By Rob Allanson

Welcome to Whisky Magazine

Well here we go, hurtling into a new year and there has already been plenty of news to fill our hearts with joy regarding our chosen tipple.
There are certainly a couple of major events that could see some interesting whiskies released.

We started the year with the official news that Rachel Barrie moved across to Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD), taking with her a wealth of knowledge and seminal blending skills. We can only guess what additions she will make to the MBD stable. She has after all some excellent whiskies to work with in Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch.

The other news following hard on the heels of this was Beam Global completing its purchase of Cooley Distillery in Ireland. This is an interesting acquisition and has given the American-based giant a stake in one of the fastest growing sectors of whisky at the moment; particularly in the US.

The question now stands: what will the company do? Are we going to see grain, in the shape of the award winning Greenore, become the next hot thing like rye? Is there an Irish small batch collection on its way? We wait with bated breath. Certainly last time I visited Kilbeggan distillery, master distiller Alex Chasko was playing with some very exciting mashbills that hopefully will see the light of day at some point.

There have been plenty of new releases over the festive period and into the start of the year, and I think we can expect some of the big guns to release some interesting liquid. Glenmorangie has already entered the fray with its latest addition in the guise of Artien; matured using Tuscan wine barriques. Also Dalmore has announced it is unveiling the new long awaited Cigar Malt. With news that others have exciting news bursting to get out, it looks like the start of the year should be good for the whisky drinker.

This set against the fact that the economy globally remains unstable, but also we are seeing most companies globally are upping their production in a bid to meet the increased world demand. I have a feeling though we are not going to see another whisky lake, or loch, any time soon. I think we are going to see the reverse, companies overstretching their stocks as drinkers in India, China and South America start searching for better malts and blends.

Looking further on in the year, there are changes afoot to Whisky Live London, which should make it one of the events of the year, certainly in the Capital. Also Whisky Live Japan looks set to be a stonker, launching the inaugural Tokyo International Bar show/Whisky Live Japan; certainly one to blow the holiday allowance on.

This year will also see the launch of World whisky Day. The idea was created by Aberdeen University student Blair Bowman in June 2011 and since then the event has received an overwhelming amount of interest online. The concept is to create a great tradition alongside Burns’ Night and St. Andrew’s Day, and reach a global market of whisky fans but also people new to whisky –a young and ‘cool’ market of technologically engaged consumers. It is time we pushed for a day to recognise the joys and myriad delights of whisky; yes I think so and I commend the campaign to you. W