Whisky for me is an emotional drink.
They say to tell a good story you should start at the end and work back, well that’s not possible for my story, as it's a journey and with each day it moves forward. So, let's start at the beginning, shall we?
It started back in early 2000s with a mild disagreement with a very good friend called Derek and the words I uttered "I just don't like single malt whisky!" followed by his forceful reply "trust me, go buy a bottle of single malt whisky, stick with it and it will change you."
I took Derek's advice and I still remember clearly that on a cold Sydney winters day, walking into a Sydney local liquor store next door to home (yes that was a dangerous idea living next to a liquor store). I was faced with shelves of numerous whisky bottles and having just no idea what I was looking at. I remember picking up various bottles and I finally purchased my first ever bottle of single malt Scotch whisky. I remember the sense of pride, yet I knew not why but little did I know that was the start of my whisky journey and down that rabbit hole (or road) that I would go.
The next day I remember pouring into a glass tumbler a decent pour. I sniffed it, nope still didn't float my boat, I tasted it, nope not for me but I at least finished that bottle over many months.
Derek passed away in 2005, thanks to a poor heart and an almost obsessive love of rich food and fine alcohol. The spark of my whisky passion was born out of this as I remember after Derek's funeral, his family gave me his collection of open whisky bottles, thinking I loved whisky (remember I did not). Weeks later I again took out my tumbler, poured one of those unknown whiskies but this time it was very different.
I poured more than one whisky and realised that each bottle had a different flavour, aroma and appearance and, well, it was much like wine. All very different and something to explore.
I can only remember one bottle from that collection, that became my first whisky collection.
It was a Lagavulin Distillers Edition. That was it, in front of me was a small bunny inviting me to go down the whisky rabbit hole and it was smiling. I did, and I was hooked.
I have an emotional connection to whisky and when I laid my very first cask I took immense pride in writing on the cask, Derek, for my friend.
Now my first bottle release from that cask is called Just Derek … and I truly believe if Derek was alive today then he would be very much part of Craft Works Distillery.
Derek was the spark and Bruichladdich was the ignition , that’s another story for another day.