Thursday, February 2, 2012

Toward A Map of Whiskey Drinkers

The world of whiskey is a vast and exciting place, filled with all sorts of interesting things to drink. Classic Malt's Single Malt Whisky Flavour Map gives a view of one part of this world, plotting thirty-one single malt Scotch whiskies on a two-dimensional map. One axis is light-to-rich, the other delicate-to-smoky.

The world of whiskey is also filled with all sorts of interesting drinkers, and I've been thinking about how they might be classified. Classic Malt's flavor axes could be used -- there are some rich, delicate people who drink whiskey -- but they may not be optimal for describing people.

We might instead use the two major kinds of enthusiasm people seem to have for whiskey:
  • Volume, the amount of whisky a drinker drinks in some representative time period
  • Variety, the number of different kinds, brands, or expressions of whiskies a drinker drinks during that time
To keep things simple, you can think in terms of low/medium/high and get nine classes of whiskey drinkers:

They drink whiskey like a bunch of...

The scales are relative, so one town's connoisseur could be another town's casual whiskey drinker -- or drunkard, for that matter, if the other town has a lot of very abstemious whiskey blenders.

More practically, if you're talking whiskey with someone, it can be helpful to know where you each fall on this map. And if you're drinking whiskey with someone who lives, so to speak, north and east of your usual haunts, you can expect the night to be more expensive and the morning to be more painful.

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