Another from a series of Featured Blogs interviews, we ask Tabarak (@maltactivist) from the Malt Activist blog to chat to us about why they set up their blog, and their whisky history.
Why did you start your Whisky website?
Like most whisky newbies I began keeping a track of all that I was drinking. It was a small Excel file that I kept referring to and eventually shared with some friends of mine as a means of sharing the knowledge. After that I discovered connosr.com which was an excellent way of sharing my experiences with a much broader audience. I'm proud to say I'm a prolific contributor to the Connosr community and in the Top 5 reviewers on the site. Eventually I felt the need to have my own web presence where I could host content that was not possible on Connosr (like videos and other whisky related subjects I wanted to write about). And so the Malt Activist was born three years ago and now has over 350 whisky reviews along with a host of videos.
What is your earliest Whisky Memory?
My earliest whisky memory is stealing JW Black Label from my uncles' cabinet and sharing it with my cousins. We were ten at the time so it's safe to say the finer points of whisky were lost on us. Much later at 17 I had a near death experience thanks to a stupid dare in which I drank almost an entire bottle of Vat 69 in under ten minutes resulting in massive alcohol poisoning. I vowed never to touch whisky again after that. Luckily for me a friend of mine re-introduced me to whisky with a Glenfiddich 18 on my 35th birthday and I eventually fell in love. At 40 I am a very late entrant to the world of whisky but I'm really trying to catch up for the years I lost!
In no particular order what 3 Whiskies would you recommend to someone new to whisky?
I'd probably recommend the three most varied and accessible (both physically and from a taste point) whiskies I know of.
1. Ardbeg 10
2. Amrut Fusion
3. Yamazaki 12
Money no object, what Whisky would you love to own and open?
Ah, every whisky drinkers' dream question. I think the one I'm most curious about is the 1960 Kuruizawa 52 years' old which sold at a Hong Kong auction earlier this year for around US$ 96,000. Of course, then there's the 75 year old Mortlach by G&M. I could go on and on....
Would you have any tips for other Whisky drinkers?
For the novice drinker I would advise never to listen to anyone's opinion on whisky! Best to figure out your palate your self. Preferably with a bunch of friends who are in the same boat. Nothing can beat the joy of discovering something wonderful in the company of like minded friends.
One of the earlier mistakes I ever made was buying full bottles. If you can't get minis then put together a bottle fund between five or six friends and share bottles no matter how cheap. It's less taxing on your wallet yet gives you the same experience. I have over 400 whiskies sitting on my shelf with most of them open and just a few drams in. No matter how many parties I throw I'll never be able to finish what I have. If I had done what I'm suggesting now I would have spent less than half and experienced more than twice!
Why should people visit your website?
Honest reviews from the point of view of a dedicated whisky geek. I have no agenda other than to share my experiences with you. For what it's worth my reviews are highly opinionated and come straight from the heart. So if you're a fan of brutal honesty with a bit of geek thrown in I'm your man!
Many thanks to Tabarak and please remember to go visit the website at Malt Activist
You can also check out our Interviews section for more interviews.