By Rob Allanson

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Star letter - Whisky missing I'm writing in reply to your feature titled "Called to the bar" on places to drink whisky in London, in issue 76.I have some pretty strong feelings about this topic - having moved back to the UK following a two year stint living in Tokyo I have found London by comparison to be shockingly devoid of any good places to drink whisky. I was literally spoilt for choice when living in Tokyo - it seems all of the major districts of central Tokyo (particularly Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya) each had several really good bars entirely dedicated to whisky, with a fantastic selection, a nice informal atmosphere, extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff and often quite reasonable prices.London by contrast has been a real disappointment in this area. From the handful of places in London that do have a selection of malts behind the bar, I've generally found they fit into one of three categories - they're either hotel bars, bars attached to restaurants or cocktail bars.The only one exception is perhaps the SMWS member's rooms on Grenville Street - but, as the name suggests, you have to be a member to go there.I find it impossible to believe in a city like London that there isn't actually a single proper whisky bar.A bar which is not an after-thought of a hotel or restaurant, and not solely aimed at executives on expense accounts.A bar which is entirely dedicated to whisky, is fairly priced, has staff who really know their malts, and doesn't require membership. It's a sad reality, but if a Japanese visitor to London asked me where they should go to find a good whisky bar, I would probably say "back to Japan." John Hawkins, London Cork failure turn off Issue 75 had an interesting article about the cork. However, the article looked the cork issue only from one aspect; the luxury. I do agree, that opening the good whisky and having natural cork sound has an luxury impact.But on the other hand, natural cork is not in any means the best, and most secure, way to seal the precious drink like malt whisky. Lately I have encountered several bottles with cork failure. Even how much the cork may give the luxury feeling to the whisky, cork failure is totally turn off. I wrote to the shop and to the distillery when I encountered the problem but in every case I have not received any response.I have no idea if the whisky is in good shape or not.And if not good, I will not buy another bottle.Same time we are reading how innovative whisky industry is. It might be true when it comes to making money or new flavours, but not how to seal it.As in wines, New World has taken new cork as standard because they know it is the best way the seal the product.The whisky industry show the same courage and find the best way for sealing whisky.Quality should come first!Mika Hakkarainen, Finland 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.