How to Drink Whisky - Explained
Matthew Tanner explains the importance of following your passion.
Where do interests come from?
Why was Paul van Westendorp fascinated with bees? Why is Tim Srigley interested in heritage items? Why is Peter Ross so passionate about protecting our oceans and waterways? Why is Erin Ryan so motivated to protect animal rights? Where do passions come from and why do we have them?
Once you answer that question then you’re left with what are you supposed to do with your passion or interest? Should it be a part-time hobby? Should you try to find a way to do what you love all day everyday? Do you have an obligation to chase your passion? Are you whole if you don’t? What are the consequences of not chasing your passion?
You could argue that these questions are the foundation for this podcast. I am fascinated by the passions of others. Philosophically, I believe that that people’s passions are what makes connect our communities, enrich our culture and strengthen our social fabric.
My guest this week is Matthew Tanner. Matthew is fascinated by and passionate about whisky. First, understand that A LOT goes into making a whisky. There is years of time invested. Matthew explains that the year on the bottle is the youngest whisky in the bottle - so it can be far older than 15 years old. Second, a lot goes into the water used, the cask, and the malt. It is all so complex that I can’t repeat everything Matthew explained even though he did so eloquently.
One of the most fascinating comments Matthew made was that alcohol has a very high flavour content. It has different flavour notes. You’ll hear Matthew make describe notes like fruity, woody, peaty and vanilla. Whisky goes through an incredible journey to arrive in a bottle at your local liquor store. Some are made by generations of families, and others are made by businesses. Matthew is fascinated by the story of the distiller, the tools they use, and the final product they create.
He has learned a great deal about the different regions in Scotland like Highlands, Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown and Lowlands. He understands the different notes that result depending on the region and has been involved in professional tastings.
So from my perspective, distillers have a passion and they take a giant financial risk by starting a business. They buy equipment, try recipes, and invest time and energy to create a great experience. Matthew sees their passion and acknowledges and admires their brilliance. He sees the years of work that went into building the infrastructure, the different techniques they use and the sacrifices they make.
By sitting down with Matthew, I have the honour and privilege of not only learning from him about whisky, but I get to learn about the brilliant individuals and creators all around the world. Matthew and I try the Macallen 12 year, GlenAllachie, Shelterpoint, Crown Royal Whisky, Brothers Bond, Tomatin Highland and Laphroaig.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Mr. Tanner and learn about his passion. I admire individuals like him greatly for their willingness to put time, energy and thought into what they are interested in. I think they set the example for others to do the same.