News

Bright young things

There is a new wave of whisky drinkers who are confident, intelligent, young and individualistic. Many of them are women. Dominic Roskrow reports
By Dominic Roskrow
It started off as a simple enough idea: to feature women who enjoy whisky, some employed in the trade, some not, and to get a feminine view of the world of whisky.Hold a tasting and see what happens. Shake up the masculine image of whisky a little.That was the intention, but it didn’t sit easy. At the off, it became clear that there was a danger of being at best patronising, at worst sexist. When the subject was covered by this magazine some four years ago, for instance, a male journalist argued that women and whisky were not far apart and that there were women in whisky everywhere. But his piece was aimed 100 per cent at men. The whisky woman, it seemed, existed, but not among the readership of Whisky Magazine.How to avoid this trap again?We did the whisky tasting anyway, and it did turn out be refreshingly different, a great deal of fun and a productive and positive whisky experience.But what it eventually developed in to – what appears over the next few pages – is something entirely different.The persons featured happen to be female. But they have several other traits in common, traits that characterise them as much, if not more, than the fact they’re women. They’re all Scottish, and quietly proud of it, for instance; patriotic in a proud but understated way, but free of the jingoistic flag waving; they’re all young and confidently opinionated, and a touch critical of the traditional and blinkered Scottishness of previous generations.And they’re all energetic, enthusiastic and individualistic. These traits, make them attractive editorial subjects.This isn’t an exclusively female thing, and there are plenty of male examples within the world of whisky, too, just not in this feature.The women featured over the following pages represent both a refreshingly uninhibited and tradition-free view of the world of whisky, and a direct challenge to it.They are proof that whisky has a tomorrow and that new generations from different classes, backgrounds and sexes will take up the drink.But they’re confident enough to demand to be taken seriously on their own terms and they’re not prepared to be bullied, or to be told what to drink and how to drink it.They are in essence the future – respectful of tradition and what has gone before but determined to enjoy themselves on their own terms.To paraphrase one of them, they’re not trying to change the world of whisky fundamentally, but they are tinkering at the edges and enjoying themselves doing so.And the passion with which they are doing so is infectious.