By Rob Allanson

Welcome to Whisky Magazine

Well I am not sure about how the weather is with you, but here at Whisky Towers the faint hopes of any summer, Indian or not, have been dashed by cold, damp days and some startlingly crystal clear, cold night.Why do I mention this? Well like changing clothes it’s time to shift everything round in the drinks cabinet again and look out those heavy peaty numbers to warm a cold evening.Meanwhile I am extending my carbon footprint by flying, creating enough carbon emissions to power a small third world state.But I do walk to work – that’s good…right?That said the recent trips – particularly Kentucky and Toronto – have been eye openers in seeing the way different people make their whiskies.Also the trip to Kentucky ended up with a brief excursion to Indiana. There I was just thinking the States were pretty big when Gordon, Whisky Mag’s sales exec, and I took a wrong turn, hopped over a bridge and there we were, Indiana.To cap it off the roads into Kentucky were so busy we visited the same place in Indiana twice. As you can imagine the mood in the car was mild annoyance from the driver and amusement from the passenger.I have to say though the Ohio River frames Louisville’s skyline beautifully, you can only see if you are a passenger being driven from an accidental incusion into Indiana.I finally made the pilgrimage to two very different Kentucky distillers.The surprising thing about Four Roses is the yeast. Now I know yeast is not a terribly exciting subject, but when you think about it and the influence on flavour things, start to get a little more interesting.Master distiller Jim Rutledge explained that he uses five separate yeast strains and two different mash bills to help create the Four Roses flavour profile.It all stems from when the brand had five separate distilleries at its disposal to create its taste. Now four are gone Jim has to use yeast to replicate flavours.Meanwhile not too far away Greg Davis, the master distiller at Barton Brands, creates magnificent spirit in what can only be described as almost a factory setting.Some of the equipment goes back to the post war years. However Greg is producing some great bourbon in the shape of 1792. Be careful not to throw your back out if you are buying the large size bottle – it’s a whole load of spirit.Elsewhere, the popularity of quality whisky was reaffirmed when an old friend took me to a tiny cocktail bar in Glasgow. It is great when you find a small venue that is blazing a trail in the drinks world.If you want to impress you cannot do better than an Old Fashioned with Monkey Shoulder followed by a Manhattan with Buffalo Trace.Just goes to show it does not matter how you drink it, as long as you are drinking something decent.