Over the past couple of years, I’ve been invited to an increasing number of “Women & Whiskey” themed events.
Some of these are transparently marketing-driven posturing, where chocolates and cupcakes accompany whiskey, as if all the spirit needs is the right accessory.
But lately, I feel an earnest wind blowing in, from the direction of the Scottish Isles.
In mid-August, I attended a “Single Malt & Seafood” pairing intended “for women only,” with no chocolate in sight. Instead, the menu ran to well-made Rob Roy cocktails (Glenmorangie LaSanta, Carpano Antica, orange bitters) paired with scallops, and smoky Ardbeg Flips paired with Warm Bread Pudding.
And last night, at the Food Network kitchens, whisky specialist and Glenfiddich ambassador Heather Greene hosted a kickoff event for a “Women & Whisky” series – a whisky dinner, hold the cupcakes. Again, the focus was on Single Malt Scotches. What surprised me most wasn’t that it’s possible to pair seared duck breast with Scotch, but rather the attitude struck by a couple of dinner-mates.
“When a woman orders whiskey, it’s totally an aggressive act,” said one woman (who later chuckled over the fact that her 30-year-old dram was older than she). Another woman, in a separate conversation, described the same act as “shocking.”
I was floored, and promptly sent that “aggressive act” comment out on Facebook and Twitter. The responses flew back (I’m sparing the names, but noting the genders):
If that’s the case, then I’ve been witness to a lot of aggression over the years… (Male)
Sounds like bullshit to me! And my wife, big whiskey fan. (Male)
That statement drove a switchblade into my liver! (Female)
False. Capital F. (Female)
Aggressively hot! (Male)
How narrow minded. I’ve been a Scotch drinker since I was in my 20s. I’m pretty sure no one who knows me would call me aggressive. (Female)
Good heavens! By that judgment I’d be Ms. Bitch on wheels. (Female)
Telling, don’t you think?
By the end of the evening, clearly some whisky walls had broken down, as the woman sitting to my right plopped a dollop of vanilla ice cream into her snifter of rare 15-year-old Glenfiddich, a bottling that Heather had carried back from Scotland the previous week. Of course, I tweeted that too. I tried a little of the combination together, ice cream and Scotch — and it was a surprisingly lovely combination, not unlike the creamy Ardbeg Flip I’d tried a few weeks earlier, minus the smoke.
But when I checked Twitter, clearly some people were scandalized.
Quipped one pithy tweet: I would classify ice cream in 15 yr old whiskey as an aggressive act.