By Marcin Miller

From the editor

You are male, in your early 40s. You are married with two children and have a household income of over £50,000 ($80,000) per year. You have visited distilleries in Scotland. You always read Michael Jackson’s column, the news section, distillery pieces and the tastings. You would like to see more coverage of malts and you spend over two hours reading the magazine. You buy 26 bottles of whisky each year and you have, unsurprisingly, a whisky collection. You buy your whisky from specialist retailers. Sound familiar? I hope so because that is the profile of the typical Whisky Magazine reader who can be found from Oban to Orlando, Oslo to Osaka.More than 1,000 of you took the time to fill out our questionnaire for which I am very grateful. The information we glean from our surveys helps us to develop the magazine in the direction that the majority of you would like. I say ‘majority’ as with every group there are individuals whose requirements we will struggle to satisfy. You know who you are. Several respondents wrote that their favourite aspect of Whisky Magazine was its very existence and that they were pleased with the way it had developed. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Two aspects that have become clear from the last survey are that you want it more often and you want it quicker. In response to these twin demands, I am delighted to tell you Whisky Magazine is to be published eight times per year from November 2001 and an Express Subscription Service is now available. For further details, e-mail office@whiskymag.com
This issue marks the third anniversary of the launch of Whisky Magazine. In these times of enormous global upheaval, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect how whisky has evolved in the last three years. Well, we’ve assessed and published tasting notes on 529 whiskies. Scotch whisky sales have improved by two percent (1998-2000) but I’m not entirely confident about claiming responsibility for that. Bourbon sales (in the top ten markets) have increased by a whopping 20%. Spain has overtaken France as the biggest market for Scotch whisky (see Tom Bruce-Gardyne’s report on page 66), Gordon & MacPhail resurrected Benromach, Murray McDavid re-opened Bruichladdich and J&A Mitchell have bought Glengyle. Two of the greatest contemporary figures of Scotch whisky are on the point of retirement: it is fitting that Turnbull Hutton was the after-dinner speaker at the 50th anniversary of Brian Morrison’s family involvement in whisky. Turnbull Hutton is Head of Production at UDV and responsible for the output of 27 malt and three grain distilleries. Brian Morrison is Vice-Chairman of Morrison Bowmore. Seagram has left the drinks industry. As if that were not enough, at the time of writing information has just hit about the Whyte & Mackay management buyout. This is fantastic news as there is an argument (forcefully and eloquently put by Pip Hills on page 50) that Scotch whisky should not only be made in Scotland but also owned by Scottish companies for the simple reason that it is a cultural product.On a lighter (and far more facile) note, while awaiting a recent flight from Islay to Glasgow, I was urged by my fellow traveller to consider the proposition ‘if malt whiskies were dogs …’ It has to be malt whiskies as it makes the process more rewarding. We can accept that blends are the mongrels. Mongrels are known for being brighter, healthier and much, much cheaper than their in-bred and over-bred canine cousins. The exercise is intended to help convey the qualities of a whisky through the ready associations of dog breeds. Using mongrels would make this idea impossible. Alternatively, you can try ‘if dogs were malt whiskies’. Let’s begin with my faithful dachshund: she would be bottle strength (a marked lack of bite). Amber to copper in appearance. Short legs. The nose is lightly scented and floral giving way to vegetal top notes of drains, brackish water and farmyard with a very, very, very long finish. Tamnavulin, perhaps? I look forward to readers’ suggestions on this topic.