As someone who has banged the gong for whisky tourism and urged distilleries to open visitor centres, I’m delighted to see that everyone from the Scotch Whisky Association to VisitScotland is singing from that same hymn sheet.
Whiskies are mostly named after either the distilleries where they were distilled or the company founder, be he Johnny Walker or Jack Daniels.
The whisky industry today is one of Scotland’s most efficient industries. It produces a worldwide-sought spirit and seeks ever-better ways to use its by-products.
It is interesting how Christmas has in recent decades become the world’s most widely celebrated festive event. In countless countries, even ones where Christianity is a minority faith, or has no adherents, Christmas is celebrated in one form or another. And wherever and however it is celebrated, the odd good drink usually has a key role to play.
In the annals of car-making, Edsel holds a unique place. It was no little operation started in a backstreet workshop by two underfunded petrolheads.
A recent survey looking at which parts of Britain liked which spirits threw up some interesting regional quirks. Not that it’s entirely surprising. One tends to assume that tipplers in Torquay will have different tastes to pub-goers in Prestonpans or imbibers in Inverness.
Most of Scotland’s new or craft distilleries distil gin. A few make their spirit from scratch, but many use supplied bulk grain spirit and, through a process of diluting, re-distilling and infusing their own botanicals, create the final product.
Balblair distillery, located on the southern shore of the Dornoch Firth, was for years one of those off-the-beaten-track, out-of-the-headlines distilleries that attracted little exposure — until it became the setting for the film The Angels’ Share.
Although Scotch whisky is doing exceptionally well at the moment, it is always worth looking a year or even several into the future to see where the industry is heading and where it might be a decade or so from now.
Whisky is, sadly, still a drink that many people, including countless Scots, do not really take a shine to. Indeed, Scots drink more vodka by volume than whisky, a fact that totally flummoxes any foreign tourist I tell that to. Scots drink more vodka than whisky? Come on, pull the other one…