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Issue 12 - Not just a question of taste

Whisky Magazine Issue 12
November 2000


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Not just a question of taste

Philip Hills writes an introduction to the first part of an abridged extract from his fascinatin new book Appreciating whisky

The great Doctor Johnson once said that no man but a blockhead ever wrote - except for money. I take it as a compliment that the editor should think I may be one of the blockheads, since he has asked me to explain why I wrote Appreciating Whisky. I suppose it's obvious that money was not uppermost among my reasons.

To begin with I thought there was a need for such a book. Whisky was always hard to get to grips with. In the old days - I'm talking twenty years ago - the problem for the newcomer was shortage of information. Now there's an overload, but the effect is similar: it's hard to find out the truth about whisky. Look through the advertising in this magazine: ask yourself what it tells you then ask yourself whether you have any way of knowing whether what you are being told is true. If you read Appreciating Whisky, and if I got it right, you will be better equipped to judge.

I've been around malt whisky one way or another for nearly thirty years and I have often felt there were things which ought to be said - things nobody else said. Appreciating Whisky has allowed me to say some of them. However, people who work for whisky companies do not have the liberty of voicing their opinions about products and practices of which they disapprove. Nobody in the whisky industry pays me for anything, if I think things aren't right I can shout about them if I want to. My reward comes when people in the industry tell me they are delighted I did.

The great malts explosion would no...

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