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Issue 11 - Confessions of a party animal (Charles Kennedy)

Whisky Magazine Issue 11
September 2000


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Confessions of a party animal (Charles Kennedy)

The leader of the Liberal Democrats Charles Kennedy, shares a dram with Jane Slade.

Charles Kennedy does not have the mantle of a future Prime Minister. He has not the cold stare of Margaret Thatcher, nor the disingenuous smile of Tony Blair. In fact he seems so disarmingly warm and friendly it is hard to believe he is a fiercely-focussed politician at all. It is only his red hair that makes you wary that he may have 'another side'.

He gestures me towards a side table in his modest office at the House of Commons in the Palace of Westminster and takes his seat at the other side. The subject of our conversation is not going to be controversial, which is why I am sure he has avoided the offensive position of sitting behind his desk. We are talking about one of his favourite subjects and definitely his favourite drink, so he can dismantle the political armour. "Whisky is my favourite drink above all others," he pronounces in his warm soft Scottish burr. "But I am quite particular about how and when I drink it." For example, he will never be tempted before lunch or even before tea . "I never drink it until the second half of the day, usually after dinner and always with soda or fizzy water."

Kennedy will also only drink single malts. He enjoys a huge variety from the big, powerful belters of Islay to the softer, heathery hues of Speyside . "I love the peaty malts of Laphroaig and Lagavulin, but then I also love The Macallan 10 year old, Highland Park, Talisker and Glen Ord." His interest in the last two has to be declared; they are distilleries in his consti...

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