By Rob Allanson

Fresh beginnings

It ‘s a big world out there,new Editor Rob Allanson ponders the view
So here it is, my first column at the helm of Whisky Magazine and what a time to take the reins.The industry is incredibly buoyant with some cracking whiskies being released, so a very exciting time to step up to the plate.I intend to use this column to share some of the excitement as I make my own journey through the whisky world.It is a big world out there and there is so much to explore, not just Scotland but also Japan, Ireland, America and the Antipodes…and many more.There are plenty of reasons why I am a big fan of this industry, not least the mystique that surrounds creating a decent whisky, bourbon or blend.I love the fact that you can take the same raw ingredients, then put the liquid into a cask to mature and you get such a diversity of flavours. Better yet, science is still having a hard time to explain exactly why.It’s like the question of smell. It always fascinates me how this magazine’s tasters smell (and I’m not referring to their personal hygiene – which is always exemplary), and what images the certain fragrances trigger in their memories.Again science is still at a loss to explain this most primaeval of all the senses. We can send people to the moon but can we explain why Dave, Martine or Arthur get an image of cherry red boot polish when they nose a whisky? No, and frankly I don’t want it explained away to me like some simple equation.Does that make me a Luddite? Possibly, but it does also mean I enjoy the romance and history behind our favourite tipple.I don’t think there is any industry quite like it, where you have major companies putting a commodity in barrels and having to plan 10 years, 12, 21, 30 or even longer in advance to predict demand.Anyhow, one of my first assignments wearing the Editor’s hat was to meet readers, retailers and producers at Whisky Live Glasgow.When you stand under the massive canvas of Whisky Live with most of Scotland’s distillers it makes your head spin. Just the variety, choice and rarity of some of the bottles available to taste is simply impressive. To be honest it is like being a child in a sweetie shop, you just don’t know where to turn next.These guys tantalise and tease us with riots of flavour, smells and glorious colours. It is no wonder we all enjoy expanding our palates.For me it is great to see so many people exploring and enjoying whisky in all its forms.Also it is nice to hear so many questions ranging from the beginner’s “how do you…” to the more techie questions.Some of Dominic’s last words of advice to me were that editing this magazine is like managing a football team.Those of you who subscribe to Whisky’s sister magazine Beers of the World may recognise this sage advice imparted to Beer Editor Sally Toms too.The manager does not have to be the best player on the team as long as he has the best players and has the tactics to get the best out of them.With the likes of Dave Broom, Ian Buxton, Chuck Cowdery, Michael Jackson, Richard Jones, Martine Nouet, Ian Wisniewski and Dominic, this team is firing on all cylinders.The commitment to bringing you the best coverage, the most informative and passionate writing remains as strong as ever.So join me on the journey. Under the wings and tutelage of such a great bunch of writers and tasters we can all expand our knowledge and appreciation.