...of distilled beverages, is that they are able to preserve the characteristics of a certain region- like the Scottish Highlands or tropical Guyana- its plants, soil, smell, its air and water and whole atmosphere and bind it into liquid form. Good spirits are not only bottled plants- they are bottled landscapes and ecosystems!
That is why it could be considered blasphemous rather than to savour such a well-crafted spirit, to only unthinkingly guzzle it down in order to enjoy the effects its alcohol will have on oneself without duly relishing the taste and smell of the content it preserves.
Yet, I also believe that to neglect the joys of intoxication altogether as some nerdy super-connaisseurs suggest, is equally wrong. Apart from the pure pleasure this indulgence brings, there is also a very concrete reason for doing so: Because, even though fine spirits contain chemically speaking a certain ‘amount’ of pure alcohol, I believe that it is impossible to separate the taste from this alcohol-content without losing the special synaesthetic experience they provide as a whole. Thus, there is an El Dorado-12-year-alcohol, a Laphroaig-10-year-cask strength-alcohol, and so on.
In such products of nature there is always this high complexity and great subtleness that cannot be reproduced by purely chemical engineering in a laboratory, a last iota of indefiniteness which religious persons would call the creative breath of God.
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, V&A
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