More and more women are discovering the joys of a single malt. Georgia Clark investigates.
What do Madonna, Margaret Thatcher and Angelina Jolie have in common? No, this isn’t a hackneyed joke: the answer is a fondness for whiskey. And they’re not alone. Women, in turns out, are drinking more whiskey than ever. “I’ve definitely noticed an influx of female drinkers in the last couple years,” confirms Steven Heisler, long-time bartender at New York’s Hudson Hotel. “It’s not just your grandfather’s liquor anymore.” So why the rise in ladies looking for something a little stronger?
As women continue to enjoy more freedom in society, so goes the exploration of traditionally male territories. As we know, whiskey is a world as complex as anything created by JRR Tolkien, and entering whiskey-drinking circles without a primer can be intimidating. ” I think that women often can’t enter because you’re supposed to know quite a lot when you drink whisky with people,” agrees Kym, 30. “But I’ve had some lovely friends who gave me a crash course, which made a big difference. I adore whisky,” she adds. “Scotch whisky mainly, occasionally Irish, sometimes Japanese. I love the simplicity of it neat or with a couple of ice cubes on a hot day: so tasty it doesn’t need a mixer or anything else to hide behind.”
And what are women drinking? If they’re anything like influential actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie, it’s the always satisfying Glenfarclas whiskey. Celebrities don’t always choose big name brands over boutique labels, preferring quality and class over simply following the mainstream. It makes perfect sense the no-nonsense actress would choose the complexity and strength of the single highland malt scotch, produced in the traditional Speyside style. A blend of only three essential ingredients – pure spring water, malted barley and yeast – Glenfarclas is a classy expression of whiskey that more and more women are eager to explore.
Let’s face it: the rise of women whiskey drinkers is a win-win situation for everyone. “It’s only a certain kind of woman that drinks whisky,” says Mai, 32, a recent convertee. “It symbolizes strength, independence, and guts. You’re not a precious dainty girl if you drink whisky. If I met Winston Churchill and had a whisky in my hand, he would immediately like me. The men who are put off by women whisky drinkers are just intimidated!”
The sight of a beautiful woman nursing a single malt is certainly a sight for sore eyes. Steven Heisler agrees, commenting he finds it incredibly sexy to see women drinking whiskey. “Something about it screams confidence, individuality and intention,” he says. “It’s a bold spirit; it isn’t sweet or bubbly, soft or subtle. Whiskey is hard to miss and so are the women ordering it.”
Looking to introduce the lady in your life to the wonders of whiskey? Chances are she’ll be thrilled to make an acquaintance to the boy’s club. If you’re not sure where to start, why not let Angelina Jolie buy the first round (so to speak). The Glenfarcas single malt scotch has been aged 10 to 40 years and contains a distinct sherry flavor women tend to enjoy. If she appreciates sweeter notes in her spirits, try the straw-colored Glenfarclas 10, with its honey-vanilla nose and spicy aftertaste. Or if you’re out on the town, Steven suggests simply a scotch on the rocks, a bourbon and ginger or a whiskey sour for the less adventurous. “It’s fun to see women branch out in this new direction,” he adds. We certainly agree!
So next time you’re thinking about opening a bottle, consider inviting some wonderful women to join the party. Who knows – maybe Angelina will get the next round!