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Issue 66 - A brave new world

Whisky Magazine Issue 66
September 2007

 

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A brave new world

The world of whisky may well still be dominated by the big five traditional producers,but they're no longer having it all their own way.Dominic Roskrow looks at the new wave of world whisky

It was a telling moment. We were at the launch of a new expression of a single malt whisky and we were being addressed by a very proud and very Scottish whisky maker.

No-one makes whisky like the Scots, he said, and although other countries tried, they just weren't up to it. Even the English were trying to make Scotch, he said, with derision.

Now I haven't got a nationalist bone in my body. Indeed, I'm prouder of my Celtic roots than my English ones. But this flippantly lobbed insult riles me. It is coated in arrogance and complacency and worse still, it is deeply and woefully inaccurate in just about every way.

We're not trying to produce Scotch here in Norfolk, we're succeeding in producing English whisky, and the new make spirit suggests it'll be good, too. And of course it's certainly not the case that no-one outside Scotland can produce good whisky. None but the most blinkered Scotch whisky fan believes that Most importantly of all, though, there are a growing number of whiskies that are not only very good, but they taste absolutely nothing like Scottish single malt whisky – and they're none the worse for that.

Most of us are aware of the conventional logic. Scotland produces a high proportion of the world's best whisky, but traditional territories such as Ireland, America, Canada and increasingly Japan produce world class products. It makes for a great pub debate, but if you were to draw up an objective list of the world's 100 greatest whisky two-thirds to three-q...

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