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Issue 31 - Desert Island drams

Whisky Magazine Issue 31
June 2003


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Desert Island drams

What do professional tasters drink for pleasure? Richard Jones finds out what the whisky makers' whiskies are

They have some of the most finely tuned palates in the business. Distillery manager, master blender, production or operations director; their titles might be different, but they all have one thing in common – the ability not only to recognise a great malt whisky when they find one, but to appreciate from personal experience the level of skill and commitment required to make it.

These are the people who have dedicated their working lives to the whisky industry, individuals who might routinely nose 300 barrel samples before lunch, who spend an unhealthy amount of time thinking about the likes of fermentation temperatures, yeast cultures and worm tubs.

So, at the end of a long, hard day, what do the professionals like to drink? Which whiskies are good enough to tickle the tastebuds of the blokes who make the stuff for a living? In many ways, it's the ultimate recommendation, the most popular drams amongst the people who know the world of whisky inside out, from their own distilleries and beyond.

“I'm having a love affair with Scapa at the moment,” admits Jim McEwan, production director at Bruichladdich.

“Scapa 12-year-old is probably the best value-for-money malt in the market today. I just love that flavour of the Orkneys, it's a bit like Bruichladdich, it has the taste of the ocean without all the heavy peat.”

For Bill Lumsden, head of distilleries and maturation at Glenmorangie,

“Highland Park, Springbank, Benrinnes and Mortlach are right up there. I'm a hu...

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