By Dominic Roskrow

Here's to a bright whisky future

Dominic Roskrowis leaving the building. Here he says goodbye after four years as Editor
I’ve spent a great deal of time in recent weeks pondering where whisky might go in the future. Much of this thinking has been prompted by the fact that wherever whisky’s going I need to go too, because I am leaving full time employment as editor of Whisky Magazine, and my future in whisky will lie in other areas, though I will continue to write for it and to stay on as consultant editor.Part of this thought process has been prompted by reading Whisky by Aeneas MacDonald, which we covered in the last issue of the magazine and which has been described as the greatest book ever written about whisky.It isn’t. But it is an important book and a historically significant one. It gives whisky a context and puts up a robust defence for the spirit. It was the first book to do so.But powerful as the writer’s argument is, there is also a conceit here. It is written from an overwhelmingly Scottish perspective and with a degree of elitism that is at best misguided and at worst, plain wrong.“The English,” MacDonald writes, “who, by definition, will believe anything the Scots tell them, took whisky from their northern neighbours. It is doubtful, all the same, if they have ever taken to it. The ale-sodden Saxon has a temperamental inability to comprehend the true inner nature of whisky.” Really? And yet arguably the planet’s two greatest whisky writers are English.This has been the launching point for my musings about whisky’s future. For it seems to me that there are two types of whisky enthusiast: those that want to elevate it to a status akin to wine, where it is sipped and sampled, and analysed and described: and those that see it as the people’s drink – a simple mix of grain, yeast and water that that can produce a diaspora of styles; a drink that should not be the preserve of the educated and privileged. A drink that has much more in common with Saxon ale than it ever it does with Mediterranean wine.MacDonald’s book was written a very long time ago, before there was any appreciation of world whisky at all. And to be fair, I have quoted from an early chapter. Much of the rest of the book is a lovingly crafted explanation of whisky and its ‘raison d’etre’.But the world of whisky has moved on apace. You can see this by looking back at the very early issues of Whisky Magazine.And I believe that while the four years I’ve been editor here have coincided with good ones for whisky, the best is yet to come.Outside traditional whisky circles there is a vast pool of people ready to discover whisky and intrigued by its history and heritage.Engage people in English supermarkets, in New York style bars and in Australian pubs, strip away the pretentious language and the intimidating labelling and it’s a joy to watch their faces as the light goes on.More to the point, let none of us ever forget that whisky is an alcoholic drink which we consume to enjoy ourselves. Responsible drinking, of course, but let’s not get po-faced and Presbyterian about it either.These last four years have been a rollercoaster ride and I’ve met many great and wonderful people – and the occasional myopic pygmy, too. Thanks to everyone who has supported me here. If you’re ever in Norfolk, England, then stop by.That’s where I’ll be – helping bring whisky to those ale-sodden Saxons.