No doubt about it, whisky is a good mixer, not just with other drinks but with food as well.
Among the countless rare malts I enjoyed while browsing around the independently-run Whisky Fair at Limburg were some I hadn’t seen on a Scottish bar shelf for more years than I can count.
Many distilleries claim to be historical—the oldest in Scotland, the first licensed distillery, or whatever. However, a Fife distillery that opens this week/month stands on the site where whisky distilling was first recorded in Scotland.
On the whole, I try to avoid politics in Amber Lights but every now and again, politics creep in, in this instance thanks to President Donald Trump.
THE 20th Century saw many changes and improvements to whisky production – the use of drum maltings, stills heated by steam coils rather than direct fires underneath and condensers replacing worm tubs, to name but three.
I have often pondered what mental convolutions a whisky firm’s marketing team goes through when proposing the name for a new whisky. Presumably the name would be in English, as whisky comes from an English-speaking country.
Whisky was first distilled in Japan around 1870 but the first “big” distillery, Yamazaki, was built in 1924 after Masataka Taketsuru spent several years working in the Scotch industry, learning whisky distilling from the ground up. Since then their whisky industry has grown like Topsy and is today dominated by two giants, Suntory and Nikka.
A few weeks ago, Famous Grouse joined the ranks of the big-name blends whose chief blender is a woman. She is Kirsteen Campbell, who has been in training for many years and has been chief blender for Cutty Sark for the past eight.
Two distilleries in the Courier area are undergoing major changes, yet neither is making the kind of headlines one would expect.
I often wonder who in the history of Scotch whisky has done most to advance the industry and its long-term global success. Frankly, it’s no easy question to answer, because the case for each historic individual depends on one’s perspective.