This is not really the column I was planning on writing for this edition, but something has been on my mind. One thing that the Japanese disaster has brought home to me is the changing role of reporting and journalism in the modern age. Gone are the days of news taking time to reach people, it is all pretty instant these days.
This immediacy is good in terms of getting stories out there, but also devastating at the same time. I had heard that the Japanese media had a team in the air within minutes of the earthquake, covering the tsunami as it smashed its way inland. The footage, which I don't think is impossible to miss, is chilling. The force of the inky black water levelling everything in its path. Then you spot cars turning round on the roads trying to get out of the way. God only knows what happened to the occupants.
After a few days mobile phone footage started to emerge from ordinary residents caught up in this extra-ordinary event. This took the viewer right down to street level, in some cases into the path of the oncoming torrent. The audio, even in Japanese, has that universal note of terror and shock at the scene.
This left the regular media, certainly outside of Japan, with problems. Most media, except the BBC, had reduced the number of correspondents in Japan during the past years as the country was getting along fine and the Asian stories were coming from China and other places.
So what we ended up with was some of the worst reporting to date; because it wasn't reporting it was an odd mix of reporting mixed with comment, and more than often tainted with wild speculation. All this due to not having people on the ground.
This is something Whisky Magazine has taken seriously for a while, and really is one of the fundamental principles of journalism. If you have not seen it first hand or experienced it then you should not really be writing about it. This is why the magazine has a great, and growing, global network of correspondence.
With connections in Japan through our excellent team at our sister magazine, Whisky Magazine was quick to ascertain the status of the various distilleries, and more importantly the health of the staff. Updates were posted when we got them.
Meanwhile in Japan, a nation shows a stoicism that is almost lost on the West, and I have no doubt that this great country will pull itself together again.
So what can you do? The best thing we can do now is to help in any way possible; one of the most emotive things I saw was the MotoGP riders in Qatar with their Support Japan stickers. The whisky industry, like the motorbike industry, feels this tragedy keenly and there is plenty to do to assist. There have been a few bottles, and I would imagine there will be more, coming up at auction. Even if you cannot afford to buy these limited editions why not just bid on them, thereby pushing the price up and making more money for the charities, or simply donating to the Red Cross.
Also I have seen on the social media sites people holding Japanese whisky tasting events, with donations going to help the country. What a great way to show solidarity with Japan, and discover some of the fabulous whiskies the nation has to offer.
La Maison du Whsikywww.whisky.frWhat whisky have you bought to keep?
A bottle of Glendronach 1972 -a full bodied, fruity whisky straight from a sherry cask.What whisky will you sell or open soon?
I’m looking forward to my Old Pulteney single cask 1050. Wonderful flavours of pears balanced with saltiness.