I want to suggest that becoming a virtuous whisky drinker is not simply seeking after pleasurable sensations. Being a virtuous whisky drinker is taking pleasure in directing our senses at the complex array of tastes and smells that the beautiful dram affords us. My acquaintance enjoyed his sweet alcoholic mix, but almost any alcohol would have been as good. He wasn’t interested in distinguishing the oak, peat, and candied fruit ﬂavors in the whisky itself. This was because he wasn’t yet a virtuous whisky drinker, he hadn’t taken time to develop his aesthetic virtues where whisky was concerned. If he had, and for all I know he has now, he would have discovered a new range of pleasurable experiences and a new set of virtues for discriminating tastes and smells. He would have added a new dimension to his life that would have made him happier. Who would have thought that all that was possible through taking a little time over a dram? . . .
But how does whisky ﬁt into this picture, you might ask? Well, just as we have virtues aimed at moral excellence and virtues aimed at intellectual excellence, we also have virtues aimed at sensory or experiential excellence: the aesthetic virtues. The virtuous whisky drinker has acquired the necessary aesthetic virtues to appreciate the full range of sensory experiences that a beautiful dram has to offer. This is not a matter of simply seeking a pleasure hit; the simple immediate gratiﬁcation of my sugar-obsessed acquaintance is not at all the same thing . . .
A great joy in life is to share and explore interests with ourfriends, and what better way to do that than by sharing andenjoying a dram together. While we may take great satisfaction in developing our aesthetic virtues, what use are they if they are never shared, never put to use in company? To be able to share experiences and discuss them with our friends is an important part of what makes a life well lived. The virtuous whisky drinker prefers to take a dram in the company of his or her virtuous friends. Thus, whisky plays a dual role in a life well lived.It helps us actively use our senses, to attune virtuously them toall the various tastes and aromas of all the different varieties of whiskies. It also allows us to share these experiences with our friends, and that makes for shared happiness.