Scandinavia – the name paints a picture of snow capped mountains, lush landscapes speckled with colourful houses nestled among a myriad crystal clear lakes. It’s the kind of picturesque setting one imagines as a child to be an ideal habitat while living in a compact urban city.
But with the advent of sedentary lifestyles consumed by its own pressures, even the Scottish, who are known for their healthy way of life, have grown to feel something missing in their way of life.
This epiphany triggered the new wave of ‘Hygge’ – pronounced as ‘Hoo-ga’. A Danish concept that means taking pleasure in and appreciating the smaller joys of life. It could be as simple as curling up in your furriest pullover and sipping a dram of smooth, single malt whisky by the fireplace.
Hygge has been catching on as a trend across Britain. Recently mastered by its Scottish synonym ‘Còsagach’ – a term which was popularized by the Scottish Board of Tourism.
The Swedish work an average of 37.5 hours a week according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index. With a good work-life balance, they are already well on their way to the pinnacle of Hygge.
While bookstores have been flooded with guides to living the ‘Hygge life’ here’s a quick glimpse into how to indulge your senses in a whisky-infused epitome of happiness:
The Log Cabin Mate
The beautiful and chilly Nordic winters make for an exciting enough excuse to step into a snug log cabin by the road. Locals can simply create the ambience at home by plonking onto the cosiest armchair with a dram of Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch Whisky and a fresh cinnamon roll hot out of the oven.
The first sip is a warm welcome into a distinctive world of sweet somethings. The light notes of milk chocolate, vanilla and red apple blend in perfectly if followed by a bite into your roll. While enjoying this divine looking light gold spirit, remember to gently take in the subtle, heather honey aromas with a tinge of spice. A crisp floral aftertaste is reminiscent of the history behind the distillery’s first recipe dated 1910, a classic blend.
The Glamping Buddy
If you spend most of your day cooped up indoors, take time out and go hygge hunting. Glamping in the woods is a great idea. It’s an incredible advantage to have as a Scandinavian – to be able to pitch a tent almost anywhere under the sun. But be sure to carry a bottle of Jameson’s legendary Irish Whiskey to keep you warm and fuzzy on those windy evenings.
Crafted in beer-seasoned casks, one swig into this triple-distilled Stout Edition and you will find yourself in an orchard of sweet smelling pears, green apples and freshly chopped hay. You can be sure you have reached the peak when you feel a mild twist of lime zest coupled with deep undertones of green tea and hazelnut. Another interesting way to enjoy this spirit is to team it up neat with a pint of beer. The blend truly brings out bitter sweet brilliance in the whiskey.
The Cottage Companion
Looking for a getaway from home yet not too far from its comforts? A quaint stay in one of the Nordic valleys would be a great idea for a weekend hygge.Remember to pack in a bottle of The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve Single Malt Scotch Whisky to keep you company while you warm your toes and enjoy the sound of crackling embers.
Matured in quintessential oak casks and American first fill, this edition lets your palate drown in a silky smooth texture of creamy toffee apples and banoffee pies. One whiff and you can tell the sweet melancholy of zesty fruits. These aromas intermingle with the subtle flavor of pears to give it a long, rich finish. Coupled with a well done salmon, you can be sure to have reached your inner paradise.
Now that you are a hygge aficionado, it’s time to live it with a little ‘me time’ every once in a while. It is no wonder why George Bernard Shaw has captured the experience perfectly, saying “Whisky is liquid sunshine.”