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Issue 6 - Mordecai's Macallan

Whisky Magazine Issue 6
October 1999


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Mordecai's Macallan

Which whisky wins the bookish prize? Self's Laphroaig, Black's Glenfiddich 18 ...or Michael Jackson's Bellow Bourbon?

What do you like to read with your bedtime whisk(e)y? Or do you choose the whisky to suit the author? It has been a while since I had a Bellow's Bourbon with its namesake Saul. On the other hand, Philip Roth and a risqué whiskey is always a pleasure. A shot of wry, so to speak, with Mordecai Richler? His writing was described as ‘gorgeously funny' by the bibulous Anthony Burgess, who dubbed mine ‘poetry.'

As I namedrop my literary tastes, I wonder about the writers and their favourite whiskies. Richler is from Montreal, and I always imagined him settling down with Sam Bronfman's creation Crown Royal. Or perhaps the writer of St Urbain's Horsemen would like a Kilbeggan, named after a nag? Apparently not.

While looking for something completely different, I chanced upon a newspaper clipping of an interview with Richler. It had appeared in 1994, when he was publicising his novel Solomon Gursky Was Here. The interview was in the format of a questionnaire. You know the sort of thing: silly questions posed in the hope of epigrammatic answers. Why, I wondered, had I filed it five years ago?

Perhaps it was the interviewer's question: what do you consider the most overrated virtue? “Abstemiousness”, Richler had responded. No, it was: What is your favourite smell? (I told you the questions were silly). Once again, though, Richler had a good answer: “Macallan's single malt.” He did not say at what age. Having recently nosed, and tasted 40-odd Macallans for my own latest b...

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