By Rupert Wheeler

Managing Editor's word

Not joined upThe ongoing quest for co-operation
I am a huge supporter of public transport and in particular travelling by train. I have recently moved to a town where there is a bus service to the local station which is a distance of about six miles. The morning bus is absolutely fine, leaving me about 15 minutes spare to catch the train. However on the return journey the bus leaves one minute after the train gets in. This results in having to hurtle my way off the train, run down the platform, sprint across the road, only to see the bus disappearing into the distance. When I approached the bus company they quite clearly stated ‘our bus service timetable does not tie in with the train service and nor will it in the foreseeable future.’ This seems to me absurd since surely the aim of public transport is to encourage more users, giving more revenue to both bus and train companies, and more importantly, less vehicles using the road. The result is I now drive the car to the station which defeats the object. Something is not joined up.My purpose in this rant is that on reading Dave Broom’s column I am not convinced that Diageo’s selling of Bushmills is ‘joined up,’ especially when you consider the large amount of profit that Bushmills was pushing through. However, we wish Bushmills continued success under their new owner Cuervo.When Dave Broom, Neil Ridley and I sat down earlier this year to plan some features for 2015, one of the ideas was to have a blending competition between the two of them. I really liked the idea and I am delighted that after some initial problems accessing suitable small casks, Master of Malt stepped in and furnished both Neil and Dave with a 20 litre cask each made from American white oak. At the moment they are having the edge taken off them having been filled with vodka. Dave and Neil will then start the blend in the New Year and in each issue through 2015 the blend will be created. We hope to give our readers the opportunity to take part in a ‘taste off’ and the winning blend will be announced in December 2015. More details to follow in early 2015. I would also take this opportunity to thank our Creative director, Paul Beevis, for coming up with a stunning poster to publicise what we are calling the ‘Battle of the Blends’, which you can see on page 21.I recently visited Crisp Maltings here in Norfolk and was fortunate enough to meet up with Mr Ichiro Akutu who is the president of the Chichibu Distillery in Japan. I was very impressed that he had been joined on this trip by his chief mashman who was in fact a woman and his still man. These are the very people that the industry relies on and which brings me neatly on to our Icons of Whisky Scotland awards. These awards which are announced along with our Hall of Fame results recognise the very people at the heart of the Scottish whisky industry. We will also be announcing at the awards ceremony in early December, the eight category winners in our Independent Bottlers Challenge.With my continuing pursuit of trying to get our readers more involved we are once again promoting our Whisky Magazine Photo Challenge which last year proved extremely popular with the winning entries being included in our 2015 calendar. I urge all of you to enter this competition and with the added incentive that the winner will receive a mixed case of six single malt whiskies.Obviously with my taking over the magazine there will be certain changes, and one of these is that we will be stopping our Bars Guide. In its place what we want from you, our readers, is personal recommendations of bars that really grab you. The bar that has really knocked your socks off. We will be featuring four bars in every issue and they can be from anywhere in the world. So please get recommending.Although I don’t watch footlball, I am a huge fan of David Beckham and I am delighted that Neil Ridley was able to conduct an interview with him. He has really got behind working with Diageo on the launching of The Haig Club. What is also interesting is that this new whisky is a single grain whisky. And finally, please take a look at the book review of Dave Broom’s new Whisky Atlas. It’s a stunner.