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May 6, 2012

Whisky Ageism: Gunning for Grandad’s Stash of Oldies

Hear ye, hear ye: the latest Whisky Round Table is live over with Mike and the gang at WhiskyParty!

Mike’s question this month was a fairly sobering one, I thought, though: a bit of a party pooper. As we get older, scientists would have us believe that our sensory skills diminish. Our whiskies cease to register in the stratospheres of flavour they once did, and it would appear that insult is set to follow injury. Soon there will be no running for the bus or a night undisturbed by trips to the bathroom, just years of falling asleep in front of Bridge Over the River Kwai and less than sparkling drams.

Ought we, therefore, to reconsider allowing the rarest or most complex whiskies to make it into the wrinkled hands of our OAPs who cannot hope to appreciate them? With tongue in cheek, the Whisky Round Tablers set to composing their answers. I urge you to have a read here.

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April 3, 2012

Neither Here Nor There: Does Where You Mature a Whisky Matter?

We have lurched into April now, and the weather does not seem to realise that April 1st has passed us by. Still it jokes at my expense: I sit in my St Andrews flat shivering so much it is having a detrimental impact on my typing while snow and hail screech past the not-double-glazed window.

Just as well, therefore, that Gal Granov over in Isreal is hosting this month’s Whisky Round Table, and can confer a degree of warmth to the discussion. This month, Gal wanted to know whether the recent trend for multiple maturation sites – as has happened with some Amrut expressions – has a beneficial impact on the final whisky, or simply titillated the PR guys responsible for writing press releases. I have never tasted a whisky that has explicitly told me that it was matured in a variety of locations, but I have some pretty strong views on the matter, nevertheless.

Suntory are experimenting with casks of Yamazaki, maturing five at each of their Scottish distilleries. These are at Glen Garioch. How will they turn out?

Please check out the thread over at Whisky Isreal, where many more worthy whisky bloggers air their views.

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March 6, 2012

Nattering about New Make

I have always assumed that, if you are presently occupied in reading this blog, you know that others exist, too. The inkling that the Scotch Odyssey might be anything other than supplementary reading material to the wealth of other passionate and informed sites out there makes me giggle madly. Really, it does. There are so many individuals and dram-adhered duos picking apart the drink and the industry we love so much, with enlightening and often hilarious results, not to read more widely.

But it can be difficult to detect a synergy of opinion, and conceive of a blogging community. Jason Johnstone-Yellin noted just this lack of cohesion, and sought to ally his superb Guid Scotch Drink with other venerable bloggers. The Whisky Round Table was born.

The first I heard of the WRT was in the back of a minivan, bombing down the A9 from Wick in the autumn of 2010, surrounded by seven of its members. I thought it was an excellent idea, and I perused the conversations that were taking place amongst this representative body of the whisky blogging world. It wasn’t just geeky stuff, either. The principle aim is to supply dedicated discussions on all matters involving whisky so that new folk to the drink, should they come across the WRT, can benefit from the combined knowledge and experience of multiple blogs, rather than the views of one or two alone.

Little did I think that I would be invited to the Table, believing my limited access to the whisky industry pulse, minimal samples and junior status would always count against me. Could an obsessive attention to the state of whisky tourism industry in Scotland – and my readiness with a recommendation for a good slice of cake almost anywhere in that country – make the necessary difference? Matt and Karen of Whisky For Everyone thought so, and kindly nominated me.

The March edition of the Whisky Round Table is hosted by the noble knights of the Edinburgh Whisky Blog. Chris and Lucas wanted to know what we all thought of the marketing of non- or partially-aged spirits, either new make or products with just a hint of oak in their character.

Please read the discussion here.

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