All Amber Lights Posts

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Whisky tastings improve the drinking experience

November 11 2017

It has always struck me that people in these islands – especially Scots and the Irish – have a strange attitude to drink, epitomised by a onetime friend who once said: “If I can remember the end of a party, it wasn’t a good one.” Of all folk in Western Europe, it seems we (especially when young) too often drink only to get tanked rather than enjoy the great taste and inner relaxation drink can bring.

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Breathing new life into old distilleries

November 4 2017

Diageo’s announcement that long-embalmed Port Ellen and Brora distilleries are re-opening is great news. One might ask what took them so long? Both have been shut for decades and, as a result, each new edition of dwindling whisky stocks fetched ever-higher prices.

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Survival of the fittest when it comes to gin

October 21 2017

I must confess I have yet to get my head around the explosion of gin brands hitting the UK market in recent times. Where just a few years back stood the familiar line-up of Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, Greenalls and the supermarkets’ own-label gin, ginophiles today are swamped by dozens of new names and brands in ever more exotic bottles with ever more fancy names and labels.

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Forgotten whisky bottles tell a story

October 14 2017

A former editor I knew once said to me: “Journalism is the only profession where you are never off duty.” And he was right. As a journalist, you never know when a chance chat in a pub, a fleeting glimpse of some cargo on a lorry or a dusty document in a drawer might lead you to a good story. And good stories are the lifeblood of journalism and, I hope, of Amber Lights.

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The magnetic attraction of Scottish distilleries

October 14 2017

There’s no doubt Scottish distilleries are becoming, along with Nessie and famous castles, big magnets attracting ever more tourists to Scotland. The Scotch Whisky Association reckons 1.7 million people visited Scotland’s distilleries last year. I can only urge those distilleries that haven’t yet contemplated a visitor centre to open one.

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A soft spot for Borders distillery

September 2 2017

Although I try to appreciate all distilleries and their malts equally, there are some for which I have a soft spot. One of these is Bladnoch (pictured), first opened in 1817 near Wigtown, for decades the most southerly of the Lowland distilleries and indeed of all Scottish distilleries.

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