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Issue 33 - Scotch Mist

Whisky Magazine Issue 33
September 2003


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Scotch Mist

What is it with whisky and clichéd images of Scotland? Richard Jones starts the fightback…

In a previous life I had the dubious pleasure of judging the monthly Scotch malt whisky competition for a national supermarket chain.

The competition required entrants to buy a bottle of the featured malt, answer a simple question about the distillery and then complete a tie-breaker in less than 15 words along the lines of: “My ideal occasion for drinking x malt whisky would be ...”

With depressing regularity the tie-breakers could be divided into two: the minority (otherwise known as the winners) from professional or hobby competition players whose answers would sparkle with wit and originality; then the majority (from the genuine whisky drinkers), whose attempts at poetry or prose would invariably contain one or all of the following: “in front of a roaring log fire”, “after a brisk walk through the
glens”, “peat/heather/tartan/kilt” or, horror upon horrors, “anytime, because x malt whisky can turn any occasion into a celebration”.

The lesson I learnt from judging this competition was simple: avoid clichés and, in particular, Scotch whisky clichés, like the plague…

After my moment of epiphany, I drew a line in the sand. I vowed to rage a battle royal against the curse of the cliché.

Like a man on a mission I would fight to the bitter end to rid the whisky industry from what Merriam-Webster defines as, “a hackneyed theme, characterisation or situation”, or what a visitor to Steven Morgon Friedman's Cliché Finder website

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