Last week I walked into a fancy steakhouse – one that’s run by one of Australia’s leading and most well-known restauranteurs and celebrity chefs. I was shown to my table and handed the menu. Wow! It showcased an amazing selection of gourmet choices, although with price tags to make most of us squirm. There was one particular steak that stood out – it was a particular cut of wagyu that sounded out of this world. As was its price tag! I’d love to have treated myself to it, but it was more than what my budget could justify. Besides, there were much cheaper steaks that also looked pretty tempting, and I couldn’t order two meals now, could I? I resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably have to order one of the cheaper, more regular cuts.
As I pondered this situation, a waiter brought the main course out to the couple who were sitting at the table next to me. I couldn’t help but notice that the man had ordered the very wagyu steak I was lusting for. As they settled into their meal, I leaned across and said, “Excuse me – I was just wondering if you’d mind cutting off a piece of your steak and giving it to me so that I can try it?”
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It’s nonsense, isn’t it? You’d never have the temerity to do such a thing or to make such an undignified request. So why does this very situation play out in the whisky world? We wouldn’t do it with food at a restaurant (yes, for the record, the above story was a fictional allegory), yet plenty of people are quite happy to make similar requests when it comes to whisky. It’s the dark side of samples.