By Dominic Roskrow

It's been a long time since...

Time is relative ,and in the whisky industry you are reminded so regularly.
In a world where years and decades define the product, 20 months is no time at all. But even so, I was surprised on a recent trip to Islay to be described as the new editor of this magazine on no less than three occasions. In fact I have now edited a third of all editions of this magazine, and at Issue 42 I will become the longest serving editor. Moving my column to the start of the magazine has freed up the inside back page, and this in turn has given me the opportunity to introduce a new revolving column. Four writers will take turns to provide what I hope will be provocative, funny and at times controversial columns. First up is one of the United Kingdom's most acclaimed drinks writers, Andrew Jefford. And over the next three issues there will be contributions from celebrated American writer TerrySullivan, from the irrepressible Nigel Barden, and from the great and in some quarters much missed, John Haydock. As far as Haydock's concerned I admit to a major U-turn, though I'm safe in the knowledge that when we look back on 2004, mine won't be the biggest turn around in the whisky industry. It's. good to have him back. As I was saying, time is relative. And if the last 20 months have flown by from a personal point of view, it seems that The Macallan forgeries issue has been with us forever. I spent my very first days here trying to find a cover to illustrate Dave Broom's fake whisky article. The first time I wrote a column in this magazine I felt forced to defend the director of fine and rare whiskies for The Macallan against accusations that he had acted improperly over the issue. And we have returned to the subject four times in the last 18 months. Now the results of the lengthy tests are with us- and they do not make happy reading. A full report on the issue is carried on page seven and eight but I feel obliged to comment on the matter. Whisky Magazine brought this issue into the open and has reported it fairly and thoroughly ever since, despite some comments to the contrary. I am deeply sorry that The Macallan whisky is fake - no whisky lover can take satisfaction from such an outcome -and I have no doubt that The Macallan was conned in this matter -an unwitting victim of fraud. But nobody can say that the company wasn't warned, and questions have to be asked over the length of time it took to resolve the matter, even despite the lengthy testing procedures the company eventually employed. From a public relations point of view the whole issue was badly handled from the outset, and there was a definite sense that if we hadn't returned to the issue every couple of months over the last couple of years, it would have been ignored in the hope it would go away. Immense damage has been done to the world of whisky collecting not just from the events of recent days but over the last 18 months. Now steps have to be taken to make sure that any future issue of this magnitude is handled more efficiently and professionally than it was this time. This should serve as a wake up call to those people who naively believe that bad things don't happen in whiskyland. They can and have. Let's put all of this in context, though. The collectibles market is a tiny fraction of what whisky is about, and once again this magazine is overflowing with new and exciting developments
in a truly dynamic industry. If you're into drinking and enjoying whisky - rather than hoarding and staring at it -then there's plenty to be excited about. Let's concentrate on that shall we?