Monday, October 19, 2015

The Sku Creed

As we enter the crazy fall whiskey season, I try to remind myself that there are whiskey rules I live by. You may live by different rules, but these are mine.

1. Whiskey is a beverage to be consumed. All whiskey is to be enjoyed and shared. It is neither an art work to display on a shelf nor a status symbol to make you feel good about yourself.

2. My whiskey is not for sale, but I might consider a trade now and then.

3. Don't be dogmatic about water, ice or glassware.

4. Do be dogmatic about flavored whiskey, which sucks.

5. There are few better acts than sharing great whiskey with someone who's never had it.

6. No one should accumulate more whiskey than a family of four can consume in a lifetime.

7. Be patient with and kind to newbies.

8. Don't purchase whiskey based on hype.

9. Don't "clear the shelves." (See #5)

10. You don't have to try every damn new release.

11. Very few whiskeys are worth three figures. No whiskey is worth four figures.

12. No whiskey is worth waiting in line for hours.

What's your whiskey creed?


Anonymous said...

If the whiskey tastes good to you, it's a good whiskey.

sku said...

That's a great one Anon!

Steffen said...

At Feis Ile at Lagavulin there was a 1-2 hour queue to buy bottles. The queue for free whisky (to drink) was 5 minutes. I didn't get any bottles


Anonymous said...

Try not to laugh when a new distiller prices his/her white dog higher than four roses single barrel.

Alex said...

Don't be dogmatic about the spelling of "whiskey" versus "whisky".

dustlesswalnut said...

Here's my creed, and it's pretty simple:

Do whatever you want with your money and your whiskey.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of these except for perhaps #12. I have never waited in line for whisky, but I have for other items/events. It can be fun with good company or a good book. Of course that was before I had children, now I wouldn't even consider it. Anyways, I love your sensible approach to whisky.

G-LO said...

I can't argue with any of this. Bravo SKU!

Funky Tape said...

I'll wait in line all night to get a few bottles to trade for one of many bottles I missed out on back when the stuff actually was worth waiting in line for.

Also, when checking out with that three- figure bottle you sniped cause you got there first, always choose the checkout girl that looks like it's her first day. You might get a $400 for $40. (true story)

Steve said...

Waiting in line for several hours was the only way for me to get a bottle of Jim Rutledge's ultimate (i.e. last) Small Batch Limited Edition. I suspect some things are worth waiting for.

In a state I previously lived in, this kind of stuff went on the shelf and stayed there till I bought it. No so in KY.

Bourbon Neckbeard said...

in order:

1. Profit!
2. Profit!
3. Profit!
4. Profit!
5. Profit!
6. Profit!
7. Profit!
8. Profit!
9. Profit!

sku said...

I'm so pleased that Diageo took time out if its busy schedule to comment here.

Anonymous said...

Also, when checking out with that three- figure bottle you sniped cause you got there first, always choose the checkout girl that looks like it's her first day. You might get a $400 for $40. (true story)<<

Immoral. This is truly bad form.

two-bit cowboy said...

re: #7

... especially the ones who ask, "What's your favorite?"

Thi N. said...

I say: don't be dogmatic about glassware, but do be sensitive and experimental and open.

For some reason, the effects of glassware are the thing that the largest number of people refuse to acknowledge a difference with, but which makes a tremendous difference. Everybody's convinced it's pretentious ridiculousness, a priori. I've lately taken to attacking it empirically, especially with beer. The difference is so enormous, I've had people refuse to believe I poured the same beer.

But I'm with you on lack of dogmatism. I've been experimenting glassware a lot lately, and the conclusion is: there's almost no simple rule. I keep getting surprised by what works.

Thi N. said...

I've been searching for a pithy way to say this thought: don't be dogmatic, but do listen to the possibility that somebody else has wisdom or insight or perceptions that you might have missed, that you can follow them in on.

But I can't find it.

Arok said...

I have one more: "Have a budget/ceiling and stick to it." It keeps me from getting carried away by excitement.

Mark said...

I would disagree with #12, but the instant my local brewery instituted a reserve society style system, I jumped on it and now avoid bottle releases like the plague. Still, they can be fun in the right circumstances, and I would probably wait in line for good whiskey if I didn't live in PA (which sells all its limited stock out in, like, 5 minutes online - fingers crossed that the new lottery system will work). I guess I wouldn't make it part of my creed, but as a general guideline that could be broken in special circumstances, it works.

_cl said...

For myself, I'd make a corollary to #1. I had family in the business in the 30s-70s, so I will buy whiskey from the places they worked. Some of it I have drank. Some I will. Some I don't know yet. I will tell you I don't get a lot of it when I open a bottle - I sample it out to relatives (rule #5). I get 4-6 oz of each fifth.

But, other than my corollary, I think your list is pretty good. About the only thing I can think to add is "Have fun".

The Amateur Bourbonian said...

Never purchase whiskey from speculators.

Justin said...

Don't listen to whiskey snobs.
Don't BE a whiskey snob.

Just because you don't like it doesn't make it a bad whiskey.

cconhhi said...

+1 for #5

Chuck Cowdery said...

Love your whiskey with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Share your whiskey with your neighbor.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Scotch Cyclist said...

A great post: short, sharp, very very true.

What gives me some problems is number 1, though. I agree that whisky should be shared with the right people. It's one of life's wonderful exercises. However, unless those people are nearby, all the time, it is necessary to keep some bottles on the shelf in readiness.

I have a collection of a few bottles like this, which will be cracked open and shared at some point but that point hasn't arrived yet. While they're on the shelf, they happen to be very visually appealing (I have a few Compass Boxes, so artistic claims are not ridiculous). Whisky can fulfil other functions, but I agree: these are subordinate to and should not postpone the ultimate function, which is to be unlocked and savoured.