Choose Your Own (Whisky) Adventure

Since we got a little retro with the baseball card post, I thought I'd bring it back to the 1980s for some good old 2nd-person fun with our friend Edward Packard. Here goes:

You enter into the parking lot at K&L, ready to buy your first bottle of single malt whisky. You head into the store and gaze at the wall of spirits in front of you. One of the shelves has a sign that reads, "K&L Exclusives," and you realize that this wonderful store sources some of its own whisky directly from Scotland. Unfortunately, after checking your smart phone, you realize that few of these whiskies have online reviews.

Do you:

(1) Take the recommendation of the K&L sign.

(2) Choose something more safe with a solid reputation.

If you chose (1) then skip the following explanation. If you chose (2) then read on below:

- (2) You decide to take the safe bet and grab the bottle of Lagavulin 16. You take it home and open it. It tastes great. As the weeks go by, you continue to sip from the Lagavulin bottle after dinner, staring out the window in contemplation as you wonder if life has more to offer. Sure, Lagavulin is a fine whisky, just like your house is a fine house and your car is a fine car, but something continues to bother you as the days drag on. Eventually, you empty the bottle and head back to K&L to buy another. Life is good, but it never excites you in the way that you hope it will. It always seems like there's something great around the bend, but it never materializes. These thoughts continue to haunt you until your dying days.


- (1) You decide to take the plunge and go with the staff recommendation. It surpasses any other whisky you've ever tried in your life. You dust that bottle in less than a week, completely obsessed with its flavor. You head back into the store to try out a different K&L exclusive expression. Do you:

(3) Choose another whisky based on the hand-written sign.

(4) Inquire about some advise from one of the staff members.

If you chose (3) then read on below. If you chose (4) then skip past the following explanation:

- (3) You select another K&L whisky based on the hand-written sign and it's also quite tasty. Not as good as the first one you selected, but solid nonetheless. As time goes on, you continue to shop at K&L, getting the occasional exclusive bottle when it looks interesting, but never really getting as hooked as you thought you might get initially. The selections are always solid, sometimes really great, and you remain satisfied in your whisky drinking. You end up getting married to a reasonably attractive mate and you both remain in the Bay Area for as long as you live. Your first child is named Coco.


- (4) You decide to ask for some help. A guy named David comes over to help you. It turns out that he's the spirits buyer at K&L and he knows a bit about their selection. You tell David exactly what you liked about the first whisky and he uses that information to help you pick out another. He also tells you about a special insider's list with special offers and information about upcoming releases. You decide to give him your email and contact information. After the first few weeks, your inbox is full of emails from David. You read them and finally decide there's one that sounds too good to pass up. You try to place an order but the whisky is no longer available. You email David and ask what the situation is. He tells you that whisky sold out very fast and is gone unfortunately. Do you:

(5) Email back an angry response out of frustration.

(6) Decide to try a different whisky instead.

If you chose (5) then read on below. If you chose (6) then skip past the following explanation:

- (5) You can't believe that the whisky you finally wanted is already sold out. Didn't he just send that email a few minutes ago? This is ridiculous! What kind of list is this? The kind that tempts you with descriptions of great whisky, but then denies you the opportunity to actually buy them? Nonsense! You tell David that, while you appreciated his initial service, the whisky list is a waste of time. You plan on taking your business elsewhere to a store that can actually get you the bottles you need. He takes you off his list. As your whiskey hobby continues to grow you hear about a whiskey called Pappy Van Winkle and decide to try to find a bottle. Instead of emailing David, you head down to BevMo and ask the staff if they can get you a bottle. They add your name to a list and say they'll call you when they get one. Years go by and no one ever calls. You wonder why, but you continue to patiently wait. One day, you think to yourself, one day.


- (6) You decide to email David back and ask if there's anything else that's similar he can recommend. He ends up having a special bottle that wasn't on the list that he offers just to you, even though it's normally not available, as a make-good for running out of the other whisky so fast. He wants to make sure you're taken care of and is very thankful for your patience. You're ecstatic. You go to pick up the bottle and you taste it that evening. It's delicious. Soon, you're fast into the whisky game, heading to tastings, reading the blogs, perusing the message boards. You realize that there's an entire world out there of people who love whisky and they're all communicating with each other via these forums. You create a handle. All of a sudden you're message boarding like crazy. Then someone calls you an idiot for your views on the merit of Macallan 18. Others join in and tell you that you obviously don't know anything about whisky. Do you:

(7) Internalize the shame and bottle up all that frustration for later.

(8) Shrug it off to a few message board trolls.

If you chose (7) then skip the following explanation. If you chose (8) then read on below:

- (8) You decide that there are simply people on the internet that like to argue, fight, and point out how everyone is an idiot. That's fine with you. You're happy with your life and confident in your own opinions. Who are these people to criticize you for simply sharing your opinion with others? It seems like maybe they're taking this whole whisky thing a little too seriously. You continue to enjoy reading the whisky blogosphere, posting a few carefully crafted comments from time to time when you have something to share. You make sure to add something unique and interesting to the conversation, rather than simply post for the sake of doing so. Others begin to recognize your cool head and tempered perspective. You eventually start a whisky blog where you're careful to take the feelings of others into consideration, seeing that you once felt attacked by internet bullies yourself. Your blog gains the utmost respect of the online whisky community, even though you never get the most comments or all the attention. It's this self-confidence and peace with yourself that allows you a happy life until your dying day.


-(7) The anger surges through you like a shock of electricity. You feel ashamed and embarrassed by the repsonse from these clearly qualified experts with hundreds of posts to their history. You say nothing for the time being, but you remember the feeling for weeks to come. Then, after going through hundreds of different blogs and threads, you come upon a weak newcomer to the whisky scene who says that Glenfiddich 12 is his favorite whisky. You immediately attack, shooting down his opinion as if he has insulted your family, and pointing out all the ways in which he knows nothing, while making sure to carefully point out how you know everything. A few people give you a thumbs up and a smiley face, further increasing your belief that others support this kind of behavior. You begin to go after bigger fish. Soon, you're slamming John Hansell on his whisky blog, trolling the comments until you can find a way to attack. Serge begins to fear that he's next. Steve Ury completely stops blogging as a result of your relentless desire to expose him as a fraud. You suspect that other people think you're an asshole, but at least you know that you're right.


-David Driscoll

David Driscoll