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Issue 120 - Provenance and perception

Whisky Magazine Issue 120
June 2014


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Provenance and perception

Our man looks at the strength and allure of brands

There are many times with a whisky where it is impossible to separate the story from the taste. This is why blind tastings are used for critically assessing the characteristics (and flaws) within a product. However, it's hard to remove a great story from affecting the way we taste something. In fact, I've often said the product in question can be quite secondary in the enjoyment of something. Think of a great meal – often it is the company at the time that makes the affair memorable – it might not be the food at all. I say this to my bartenders – the atmosphere and service surrounding a cocktail are paramount. Of course I do not want them to serve anything but exemplary drinks, but the cocktails only form part of the experience.

On the plus side, provenance and the story behind a brand can affect how we perceive, taste and ultimately enjoy a product. The great thing is that brands are beginning to understand this and are more willing to diverge their underlying story. This has been largely led by the smaller craft producers who see the value in brand loyalty of allowing consumers to observe the whole process – warts and all – to encourage them to buy into the ‘crafted' nature of their product. This has been met with huge applause; craft producers are booming, and consumers are enjoying the locality of their products and in light of recent scares within our food chain, it allows consumers to believe much more in what they are buying. The converse is also certai...

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