You mustn’t add anything other than perhaps a spot of water, or if you’re very adventurous – ice, to a single malt whisky, otherwise “it’s a waste of a good dram”. The unwritten rules for this initiation into the single malt fraternity are:

  • Be prepared at the outset, to drink neat spirit, which may or may not sear your oesophagus, or at least feel as if it is doing so
  • Keep a straight face, nod your head in an appreciative manner, and make out that you really enjoyed the experience. That, despite the pain, you managed to distinguish the subtle nuances of peat or heather, or salt-air baked casks.
  • Be a ‘Real Man’
  • Be prepared to do this as a lifelong act
  • If you don’t adhere to the above, you’ll be served ‘The McCheapest Blend’, because you’re a heathen and don’t deserve any better.