IT HAS BECOME DISTRESSINGLY FASHIONABLE of late to bring whiskey to the masses. The idea has been propagated that, despite its deservedly lofty associations, whiskey is indeed a drink for the everyman. In fact, you might read such words in this very gazette—that you, yourself, can gulp down whiskey willy-nilly, without any further ado, even should you lack an intermediate knowledge of the very nectar you are swallowing. To which I say: PISH. Fie, tommyrot, and filthswiggler!

Don't let this rubbish-rag fill your head with such twaddle; rather, let me make abundantly clear to you, you sot, that whiskey is God's own dram. If you drink it wrongly, not only are you doomed to eternal damnation, but you are bungling the very essence of all that is divine here on Earth, with your slopheap, drunkardly bumbling.

So, for your edification, here is how to drink whiskey the correct way. I embark on this thankless labor out of a sense of duty for one's fellow man, although it must be said that precious few of you deserve it. And since some of you will not be up to this extraordinarily demanding task, I strongly beseech you to immediately revert to the lashings of rotgut beer and tinkly martinis that have sustained your petty existence thus far.

To begin: Your whiskey must be of a single malt. Any label that reads "blended" can immediately be flushed down the drain without hesitation. Keep an eye out for labels that contain words like "reserve," "special," "vintage," and "private." I don't know what these words mean exactly, but they sound impressive and exclusionary. Also, your whiskey must be aged as long as humanly possible: 15 years is good, 18 better, and 25 more so. (The world's finest whiskeys have been aged for more than 90,000 years).

SIGHT: Gaze upon your whiskey; let its amber curvaceousness cascade upon thine eyes. See how it tricks the light! Did you pour it in a rude, square-bottomed tumbler, you ninny? No more whiskey for you! You should have poured it into the most elegant stemware you possess, to allow its voluptuous, supple body to be elevated and exhibited at its most flattering angle.

SMELL: Inhale, but do not make contact with your whiskey. Sniff its warm, peaty aroma. What you are smelling is the scent of centuries—the lay of the land, the sea-salt air, the green grass and barley, the animals and workingmen who have made that land their home, the smoke of the funeral pyres of our ancestors. You should smell your whiskey for at least 30 minutes. DO NOT DRINK IT YET.

SOUND: Listen to your whiskey. It is singing to you! Perhaps you do not hear it; that is because you are not attuned to its music. But soft; coax your ear into the glass as far as it will go, and make sure you are well removed from any blaring Victrolas or shrieking children. Do you hear it? Ah, such ambrosial noise must have descended from the firmament.

TOUCH: Now is the time to caress your whiskey. Think of it as a lover who must be properly seduced before being devoured. Dip your hand into the glass, and roll a droplet between your thumb and forefinger. Let the beads linger gently upon your flesh. Introduce the whiskey to other sensitive places on your body—some recommend the wrists and behind the ears, but I am old-fashioned and must urge you to apply some directly to the nipple. Don't be embarrassed by the looks you may get from others when you do this—they are CHARLATANS and MONGRELS who don't know culture and good taste when they see it. At this point, you should be well in tune with whiskey's music and will feel compelled to sing along.

TASTE: If you have made it thus far, I warrant you have earned the right to sip. Not so fast, troglodyte! You mustn't gulp it down like a common, mangy cur. No, gently cock back your head and part your lips. Slowly—slowly—pour the honeyed gold toward your tongue, and let it wash across your palate. If you have done it properly, you will not only taste the whiskey with your mouth, but with your entire body, including the sternum, the nephrocalcite, the lesser fistula, and the anus. And the flavour—ah, that sweet, miraculous flavour!—is redolent of aristocratic privilege. It tastes of divine right, of the pristine absence of the obstreperous lower classes, of good and kingly breeding. Yes, this is what providence tastes of. You are scarcely fit to drink it.