Whisky Magazine Issue 29
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Another fascinating 12 months in the world of whisky, then. The trend for small independents buying distilleries from large multinationals goes on. Announcements of new smaller-scale distilling projects continue apace. The number of whisky tasting events is multiplying. And James Bond is still drinking Talisker. He and I have so much in common … You know you're getting old when the main impression the new Bond film makes is that the decibel level is too high.
What will 2003 bring? There are many, many rumours of mergers and acquisitions. You don't have to work in the industry to have an idea of which distilleries (and affiliated blended whiskies) are up for grabs if the price is right. In effect, several distillers are still rationalising in the face of the major deals and management buyouts that have taken place in the last couple of years.
It's time for another Best of the Best: Whisky Magazine has tasted close to 900 whiskies so far. We are frantically preparing the super tasting of the highest scoring whiskies, to take place in Edinburgh, Louisville and Tokyo. A criticism I have heard of the Best of the Best is that too many rare and esoteric whiskies are tasted, with very limited availability. My response would be simply to look at the winners of Best of the Best 2001: Black Bottle 10 years old, Glengoyne 17 years old, Highland Park 18 years old, The Macallan Gran Reserva, Blanton's, Elijah Craig 12 years old, Bushmills Malt 16 years old and Nikka Yoichi 10 years old...