Whisky Magazine Issue 37
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The last three months of 2003 were as lively as it ever gets in the sedate world of whisky. Dominic Roskrowlooks at how whisky seemed to get everywhere for a while.
I bet there are loads of people who enjoyed seeing Diageo turn green last month. And what a strange end to 2003! After nine months of living in a bubble the whisky world started doing a good impression of a London bus route; no big whisky stories for ages and then three come along at once.
Cardhu was and is the biggest and, depending on your point of view, Diageo has either been forced in to a major climb-down or it has shown considerable maturity by taking the sting out of what had escalated in to a dispute of deeply serious proportions.
It really was the strangest affair. We wrote about the issue way back in the summer, choosing to take an objective and straight news line, though our questioning headline hinted at our concern at the move to turn a single malt in to a vatted product.
We sat back and waited for fireworks. They never came. In fact we got two letters of protest, both published as letters of the month in Issues 34 and 35. Despite what some have suggested, we never took the Diageo line on the issue of Cardhu; we acknowledged that the company has every right to do what it likes with its whisky as long as it is legal and we could see the logic behind the move.
But we felt uncomfortable with the issue of packaging and we feel that Diageo has undone a lot of good work and left itself open to the suggestion that it is not committed to Scotch whisky but to profit and profit alone. This undoes years of hard work to show otherwise, and flies in the face of a weight o...