The long-forgotten TV series on Eliot Ness and The Untouchables portrayed the enforcers of US Prohibition as brave, determined men battling the gangster bootleggers who smuggled drink into the States from Canada and Mexico or who brewed low-quality hooch to sell at sky-high prices.
For decades the Rootes Group had four marques in its portfolio—Humber, Hillman, Singer and Sunbeam—but all gradually disappeared once Chrysler acquired Rootes in the mid-1960s.
I have often wondered whether human taste buds are affected by “outside factors”, both actual and psychological. I recall once drinking a wine in Cyprus that tasted absolutely magic in a sunny, open-air restaurant above the Med. I brought two bottles home but, drinking them indoors under leaden British skies, they did not taste remotely as good.
For all the current mushroom growth of new distilleries is a welcome boon after the 1980s-90s when so many distilleries closed, I worry that many of the new ones will struggle long-term to survive.
Once in a blue moon, whisky history buffs like me stumble unexpectedly upon an unknown goldmine. That happened a few weeks back on a quiet, cobbled street in Belfast when I passed a whisky shop called, whimsically, The Friend at Hand. I went in – and it was an hour before I emerged.
In earlier times, duty free shops at airports and elsewhere were magnets for just about everyone.
It is impossible to downplay the importance of the United States for the Scotch whisky industry. The Americans have long had a passion for Scotch and they are still our biggest export market by value (they like good malts and the best blends), although France is the biggest by volume.
The Scotch whisky industry is in some respects quite unique. True, the market is dominated by the big firms, such as Diageo, Pernod-Ricard and Edrington, and their big brands—such as Johnny Walker, Chivas Regal and Famous Grouse—but it is still possible for smaller firms to start up, find a foothold and eventually expand and thrive in a such a competitive environment.
For classic car fans, Perth and Scone Palace are THE places to be today. Why? Because 150 classic cars, from Model T Fords to Bugatti Veyrons, are on parade from Scone to Tay Street and back—all in the aid of charity.
It is interesting to contemplate how certain drinks (or brands) acquired their names. Wines are often named after their home village or area. Single malts are named after the distilleries that produce them. Other drinks are named after the company founder, be he Johnny Walker, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam or Mr Heineken.