It is almost 80 years since the start of the Second World War, an event that had a huge – and in the final analysis benevolent – impact on the Scotch whisky industry.
There seems to be a strange, semi-obscure world of science and medicine that forever appears to be seeking yet another reason why we should shun alcoholic drink. The latest manifestation was a paper published some weeks back stating that even one pint of beer or glass of wine adversely affected a person’s “sense of agency”.
I have frequently commented on the Scottish boom in new distilleries, whether whisky or gin. Yet it pales beside the current Irish distillery boom.
Kalamazoo is a town in Michigan, midway between Chicago and Detroit, known to millions thanks to the Glenn Miller hit, I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo.
Located 20 miles south of Dublin, Powerscourt is one of Ireland’s finest stately homes, has one of the world’s top 10 gardens and, since last year, boasts its own whiskey distillery.
Writers tend to be voracious readers and I always look for old or unusual whisky books in second-hand bookshops or at car boot sales.
Some 22 years ago I toured Ireland researching its 30-plus lost distilleries for a book. Among them, I recalled two vividly – Tullamore in Co Offaly and nearby Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath – because they were still standing but utterly abandoned and dilapidated. So it was a joy to revisit them recently and see both back in operation.
For decades, Perth was a key centre of the whisky industry, its clout and repute built on three pioneering names—Dewar, Bell and Gloag.
I have always been fascinated by the amazing range of bottle sizes (and shapes and styles) that whisky and other spirits get sold in. From miniatures to magnums, and countless other sizes, drink can be bought in every conceivable liquid measure.
Few people outside car enthusiast circles would today would know much about, or show much appreciation for, Lea Francis, although for many years it was a significant UK car maker. But like so many other manufacturers, fate was not always on its side….