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Where we drink bourbon, what's your happy place?

When we talk about where we drink, it’s likely you may only think of two or three places: at home, at a bar or club. For some it’s at a restaurant, or a sports club.

Where we drink makes a difference. The atmosphere, the surrounding sounds, smells, people. It may determine what you drink and how much you drink.

When people describe their first foray into whisky or bourbon, it regularly turns out that it was when they were much younger at a party or raiding their parents’ alcohol cabinet. Many will describe the “burn” and being quite unwell. Some will tell you that they never wanted to touch whiskey again. But somewhere along the line, a return to the dram is made. 

So where do you drink your whiskey or bourbon?

Let’s start with the obvious place, a bar or pub. Most bars, unless they are geared towards the whiskey drinker will have a limited range of drams to choose from. Not only that, but it’s also more than likely to be served in a shot glass or basic tumbler, neither of which are going to give you the best way of nosing that dram. But you are in a bar and it’s not likely you are there to have a serious whiskey tasting session. In a bar, it’s more likely that you will be with other people, it’s going to have a range of external sensory input that will maybe distract you from your dram. Music, food, laughter, shouting and all of this will make the whiskey taste different to if you were drinking it at home out of a Glencairn or similar glass designed for a deeper examination of whiskey.

Next, a little less obvious but maybe you like a dram on a flight. When we fly at altitude in a dry air conditioned space our olfactory system dries out a little and we can’t smell so well. An aircraft environment also dulls our taste buds so a whiskey at ground level may well have a little spicy note on it and you may want to add some water. At 37000 ft, this may not be the case! 

If you’ve been playing around the edges of drinking whiskey, but want to get a little more serious, where do you go? Specialist bars dedicated to whiskey and bourbon are becoming more popular and with professional and knowledgeable staff on hand to advise you, they’re a great place to really delve deeper into the world of whiskey. If you aren’t sure of your whiskey profile preference, i.e., you don’t know what you do like (you’re more likely to know what you don’t like) the whiskey bartender can really help. They’ll ask questions about what you had before that you liked/didn’t like, whether you have a sweet preference or more savoury. One of the best things about going to a specialist bar is that you are only paying for one dram, not a whole bottle. It gives you the opportunity to try different drams without breaking the bank. 

Many bars who specialize in bourbon/whiskey will also likely run tasting nights where a particular brand will come in and talk to you about a specific distillery and you can try various expressions from them.  Again, this builds your knowledge and whiskey preferences. 

Some of these bars may also be clubs where a membership payment is required. Is it a good investment? Well, only you can be the judge of that, but it can be a fast track into learning more about whiskey and bourbon.

Drinking at home. Well, if you’ve been around whiskey/bourbon long enough you will have a few bottles at home. You’ll probably have a selection of different glasses; a Glencairn (or ten) for nosing and taking time over analysing a new dram, or a nice heavy bottomed tumbler for when you just want that drink after one of “those” days.

Drinking at home historically may not have been looked upon in a positive light, however over the last few years, for most of the global population it was the only place we could drink. Global lockdowns had us all sat in our homes, and somehow, the whiskey and bourbon community led the charge with online tastings, virtual pubs and opened the world up (virtually). You could sit in your office or living room, drinking whiskey and chatting with people on the other side of the world, let alone the other side of town. To some extent this still happens in many places, and we hope it continues. Online dramming made whiskey more accessible to many people, and still does. 

Now, you’ll note we haven’t mentioned drinking at work. Obviously for many businesses this is a big no-no, although it was quite the normal practice for a very long time. Most famously, whiskey was being poured in nearly every scene (well it felt like it) in the popular series “Mad Men”. 

How many other films or shows gave whiskey at work a feature? Well, there’s Nick Offerman’s character Ron Swanson in “Parks and Recreation” who drinks Lagavulin in the show. It turned out that Offerman’s favorite dram was already Lagavulin! And The Macallan 18 makes several appearances as the preferred dram for main character Harvey Spector in “Suits”. 

We’re sure you can think of other places to drink whiskey or bourbon, but some that really standout are big family and celebratory occasions. Weddings, birthdays, christenings. For something like that a special whiskey is required. Maybe something you bought many years ago for that special occasion. Something with some age on it that makes it stand out from a regular bottle.

Or maybe, something you personally own. Whiskey or bourbon from your own cask will make any celebration (or evening in front of the TV) extra special. Barrel Global is here to help you buy your own cask, perfect for any occasion. 

We’re on a mission to make whiskey barrel ownership accessible to collectors worldwide. As the first ever global marketplace for whiskey barrels, you can connect with distilleries and collectors around the world to build your own portfolio. For a whiskey experience unlike any other, request access today. 

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