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Issue 7 - Once a knight

Whisky Magazine Issue 7
December 1999


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Once a knight

Good things take a while, sometime decades to reach their best. Michael Jackson makes the case for prizing maturity... and animal warmth

You may call me “Sir”. My knighthood is in the post, so to speak, though it may take a while. I have just hit the road to publicise the latest edition of my Malt Whisky Companion, the fourth in 10 years. At this rate, it will take only 60 years or so to reach the 29th edition. That fine version, by the grand-sounding Sir Michael Jackson, is mentioned in the short story Brotherly Love, from the keyboard of crime-writer Mike Ripley.

His tale is set in the future, though not quite that far ahead. He refers to my book being consulted in Ben Fuji's Whisky and Sushi Bar, in the City of London.

As Ripley's ripping yarn was published only in the US, I thought I might give his suggestion a wider circulation. It was included in a Signet Mystery collection called Royal Crimes. Did the Queen read it, I wonder? Or Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose Scottish origins have not persuaded him to slash taxes on whisky? Back in 1994, on a visit to Dumbarton, Blair commented, “My acquaintance with Laphroaig has been at times just a little intense.” Surely he and his Scottish chancellor realise that whisky is Britain's most successful, and prestigious, export?

Perhaps the prestige is the point. Sell it cheap and you devalue it. On the odd occasions when people complain to me about the price of whisky, especially malts, I am reminded of a thought expressed by Allan Schiach about his days managing The Macallan. In 1968, the company, at the time predominantly supplying whisky to blenders, ...

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