Benromach has long been one of my favourite distilleries and I recently was able to sample three of its single malt expressions—and all three were delectable.
It has always fascinated me that Dundee, a city where whisky consumption has always been pretty high, only ever had one legal distillery, Dudhope, that distilled briefly before and after 1820.
One country that produces plenty of whisky is India. One can assume that during the Raj, when Brits met at their exclusive clubs and ordered whisky—a chota pegg (small), or burra pegg (large)—club staff must have spread the word that this Scotch spirit was good stuff.
The Scotch whisky industry is today not just big but influential and highly respected. That stands in stark contrast to the way it was seen 200 and more years ago. Government laws and taxation had driven almost all legitimate distillers out of business and illicit distilling and smuggling were rampant.
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.
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.