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Issue 28 - Wunder bar

Whisky Magazine Issue 28
January 2003

 

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Wunder bar

Germany's capital city holds much to tempt the whisky-lover, as the Berlin-based Jefferson Chase explains

It ain't paradise, but it is a great playground. With roughly 3.5 million inhabitants, at 882 square kilometres, Berlin has been at the centre of world events for 200 years. Aformer garrison town of the Hohenzollern dynasty in Prussia, the city literally burst its boundaries in the 19th century to become the capital of the Wilhelmine Empire, a broad-shouldered metropolis often compared to Chicago in the United States. Then came World War I, the social upheaval of the Weimar Republic, the evil of Nazi totalitarianism, near-complete destruction during World War II and the building of the Berlin Wall. More than enough history for one, even two cities. Redemption came in 1989 to ‘90 when the Cold War ended, and Germany and its mothballed capital were reunified. Chancellor Helmut Kohl promised blooming cityscapes, adding “what belongs together will grow back together.” But typically, things didn't work out exactly as planned. Berlin was supposed to become a shining example of the new Germany. It has remained an anomaly, an ongoing construction site, harking back more to the boisterous spirit of the Roaring Twenties than the pomp of the German Empire or the bourgeois solidity of the pre-1989 Federal Republic. Which, of course, makes it a very, very good place to go drinking.

Berliners have always taken a drop or two to help them get through life's vicissitudes, and as is true for the rest of the country, interest in whisky has taken off in recent years.

“Germany and Berl...

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