More from the feature on whisky bloggers this time from Sunny Somerset and the Somerset Whisky Blog and it's owner Steve Prentice.
I've been blethering about whisky with Steve for quite a few months and we've swapped whiskies a few times. I really enjoyed reading Steve's answers and hope you do too.
Why did you start your Whisky website?
I guess the main driver was that I was quickly getting in to the world of whisky and realising that the 100's of various whiskies, whisky expressions, independent bottlings, etc. I was trying would soon be forgotten so knew I needed to note down what I was tasting so that I could remember what was what and form a more informed opinion of my likes and dislikes. These notes were on my smart phone, but I realised that I may as well just improve them a touch and put them on-line so that I would have them as a resource wherever I was. It also made sense to then publish that out to the world in case any of my notes reviewed a whisky that someone else was interested in and helped them come to a decision of if they wanted to spend their money on a bottle, or not.
Another reason is that I live in the South West of England, an area renowned for cider, but not for whisky. There's not much of a whisky scene here, so it made sense to try and get involved with the on-line scene as there was nothing locally for me.
What is your earliest Whisky Memory?
My very earliest whisky memory is nicking some Glenfiddich 12 from my dads drinks cabinet as a young lad and thoroughly hating it. Many many years later I honeymooned in Scotland and found myself in the Fiddler's Malt Whisky Bar in Drumnadrochit, feeling totally out of my depth I stuck to local ale's, but later in the evening I plucked up the courage to go for a whisky tasting menu. The lovely people there talked me through what I was tasting and how to taste properly... and I've never looked back. From memory I had a Deanston and an Ardmore (I forget the 3rd dram)... the Ardmore with its light peat was amazing to me (I love camping and BBQs so identified with it somewhat), and I've been a peat lover ever since.
In no particular order what 3 Whiskies would you recommend to someone new to whisky?
Not an easy question to answer, but actually the drams mentioned above aren't too bad a starting point... not everyone likes peaty whiskies, but I think everyone should try at them least once to know either way... so a Deanston and an Ardmore would be grand. As for a 3rd... maybe something like an Aberlour, easy, fruity and accessible.
Money no object, what Whisky would you love to own and open?
There's various ones on my list! Many people go a little crazy over Port Ellen, but I think I'd prefer to buck that particular trend and go with the parallel trend of a good Brora (however if you twist my arm to give me a Port Ellen then I won't refuse!). To go for one that's not so high on the radar / so obvious, I'd love to own and open a Glen Mhor or two. However, if I'm looking at something a little more affordable, then one that's been on my list for a long time is a Highland Park Thor, although by the time I actually get around to buying one I imagine they'll mostly be all gone.
Would you have any tips for other Whisky drinkers?
Only the obvious tips really... quality not quantity. By the time you start building up a little collection you'll find that your bottles empty less quickly as you have more to choose from... therefore make sure most of your choices are quality. You can easily do that buy buying small samples rather than full bottles to try them first, that'll suit most peoples wallets much better! However don't get too carried away and keep a look out for good priced every day drams... sometimes a good independent bottle can come out of the wood work at a good price, so that's always worth a look at. Also keep a look out for well prices whisky in supermarkets, especially from November onwards to Christmas as they're usually discounted.
I'd say if possible join a whisky club to share drams and broaden your experience .. I don't have that option where I am, so therefore joining the various excellent conversations on-line can be helpful, be it twitter, facebook or some of the great forums that are well run.
Why should people visit your website?
You know what... I have no really good answer to that at all! :-) I hope that maybe I offer a review or two of things they might want to read up about before they buy... if that's the case then I'm pleased to help. There's also the odd snippet of whisky news on the site, so you might find you learn a thing or two about what's going on. However, I'll be the first to admit, it's just another whisky blog, there's quite a few around, but they're all good and worth a quick look in on from time to time!
Many thanks to Steve and please remember to go visit the website at Somerset Whisky Blog