Whisky Magazine Issue 118
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Is rye whisky about to hit the big time? Dave thinks it certainly is...
Bergen. The sun was shining, which my Norwegian friends said was unusual. To be honest, I wouldn't have minded snow, but just being in northern lands in winter was treat enough. To celebrate, two of us headed out to do what all sensible people do when in a new city… go hunting for second hand vinyl. I ended up with a Soviet pressing of Led Zeppelin, a Frankie Miller best of, and some Tony Joe White, but not what I was vaguely hoping to find, some Ronnie Lane & Slim Chance.
It was surprising that one Norwegian had heard of Frankie Miller, but how many would have heard of Ronnie Lane? Few in Britain did, even fewer bought any of his work after he quit The Faces for a life in the country where he formed Slim Chance and began touring with them around Britain with a big top like some band of gypsies.
Why Ronnie Lane? I've always loved his songwriting, but after the night before, one of his tracks was nagging away. It's called ‘Kuschty Rye'. It's a Romany term for good bloke, ‘Kuschty” meaning bang on, cool. Why that track?
Because on the night in question I had done a class where I had shown six whiskies blind. No Scotch, instead there was Nikka Coffey Grain, Balcones Blue Corn, a collaboration between Mackmyra and Norway's Ægir brewery, Clement rhum agricole, Chichibu's Chibidaru quarter cask and Stauning Young Rye from Denmark.
The aim wasn't to try and fool people, but to show the possibilities of flavour within this thing which we call whisky.
The idea that it ha...