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Issue 74 - Join the debate

Whisky Magazine Issue 74
September 2008


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Star letter - Islay character?

On a recent visit to the Lagavulin distillery on Islay I was devastated to learn that the raw spirit is now being tankered off the island and filled into casks somewhere in Stirlingshire. And there it will be stored for the next 16 years or so! Will this still be marketed as an Islay malt?

Is it a complete myth that the character of a single malt is influenced by the location of where it matures in the cask? Surely not.

Indeed the Classic Malts official tasting notes for Lagavulin refer to “sea and salt” tastes. The marketing blurb claims that Lagavulin ”spends 16 years breathing the sea-salt air of Islay and is kept in casks by the seashore”.

I can therefore only assume that the Diageo cost accountants have been at it again. The new trainee must have worked out that it is cheaper to transport one tanker of spirit off the island versus two truck loads of casks. Well chaps, here are a few more money saving ideas: (1) Chuck 12 sacks of sugar into each wash back. That should increase the alcohol yield.

(2) Shrink wrap the filled casks in polythene. That should deny the angels their share.

(3) Put half a dozen partially burnt sticks in each cask. That should speed up maturation.

(4) Store the casks in a green house. That will speed up maturation even faster.

In fact, why not just outsource production to China. However don't forget to market the finished product as “Scotch style Whisky”.

Bottling issues It hurt me not to see mo...

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