Whisky Bar At Home Guide: Whiskies That Will Make Your Home Special
There are a number of ways an eventual whisky collector may have had their first brush with the drink that would go on to consume a good portion of their time, perseverance and funds. But at what point does a whisky collection begin to take shape, and is it something that can ever near completion?
Before you can get started by purchasing your first set of bottles and break ground on your very own whisky collection, allow us to guide and advise you with the Nine Commandments of Building a Home Whisky Bar!
The Nine Commandments of Building a Whisky Home Bar
All of these will require adequate amounts of attention and some meticulous planning but if you play your cards right, you could really have something on your hands. They are crucial aspects of building a home bar that will not only inspire admiration and a just a hint of envy, but one that can serve as a conversation starter all on its own merit!
1. Start slow
If you’re new to the entire whisky scene, you must learn to walk before you can run. Your funds may or may not be bottomless, but if you are only just beginning, your knowledge definitely isn’t bottomless.
Always read up about the bottle you’re about to buy. Reviews exist for a reason and they’re incredibly helpful when making a purchase. Don’t just skim through ratings, dig deeper!
2. Two is always better than one
If you love whisky as much as we think you do, you would be better advised to always purchase two of everything! One to savour, one to cherish.
This makes it easier for you to hold on to a treasure without having to resist the temptation of pouring a dram out and admiring your prized possession every now and then.
3. Small Batch is always a Great Catch
To add a level of sui generis to your home bar, make sure you can always nab a few such limited edition and small batch releases such as the Aberlour A’bunadh, the Chivas Regal Secret Collection and The Glenlivet Enigma. Just a bit of something that can make your guests exclaim at your resourcefulness and keen eye.
Standard expressions from the whisky heavyweights of the world are terrific, no doubt, but you must always be on the lookout for something unique. Speyside behemoths, The Glenlivet are known to release a mysterious limited edition bottling of their single malt from time to time. The Glenlivet Enigma is an opaque matte black bottle with no information regarding the Scotch except the ABV was released by the company. Whisky lovers can visit the company website to solve a puzzle and discover more information about the single malt Scotch.
Similarly, the Chivas Brothers recently released a string of 15 rare, elusive single malt whiskies from some of their iconic distilleries. These single malts have seldom been on the market, and usually form a part of the Chivas Regal family of blends. As a part of The Secret Collection, 15 unique and never-before-seen single malts from Caperdonich, Glen Keith, Longmorn and the Braes of Glenlivet were released exclusively on travel retail.
4. Trust is a Must
No matter the temptation or how good the deal sounds, always make a purchase from a trusted and verified source. As much as we all would like to live and believe in an ideal world, it isn’t one and there will always be the possibility of an unscrupulous person trying to trick buyers.
There are reputable whisky merchants, both online and offline, and we strongly recommend you conduct business with someone who can guarantee the authenticity of your spirit.
5. Have the Elves build you strong shelves
Make sure you store your bottles on a sturdy shelf, in a place that is protected from direct sunlight. Storage is one of the more crucial aspects of building a whisky bar, and sadly, often of the most neglected ones.
It may not look like it, but whisky bottles do weigh considerably, and strong shelves are a definite need for your home bar. If you don’t intend on cleaning up too often, make sure you install glass doors to keep any undesirable residue such as dust at bay.
Also remember, don’t just shove your whiskies into a cabinet and forget about them. Maintenance is not just for automobiles, and you will need to make sure your priceless collection is stored well. Make it a habit to regularly dust and polish the whisky bottles to maintain their lustre and appeal.
Always make sure you finish a bottle of whisky within six months of opening it. Oxidization is the enemy, and the lesser the spirit in the bottle, the chances of it going bad increase manifold.
7. Make Like Minded Friends
Broaden the horizons of your whisky experiences by becoming a part of the whisky lovers’ community in your neighbourhood, hometown or city. Meet like-minded people who appreciate good whisky, and enjoy every bit of it.
The camaraderie in addition to the knowledge you will gather with fellow whisky connoisseurs will truly be priceless!
What good is a whisky bar without the right accessories?
We’re talking about the an assortment of impeccable whisky glasses, whether its Snifters you prefer, or the good Old Fashioned tumbler glasses, always make sure you have a set of crystal glassware.
It doesn’t stop at glasses though since there are so many things you could splurge on when it comes to whisky like ice bucket and tongs, cocktail shakers, muddler, measurement cup and so on.
Investing in some cool whisky accessories is never a bad idea, and there are tons of options online. Our suggestion; stick to the classy stuff and avoid anything overtly complicated, flashy or ridiculously over-the-top.
9. Triumph Over the Contemplation
The points above helped us cover the basics so now let’s move on to the fun part. The part where you get to choose what you’re going to drink!
There are six essential building blocks of collecting whisky and becoming a whisky connoisseur worth reckoning. Your home bar must be inclusive, although you are allowed to profess your inclinations towards a type or region of whisky if you so choose.
For beginners, here’s how you can condense the world into your home bar with only a few essential bottles of whisky or whiskey. Scotch or Bourbon; single malt or blended; representation is the key and to that effect, so is exclusivity.
Let’s begin with Scotch whisky, and the types of Scotch you must add to your home bar.
Other terrific Irish whiskeys that can add value to your bar cabinet are the Redbreast 12, the Bushmills 10, or the Teeling Irish whiskey. All the aforementioned brands are a mixture of single malt and blended Irish whiskeys, and since the Irish aren’t enjoying/suffering the levels of saturation like their Scottish neighbours, Irish whiskey is much easier to choose from.
For our next type of whiskey, let us follow Christopher Columbus to the land of Bourbon whiskey. Bourbon is a slightly more divisive drink among hard-core whiskey people, and those who love it, love it fully. The one’s who don’t, well, let’s just say, they are missing out.
Rabbit Hole Cavehill Bourbon, Maker’s Mark Black and Wild Turkey are some very good Bourbon whiskey brands in the market right now. Rabbit Hole and Bulleit both have two wonderful Rye whiskeys in the market that are highly recommended.
The Indian whisky market is a confusing, heterogeneous puzzle of goodness if you can navigate through the many options on offer. Whether it’s a single malt, or an Indian blend, there are some wonderful bottlings to choose from.
Blenders Pride Reserve Collection is among the top tier of Indian blends, and is a fine example of Indian whisky in a market that is overpopulated with economical options. Another category that has opened up a previously non-existent niche, the Indian single malt industry is slowly gaining momentum.
The Japanese whisky ecosystem is a simpler one as the country is dominated by two whisky making houses, Suntory whisky and Nikka whisky. The meticulous dedicated and pursuit of perfection has led to the Japanese whisky makers recreating the Scottish way of whisky making, and innovating through their own curiosity from time to time.
Lastly, the neighbours to America are known to create some very good whiskies themselves. Canadian whiskies such as Crown Royal and the Seagram’s VO have been historically popular. They make for some wonderful combinations with mixers such as club soda and ginger ale and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
Well, that should keep your whisky bar stocked up and your experiences invigorated until you are ready to make your own choices. Now let’s move on to the next step that will take you a step closer to your dream home bar!