This week, as part of the My Whisky Lounge series, we’re delighted to welcome a long-time friend of TWL to the Blog: yes, it’s Jason B. Standing, founder of Whisky Squad and evil mastermind of Dramboree. Take it away, JBS!
Having accidentally launched a whisky tasting club in London in the April of 2010, I figured I ought to start getting out there and going to events to meet more whisky enthusiasts, brand people – and, crucially, to try more whisky! The Whisky Lounge Festival at London Bridge Hilton sounded like the ideal opportunity, so I talked my long-suffering mate Dave into grabbing a ticket and along we popped.
I remember being impressed at the layout and variety, the relaxed vibe and the happy crowd. They had a cocktail bar, and even now I still remember it being my first introduction to Compass Box, Old Pulteney, and the Creative Whisky Company. And I also remember a timid voice behind me saying, “Ah, you must be Jason B. Standing” – my first introduction to my longtime partner in crime, Mr Billy Abbott.
Noting that The Whisky Lounge also offered tastings throughout the year, I decided that further whisky education was the order of the day and signed up to as many of them as possible. And with a crew as friendly as they have at The Whisky Lounge it isn’t long before you’re part of the family.
Fast forward to today and I’ve tasted whisky (on both sides of the counter) with The Whisky Lounge on tall ships, in bomb sites, cathedral crypts, gasworks, warehouses, council chambers, concert hall foyers, tiny rooms above pubs, and in one case a pink bathtub off the Tadcaster Road (although the less said about that, the better).
My “special talent” is that as a huge fan of whisky I’m prepared and able to talk about the stuff (at length), so can often be found at festivals around the country working behind various stands for various brands, talking the talk about this magical juice and helping people get their heads around some of the more seemingly magical bits of terminology they might hear. If you’re one of the not insignificant number of people who’s filled out a “Stand of the Day” card and nominated “That Australian Bloke”, then we’ve already met.
The thing that’s always impressed me about what Eddie and the team do is that their mission has always been to bring whisky to the people. In a time when brand portfolios are being premiumised and whisky positioned more and more as a luxury item, The Whisky Lounge somehow blast through the marketing and remind us all that the flavour and experience are what whisky’s about – and that there’s loads of delightful juice out there if you’re prepared to venture out and try new things. And you don’t need to be the kind of nerd that knows how to pronounce Bunnahabhain, Auchroisk, Ledaig, Kilchoman and Glenmorangie properly to do so…
Jason B. Standing