Last week London's Merchant Taylor Hall was alive with the sound of whisky. A harmonious melody of fruit, spice, peat, malt, ice and wood filled the air at Johnnie Walker's decadent multi-sensory experience - Symphony in Blue - an event designed to celebrate the cardinal flavours of their most treasured blend.
When it comes to whisky, we like to keep things simple. Neat, on the rocks, or mixed with coke - that's how we know and love it. New York Magazine's food blog Grub Street echoed this recently when it described flavoured whisky as 'The Beginning of The End' and filed it under Desecrations. I mean, why try to fix something which isn't broken?
A sense of value is a funny thing. Good value definitely doesn't always mean cheap. This'll be plainly obvious to all of us having bought a cheaper alternative to only find it break on first use. It however, also certainly doesn't mean the most expensive - there are plenty of products on the market that are simply there to exploit those with more money than sense.
I'm writing this in the very pub that I first experienced a real Burns supper. As a child, I'd seen the grown-ups drinking copious amounts of whisky, and heard my Dad trying to do justice to the words of Scotland's famous son - but it wasn't until I was 18 (well, a little younger, but let's not go there...) that I heard Robert Burns' words...
Could it be true that humans are hard-wired to seek mind altering substances such as caffeine, tobacco, psychedelic drugs, and alcohol? Alcohol is and was the most easily available intoxicant and historically different cultures throughout the world started drinking independently with no knowledge of the others.
When it comes to video production, advertising, marketing and branding there are certain tropes and ideas that tend to get banded around and eventually overused. Much like in the fashion industry when an idea can be so good and so attention grabbing that it will be lifted from obscurity and the alternative into the moronic ubiquity of the mainstream.
Many people's initial perception of Scotch whisky is that it is still very much an (older) man's game. When I first stepped into this role I remember feeling very aware that I was a woman in a man's world and I knew I was taking on a big responsibility. Me, and my nose, are overall responsible for ensuring consistency across 10 million bottles of whisky a year.
'Whisky Galore!' the wartime film and story of the people of Eriskay seizing upon the whisky cargo of a nearby shipwreck, has forged headlines and cultural associations of the drink, since it hit our screens almost 65 years ago. And the associations continue to this day. Last week, one lucky buyer paid £12,050 for two bottles of that now infamous cargo.