Thanks Graeme for your kind comments on the blog. You asked the question about drinking whisky at home vs drinking out. That is an interesting decision, and the conclusion depends entirely on where you live which determines the available options.
About 7 years ago I moved from the UK to New Hampshire. Prior to that move, I had a number of good friends who also held a great appreciation of the ‘water of life’ and I think the social aspect is very important. I remember my last few visits to Scotland involved a number of visits to small pubs that had a huge array of single malts. This provides the opportunity to try something that you might not be able to drink at home or a good way of sampling am expensive product that you are interested in but do not want to put down the large amount of money down for a full bottle.
Unfortunately the pickings are very slim here in New Hampshire, and I have yet to find a place that has anything outside of the Classic Six or the usual brands (Glenmorangie or Glenfiddich for example). The liquor stores do however have a decent range, and so I tend to socialize and consume at home.
Graeme, if you check back, I’d be interested if you have any location tips in San Francisco as I do travel there from time to time and have spent plenty of time and money in the San Francisco Whisky Shop. Another place I cannot wait to visit with friends is the Brandy Library in New York. I have heard many great things (mostly via Whisky Cast) about that place and I know they have a number of unique varieties.
I think to conclude, the social aspect of drinking good whisky is paramount, particularly when tasting products that are new to me. Mostly I prefer doing this in a home environment due to the better available range and (of course) the reduced overall cost. I gradually get more friends into single malts, and am hoping to get some tasting parties together to make the experience more enjoyable and to be able to expand my horizons even further.