Or: Dinna Call it Scotch, Ye Li'l Bastard

According to Stuart Nichol, owner and proprietor of the Farr Cottage in Corpach, Scotland, a shotglass's throw away from the beautiful Ben Nevis, there is a very precise way to drink what people who don't know better (myself included) typically refer to as Scotch. I shall try and recreate the high points of his lecture, given over free samples of the stuff during my stay at his domicile, some years ago.

The following come under the category of 'shite, ye wee girl':

This list went on, but had increasingly less to do with whisky as it progressed. And now--

The Four Parts of Drinking Whisky

Yes, there are four parts, though most people ('fuckin' barbarians') don't follow them. Before you start, you should know that in order to have a proper glass of whisky--that's single malt, of course--it must be mixed with 'ezactly the same amount 'o water--pure, Scottish water, preferably.' This releases the full flavor of the whisky. If Scottish water is unavailable, you may substitute some form of bottled water. Tap water will add unnecessary contaminants that we li'l bastards probly canna taste, but will have a detrimental effect on the whisky. Consequently, whisky is not meant to be 'shot,' and anyone who shoots it, is. You may now begin.

  1. The Nose-this is when you stick your nose over the glass and really take a deep whiff of what you're drinking. It's supposed to light up your senses and prepare them. A good drinker--not a frequent drinker, they're not the same--can sniff out a good whisky at several paces.
  2. The Body--This is the appearance of the whisky. It should be amber or dark honey-colored, and have no inconsistencies or defects. Just a pure field of booze. Please bear in mind, at this point you have been here for four minutes and have not yet tasted the whisky.
  3. The Palate--Things have gotten serious now between you and your whisky. You have decided to take the next step, which is putting it in your mouth. Get a mouthful, but leave room for swishing. Stuart treated it like some kind of orgiastic Listerine, really moving it around for a a full thirty seconds. The object--to have whisky coat every surface of your oral cavity.
  4. The Finish--You are now ready to commit to your whisky by swallowing. Warmed up by the heat of your mouth, the full flavor of the whisky has been brought forth, and will slide down your throat with ease and comfort.

Obviously, this process may be repeated ad nauseam, frequently is, and certainly was on that night. The system does tend to break down during the course of an evening, but it is--according to Stuart--the right Scottish way to get started.