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Issue 1 - Cups of despair

Whisky Magazine Issue 1
January 1999


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Cups of despair

Jim Murray describes the horror of being offered plastic tasting glasses too tiny and too primitive even for wine, never mind whisky

It has happened three times so far this year. As we enter the run-up to Christmas it will doubtless happen again. What we are talking about here is something so horrific, so utterly contemptible and breathtakingly philistine that I'm not sure bringing the topic up is a good idea for the more squeamish among you.

Plastic tasting glasses…

I know that those three words, in that particular order, are likely to send you scampering to another page for sanctuary, but I'll take the chance.

If there has been any one more singularly dastardly device devised in the history of mankind, I have yet to find it. There you are, at some plush restaurant or hotel waiting to host a tasting. You have organized the whiskies, some of which are absolute classics or aged and rare. The first dinner-jacketed whiskyites are taking inquiring and hopeful steps towards the door, backing off when they realise they are not yet welcome, and then circling like hungry sharks for the next ten minutes.

Then I discover why the aroma drawing them is so very strong. Most of the whisky is being tipped on to the tablecloth. The tulip-shaped glasses I had asked for, and been assured I would get, are nowhere to be seen. In their place are tiny cups that have descended from the same primitive evolutionary tree as thimbles. The staff, embarrassed but doing their best, splutter apologies because they can't get the bottles into the cups. This begs the question of how the hell the guest are going to be getting their no...

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