Ah, whisky. The water of life. Angel’s share. Peat bombs. Yes, to all those connoisseurs out there, it’s obvious... I know nothing about one of our nation’s most famous and valuable assets.

So, having spent the last week on Islay, home to some of the finest “firewater” in the world with stunning scenery to match, a visit to Ardbeg, Ardnahoe or Kilchoman distilleries, from a tasting point of view, was wasted on me. For those predominately older gents trundling out the shop clutching their bags of £100-plus bottles, it must feel like all their Christmases rolled into one – a trip to a whisky theme park, complete with matching branded Tweed caps and wax cotton jackets.

I can’t knock it, to each their own. But I couldn’t help feel my ignorance in all things whisky meant I was somehow failing in some way. The second I set foot in the distilleries – all gloriously impressive celebrations of the exalted tipple – I immediately felt out of my depth, entering a land where a different language is spoken and assumptions made.

A similar sensation grips me whenever I reluctantly head to my local garage to get the car serviced. For fear of being rumbled as the obvious fraud I am, I find myself sagely nodding unconvincingly in agreement during a discussion about the loose fan belt or leaking carburettor, whatever one of those are. But whereas I can easily shrug off my disinterest about cars without a sense of being emasculated, my lack of knowledge about whisky runs a little deeper. There’s an emotional element, a suggestion that my true Scottishness is somehow being called into question. After all, what can be more Scottish than whisky?

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But it’s not just the gold stuff where I fail to tick the Scottishness cliche box: the skirl of the bagpipes – or indeed anything remotely sounding like Scottish folk music – and that other great national export – golf – leave me equally cold.

But Hallelujah to those who ply their trade in those areas or enjoy such things – our economic and cultural wellbeing are all the richer for them. Amen to that.

And whether you do or don’t enjoy a dram isn’t exactly at the forefront of the so-called culture war. But as we’ve now entered the era of identity politics, our likes and dislikes appear to carry more significance than ever, right down to the simple things in life. Everything seems to have meaning.

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But I know my whisky insecurity is about perception, not reality. The distilleries I visited were warm and friendly places, happy to welcome whisky Philistines like me. What a person perceives can become their reality, so failing to embrace what you think is an expected cultural norm can lead to feelings of exclusion. But, in reality, it’s all in my head.

There are many Scotlands within Scotland. There is no definition of Scottishness or single national voice, just as there is no one type of whisky. Indeed, if we as a nation were a whisky, it would be a blend, not a malt. I’m sure even the connoisseurs would accept that – after all, it’s reality.

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