Every third Saturday of May, the world comes together to celebrate whisky.
For a drink that is often referred to as the nectar of the gods, it was only appropriate that a day be set aside to congregate and pour a finger or two in celebration.
However, because of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic circumstances, it is not possible to have the merry as we had hoped.
But that does not mean that there is no celebration to be had. The new normal does not stop us from enjoying our whiskies, it just means that we have to do it from a social distance. And that is what Glenmorangie—a premium single malt whisky made in the Scottish Highlands—has done for its East African patrons.
This past week was Glenmorangie Whisky Week, and Wednesday was World Cocktail Day, so in line with breaking stereotypes about the consumption of whisky, Glenmorangie hosted several events.
Generally, whisky has always been seen as a male drink. Historical prejudice against women - spurred by cultural and religious norms - made it so. But today it is a universal, genderless liquid that is free for consumption by everyone of age. And Glenmorangie hosted a Women Who Whisky forum.
Antoine Bbayaga, the Glenmorangie brand ambassador for East Africa, started the week off with cocktail training by showing people how to set up their home bars or kitchens with basic equipment and a variety of Scotch whisky cocktails they can make at home.
Many old-school conservative whisky drinkers would frown at the idea of using single malt whisky in cocktails. The thought has always been that single malt whisky is too delicate, too precious, to be mixed with anything other than a dash of water or ice.
Such exclusivity encouraged unnecessary snobbery and elitism among whisky drinkers, and pretentiousness among those who would otherwise want to join the club. But with the changing whisky world, there is a shift. A softening of stands, to make whisky drinking less exclusive or prescriptive.
The mood is shifting to allow people to enjoy whisky the way they feel comfortable. It shouldn’t matter if you are drinking it neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail like The Old Fashioned, Scotch Sour or Blood and Sand.
In the past, we gathered together and had a whisky tasting. But because no gatherings or parties are allowed at this time, Glenmorangie found a different way to responsibly teach people the intimate aspects of whisky. Thanks to technology, Bbayaga gathered both curious newbies and veteran whisky drammers to an online Zoom call.
And there they explored the different whiskies that the company has to offer. From the fruity Original, to the spicy notes in the Lasanta, the burst of mint and chocolate of the Quinta Ruban and the mellow citrus and spice combinations of the Nectar D’or.
On Friday, the whisky lovers enjoyed a session with the Ardbeg brand ambassador from the United States, Cameron George, live on Zoom.
Ardbeg, which is not a Glenmorangie, is still part of its LVMH family. It is a strong peaty whisky that has remained the untamed Islay single malt whisky of the world.
George Cameron invited their patrons to discover easy ways to make peaty cocktails and discover what goes into making an undisputed spirit like Ardbeg.
So wherever you are today, pour yourself a glass of your favourite Scotch and join the rest of the world in celebrating the World Whisky Day. Until we are able to freely knock glasses in person, we shall do it virtually and hope for the best.