By Rob Allanson

Editor's word

This is one of those columns that I had not originally intended to write, it took on a life of its own as I was drafting it. I had intended to pontificate about all the new whisky books that have hit the shelves recently; the bookcase here at Whisky Towers is positively groaning under the weight of the tomes. It is clear that the whisky lover is now awash with more reference and information sources than at any other point in time; and I can only see this increasing as more people want to share their opinions. The number of blogs referencing whisky, generating tasting notes and distillery visit write ups is on the increase as are dedicated whisky websites. You can happily spend hours sifting through opinion, comment, pictures and reviews.

There have been more books released this year than I can remember and it looks like the number will increase as news filters out that writers have follow up and more in the pipeline. We’re not just talking reference tomes but brand orientated volumes as well.

This is excellent news and of course only benefits the drinkers, after all knowledge is a good thing. All this talk of reference guides and such like gives me the perfect moment to say thanks you to the chaps who organise the Drammie Awards as the magazine won Best Whisky Information Source in this year's honours. To be honest the last thing I won was a prepared Christmas turkey from the local butchers in a church raffle when I was about nine.

So suffusive to say I am immensely proud the title has received this honour; it is also a reflection of the high standard of writing, in past and present magazines, and the knowledge our writers bring to each edition.

Now what was really playing on my mind was people, whiskies and their connections to the past.

Recently my Nan passed away and it got me thinking about all the family stories and heirlooms. As each generation passes a link is lost. We hold very tentative connections with the First World War, for most families it is now a bag of medals from half remembered battles; we have, and should cherish, the links we still have with the Second World War to bring the reality and horrors of battle into stark focus. Just talk to any veteran about D-day, the bombing of various cities, and of course the elation of liberation and finally peace.

This stuck in my mind with all this debate about expensive old bottles that appear at auctions and occasionally in our cupboards. I think the real attraction is less the value (only really what someone wants to pay) and more the time they come from. This sense of the blood, sweat and tears that has gone into creating the liquid seems to be forgotten at auction.

Pick a bottling and distilling year and there will be some historical significant.

I am not a collector, and I may be a romantic caught up in the whispers of family ghosts, but opening an old bottle awakens a sense of belonging in history. This has no price. Perfect examples are tasting some of the remade archive recipes that are appearing, the Shackleton whisky is probably the best known at the moment.

Short of breaking into the British Museum and holding some ancient objects, this is as close as we can get in liquid terms to a palpable sense of history.