There are more songs and poems about both than about everything else put together ten times over. They are both every bit as complex, valuable and unique as each other. There are fruity ones, there are nutty ones. Some are both, others are neither. Some burn on the way down, and some care vomited out the next day. Some are overrated, others underappreciated. Some are only good for a single self-loathing and foolish night of writing yourself off. Some are savoured for lifetimes. Some you have to water down, some you have to put on ice. Some you cannot afford, others you can but wouldn't touch.
Both are capable more than almost anything else in the world of inspiring men and women to the greatest of lofty heights and the deepest of sundered valleys. People who abstain too rigidly from one are generally pretty bad at the other. Both are pointless if you take the mind-warping and dangerous ingredients out.
Some go unappreciated by your palate, either because your faculties are beneath them, or maybe above them. Some are sweet, some sour, some blended. The best ones though are always the purest, and those most tempered and matured with age. Some are forged from a smoky, muddy morass at the edge of the known world, while others blossom by the river, meadow and ocean. These ones taste like ash and earth but warm the heart and soul, and years of aging makes them the best you possibly can find. Some you can't stomach unless mixed up with coke.
Some bring you primal pleasure, guilty and sensuous, indulgent. Some warm your bones, some ignite your mind, some pour clarity over your eyes. Some see you warm through northern winter, others delight in the balmy, jolly haze of summer. Some you come to appreciate or no longer, as your palate must needs change with time.
Most countries on earth have tried making good ones, and some are better than others. Irish are steeped in sad tradition and the warm glow of eternal kindness and friendship. Scottish are proud, varied, and some of the best in the world. American, sickly sour, overbearing and loud, but at times surprisingly noble and sweet. Japanese sounds and acts stiffly similar to a Yakuza grandfather, until you get to know him. Scandinavian goes down too fast to analyse.
Some will make you sick, some you will only ever experience once in your life. Some are Jim Beam. Some will teach you life's most profound truths, while others will give you a headache, make you cry, or even want to die. Some are appreciated by boys and girls, some by men and women; others wasted on anything but a true lady or gentleman.
Some very special though, those rare and perfect examples, if you are lucky enough to find them in this life, can be the only real thing you will ever touch. Everything that makes your life worth living.
I am grateful for all of these whiskies, thankful for all of these loves.