By Rob Allanson

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Star letter - Malt moments It's now almost 10 years ago since a bottle of Highland Park on Robert Burns night 2000 in Edinburgh opened up my mind. I have almost focused on single malts and more or less deliberately left blends behind in the mists of my economically tense student years.There has always been something redirecting my attention to single malt. The Editor's word in Issue 78 articulated that something perfectly: the link to the land.When I drink Talisker, I climb those incredible Cuillin hills. When I pour a glass of Tobermory it takes me back to the pool table on the Isle of Mull where my mate and I had the laugh of a lifetime. When I enjoy a Bladnoch, the dusk over Wigtown bay springs to mind.I lack that dimension in blends. As great as it may taste whisky to me is about a specific product from a specific location.Surely a blend would take me to lots of places at the same time. But let's be real: who could ever mentally digest all the beauties of Scotland in just one dram's time?Thomas Gravgaard, Copenhagen, Denmark Macallan musings Sometimes I am accused of thinking too much and this may well be one of those times. I am struggling with my views on Macallan's recent release of whisky featuring one off photographs.The problem I am wrestling with is that on the one hand I really like this idea of fusing art and whisky, of making something that is special in many ways and which holds uniqueness about it. On the other hand I think that it disrupts the art of the distiller and it complicates the role of the whisky to the point of nearly preventing it from being whisky at all. Please let me explain. Be it an old fashioned idea but art has been defined as an artefact created by an artist for an arts public.Without an artist to make it and without a public to experience it, it is not art. Likewise, whisky is made by artists for the purpose of being drunk. Art has existed alongside whisky for a long time, in song, story, paint and sculpture. By putting the art so close to the whisky that the two merge into one product there becomes a risk it becomes investment or collector's item.The distiller's art becomes hidden and the appreciation of it can not be fulfilled.The only way round this is for the whisky to be drunk and at the price per bottle it is a brave move to open the bottle knowing that once done the moment is lost forever.It is a brave struggle and I wonder if such struggles are what should be felt when opening a bottle. As far as marketing goes it is a good move. As far as art goes it is a brilliant expression but as far as whisky goes I am left thinking that it may get in the way of the distiller's art.Does the whisky need to have the layering of art to such a degree as well or should it not be thought wonderful enough in its own right?James Martin Chesterfield Derbyshire