If you’re going to take this writing thing seriously you need a serious tipple. And whilst one can observe brandy discretely being passed around certain convention bars, or note the demands for real ale, I believe whisky is where UK SF and Fantasy is currently at. Famously there is Iain Banks. My editor Julie Crisp loves it; word is Joe Abercrombie likes a drop of it; and even China Miéville enjoys a single malt now and then.
Clearly, if you really want to become a fantasy writer of any quality, you must first select which whisky to drink.
I’m becoming rather fascinated by Japanese whisky. It was only this year that I discovered what I believe to be my favourite poison (from a recommendation in a glorious little underground shop in Nottingham), and it is Nikka Whisky From The Barrel. Here’s what Nikka say:
Matured malt whisky and grain whisky are blended and then re-casked (a process known as “marriage”) to create a rich harmony of distinctly different whiskies. “From the Barrel” is bottled directly from re-casked barrels of whisky and features almost the same alcohol percentage. At 51.4% alcohol content, this whisky possesses a distinctive personality characterized by solidity, depth of taste and a richly expanding aroma.
This is a gem, so much so that I’m reluctant to share it with you all. The alcohol content clocks in at a mighty 51.4%, but you won’t notice that – it contains notes of caramel and spices; it’s a touch woody, with wafts of orange and vanilla, and it slips down a treat. This is absolutely delicious and seriously good value for money (thought the bottles are small, 50cl, it’s only about £30).
Nikka constantly win awards on the global whisky circuit and, though I’m by no means a professional connoisseur (I can have pretensions to being one), all you need to know is that they are very good at making whisky. However, I can’t put it better than these dashing chaps:
(Anyone fluent in Japanese have a clue what they’re saying?)