Gerard Graham Is A Master Of Whisky

By Tracy Block

Let the whisky coat your palate, and savor the flavors as you note the finish.

This St. Patrick’s Day, forget about pitchers of green beer and go for the good stuff. And when we say good stuff, we’re obviously talking whiskey – or in today’s case, whisky. “Remember, whisky is there to be enjoyed with friends,” says Gerard Graham, an expert who is deemed a professional Master of Whisky, which means he currently travels the state sharing potent treasures with curious imbibers.

But, who are these so-called Masters of Whisky? They are actually a very knowledgeable group of people who work and train alongside master distillers and distillery managers from around the world. If you know your whisky, Graham’s past credentials will likely impress. He’s worked with John Lunn (George Dickel Tennessee Whisky) and Tom Bulleit (Bulleit Bourbon). He says his training and work as a Master of Whisky go hand-in-hand, “It’s a constant learning curve, be it imparting our knowledge on the public, or hanging out at places like Royal Lochnagar Distillery (Scotland) or attending a Malt Advocate course with acclaimed whisky writers such as Charlie MacLean.”

Earlier this week, Graham was invited to Fado Irish Pub & Restaurant in Brickell, FL as part of the local staple’s weeklong Paddython festivities. There, he unveiled tastes of the most recent cask treats from Bushmills, located in Northern Ireland. The standout pour belonged to recent release, Bushmills Irish Honey Whiskey, a smooth, sweet-kissed blend of light and fruity notes. Less harsh than other Irish whisky brands, the honey-dressed serving was rich on the palate, but easy on its way down.

After a Bushmills lesson and a schmooze session with Graham, we asked him (for our readers’ sake) how to keep it classy this St. Paddy’s Day. At first he laughed, before admitting the obvious keys were drinking responsibly and knowing your limits. As for a proper taste test, “I always suggest you try your whisky neat first,” Graham admits. “Take note of its beautiful color. Then, give the whisky a quick nose to take in all of the aromas while you let your senses guide your imagination to a place where the whisky was made, and the flavors that traveled all the way from the distillery run into the glass you are about to sip. Let the whisky coat your palate, and savor the flavors as you note the finish.”

And, while we tried to wrestle a recipe from Graham, by the end of our visit, we were convinced that this St. Patrick’s Day, we’ll savor the true whisky notes, and forgo that whole mixology thing.

Image Courtesy of Gerard Graham