From the Editor

From the Editor

Editor's Word | 16 Nov 2001 | Issue 19 | By Marcin Miller

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As has been mentioned before in the pages of Whisky Magazine, the appreciation of whisky is a convivial pursuit. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than on adventures such as the Classic Malts Cruise. Take a hundred yachts of all shapes and sizes, fill them with four to five crew and a skipper, ensure there are a couple of bottles of each of the Classic Malts on board and off you jolly well go. The cruise begins at Oban goes on to Talisker and thence to Lagavulin (via Oban again). However a prosaic sentence like that has little chance of conveying the beauty, the tranquillity and fun involved in such a trip. Only by cruising the West Coast is it possible to explore obscure isles such as Eileaich an Naoimh (the little island of the Saints), a mystical place – home to the ruins of remarkable monastic cells shaped like beehives and the burial site of St Columba’s mother. As well as the majestic views and the peace and quiet on board there are also, of course, the hangovers. One of my crewmates, Richard Joynson of Loch Fyne Whiskies, announced that hangovers don’t exist aboard yachts as the effects are entirely dissipated by ozone. This, like many of Richard’s pet theories, is a load of rollocks. A hangover is a hazard. A key part of the continued success and the future of the
industry is that whisky is to be enjoyed. The hosts of the Cruise, UDV, are particularly good at keeping this in the forefront of their corporate minds. Sampling is key to increasing consumption of whisky (malts and blends). For many potential whisky converts out there, whisky still has a stigma attached to it. This stems from many unhappy incidents in late adolescence resulting in copious cases of reverse peristalsis. Likewise, the association of blended whisky is with ageing red-faced men, chain smoking in the snug bars of Glasgow pubs. However, all this is mere prejudice. Many readers of Whisky Magazine tell me of their conversions of non-whisky drinkers, the “I can’t stand the stuff” brigade who after exposure to a decent dram under the right circumstances (amongst friends and after a good dinner, for example) become enthusiastic about the subject. How can whisky producers overcome the deep-set prejudice of the next generation of whisky drinkers? Not by pulling the wool over their eyes with mock heritage. Not by devaluing good 12-year-old malt whisky by discounting it to absurdly low prices. Sampling, sampling and more sampling. The standard of whisky we all drink today is extremely high. Yes, you have your favourites and I have mine but there are relatively few genuinely poor whiskies out there. Our continued enjoyment of the whiskies we all love depends entirely on the association of whisky with fun. Yes, knowledge and analysis are important in defining our ability to discuss and opine but enjoying whisky is about enjoying life. And talking of enjoyment, my in-box has been more replete than usual recently. Some overseas subscribers are depressed that they cannot join in with the hottest topics being discussed in the Whisky Forum on www.whisky-world.com. Such is the depth of their anticipation for each issue of Whisky Magazine that they feel excluded because it takes a while for the magazine to reach them. To prove that we do listen we are introducing an Express Subscription Service. This will be made available to all existing subscribers and new subscribers. We will be contacting you individually soon.
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