Just like wine, the world of whisky can seem quite intimidating if you’re not familiar with it – but don’t let that stop you from taking that first sip. At least, that’s what I told myself when I was at the launch of Glenfiddich’s new experimental series. The brand has released two new whiskys, available exclusively in travel retail (such as DFS at Singapore Changi Airport): Project XX (pronounced as “project twenty”), created by marrying 20 single malts selected by 20 whisky experts from around the world; and the Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, which is a single malt Scotch whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks.
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While I do love a drink, whisky is never my poison of choice. The only exception is highballs – they’re generally three parts sparkling water to one part whisky and then topped with a lemon wedge, but there are variations. I had my first highball in an okonomiyaki joint in Osaka, and it was the first time in my life I enjoyed whisky.
But there must be a reason why whisky (served neat, in any case) is the go-to drink for a lot of people. So how do whisky beginners like myself learn how to appreciate this spirit? As Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, Glenfiddich’s regional brand ambassador, likes to say, don’t worry about asking too many questions. So when I met him at the launch, I took the opportunity to pick his brain for some tips, and this is what he says.