Whisky Magazine Issue 11
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Maturation expert, Dr Jim Veveridge, demonstrates the virtues of the refill cask to Charles Maclean.
CM Is it not something of a contradiction for a ‘back-room boy' to become a ‘communicator'?
JB When I started with DCL it would have been unthinkable.
Even distillery managers within the company were forbidden to speak to each other. But everything has changed. Knowledge is shared, and, most important, consumers are much better informed and want to know more. Anyone in the company who deals directly with consumers – from distillery staff to advertising agencies – must be up to speed with what we have discovered in the ‘back room', as you call it, if they are going to supply this need for information accurately and truthfully.
CM You mean ‘singing from the same hymn-sheet'?
JB It's not that. You cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the kind of consumers I am talking about – the readers of this magazine, for example. Also, there is no reason to do so. We have nothing to hide – not only UDV, but the other whisky companies.
The truth is that our understanding of whisky has increased dramatically over the last 20 years. What was previously magic is now science; what was once divided into watertight compartments – new-make production, maturation and blending, for example – is now conceived as a whole.
CM Give me an example.
JB Refill casks.
CM What do you mean?
JB A refill is any cask which has been used for maturing Scotch whisky more than once. In other words, any cask which is not a ‘first fill' cask. Refills are much less active than first-fills.
CM And ...