By Rob Allanson

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Star letter - A sensory pleasure During a recent period of illness I had to forgo my usual nightly nip of Scotch, much to my dismay, and just the other night, having fully recovered, I poured my first post-illness dram.As the amber liquid cascaded into the glass, I suddenly noted the depth of colour, the many suggestions of the aroma, and when sipped, the full flavour of my brand of choice. As I took in the subtle varieties that make whisky so enjoyable I was struck by the necessity of simple pleasures in life.Sometimes, in the world of HD televisions, digital switchovers, Iphones and Ipods, it is easy to lose sight of what is capable of making us truly content - family, friends, a good book or the savouring of a wee dram on a cold, dark winter's day are all simple yet life affirming things.At the end of a hectic working day, or in the full glow of health, it is easy to take such things for granted and not fully enjoy them.Thus it is nice to have a gentle reminder every now and then.Daniel Stannard United Kingdom When reading whisky books about washbacks, it is sometimes confusing that Douglas fir and Oregon pine are mentioned indiscriminately.Ordinary people think these two trees are different. To act consistently, only one of these terms should be used in a whisky book. Why? These two terms mean the same tree in spite of the words fir and pine.The word fir usually belongs to the genus Abies and the word pine is assigned to the genus Pinus. During the 19th century botanists had problems to classify the Douglas fir, as it had similarities to various other conifers e.g. Abies, Pinus, Tsuga etc. However, finally the Douglas fir was placed in a new genus Pseudotsuga meaning false Tsuga (Hemlock). I have never seen Douglas hemlock in a whisky book - but why not?The word Douglas commemorates David Douglas, the Scottish botanist who first introduced the seeds into Europe.One can also read that washbacks are made of larch.Sometimes it is mentioned that it is Scottish larch or Scandinavian larch. The Latin genus is Larix and the European larch (Larix decidua) is wild in Europe, and there are hardly any differences from a point of plant anatomy between larch from Scotland or Scandinavia. Sibirian larch (Larix sibirica) is a variety, and the only difference is the habitus. Therefore it is enough to write that the washback is made of larch.Best regards, Ingemar Giös Sweden ENTRY OF THE MONTH The best letter in each issue wins a bottle of Berrys'Blue Hanger 30 Years Old. It offers soft citrus aromas that are intermingled with leather, custard and pears, which lead onto an elegant butterscotch and orange peel palate with a dry smoky finish.The bottle will be mailed to the winner if their address is within the EU.Given regulations, winners from outside the EU may collect their prize from Berry Bros. & Rudd in London at a convenient time to the recipient.