Last week saw the opening of the Geneva chapter of the women-only experimental drinking club, Women Who Whiskey. The association was founded in New York City in 2011 and today counts chapters in Washington D.C. and Nairobi with another soon expected to open in London.
The idea at the heart of the club is simple: women who enjoy whisky – whether connoisseurs or neophytes – come together once a month or so to sample and learn about different whiskies from around the world and to meet others that share their hobby.
That evening the group assembled at the Bar du Nord, in Geneva’s charming, villagesque neighbourhood of Carouge. The bar houses Switzerland’s 2nd most extensive whisky collection (over 500 varieties) and has been around since 1975, when it was opened by the current owner’s father.
We arrived to find five young women in their 20s and 30s seated on vintage couches in a cosy corner inside the bar. The group, even by Geneva standards, was quite an eclectic one. One of the two organisers, Josana, is a young Brazilian woman in private banking. The second, Amy, is an American working in one of the city’s humanitarian organisations. The other three, Elior, Magali, and Alica all come from different countries and no two work in the same profession.
We made introductions and chatted briefly before the arrival of the 1st of the evening’s five whiskies: Bib & Tucker – a Bourbon from a California-based company. The owner of the bar brought over the whisky himself and after a short, informative presentation stayed on for a bit to answer any questions.
My colleague and I looked on curiously as, in turn, they held the glasses to their noses, took a sip, and then made some notes on the sheets of paper before them, before discussing amongst themselves. “Would you like to try?” Josana asked, extending her glass over the table. We of course gladly obliged.
While Elior and Magali questioned the owner on the Bib & Tucker, we chatted with the others: what they did for a living, how long they’d been in Geneva, what got them interested in whisky. Some had been aficionados for some years now, others became interested more recently, through friends or boyfriends, or just on their own to relax in the evenings.
The reaction for the most part has been positive. “Many people find it fascinating. Although one of my male colleagues was so jealous, he decided to start a ‘Men who Whiskey’ and was even planning to come here on the same night as us! I convinced him not to though, so they will be here tomorrow,” Magali tells us.
We didn’t get a chance to go back the following night to see if the ‘Men who Whiskey’ showed up but we here at Ours strongly encourage the creation of any group dedicated to the appreciation of good whisky. In the meantime, to any gentlemen reading this, don’t get your boxers in a twist; in addition to their monthly women-only meetings the group will be organising the occasional gentlemen’s meet as well as overnight whisky tasting trips, the first of which will be to Luzern in March of this year.