The Whisky Tolerance Society

An allegorical tale of a not-so-civil war

Joe Honton
13 min readJul 22, 2023


“Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.” The podcast began with the alarm spelled out like an SOS distress signal.

The two sides had been skirmishing for a long time before hostilities reached a fever pitch. What started out as a simple matter of taste, had become a serious dispute, with accusations and bitter words, and threats of violence. Both sides had reached their limit.

From the outside, it was hard to see what made them so different. Both sides were family centered in their daily lives and strong community supporters. Both sides were avid sports fans, film buffs, music lovers, and fashion followers. Both pursued careers that demanded daily commutes and regular working hours, with precious time off for holidays.

But both — in their own way — were strongly opinionated, vocal in their claims, freedom loving, patriotic. And most important to our story here, both had become increasingly loyal to their chosen brands.

Angry woman with fiery red hair, glaring eyes, & raised fist.
It was “Purity in all things!” versus “Richness of the multitudes!” [Image: pixabay]

One side believed in clean living, strict adherence to tradition, and respect for the social institutions that made their chosen community great. “Purity in all things!” was their creed. Above all, this group sought simple explanations to problems that mattered most.

The other side reveled in diversity, in challenging the status quo, in active participation in governance, and in the hard work of shaping a different future. “Richness of the multitudes!” was their motto. Above all, this group saw complexity in the solutions that mattered most.

Visitors were often surprised to learn that the discord was all about whisky.


Not teetotalers versus imbibers, no, that argument had been settled long ago. Instead, the present argument was about single malts versus blends.

The Purists saw whisky in simple terms, as a complete expression of the craft, pure, unadulterated, single malt.

The Blenders saw whisky in more complex terms, as the combined richness of many, blended, balanced, refined.