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Issue 47 - The chips are down for whisky

Whisky Magazine Issue 47
April 2005

 

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The chips are down for whisky

Dave Broom considers the case for clear, characterless, grappa-like whisky...

My three and a half year old won't eat chicken... or pasta. To be honest, she won't eat lots of things. “I don't like it,” she says, to which we reply “but if you've never tried it how do you know?”

This argument carries no clout. She turns up her nose, pushes the plate away and asks for chips. Whisky is faced with the same problem.

The quasi-mythical ‘new consumer' won't touch it because of a perceived flavour barrier. They may have tried a shot once when they were young and it gave them a hangover they've never forgotten.

Most, however, simply believe they won't like the taste and making that jump from irrational aversion to conversion is a big one to take. We all know that whisky has the greatest range of flavours of any spirit, but convincing people of that is the toughest job of all.

Whisky is hardly alone in this. I'm writing this in Cognac, where another ‘brown spirits' industry is going to considerable lengths to use innovation to revitalise a sluggish market. Some have worked. Alize (a mix of cognac and passion fruit), and Hypnotiq (cognac and vodka) spring to mind. Many haven't. Hennessy's white cognac for example.

Is whisky embarking on the same route? Strangely, the person who is hailed as the great innovator, John Glaser, isn't as radical as his counterparts in Cognac (Orangerie apart). All he has done is put a 21st century spin on vatting and blending. He's succeeded however because he's given new drinkers liquids which make them re-evaluate wh...

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