A group of retirees who share a mutual appreciation of whiskey

Just one of the ways people enjoy their time at Renaissance

The monthly Whiskey Appreciation Group get together at Renaissance is a wonderful night of fun and fellowship.

Once a month on a Tuesday night, a group of residents gather for the Whiskey Appreciation Group, better known as W.A.G. The group was formed for residents who want to share their whiskey with other residents. Over the years it’s grown into a great night of fellowship for whiskey lovers, as well as those who just enjoy a night out in good company.

RRL Whiskey group

A group that suits a wide range of retirees

To dispel any myths, coordinator Frank Birchall explains that the group is definitely not a men’s drinking club.

“Fundamentally it’s about sharing your whiskey in a safe environment with others who have a common interest. We have men and women, married and single, and even those who don’t drink at all. The group relies entirely on donations of whiskey from members. The number of places each month is limited by the amount of whiskey donated for that month and doesn’t usually exceed 30 people.”

It helps to know the W.A.G. rules.

Where demand exceeds supply, a ballot is drawn for places that night. Priority is given to the Organising Committee of four, followed by those who have already donated a bottle, known as ‘Donating Members,’ and finally ‘General Members.’ Until someone becomes a Donating Member, there is an entrance fee. Once a member has donated a bottle of whiskey, they become a Donating Member and do not pay to attend the group, nor do non-whiskey drinking partners.

A week in the life of a retirement village

Sampling a wide variety of whiskeys

Now, on to the interesting part – the whiskey itself!

Before each meeting, a program goes out letting members know a description of each whiskey on offer to taste and the name of the member who donated it. On the night, those who have donated are encouraged to talk about the whiskey, if they feel to and invited to pour a measure for everyone.

“We’ve tasted a wonderful variety of whiskey including a Single Malt from Australia, an interesting one from Czechoslovakia, and a top drop from the Northernmost Distillery in Scotland. There’s been whiskey from Wales, Ireland, America, and Canada, many Scotch blends, and beautifully tasting single malts. Someone anonymously donated a one-litre bottle of a very powerful whiskey which came with a warning!”

The tasting itself consists of a half measure in a Glencairn Glass. After ‘hugging’ the glass, the colour is examined and the whiskey ‘nosed.’ A small amount of water is added, and the liquor tasted, with aftertaste and finish noted. None of the members are forced to do the tasting process, and can enjoy their whiskey tasting however they wish.

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Retirees sharing a common interest

“We generally have a quiz every meeting where we randomly selected a few people to sample the whiskey. Their challenge is to correctly name the brand and year. It’s amazing how accurate some people are,” Frank said.

“At one meeting, the Renaissance Bowls group prepared and donated plates of cheese, crackers, and fruit to accompany the tasting. It went down so well that a collection is now taken at every meeting to provide mixers, as well as snacks which our female members purchase and present beautifully. The Renaissance Residents Association generously provides the group with specialist glasses and measured pourers along with bar facilities.”

“The ladies have always been a part of W.A.G. otherwise, it would have turned into a boozy night! If their partner appreciates whiskey, then it’s an activity they can enjoy with them. If they’re single, the group provides a safe social environment. Special arrangements are made on the night for non-whiskey drinkers. Sometimes the group will receive donations from people who don’t drink whiskey at all,” Frank said.

A joy shared is a joy doubled!

“One gentleman donated a Black Douglas that was bottled in 1969! Some members bring from private collections. Others are fairly new and not sure what to choose. One new couple liked whiskey but didn’t know what to buy. I suggested they select one at Dan Murphy’s and bring it along. They picked up a 12-year-old bottle of Highland Park Whiskey from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. That was beginner’s luck but started them off on exactly the right note.”

“One night we sampled the best smoky whiskey. It smells like burnt tyres and only a handful of people enjoyed it. Another time, someone brought Canadian Rye. Now everyone in Canada knows it tastes awful, but we discovered it tastes great with ginger ale!”

The group follows strict time schedules, discipline, and formality. At 9.15 the night ends, glasses are washed, the room tidied, and everyone is gone by 9.30.

“We always start and finish on time and there are no stragglers. No one gets drunk, but all members are happy when we close and clean up. It’s important to care for all our residents and ensure everyone gets home safely.

Discover your "road map" to retirement living

Experience real friendships at Renaissance

It’s no wonder that retirees create friendships every day here at Renaissance Retirement Living Often it’s by coming together to share a common interest such as W.A.G. Renaissance is supportive of all our residents and helping them to find ways to connect a lot, or a little – whatever suits them!

We welcome you to join us for one of our regular information sessions where you can tour our village, see what activities are on offer, and meet some of our wonderful residents over a cuppa. Call today on (07) 3820 7700 or contact us and we’ll let you know about our upcoming information sessions.

Topics: Living in a retirement village

Posted by Renaissance Retirement Living on 27-Jul-2023 11:14:57
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