High on Spirits: Glimpses of World Whisky Day 2017

Neat, on the rocks, or with a dash of still water – a dram of whisky invariably demands the approbation of being the world’s most noble spirit. Perhaps, that’s why there is an entire day devoted to trying a dram or two and celebrating the ‘water of life’. It’s a day to voice your adoration for whisky, be it on a social platform or with your friends. However, to rejoice the day like a real connoisseur is real simple – all it needs is a bottle of fine whisky and of course, some good company!  

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How it all began

The World Whisky Day is observed on the third Saturday of May, every year. Founded in 2012 by Blair Bowman, a student of Hispanic Studies in the University of Aberdeen, the day aims to make whisky and its consumption, enjoyable, without the need of being too prescriptive or exclusive. The day was initially conjured as an initiative to rev up the appeal of Scotch whisky and bolster whisky-based tourism in Scotland. But, with time, it went on to be more of an occasion, spurring events, exhibitions and social media campaigns worldwide.

In 2015, Bowman sold of his assets of the World Whisky Day (WWD) brand to Edinburgh-based Hot Rum Cow, a drinks magazine established by White Light Media. In the same year, the World Whisky Day events were registered across all the seven continents. Prior to that in 2014, the day witnessed the participation of 250,000 people in recorded events from all around the world.

“Tis a day to sniff, sip and enjoy”

Fast forward to 2017, and the celebrations surrounding World Whisky Day has grown by leaps and bounds. This year’s festivities encircled the globe, with whisky aficionados raising a toast at 300 plus registered events ranging from the launch of new casks by the Seattle-based Scotch Malt Whisky Society and prohibition-themed carnival at Cracow in Poland to a dedicated tour of the only whisky distillery of Hungary and a face-off between independent whiskies in Singapore.

The social media was not too late to jump in the bandwagon, as well. The iconic hashtag “#World Whisky Day” soon started to hop around timelines and soared enough to give the trending wedding story of socialite Pippa Middleton, a close fight.

Prominent whisky enthusiasts also poured in their share of ovation for the brown elixir. Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, the stars of Outlander, marked this particular day by indulging in a classic drinking game with whisky, namely the  ‘Never have I ever’ on Entertainment Tonight. On the other hand, actor of ‘Parks and Recreations’, Nick Offerman, Indian model and actor Karan Tacker and Irish WWE superstar Sheamus, observed the day in their own way by either starring in a sequence of whisky-themed videos or sipping a dram in some event.

The king of all the events though, shares its linkage with the founder itself. Blair Bowman started the day by setting out for a quest to visit 60 whisky distilleries all across the nooks and corners of Scotland. In the 17 hour challenge that started off with the Balblair distillery in Ross-shire and ended with Perthshire-based Aberfeldy distillery, Bowman managed to collect signature whisky samples from all the 55 distilleries that bottled their very own whisky. The entire collection was put up for sale with £1 raffle tickets. The proceedings were then donated to support the initiatives off a global water development charity named Just a Drop. The organization, works closely with underdeveloped communities to offer access to clean, water and health programs all over the world. 

Almost everything else in mankind’s history gets a day of appreciation, and it’s fair that one of our finest creations, whisky, gets its share, as well. Down the line, the World Whisky Day is poised to encourage newer segments of people to come forward, participate and share their own whisky stories to take the legacy forward.

Amrut – India’s pride