Whisky Magazine Issue 31
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Tom Bruce-Gardyne investigates the success of an Italian club for whisky-lovers: the Single Malt Club of Scotland
Sei un amante del whisky di qualità?” is the opening line on the Single Malt Club of Scotland website. Somehow, it just sounds better in Italian, this invitation to the country's lovers of fine whisky to sign up and share their passion with like-minded souls from Sicily to the Alps.
In just the two and a half years since the club was created, Angelo Matteucci and Nigel Brown have persuaded over 3,000 Italians to join. The two cofounders have been friends for years, having met when Nigel moved to Italy to set up United Distillers' Italian HQ in Genoa in the late ‘80s. Angelo was also in the whisky trade, and had been for most of his career. As one of the country's leading whisky experts and a former importer of Jack Daniel's and Bowmore, he was appointed UD's brand ambassador to Italy and given the job of launching the Classic Malts range there.
Since then, alcoholic consumption has fallen dramatically, and today the average Italian drinks less than a third the amount of alcohol compared to 20 years ago. By far the biggest fall has been with spirits, and Scotch has been no different, with one notable exception.
According to Nigel Brown, single malt whisky is the only type of spirit, apart from aged rum, that is bucking the trend. As to the reasons for this, Nigel believes he has a pretty good idea why.
“I've just come back from the Salone del Gusto [a huge food fair in Turin] which saw 135,000 Italians going to taste only foreign regional food and drink. I think the...