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Issue 21 - Zen and now

Whisky Magazine Issue 21
February 2002


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Zen and now

Waxing philosophically on paradox, Daniel Houck invites us to consider drinking whisky as a means to enlightenment. It's got to be worth a try right?

And then it happens. At once, you realise there's more to the liquid in your glass than merely a world-renowned reflection of man and distillery, malt and water, a whisky of pure grandeur, a colourful tapestry of swirling nectar. This is the stuff of legend, a liquid with the ability to transform you forever. The sip on your tongue helps you transcend into another realm of consciousness. You are one with all things. Wouldn't you enjoy knowing your pleasure is more than mere bliss? Whisky is Zen in a glass.

Single malt whisky is more than refreshment, more than just a beverage. Zen teaches its followers enlightenment comes through meditation. Meditate now on the whisky in your hand and an understanding will pull at the corners of your mouth until an uncontrollable smile emerges. Observers may believe you to be either deep in thought, remembering a joyous occasion or maybe you are quite mad. Beyond its historical healing properties and sought-after remuneration of good taste for the initiated and the knowledgeable, whisky is the grail sans glass. The spirit is the way, the reward. Appreciate it and flavour nirvana is all but assured the malt connoisseur.

“You are never more within the moment than when you are enjoying your favourite whisky.”

I came to this revelation during an evening out with friends. I drifted from the conversation for a second to stare into my drink. I watched light dance on the whisky as I rocked the glass to and fro. This was two sips into my first...

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