By John Haydock

Haydock gets sexed up

Is the great John Haydock rattled? It would seem so. Here he goes on the defensive and answers his critics
Readers of Whisky Magazine will by now be only too sadly aware of the war of words and media misinformation that has broken out surrounding the latest edition of the definitive malt whisky biography – Haydock forever changes.I claim, as is my right, these hallowed pages (not some other so-called ‘drinks magazine’ for Haydock) to set the record straight, to confound my critics, and once more claim the high and holy ground of truth.How could I be judged responsible for the unfortunate incidents surrounding the book launch – my nine-hour reading of the new volume at the Archiestown Poetry, Fiction and Farm Implements Festival in late June?How was I to know I would be following celebrity smoker Howard Mark’s interactive ‘Light up or leave me alone’ session – or that one member of the audience would choose, barely had I got into my stride, to snort cask strength Knockando whilst taking a generous take on one of Howard’s handmade cigarettes, leading to consequences that will be well enough known to anyone who reads the In Memoriam column of the Elgin Courant, or to those who have witnessed the still scarred scene of devastation that was once the pretty town square and adjacent bus-shelter in the heart of downtown Archiestown.I have denied all liability in this matter, which is in the hands of my lawyers, who are dealing with the families of the bereaved.Nonetheless I deny strenuously any claims that sections of memoirs have been ‘sexed up’ to make contents more acceptable to my public, or, heaven forbid, to artificially increase sales.For a start – as most of my whisky-writing colleagues would concur – sex is something we all gave up (or gave us up) many drams ago. But secondly I stand resolutely by the accuracy of the entire work, subject to some minor, and naturally inconsequential, errors by my editors and their printers.So, for example, the criticism of hyperbole in my frequent use of my trademark phrase, ‘quite possibly the finest whisky in the world’ to apply to a variety of single malt Scotches and blends (from Clynelish to Claymore) can be explained by some simple corrections of spelling, where ‘finest’ should have read variously ‘fieriest’, ‘fiercest’, ‘feistiest’ ‘feintiest’, ‘finest’, ‘faddist’, etc., a series of trivialities that due to the size of the initial print run are unlikely to be addressed for the next seven years.And who could for a moment doubt that I was the source of the DNA that led to the successful production of the now famous whisky-clones Jim McEwan, Richard Paterson and strangely, Des Lynam, or that as a schoolboy I successfully launched CAMRA and single-handedly saved the British brewing industry (all during an idle moment in a geography lesson)?My role in the single-handed creation of the malt whisky category is written in lore, as is my creation of the Classic Malts, the Heritage Malts, Glenmorangie wood finishes, the Macallan Vintage Range, Bowmore Darkest. Lightest and In-The-Middlest, the Cooper’s Choice, Stillman’s Choice, Distillers’ Edition, Mrs Dale’s Diary (and probably Bailey’s Irish Cream too). Without me Falkirk’s Rosebud Distillery would not have been saved! However, the challenges to all of these widely accepted truths pales into insignificance compared to the scurrilous allegations, now in wide circulation, that I have lied to you, and the people, about WMD, 45 minutes, the dodgy dossier, and Horlicks.And let me say now that no greater slur can be cast on the integrity of a great, nay the greatest, whisky writer in the world than this.It is true, and without contradiction, according to reliable high level insider industry sources (i.e., no dodgy dossier, but my old whisky chum Rupert, during what I confess was a splendid lunch at The Ivy), that the WMD (Whisky Maker’s Dream) was both perfected and deployed somewhere in Perthshire in the mid 1980s, and that traces of this grotesque crime against humanity still exist, as can be verified by independent inspectors.Moreover the WMD was only achieved using a vast amount of Horlicks (ill-informed continental readers should simply look this up on for further information) as a substitute for the grist of malted barley in the wash. This in turn reduced mashing times to a fraction and fermentation times to exactly 45 minutes (yes, 45 minutes) thus allowing spirit output to be increased more than tenfold in the course of week.Now, it may well be the case that this particular nutty-spicy contrivance is no longer a manifold threat, but critics beware, for the clear and present danger that this dodgy distilling may present is not yet over.For I am told by equally well informed (‘though naturally undisclosed) sources that the evil empire is currently redeploying such techniques.Its end? Terror, and no doubt world-domination of a sort only previously attained by yours truly in the world of whisky hackery. So not for the first time I speak out, as the lone lion of legitimate and libatory comment. Persecuted, pilloried, pillaged and parodied, but no panjandrum!Rather a pillar of perspicuity, a Proteus of Pahlavi, and a panegyric palanka of peat.