By Rupert Wheeler

Ever Changing, Ever Moving

The learning curve continues
And so three months have elapsed since I took over as mangaging editor and I have resisted all temptations to leave the office and head off into the heartland of Scotch whisky. Until now. I couldn't resist an invitation to Highland Park distillery in Orkney and will be reporting back on this visit in issue 122.

I last visited Orkney back in the late 1990s, with my children, when we took a holiday in South Ronaldsey, the island closest to the Scottish mainland. We reached Orkney by ferry and it was one of the roughest crossings I have ever encountered. I look forward to the return trip but this time I am flying.

We have spent some time putting in place all our contributing editors and we intend to introduce all of them on a rolling basis starting in issue 122. I look forward to hearing their views on the ever changing world of whisky.

In this issue we are concentrating on US whiskey and bourbon and it's a bumper issue as well with 104 pages packed with a wide range of articles.

However, we start in Scandinavia where there is so much whisky happening that we commissioned Dave Francis, who lives there, to give us a run down on their whisky industry and the distilleries you can visit. It deserves a longer look and we intend to re-visit this area again in the near future.

We then move to the Borders region of Scotland where Gavin D. Smith has visited Annandale distlllery which has literally risen from derelict buildings and is well on the way to producing.

Sandeep Arora who is our India contributing editor has sent us a run down of all the best whisky bars in India and we are relying on him to keep us up to date on new developments from this country which has a massive interest in whisky. He provides a fascinating insight into how whisky is taking off and how many more staff are now being trained and their increase in knowledge of all things whisky.

Hans Offringa who is one of our regular contributors has provided an insight into the history of Jack Daniel's and Jim Leggett then takes us on a tasting trip organised by the Ballantyne Scotch Whisky Society that meets regularly.

Rare Cask Reserves is covered by Joel Harrison and billed not as a brand, but a concept in blending. The project focuses on the skills of William Grant's Master Blender, Brian Kinsman. Only the sixth person to have held the job since the company started at the end of the nineteenth century, his skills are the key to unlocking some of the rarest casks in William Grant's vaults.

Our production piece this issue is on ageing warehouses and we look at conditions within warehouses used to age bourbon in Kentucky. The character of a bourbon is determined by the character of the spirit, the barrels used for ageing, the length of ageing, and conditions within the ageing warehouse.

Jim Leggett provides us with a large range of articles related to US whiskey and in this issue he has provided a very interesting article on the increase in small distilleries opening up in and around New York and especially in the Hudson Valley. He also gives us the insight into the recent heist of a large quantity of Chicken Cock whiskey and a fascinating article on bootlegging.

Fred Minnick one of our US contributing editors has provided the 50 greatest moments in bourbon history as well as a technical piece on Four Roses where Jim Rutledge caresses the edge of a single glass and silently reflects about the whiskey with our author. This man's passion for this bourbon, his bourbon, exceeds just about every other Kentucky distiller's.

Our US special features a distillery focus on Stranahans where they had a building that was 40,000 feet of storage - concrete rooms - and nobody knew what to do with them. They called it the 'catacombs' because it had all these little spaces. It became great for barrel storage.

I continue to learn more and more about the whisky business and now that the three months is up, I?intend to take the occasional trip out and intend to visit the English Whisky Company which is just down the road from where we work in Norwich.

Please keep me in touch with your whisky topics.