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By Rob Allanson

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Broom & Burns

I think Dave Broom missed more than the haggis in his November article. As he admitted himself, he is anti-social, so I can’t understand why he didn’t refuse the invitation to attend the event at the outset –or even better, forwarded it to me.

Burns Supers and whisky go hand-in-hand. The latter brings out the gregariousness in all of us, possibly with the exception of Mr Broom, and makes a good night even better.

Every January I tramp among the Galloway hills and the night time finds me in good company in a wee bothy at t he back of Netherholm o’Dalqhuhairn. Here with kindred spirits we enjoy a Burns Supper where the whisky is up sides with Burns. I can emphathise with Dave’s Kilmarnock master of ceremonies. We take it in turns to control the assembled company, we are talking 10 worthies here, and this usually proves impossible, given the infectious hilarity of the evening and the ample measures of the cratur. Like the Kilmarnock man, we are looking for our heads in the morning.

Burns would have loved our nights. Indeed we always set a place for him in case he should join us. His spirit is evident in our company the whole night.

I wonder what Burns’ favourite tipple would have been. Contrary to general belief, he wasn’t a drunkard but I’m sure he would have got a great deal of pleasure from a dram and possibly a lot of inspiration.

Although Dave won’t admit it, I think by the end of the night he will actually have enjoyed himself.

Bill Strachan
Glencoe, Scotland

Colouring the issue

I’m not sure what triggered this letter, the recent news from Dubai or the fact that I’ve just learned that American whiskies should not contain any colouring in order to be called “Bourbon”! The first thing that came to mind was why can’t the SWA make this a requirement for calling Scotch whisky a “single malt” as opposed to a blend?

Six years, thousands of dollars and 274 different Scotch single malt bottlings later, my records show that only 37 per cent of the single malt bottlings I’ve bought and tasted were caramel free; the bulk of which came from independent bottlers. To add to my frustration, the other day I was tasting two bottles from the same distillery, they were of different ages, matured in different types of casks but both had the exact same color. I could not help but think that this distillery has robbed me of the complete single malt sensory experience!

Colour, like nose, body, palate and finish, is an integral part of the single malt drinking experience. So why are single malt patrons being deprived of this pleasure under the guise of “consistency”?

Isn’t it really just poor cask management? Maybe its time to poll the subscribers individually and see what they think.

No one wants to have “green eggs and ham” for breakfast, even though the colouring may not have an effect on the taste. I think it is time for the SWA to do right by single malt drinkers and set a higher standard.

As for myself, I will no longer be polluting my body with E150 in my whisky.

Farah Araj
Dubai, UAE