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Issue 78 - Raising the standard

Whisky Magazine Issue 78
February 2009


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Raising the standard

Glenfiddich,The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie are three of the biggest selling malts in the world but does familiarity breed contempt? Dominic Roskrow suggests they're worth revisiting.

When's the last time you sat down and had a glass of Glenmorangie Traditional or a 12 Years Old Glenlivet or Glenfiddich? And not just drank one, but savoured it and thought about it?

Chances are you're like thousands of malt lovers who started their journey into the world of whisky by enjoying one of the three great Glens. For some that association fired a lifelong love affair with one or more of them.

For many, though, they were little more than the gateway to a journey of discovery, and they have not only been left a long way behind, but have been discarded and dismissed along the road in search of the perfect malt. They're often considered by the connoisseur as little more than ‘apprentice malts', a stepping stone to something more substantial and serious.

But is this really fair? All three of them are successful for a reason, and if it's been some years since you've tasted them, should they really be dismissed as lightweights and not worthy of consideration by the connoisseur?

A few months back my daughter went through a phase when she wouldn't go to sleep unless someone sat on her bed. So night after night I'd take a whisky (yes I know, any excuse), and sit in the dark for 20 minutes sipping and thinking. It just happened that the drink I chose was the new Glenmorangie, and in the darkness and with nothing to distract from the taste, I grew to love it. So much so that the evening sleep sessions became a daily treat.

But it got me to thinking. So I tried it with G...

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