Sean Murphy: the parallels of discovering whisky and women

Discovering whisky is not unlike discovering women - according to Mr Murphy
Discovering whisky is not unlike discovering women - according to Mr Murphy
Share this article
Have your say

MY journey with whisky has been much the same as my journey with relationships and the opposite sex, filled with the same mystique, excitement, fun, unrequited love (bear with me on that one) and inevitably disappointment.

You see I have a fascination with both whisky and the opposite sex (don’t worry if your into the same sex this will most definitely resonate with you too.) and the parallels I’ve noticed seem to be quite apparent.

So the obvious place to start is the first time, that sweet awkward first dalliance where you realise that no longer is this thing that used to be so abhorrent and non interesting to you suddenly becoming fascinating.

Fascinating enough to get over the reason you disliked it in the first place (in the case of girls, I once got punched by one in primary two and of whisky that one bad new year with a famous blend).

So my first whisky has to be Glenkinchie. That most mildest of malts, not unlike my first kiss, was sweet, exciting, fun but filled with a lack of understanding or technique. And like my first kiss created a little bit of a passion for similar endeavours.

So I ambled along, each new whisky was fun and as I gained more understanding, became easier to enjoy.

Then as in all things and after more than a few attempts, I found my first love. That one exotic creature that you see from afar, learning its name and realising that you desire to try it.

And so I met Brora, and for the first time since I started I knew I was only messing around with those other malts, letting them satisfy my curiosity, I suddenly realised that this is what I’d been looking for.

This was a malt. Rare (the distillery no longer produces), mysterious and new, the first time I tried it I knew I’d found the one!

However as with all good things it couldn’t last, those 35ml’s were gone all too quickly and as I savoured the aftertaste the inevitable fall came.

Fast and hard.

‘How much? Your kidding me right, £9.50 a dram?

I was crushed, this malt was special but it was outwith my means. I was punching above my weight and we both knew it.

It seemed it was not to be, the bottle sat there for another few days but I’d discovered it too late.

Soon others had heard me talk of it, desiring what I had and soon it was gone!

Of course I’ve come into contact with it again but always with someone else courting it, maybe one day that bottle will be full and it’ll be mine once more.

From there, I lost my way a little I’d had my rebounds, those cheap and easy malts, hiding behind there facade of malt of the month or being passed on by my friends.

I even had my little moments of those exotic bottles catching my eye but never being able sample them.

Eventually I found other malts to replace what I’d lost but perhaps never with the same passion, I even thought of going back to Brora, but would it be the same? Or would I just shatter my illusions?

Or perhaps, I should take the advice I am given when discussing failed relationships - there’s plenty more fish in the sea.

So can I adapt that - there’s plenty more malts on the gantry.

And I am going to enjoy trying to find a new love, because after all, most of the fun of whisky (as with girls) is the journey to find the perfect one.

• Sean Murphy works at the Pot Still whisky bar in Glasgow