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Issue 42 - The times they are a changing

Whisky Magazine Issue 42
September 2004


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The times they are a changing

This month we ask a female only panel of whisky drinkers whether the image of malt whisky is changing

The Panel
Gillian Bell, proprietor of online catering company Caledonian Connoisseur (GB)
Abigail Bosanko, author and whisky enthusiast (AB)
Annabel Meikle, Scotch Malt Whisky Society (AM)

(Q) Whisky is seen primarily as a male drink. Is this changing?

GB: In the main I think yes, but Scottish women have drunk whisky for ever. And isn't the French female market the fastest growing? But whisky has definitely still got a macho image.

AM: I think it is changing – but slowly. I think that women have become more confident about asking for a dram in a bar situation – they are more likely to know what they are after instead of asking the barman's recommendation. Recently I asked for a dram in a bar and the fellow next to me told me what a good dram it was – it may have been conversational but he probably didn't expect me to know! When I look around the Members' Room – I see lots of ladies enjoying their drams – all ages etc. But perhaps they feel safer in here than out in pub world. I rather like asking for a dram – you sometimes get a raised eyebrow.

AB: For better or worse, whisky and machismo have a long-standing relationship. In the United Kingdom there is a kind of masculine heroism attached to serious drinking. The amount a chap can drink without actually falling over is still seen by many as a test of manhood. There are plenty of mature, professional men in Edinburgh today who have privately admitted to me that they can't bear to touch a drop of whisky because...

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