Whisky Advocate

Question: Did you get “the look” yet?

March 2nd, 2010

How many of you have ever gotten “the look” from your spouse or significant other because of the amount of whiskies you purchased? And for those of you who have gotten the look, when was it and how many bottles did you have?

I have to go back a couple of decades, but I think it was around 1993 for me. And about 30 bottles. Little did my wife know at the time…

68 Responses to “Question: Did you get “the look” yet?”

  1. Alex says:

    The look doesn’t come from specific purchases – I don’t bring my wife along for those – but with my discussions on the topic in general. Typical conversation:

    Me: “How was your day?”
    Wife: “Great, took the boys to the park and went to the supermarket.”
    Me: “Nice, I just tasked a 42 yo Strathisla!”
    Wife:”…” (Stony silence and the look)

  2. In my case, getting the look is more a process than an occasion.

    It started when I purchased my 10th or so bottle. After that, I got the look again when my collection outgrew the cupboard. Then the next, and so on.

    Now, she tries (succesfully) to keep my impulses at bay, which keeps the growth of my collection in check and I since spend more on bottles I really want. Less glances, better whisky in this case…

  3. B.J. Reed says:

    My wife has four horses she stables north of Omaha. Anytime she gives me that look i say “horses”!!! – That takes care of it 🙂

  4. Red_Arremer says:

    My girlfriend never girlfriend never gives me “the look.” In fact, she often encourages me to buy. For instance, I’ve been holding off on Octomore for a long time. I love the stuff, but I feel that the price tag is just too high for a five year old whisky. I’ve bought plenty of more expensive bottles so you could just say it’s a matter of principles. In cases like this my girlfriend is always telling me to “just buy it.” In the particular case of the octomore she’s finally tipped my willpower by offering to split the bottle with me!

  5. Vince says:

    My wife gave me the look when she opened our guest room closet and found 10 bottles that I had been bunkering. The amount of my closet bunker has grown to about 50 bottles. She just doesnt go into the guest room anymore.

  6. Gal says:

    of course i got the look.
    i geuss every whisky addict (yes, we are addicts.) got the look at times.
    when i can, i prefer not to disclose any new additions to my collection. 😉
    sad, but true.
    i know i am not alone.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Did you hear about that new Anonymous, Gal– the one for people addicted to whisky buying? I hear the last step is a spiritual awakening where you try to convince other people to buy less whisky too 😉

      • Gal says:

        Yes, i think some of us can form a new group : Single Malt Anonymous.
        the problem is with distilleries. so many of them. so many epxressions, and each so fine!

  7. Marc says:

    I first got the look when I returned from Singapore with 5 bottles. I also got it again last week when I ordered the Rollercoaster online. I probably deserved it as I had made the comment we should try and eat out less often to save money. 🙂 In general I try and play down the purchase hoping that if I’m nonchalant about it, she won’t think it cost very much! (How wicked we whiskyheads are..)

  8. Rick Duff says:

    Of course I get “the look”. The worst has been on recent barrel purchases though.
    She wasn’t too mad about my Glenglassaugh Octave though when I told her, “we” might have to go over and bottle it ourselves. She does love traveling to Scotland, and puts up with distillery visits well.

    She also gives me the “don’t even joke about it” look anytime I mention opening a distillery and letting my daughter (who is a baking graduate of the Culinary Institute of America) use some of the spent grains for her bakery that would be attached.

  9. @yossiyitzak says:

    If I’m correct, I was the one who made the “sideways glance” comment regarding the wife and the looks she gives.

    I remember, it was right around our anniversary last year and she was searching for some liqueurs to make a nice little mixed drink for herself. She literally had to wade through 35 bottles or so of scotch to make it to some Sambuka.

    While yes, I got a sideways glance… it was followed up by “Holy #### Josh, how many bottles of scotch to we need in this house?!” or somehting along those lines…

    • Mark Davis says:

      Josh it sounds like she thinks you should convert the carriage house into a gentleman’s bungalow with a nice whiskey room.

  10. Mark says:

    Last time: four new bottles, the look and, “Oh, we have new whisky.”

    Lesson time comes when some desired concert or play is on the horizon and the response is, “I think we spent the money for that at Binny’s.”

  11. jbart says:

    My wife doesn’t like me to drink whisky at all. She doesn’t understand it holds a similar fascination for me as wine does. So she would rather I drink wine. She thinks whisky drinking is for drunks. My wife really is highly educated and quite sophisticated, but on this matter, no.

    So what do I do? I limit my drinking to after she’s asleep – she goes to bed much earlier than I do – or at least try to be discreet. My portions are modest, never more than one or two drams, and I only drink a few times a week. Not the greatest situation, but manageable. On any other whims of mine, she is readily accepting.

    Fortunately she never notices how many bottles I have in a large pantry in the basement that’s also stocked with food. She thinks my pantry is too large and seldom ventures near it.

    Like many others, I am a compulsive buyer when I find something I want, especially if I see a great sale (getting Cask 16 recently for $50). Around Xmas time that usually means a huge hit to my wallet given all the sales.

    Also, I’ll buy a bottle even if I might not drink it for a year or two to make sure I don’t miss out. I don’t like to have more than 4-5 bottles open at any one time, so I usually have 20 or 30 that are unopened.

    Oh, one other thing. My 12-year-old son, whose quite a funny boy, makes fun of me reading Malt Advocate. He especially takes delight in reading John’s reviews out loud. Got so bad I had to tell him not to joke about it around his mother!

    • Red_Arremer says:

      If she doesn’t notice the pantry, i suppose she won’t notice the post you just wrote either 😉

  12. John Hansell says:

    There was actually a time, way back when, when I bought so many whiskies one year that, to appease my wife, I made a New Year’s resolution to not buy any whisky for the entire year. I posted it up on the fridge with a magnet for everyone to see.

    Shortly after, I bought a new fridge. 🙂 One that the wife really liked. And made sure magnets don’t stick on it.

    • B.J. Reed says:

      It is like the old line – I know my limits, I just keep inebriated before I reach it!

  13. Soko says:

    While I’m probably not as old as other commentators -as well as a pretty novice whisk(e)y drinker- my girlfriend has only once given me a look, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t “The Look.” I recently purchased a 2 litre barrel that I plan on using to better understand the effects of aging. While the latter seems perfectly logical to me, my girlfriend gave a brief look that told me she thought the barrel was useless at best and an eye sore at worst. However, I made it a point to explain to her the aging process as best I could and why it interested me. The next day she returned from a shopping trip with 6 small glass bottles that she labelled “One Month,” Two Months” and so on.

    She understands and accepts my liquor collection just as I understand and accept her shoes/bags. Everyone has an indulgence that costs time, money or both. No indulgence is better or worse than any other -as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone of course.- To each his own and all that. Lastly, I’m fairly certain that she takes it as a compliment that my liquor collection, which is the very definition of “my space,” includes items solely for her (Pimm’s Cup and Soju.)

  14. Seth Nadel says:

    My girlfriend doesn’t seem to care about the whiskies. I get the look with the cigar deliveries.

    • John Hansell says:

      Seth, having just come back from the Caymans with a box of Partagas Series D. No. 4, and a box of Romeo & Julietta Limited Edition 2009s, I know where you’re coming from.

      I don’t get the look from buying whisky anymore, because I don’t buy much whisky anymore. But two years ago I bought a boat. That’s worse that whisky. Much worse. But she likes the boat, so that helps. (Even though I use it mostly for fishing.)

      • Seth Nadel says:

        You can’t go wrong with the PSD4’s. My favorite second only to Ramon Allones Specially Selected. I’m headed to Mexico in a few weeks and hoping to enjoy some smokes down there. There is nothing better than cigars and whiskey.

        • Tim M says:

          Seth, John, just call me a double dipper. I get the Look when I buy whisky and when I buy cigars. MC#2s are by far my personal favorite, and have a friend in Bermuda who will ship them, much like Seth ships whisky, in a nice mostly inconspicuous brown box…

  15. BFishback says:

    Great topic, as I too am a victim of the look. I only have about 6 bottles of whisky but I have been getting the look from my wife since bottle 3 or so. She thinks whisky is a colossal waste of money. She has no hobbies other then crochet, so I have no ammo to use against her. Somehow, she got me to pledge not to buy any whisky this month but, I think in honor of all of us victims I will go out and purchase that bottle of Jefferson presidential select I’ve been thinking of buying and keep it in the trunk of my car.

    • Gal says:

      6 bottles only and already the look? 🙂
      get more. just for the fun of it. so she gets used to see a lot. when u have 20 , 1 or 2 more are not noticeable 😉

  16. brian bradley (brian47126) says:

    Oh god… I got that look twice this week.

    “Honey, I am flying to Whiskey fest Chicago.”
    “Honey, I am going to Scotland for two weeks in April next year.”

    I try to hide my extra scotch purchases to avoid this situation. I recommend having your cases shipped to your work. That’s my approach to domestic bliss.

    • Gal says:

      Indeed. picking the mail on your own will save u those looks.
      this is what i do.

    • John Hansell says:

      I have one four letter word of advice for you: cash! No credit card statements. And if you pay with cash, you might be able to bargain for a better price.

      Of course, I would never do that. Someone else gave me that advice. 🙂

    • Alex says:

      Yes, the ship to work option isa good one…as long as you trust the people at work.

  17. Louis says:

    When I started out with single malt scotch, I explained to my wife that is only cost a few dollars more per bottle than the Johnnie Walker Black Label that I was partial to at the time, and that my consumption was about the same. That lasted for a few months. But both sides have their dirty little secrets. The last time we moved, several hundred obsolete or dried out make-up items were discarded, and they are not cheap either. A woman can really need more pairs of blue shoes than there are distilelries in Islay, and that’s just one color. And then there is the issue of holding onto my third of the closet, so we have an uneasy truce. Besides, my wife actually enjoys the (non-peated) good stuff.



    • Mark Davis says:

      I have more blue shoes than there are distilleries in the Islay.

      How come so many women don’t like the peat? My mom is in this well populated camp. She says she likes irish whiskey not scotch. Next time she’s at my place I want to see what she thinks of Connemara. this experiment might haveme buy a bottle of unpeated laphroig too. I got her a bottle of redbreast for the holidays that she really liked.

  18. Matt Z says:

    My whisky interest is relatively new (1.5 years) and in general my wife has been fine with it, until my collection grew to about 30 bottles. Of course money is always an issue, but for me, spending the money is more easily justified than the whisky obsession itself. The looks I get from my wife are more about “Do you really need this many bottles of whisky?” rather than “Look at how much money you’ve spent!” Trying to justify an obsession to someone who doesn’t understand it can be kind of embarrassing, for me at least.

    I have a small stash of bottles at work, waiting for those moments when I can bring them home and say I bought them for special occasions. Not very healthy behavior, but I too find it way too hard to pass up really good sales.

    It’s nice to have some support seeing that all of us have some similar issues. My plan after a year of heavy whisky accumulation is to budget $20 a month (easily justifiable) for purchases. I can save for a nice bottle every few months, or get some cheaper bottles more often. So far the plan hasn’t been too successful, but I’m getting better!

    • Random CDN says:

      I’m in this category as well… relatively new to whisky (3 months or less) and I’m in the “heavy accumulation stage”…. my collection is at about 20 bottles so far (+2 today, heh!)…. I started getting comments after about 5 bottles…. concern began around 10-12……. annnnnd then i started hiding bottles in the back of the cabinet and denying they were new…… god help me when i run out of room in the back…..

      can’t… stop…..must… try… more… whiskys…….

  19. rowley says:

    Every 5-6 years, we go through a long process of drinking down the liquor cabinets. At the height of the collection, the cabinets, closets, and shelves hit about 500 bottles of various spirits (not just whiskeys, but gins, genevers, lots of rums, cordials and specialty spirits, etc.). Right now, with a house move anticipated in June, we’re down to about 200 bottles. Entirely reasonable. We’ll crank through half or more of the remaining bottles by then. Once in the new house, the bottle count will begin to creep up, then we’ll do the whole thing over again. I have never—not once—in 15 years gotten the Look.

    Of course, that might be because I’ve got a boyfriend who lets me play Xbox and buys me cigars…

  20. MrTH says:

    No spouse, no Look, no problem! Well, not that problem, anyway.

  21. Mark Davis says:

    As a chronicly commitment phobic young man the only look I get from a girlfriend is “oh great something new to try out.”

    I don’t know any new yorkers my age with such an extensive dry bar in their room. right now it’s impressive, but once I have to rtoll out the plans to convert one of the large crawl spaces into a whiskey cellar I might get that look.

    I also have over 50 pairs of sneakers and there are several pairs coming out this year on my “must cop” list.

    At some point I hope to find one woman I really like. I doubt I will stop being an obsessive collector but if I find my purchases effect someone I love I hope I will be able to make compromises that keep everyone happy.

  22. Kevin K says:

    For me, it was when I had someone come in to do a small custom closet in the guest room. I planned on storing whiskey there with the rest of the room for overnight visitors to hang clothes. My wife came home to see 12 linear feet of shelves for spirits and only 9″ for guests to hang clothes.

  23. lucky says:

    “The Look” became the “Heavy Sigh” which became “The Stare” which became the “Foot Stomp Fuming Turnaround” which became “We Need To Talk”. She is OK with something like one new bottle every two months or so, but the 65 in the closet and the 25 open bottles probably clouds her judgement. So for the sake of her piece of mind I have the new stuff delivered to my friends house. John, be careful about that boat thing – that’s what got me started on RUM. They just seem to go together so well.

  24. G Llaguno says:

    I’m getting married this month, so I tried to get all the bottles I could for the past 6 months because I know that I will start getting “the look” when I purchase a new bottle (i’ve got already 30 bottles) and the same line: Oh! we still don’t have a living room and you are buying bottles instead of new couches?.
    I guess everyone knows what I’m talking about, but I just love to have the perfect bottle for each moment. In the meantime I “hide” my precious collection behind a drawer, but well, when I get married I will star showing these bottles as the perfect excuse for giving newly weds parties and avoid the look from my GF and future wife by using the bottles in something that she enjoys too.

  25. miguel says:

    Jaja, my wife give me “the look” when the UPS boy rings on the door or each time that I say “I went to fill the car with gas to Gibraltar” and she then ask how many bottles have this time I bought. I think I started getting “the look” at around 30-40 bottles. I am now near 400 🙂

  26. Ernest says:

    I’ve been the recipient of “the Look” on many an occasion over the years. It started close to twenty years ago when my interest in good beer blossomed. I would take an extra hard shell suitcase and bubble wrap on trips and return from places like Belgium with several dozen lambics. All was fine until one particularly funky lambic that I couldn’t fit in my “beer suitcase” somehow ended up in my ex-wife’s… where it exploded. Funny how that happens. At any rate the divorce had nothing to do with my beer obession, surprisingly. I did however get many looks while carting home beers from my travels and in general bringining home hundreds of beers on a monthly to an alreay beer filled basement.The question, always, was why I needed so many beers. Well, because I’m a curious peron–although a tad obsessive–and must have all the new, limited, and rare releases. I quickly moved onto a jazz music obsession where I ended up with over 500 cds and just as many rare LPs. Now it’s on to whisky. While I’ve enjoyed whisky for the better part of the last fifteen years I’ve become “obsessed” with it in the past three. My girlfriend,and friends for that matter, have all given me the look. It’s not about how much I consume but instead how much I really need. There was an odd sort of almost intervention at a party recently where I was surrounded by said group and told: “at your current drinking rate of 1 or 2 ounces per dram you won’t finish these whiskies in your lifetime.” My response was basically, so what. I enjoy everything I buy and try to share with friends and if I don’t finish them so be it.

  27. Bob Goodyear says:

    A number of years ago my wife was out of Jack Daniels and decided to open a bottle of Lem Motlow’s whisky since it was in a square bottle like Jack. She doesn’t bother me about my whisky (ey) any more.

  28. Tanguy says:

    After my 20th bottle I started to get “Le Look” and I mean the real look!
    So I moved my collection to my office and managed to gather 600 more bottles without any look.
    Out of a weak moment I decided to surprise her and give her a tour of my secret stach, Boy did I get Le Look again. I guess I learned my lesson and wont ever again show her anything until I am ready to stop buying probably around 1000 bottles. By then Le Look wont even bother me anymore.

  29. Sean says:

    I have been getting “the look” since I had about 10 bottles or so. Seeing as I have 80+, I get glared at frequently. Of course with her purchasing of Coach purses and clothes/toys for the baby, our expenditures are relatively even.

  30. Justin says:

    No significant other yet, so I haven’t gotten “the look,” thankfully.

  31. Archaeology Carl says:

    I’ve only gotten “the look” once. My wife knew I’ve been collecting bourbon, but didn’t know how much bourbon. And high-end bourbon at that. It’s not that I’ve been hiding it from her, I’ve just been keeping the 50+ bottles out of reach from our 2 year old son 😉 She found them one day, shouted in surprise, then just looked at me. After a few minutes she settled down and said she didn’t want any more comments from me about her perfumes, lotions, shampoos, and conditioners. DEAL!

  32. Neil Fusillo says:

    I got the look briefly, but then she discovered something ELSE she wanted to chastise me for, and forgot all about the whisky.

  33. Texas says:

    No looks or questions anymore since she discovered Springbank 10! Now she understands and is “one of us”.

    • JWC says:

      You’re a lucky man Texas.

      BTW, a discount liquor store in Bellaire (Rice Discount Liquor) has the Colorado whiskey on sale for $51 but I don’t know if the price difference would be worth your drive. They have a very limited selection and you’d be spending the difference with Spec’s (and possibly more) on gas.

      • Texas says:

        Yes I am a lucky man, JWC!

        Thanks for checking on the Colorado whiskey. You are right, Bellaire is quite a drive for me..about a 55-60 mile round trip, so I imagine gas would easily eat into any savings.

  34. Chef! says:

    I’m fortunate enough to have “an out” albeit it’s pretty pathetic… I’ve just told her I’ve “acquired” various bottles being in the food industry over the years from different chefs via trading wine, industry friends, samples, whatever. It seems to work so far. All I have to do is be sure I pay with cash as to avoid a paper trail whenever possible. 😉

    The infamous “cork pop” posed more of a problem in the beginning but not anymore. Popping the cork next to a decibel meter should be an Olympic event for those with significant others.

  35. JWC says:

    I got “lookS” – pretty sure it was during the run to the first time I got to approximately 36 bottles of whiskey (mostly bourbon) that she was AWARE of (yes, the lookS and accompanying harassment got so bad that to this day, I have a secret stash that I keep at another secure location). Her main complaint is “how on earth can I drink all of it” and “$$$$” and my response of “I’m going to give it my best shot” doesn’t seem to please her.

    Spec’s has a cash discount policy and so whenever their limited edition bourbons come out, it has gotten to the point where I don’t buy with cash (i.e., forgo the discount) because I normally don’t carry cash (not even a dollar) and if the wifey sees me with a lot of cash, her suspicion grows and she starts checking my stash to see if there is an increase.

    Yeah, it’s bad.

  36. sam k says:

    Just secretly bunkered a bottle of Van Winkle Family 12 year old yesterday. Took it in through the basement door. She knows there’s whiskey down there, but has no idea exactly where, nor how much. She drinks it with me, so it’s not as touchy a subject as with some, but she’d still be irritated at what’s been spent.

    What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

  37. JNS says:

    Totally poor planning on my part … It was the evening my wife went to the cabinet in search of vodka only to find my recently consolidated bottles of single malts, blends, pot stills, and bourbons taking up the entire space. Hind site being 20/20, I should have consolidated my hobby into that other cabinet where I had placed those liquors of which I do not drink!

  38. Lawrence says:

    If you’re receiving ‘the look’ you have failed completely by not managing the ‘situation’. The ‘situation’ can ALWAYS be mitigated by stunningly large bits of jewelry. Call it mitigation or bait and switch or whatever you want; it works.


  39. Greg G says:

    I don’t really get the look, it’s more of an eye-roll and the declaration “you’re such a bourbon dork”. I have a silly amount of bourbon (along with a much smaller collection of scotch, irish and rye) and for the most part she’s passive about my obsession. She’s a keeper.

  40. Chris Riesbeck says:

    Being in the distribution business of wine and spirits, the house looks like a basement wine cave almost everyday! That said the look is when the “sample bottles” that I need for work all of a sudden start taking over counter space because the bar (an old butchers block) is overflowing and theres no room left. I just tell her I’m going to buy us a bigger house….

  41. JC Skinner says:

    I don’t get *that* look.
    I get the other look, the one that says “You better not be pouring just for yourself!”
    I don’t mind sharing, but I’m expected to buy the bottles.
    I guess it’s a small price to pay for avoiding that look you guys get.

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