There are more questions I cannot answer than there are stars in the heavens; not only the big ones like: why are we here and how did it all begin? but also the small ones like why will computer and phone leads inevitably become entangled if left in a drawer? Mostly you can put them aside, the big ones are to vast to grapple with and the small ones don’t make that much difference in the grand scheme of things. But there are some questions where I really should know the answers. I would, for example, really like to know which is my favourite whisky. But I don’t and I don’t believe I ever will. In fact the more whiskies I taste the more complicated it becomes and the further away I am from any answer.
Sometimes I can put two side by side and prefer one over the other, and sometimes it’s easy but if they are either very close, or very different, it might only be the judgement of that place, that time, that mood. My enjoyment of whiskies is really affected by all sorts of external circumstances. In some ways this is part of the fun. Just how do you balance the objective (the liquid in the glass) with the subjective response of your taste, knowing that such things as the way you feel, (ill or well), what you have eaten, the room you are in, the company you are with and the time of day can all have a massive impact. Just how much is objective, how much is a consistent subjective judgement and how much is contingent on circumstances? How much can you trust your own opinion?
For example, after the visit to Ardbeg we sat at our table after supper with miniatures of Ardbeg and Laphroaig cask strength, to see if there was a consensus of which we liked the best. You know what – there was none. All of us tried one and said “yes I really like this”, then tried the other “no hang on a minute, this is good” went back to the first “no, as you were, this is good” Back and forth, back and forth.
Does this prove anything? No…except perhaps that you should not take my opinion seriously. I do not know my own mind.
P.S. The photo was taken on a day when the weather could not decide whether it was stormy or sunny. See: everywhere there is changeability.