The tricky thing about a whisky collection is that it’s ephemeral, oxymoronic. It will grow, and it will go. How, I have asked myself over many a dram, does one build a collection and enjoy a collection? I even joined a support group to help me with this conundrum. We call ourselves the Jozi Whisky Club, and we operate on a really smart economic principle: every member contributes monthly, and every month one of us takes all the cash, blows it on four or five great whiskies, and hosts a tasting. A stokvel, basically.
The club was the catalyst to my collecting, but Whisky Pig Theo Buchler did it differently. “I started by focusing on diversity,” he says. “I shopped around, experimented, always bought something new.” It’s a good way to broaden your palate, but with a free-falling rand, it’s expensive. In any event, the experience is essential. Drink as much whisky as you can. Attend tastings. Accept samples. Get onto guest lists. It’s tough at first: the distilleries are unpronounceable and the info is indecipherable. But hang in there, because as you progress something remarkable starts happening: you’ll recognise different flavour profiles; you’ll define your taste.”