Dram For a Cause: International Whisky Day

March 27th marks the birthday of late, great whisky writer Michael Jackson and raises awareness against Parkinson's Disease
photo by Amanda Schuster
photo by Amanda Schuster

As most of you know by now, we’re not too keen on those National _______ days, because the majority of the time it’s just some random date picked during the year by a PR firm to boost sales during slow seasons. Shouldn’t every day be one to sip a great fresh juice Margarita, and not some random one in February? However, sometimes they make sense, and International Whiskey Day is one of those times.

In 2007, the world lost one of the greatest booze writers, and from all accounts, nicest blokes, we’ve ever known, Michael Jackson. Sadly, as you can imagine, people often confused his name with that of the tragic one-gloved pop star, but to those of us in the beverage industry, he was the default Michael Jackson. He was one of the first people to rate and review whiskies for more informed sipping, starting a world wide obsession. His book Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion published in 1989 is still one of the best resources on the subject and a must read for any enthusiast. He contributed to a variety of top publications in the UK and US including the Guardian, Observer and Whisky Advocate. He was also one of the top beer writers in the world and hosted the hit BBC series The Beer Hunter.

He had battled Parkinson’s Disease for at least a decade upon his death. But let’s not celebrate the great man’s death day. Instead, let’s use his birthday of March 27th to make a global toast to the man and encourage people to contribute funds to end this horrific disease. You can find all the information here: http://www.internationalwhiskyday.org/

michael jacksonWhat to sip in Michael Jackson’s honor today? I happen to have a few outstanding ones on the shelf right now. I’m very much enjoying some of the new Balblair vintages, especially the 1990 2nd Release. I also recently had the pleasure of tasting the Mortlach 18 Year, which just took Gold in the 2015 Berlin International Spirits Competition. Since I reside in Brooklyn, I feel we need to represent! I’ll have to take a few sips of Breuckelen Distilling’s excellent 77 Whiskey Local Rye and Corn, which won silver in the 2014 NY International Spirits Competition. For a bourbon, I highly recommend everyone taste the Jim Beam Signature Craft 12 Year. If you want the smoothness of an Irish whiskey, Teeling Small Batch is quite the pretty thing. And I always like to end with a nightcap of something smoky, rich and brooding, so I’d reach for Laphroaig 18 Year.

So sláinte mhath to Michael Jackson, without whom many of us wouldn’t know our Pinch from our Pappy. And don’t forget to let us know what you’re dramming today in the comments, or Tweet us @TheAlcoholProf with hashtag #WhiskyDay2015!

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