Our regular interview series takes us to the USA’s Golden State to meet LA-based whisky blogger and writer, Jenna Elie.
Introduced to the spirit one night by her husband, Jenna fell in love with the water of life. She’s since garnered a loyal readership who follow all her travels and adventures on her blog, Whisky A Go Girl. She tells us her most memorable dram, her favourite place to drink and the person she’d most like to share a whisky with.
Do you remember your first taste of whisky?
The first time I ever tasted whisky was probably sometime in my early twenties. It was most likely mixed with a soda of some sort, and sadly not too memorable. I do, however, remember the first time I actually truly tasted whisky, which has left quite the impression on me. One night my husband was enjoying a glass of Macallan 18 neat, and I thought ‘Hey, I can drink this stuff too!’ I took a sip and remember it hitting my lips, and I just instantly fell in love. The richness and complexity was so surprising, and I was tasting so many layers of flavour. I wanted to understand why I felt the way I did, which is how my journey began.
What is it that you love about whisky?
I love so many things about whisky that it’s hard to pick just one. I love the sense of community it fosters and the stories it tells. The people of this industry and community have captured my heart and I think that they’re still a very under-represented part of the story.
This goes from the people who grow the grain, those who make the distilleries run so smoothly, the brilliant minds of the malt masters and distillers and the men and women bottling the magic to those who run the gift shops and cafes, the bartenders who introduce the whisky and everyone in between. There are also the ambassadors who spread knowledge about so many of these whiskies we love and adore. Then, of course there are those who drink it and keep sharing their experiences with it. The web of people who make this all possible is what makes this experience so magical. Without them, we wouldn’t be sharing the stories or have these beautiful whiskies to sip on.
“It was at the beginning of my whisky journey and I remember feeling this moment of just pure bliss when I was drinking it”
Your favourite place in the world to enjoy whisky?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have experienced whisky in different parts of the globe with some fantastic people. Drinking a Glenfiddich that was distilled in the 50s and bottled in the 80s at the Dowans Hotel next to the one and only Ian Millar was a moment I will never ever forget. It was surreal, beautiful and a huge moment for me.
But there is still no better place than being on my couch, in my jams, next to my husband, that I will enjoy sipping whisky more. It’s where it all started for me, and it’s a place I value and cherish so much!
The most enjoyable dram you ever drank?
The most enjoyable dram I ever drank is probably a 16-year-old Dun Bheagan Ben Nevis I had at L&B Whisky Bar in Amsterdam. It was at the beginning of my whisky journey and I remember feeling this moment of pure bliss when I was drinking it, realising that there are so many incredible drams out there. Talisker 30 is up there too, though, as it reminds me of a full Christmas dinner. I could drink that quite often!
If you could prop up the bar and enjoy a whisky with anyone, who would it be?
This is a tough question, as there are so many people who I would love to share a dram with! Jim McEwan and Adam Hannett are up there for me, as I am a massive Bruichladdich fangirl. Heather Greene and Rachel Barrie would be heavenly. I would love to hear their experiences being women in this industry and learning from two women I admire.
Freddie Johnson at Buffalo Trace must have such stories to tell as he followed in the footsteps of his father, so I would love to sit and have a few drams with him as well. Again, with so many amazing people in this crazy beautiful whisky world, it’s really hard to pick just one