Though I try to drink Scotch, I don’t have the taste buds for it yet. I didn’t like olives until quite recently, or black coffee until I started needing it. Somehow, wine came more easily.
I read a great book called Whiskey and Philosophy in preparation for my main character’s alcoholism. She drinks Scotch because her father does, because she hates it, because she’s Scottish and needs to find a connection to her roots.
This book is composed of essays, most of which I didn’t read. Some interesting facts or opinions about and around whisky:
-It’s rare to develop a taste for whisky before age 30.
-Whiskey in Ireland (and the US); whisky in Scotland
-The origin of whisky comes under the same debate as terroir for wine: a single malt holds in it the tastes of the ground where the barley was grown
-A woman drinking Scotch is sexy because she is seen as possessing masculine power.
Bringing Scotch into my book was easy: the themes surrounding the drink seemed to fall into place with themes that already existed there, those of roots and faking power and child vs. adult taste buds.
But writing Scotch was a different issue. Every second sentence would be Jillian finishing a glass of Scotch. I had to start making charts to see how drunk she would be. I had to change “I drank the glass of Scotch” to “I tipped the Scotch back,” and other horrors.
So I stopped writing that, thankfully, and asked myself what the purpose of the Scotch is for the story. I couldn’t really answer, but I thought it would be cute if every time Jillian drinks a sip, she thinks of the flavour map of Scotch, or taste chart, like any well-schooled Scotch taster would. But since Jillian hates Scotch, I started coming up with these:
Pencil shavings and days-old Earl Grey tea bag.
Wet weather gardening and garlic hand.
Gasoline and potent wet, brown socks.
Any suggestions for other tasting notes? If you follow the format correctly, it should read ‘one bad tasting thing’ and ‘one other bad tasting thing.’