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Issue 76 - On the up

Whisky Magazine Issue 76
November 2008


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On the up

Is grain whisky on the verge of an exciting new era? Ian Wisniewski finds out.

It seems a perfect formula for success.As the selection of grain whiskies continues to grow, the level of interest and sales will naturally follow suit, encouraging further bottlings,which in turn perpetuates the process.

And with more grain whiskies now coming onto the market, can this formula really be that straightforward ?

“Absolutely. I think that follows,”says John Glaser of Compass Box, whose portfolio includes two grain whiskies, Hedonism and the Hedonism Maximus.

Although the choice of grain whiskies is growing, it remains relatively limited.But at least grain whisky is getting the right response.

“We've launched our very old grains to great acclaim, received many awards and people are talking about them.Wherever we promote grain whisky there's growth,”says Euan Shand of Duncan Taylor.

Fred Laing of Douglas Laing concurs:“We launched our aged grain whiskies three to four years ago,and we believe they are every bit as specialised as single cask malts.

At any one time we have six to seven under the Clan Denny label, and they sell through regularly.” And even though knowledge of grain whiskies is not generally as advanced as malts, everyone can appreciate the flavour.

“It's a more delicate, lighter style so can be very approachable compared to malt,”says John Glaser.

While it's independent bottlers rather than proprietary brands that provide the broadest range of choice, this ratio is changing with a significant new addition,The Snow Grouse, rece...

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