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Issue 51 - A matter of art in a glass

Whisky Magazine Issue 51
October 2005


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A matter of art in a glass

What makes a great blend,and why do the biggest brands command such loyalty? Ian Buxton reports

I can buy blended Scotch whisky at Tesco for £6.86. It's called Horseman. A full 70cl bottle and the proper 40% ABV strength it carries the claim ‘Distilled, Blended & Bottled in Scotland.' That means it's at least three years old and contains some single malt whisky. The name of the proud producer is given as Wauchope Moodie with a postcode which, curiously enough, is shared by Whyte & Mackay (“same initials as well, Holmes”). The name Wauchope Moodie does not appear in the two important trade reference books I consulted whilst a search at Companies House indicates that it is a ‘non-trading' company (“curious, Watson”).

It's certainly a non-profit making company because, as Dave Broom pointed out in issue 48, a retail price of £6.86 leaves around 37 pence after tax to cover the cost of the bottle, label, closure, carton, distribution – and the whisky itself.

But I've got a glass beside me as I write this.

Unsurprisingly, Horseman is not the greatest whisky I've ever tasted. But then I didn't expect it to be.

More importantly, it's not the worst whisky I've ever drunk. I can imagine that if you were serving this over ice, or with a strongly flavoured mixer, or late at night to some not very close chums who'd had a few, it might well find a useful role in your drinks cabinet.

In fact, in a recent tasting at a sumptuous private club I served it blind to some wealthy merchant bankers who reckoned they knew their whisky. No-one voted it their favourite but no...

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