Whisky and Music
For many connoisseurs, Whisky and music belong together. Well, of course, both are forms of art, both are there to be enjoyed and of course both are often found together. Think of a cosy evening in the pub or a get-together with friends while enjoying a good dram of Single Malt or Bourbon and listening to melodic music. In a way, music and Whisky also influence each other. You know how it is: music can trigger all kinds of emotions in us humans - from joy to sentimentality to sadness. Mood is also decisive when it comes to tasting. Depending on the situation and mood, Whisky tastes better or less good. There is also a connection the other way round: many musicians and bands are such big Whisky fans that they launch their own bottlings on the market.
Musicians Make Whisky
The musical and aromatic spectrum among these Whiskies is wide. It ranges from Hip Hop to Hard Rock and from Single Malt to Rye. Many well-known musicians and bands have developed their own Whisky in collaboration with distilleries. One of them is none other than Bob Dylan. The Whiskeys are named after his big hit 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' from 1973. The bottle design of the Heaven's Door Whiskeys shows the welded iron gate that Bob Dylan manufactured in his studio Black Buffalo Ironworks. The range includes a Straight Bourbon, a Straight Rye and the Double Barrel bottling, which is matured in heavily toasted oak casks before and after blending. For a long time there was no concrete statement about the place of production of Heaven's Door Whiskeys. In 2020, the team built their own distillery in downtown Nashville. Fans of the Nu Metal Band Slipknot are used to harder tones. Together with the Iowa-based distillery Cedar Ridge, the band's founder Shawn 'Clown' Crahan, who is also from Iowa, developed the Whiskey No. 9. With its high corn content, the Whiskey is softer than the band's heavy sounds. The London band Motörhead operated in a similarly rocky genre. The "legend" singer and bassist Lemmy Kilmister died in December 2015. As a tribute to Lemmy and the band, the Swedish distillery Mackmyra developed the Single Malt Motörhead. With its finish in Sherry casks, the Whisky reveals a fruity, nutty and spicy character. This is not the only band Whisky from Mackmyra. In collaboration with the German 80s Hard Rock band Scorpions, the Swedes developed the Malt Rock'n'Roll Star. The casks for its finish were previously filled with German Cherry Wine, imparting its berry aroma of dried fruits and roasted nuts. It is not only rockers who like Whisky, but also rappers: Canadian Hip Hop mogul Drake fulfilled his dream of his own Whiskey Virginia Black in collaboration with spirits producer Brent Hocking. The makers wanted to clear up the old cliché of the “Whiskey-drinking cowboy” and emphasise the interplay between Whiskey and Black Music. Virginia Black Whiskey tastes as luscious as its golden bling-bling bottle design suggests.
Music Makes Whisky
So musicians can create Whisky. But can music also create Whisky? Over the years, there have been some experiments to get to the bottom of this question. In the case of American Blackened Whiskey, the casks are being played music by the Metal Band Metallica during the maturation process. Each batch is given its own playlist, selected and arranged by the band members themselves. The music causes the Whiskey to move inside the cask and interact with the oak. The movement and extent of interaction depend on the songs selected, so variation in the music creates nuances from one batch to the next. Another study experimented with whether the music played affected the perception and taste of Whisky. There have been several studies in the past that looked at the relationship between music and food. For example, fast-food restaurants like McDonald's play upbeat music in their establishments because it has been proven to speed up eating, so that diners leave more quickly and tables are cleared faster. Clever, isn't it? But it's not just fast food restaurants that use this trick. In an experiment in the 90s, guests in a fish restaurant rated oysters as more intense and salty if the sound of sea waves was played while they ate. The connection between Wine and Music has also been investigated. But what about Whisky?
In a London Jazz Bar there were experiments with Glenrothes Whisky and music. The event was supposed to be a "sensploration" of Whisky and music, combining tastes and sounds. The hypothesis: The two receptors together attract greater brain attention and influence the taste of the Whiskies. The reasoning: Melody, tempo and pitch of the played music could change how one perceives the Whisky. For this purpose, the Whisky and Music Fans tasted Glenrothes 1988 accompanied by three Jazz songs: Mood Indigo, a very slow and melancholic song by Andy and the Bey Sisters, Tiger Rag, a swinging guitar track by Django Reinhardt, and finally Blue Pepper, a trumpet piece by the Jazz legend Duke Ellington. Although results of the study were never published, it remains an exciting experiment. Participants reported perceiving different nuances of taste with the different songs. Of course, this can also happen without music, when tasting the same Whisky three times in a row. Each nosing brings new flavours. On the other hand, we humans know the feeling when a song triggers a mood in us - whether sad, happy, sentimental (the list is long). We all had that one experience on holiday when the pizza tasted so much better than at home - mood influences taste.
So Whisky and music are mutually dependent. No wonder there are so many songs about Whisky. Enjoying Whisky probably also increases musical creativity. Sit back and enjoy our playlist on the subject of Whisky.