Scotch Tasting class met last Thursday night at a bar called Fion, a teeny tiny dimly
lit space that was more black box theater than bar. There were 16 of us in all and we
sat comfortably but snugly in a long elevated booth and black stools. Our instructor,
Dennis of Eat, Drink, Educate, held court at the front of the bar with just a few typed
notes and plenty of suggestions on how to not be “that guy” when ordering at the
bar. He gave some great anecdotes that I furiously wrote down in my journal like
some nerd thinking she can study “cool.”

Speaking of cool, before class I told Dennis that I thought Whiskey was decent
tasting but have had a really hard time getting into Scotch. If anyone knows even
a little about Scotch, they know that Scotch is a type of Whiskey. You can’t like
Whiskey but not Scotch. You can like Bourbon but not Scotch. Bourbon and Scotch
are both in the Whiskey family. Also, Scotch can only be made in Scotland. That’s the
extent of out of book knowledge I retained from class. There’s just something about
the history of Scottish distilleries that would not cement in my brain.

I took notes so I can tell you that our first sample, Johnny Walker Black Label was
suppose to taste sweet with hints of honey and orange. Our second sample should
have been sweeter still. One student boldly claimed our third Scotch tasted like
cake and for our last sample the class unanimously tasted pear. Next to the pear
observation I actually scribbled: Why did everyone get this but me?!?

This is what I tasted: A campfire, an ashtray, alcohol, paint thinner, more alcohol. So,
okay. I don’t have a refined palette and I sound like a high school kid who’s raided
his Dad’s liquor cabinet. But I guess I thought beer was crappy tasting the first time
I had it too. Though unlike beer, you can’t catch up on Whiskey with a few Whiskey
Pong Tournaments. It takes time and the purchase of one or two ascots. Which I will

The only other thing more absent then my sense of taste, were the men. There were
only four in the class and each came with a woman. I only bring this up because I
was shocked at just how many women in Chicago drink Whiskey and Scotch on the
regular. I thought for sure this would be my most male dominant class. So did a few
other women when they asked me where all the dudes were.

Men: this is me calling you out. I met a bunch of attractive women who could hold
conversations and their liquor. These are the kind of quality, interesting, intelligent
women I’ve been meeting throughout my Dabble journey. So here’s your challenge:
take a class and start talking to people. If you’re looking for an elevated version of
“the bar scene,” Dabble’s got plenty of alcohol themed classes that basically write
your opening lines for you. We’ll do the tough work if you’ll give us one night to
meet your perfect someone. Sound like plan? Go to it!


Ali Kelley is a 20-something trying to figure out her life one Dabble at a time. Be sure to check back each Wednesday to see her newest Dabble class adventure, and cheer her on with words of encouragement through the comments section below or on Twitter @freegiantparty.