Take a look below, meanwhile, for a preview of what looks like being a rocky row.



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