It’s funny how vocabulary enhancements happen from the unlikeliest of sources ! This week the new word that I picked up is ‘dram’. A dram is the fluid measurement used to measure whisky. It’s from the whiskey advisor website, conceptualised and maintained by Uday Balaji who also has an instagram page by the same name. He has his roots in Coimbatore and has partnered with his wife Nhethra Ramachandran to form a company under the name ‘The Whisky Advisor ‘. Uday is now India’s first certified Executive Bourbon Steward as well as being the only certified trainer in India for the Whisky Ambassador Certification.
On his website Uday also credits his interest in this “golden spirit” to childhood evenings spent with his grandfather, Shri.L.G.Varadarajulu ,while he enjoyed his favourite 12 year old single malt scotch whisky.
So many of us who have varied interests when it comes to food and travel do enjoy being a witness to another’s journey when it is fueled with the passion and willingness to share some unique experiences.That’s how I started following Uday’s instagram page almost a year ago and have been in awe of the many images and stories that he has shared about his whisky trails from around the globe.
As we chatted about his unique line of work ,Uday is very clear that his message is all about ,”drink less, drink better”. The Whisky Advisor services include event management,consulting and training only. Uday stresses on the fact that The Whisky Advisor is not engaged in sales or service of any alcoholic beverages.
The Whisky Ambassador is the original accredited scotch whisky training course.It’s a day’s session where participants are exposed to various nuances with regard to appreciating and understanding what makes this distilled spirit so special.
In addition to the Whisky Ambassador certification Uday also offers to conduct a more casual introduction to whisky in the privacy of people’s homes where he can interact with a select group on a one on one basis. Even at a basic level there is just so much that one doesn’t think to ask. When is whisky referred to as scotch for example or what is a bourbon ? What grain is ideally used to make a good whisky and so on. I never knew for instance that sprouted barley is what allows to be converted into fermented sugars ,called malt .A picture of sprouted barley in the palm of Uday’s hand during his whisky trail at Islay was most fascinating. Looking at his whisky adventures in Scotland and Ireland,I’m tempted to ask him if he has familiarised himself with the Gaelic accent and names !
The whisky advisor also posts ‘whisky fan’ moments like when he met and interacted with 7th generation master distiller of a popular bourbon brand. In Portugal Uday discovered a suckling pig and port cask whisky pairing. The image of a golden whole roast with the matching colours displayed next to it in liquid form makes a visual impact that is worthy of his educative write ups.
Uday also adds some humorous images that catch his eye. While visiting a distillery in Bangalore he added a picture which showed the sign ,’please maintain silence,whisky is sleeping’. He is eager to showcase an Indian whisky pioneer and has added a detailed blog on his website about the same,accompanied by pictures.
As one learns about oak caskets, pot stills and all the effort that goes into making single malts,blends,bourbons etc we also get to understand the pride that these distillers take in their craft be it in Japan, Goa ,the US of A or anywhere else.So in order to understand and appreciate fine spirits one must respect it in terms of quality,manufacturing techniques ,consistency,price and yes ,understand that it does make sense to drink better, drink less.
All images on this post are courtesy of The Whisky Advisor.Uday has generously allowed me to use it in my website for this article only.
Whisky trivia from The Whisky Advisor
Around 75% of scotch whisky is blended,only about 25% is single malt
Did you know that Irish whiskey used to command 70% of the world whiskey market in the 1830s? It is now making a comeback and is the fastest growing whiskey category.
Whisky before maturation is a clear liquid. Arguably 70%of the flavour and without doubt ,all natural colour comes from the wooden cask it is matured in.
Distillers are going beyond traditional grains and experimenting with quinoa,rice,oats,triticale and more
India is home to 4 single malt whisky brands- Amrut, Paul john, Rampur and Peter Scot
Website : www.thewhiskyadvisor.com
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