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Issue 114 - The Bigger Picture

Whisky Magazine Issue 114
September 2013


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The Bigger Picture

In the way of these things, I've just been asked about grain ‘trending'.

It's a sensible enough question – there's a frisson of interest about grain whisky these days – and a subject worth discussing, but at the same time I can't help but wondering whether grain sales are really the most important thing happening within whisky. I don't see the category making a sudden impact on the latest IWSR figures. In fact, I don't expect them to ever make a mark. It doesn't mean it's not interesting – hell, I'm as big a fan of grain whisky as anyone – but is this just another area which is distracting us from the big issues of whisky?

The same goes for flavoured whiskies, which are making an impact on the figures. The most sensible approach, I believe, is not to complain about them and then ignore their existence, but try to bring flavoured products within the Scotch Whisky regs. Unless some form of control is exerted – only Scotch whisky and natural flavourings can be used, for example – we will end up with hideous concoctions named after Scotch brands based on neutral spirit and additives. A proactive stance is needed. Again though, is it the biggest issue? No.

Equally, take the debate around white whisky. I'm fascinated by new make, but whisky is an aged grain-based product.

You need to make money quickly? Make gin, or vodka. Just don't call your white stuff whisky because it ain't and never will be. Again though, a side issue.

There are people who are getting very ...

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