We know that alcohol and homo sapiens have been best buddies for thousands of years. However, it is still much debated: Is it the greatest social drug ever discovered? Or the bane of mankind?
The recent panic over the dearth of CO2 supplies must have puzzled many people, as carbon dioxide is constantly vilified as the No 1 villain and “greenhouse gas” in global warming.
Scotch whisky’s growing success in recent years is down to a number of factors. For a start, good advertising and “soft” marketing, such as having people drink single malts in a popular TV series.
George Brough, pronounced Bruff, made his repute by producing Brough Superiors, “the Rolls Royce of motorbikes”, from 1920 to the late 1930s. Lawrence of Arabia was so smitten with them that he bought eight. When he died in May 1935, serving under the alias Aircraftman Shaw in the RAF, he was riding bike number seven.
Whisky has now become not just a popular drink, but also a major field of study. From whisky appreciation weekends to in-depth whisky tours to university courses, whisky knowledge has almost become an industry in itself. And, year after year, new books on whisky are published that have to jostle for shelf space with those already there.
Over the decades, thousands of brands of Scotch blended whisky have come and gone. Some have lasted and thrived until the present day, others have flickered and faded amid stiff competition and changing tastes.
It has often surprised — and saddened — me to hear so many people, including countless Scots, say they don’t like whisky and would never drink it.
If there is one car whose demise has hardly caused any regret from car buffs, it is the Trabant. In a way, it was not just that the car was poor—above all it embodied everything that was wrong with a state-run enterprise in a near-totalitarian state.
Although all whisky fans have their own favourite malt, many agree the best “all-round malt” is Highland Park. It has that combination of nose, mouthfeel and finish that makes it many aficionados’ first or second choice. However, one wonders how a distillery beside Kirkwall in Orkney got called Highland Park, as the nearest Highlands are miles south across the stormy Pentland Firth.
It may be a cliché but certain families have whisky in their blood — namely, the urge to make good whisky passes from generation to generation.