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Issue 109 - Wild is the Whisky

Whisky Magazine Issue 109
February 2013

 

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Wild is the Whisky

Writer Dave Waddell goes on a wild whisky odyssey in Tanzania

Will Jones is one of life's most naturally modest men: “But I know nothing about whisky.” It is only through others, and after hours spent in the company of his most affable family, that you'll discover this wonderfully unassuming African travel expert has guided Ralph Lauren and family to Kenya; that back in the 1990s he singlehandedly built Ethiopia's first viable ecotourist camp; or that he once helped Mark Roosevelt recreate his great grandfather's trip to Katavi, a fly camp adventure through a wilderness that makes the Masaai Mara feel like a zoo. Once described by Lucia Van Der Post as having “walked almost every inch of the corner of Africa that he specialises in”, and yet welcomed every year into the cities and homes of a client list that reads like a roster of America's Who's Who. Jones is, let me say, a rare bird. The bloke next door who, unbeknown to you, because he never mentions it, lives the dream wildly.

Which is why, when I first suggested he take me and a bunch of whiskies on safari to Tanzania, I thought his claim further evidence of a man genuinely at odds with the idea of self-aggrandisement. I think of whisky and the wilds as natural bedfellows. Hemmingway, James Bruce, Thesiger, these guys knew Africa; they knew their whisky, some wouldn't start the day without it. Surely Jones knows this. I thought he was joking. He wasn't. Then it got worse: “I'm not sure I even like the stuff.” This said, the thought of smuggling five bottles: a Whyte and...

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