Tempest in a (tea) pot (still).

According to a story in yesterday’s Telegraph US urged to boycott Scottish products after Lockerbie bomber’s release there is a movement afoot to “boycott Scottish Goods”

“US citizens are being urged to stop buying items ranging from Scotch whisky to kilts and petrol sold at BP-owned outlets as well as to cancel planned holidays in Britain to register their protest.”

I must point-out the obvious – that BP is based in London – a city which is NOT part of the Scottish empire. Yet.

While the large global Haggis conglomerates are worried, the Scotch companies aren’t phased at all.

And they shouldn’t be. I haven’t heard ANYTHING about this boycott movement – until I read it in a UK newspaper.

Is this a manufactured story? They point to an obviously amateur single page web-site called BoycottScotland <http://www.boycottscotland.com/>.

And best I can tell, THAT domain is registered out of Canada – So maybe this is simply ANOTHER Canadian plot to drive a wedge between the UK and the US.

I’m pissed about the guy being released, but i don’t see the usefulness of calling for a boycott – and have no expectation that this one will in anyway be even remotely successful. But it’s obviously a slow newsday around the world with the pick-up rate of the story  - but no evidence of any impact of this boycott.

Disclosure: I went to Syracuse University and had friends and acquaintances who died in that bombing – including a good friend from High School, Denice O’Neil.

"Ruin" Scotch Whisky? I Don't Think So.

Almost 3 years ago, someone asked me about the requirement to bottle Scotch Whisky in Scotland.

I told them that there was, at that time, no requirement for Scotch Whisky to be bottled in Scotland. That was a true statement then and it is a true statement now.

Even at that time, the SWA was working on some legislation to ensure that Single Malt Scotch Whisky would have to be bottled in Scotland, but that would not affect the bottling of other categories of Scotch Whisky overseas. That legislation has never made it to law.

David Williamson of the SWA expanded:

As you are aware, there has never been a requirement in the legal definition of Scotch Whisky for it to be bottled only in Scotland. As Scotch Whisky has grown in popularity around the world over the last century, we have therefore seen Scotch Whisky, principally Blended Scotch Whisky, shipped for local bottling in certain export markets.

Over the years, overseas bottling developed in some markets because it was the only way in which imported spirits, such as Scotch Whisky, were allowed to operate on a level playing field with domestic spirit drinks. In contrast, bottled imported spirits would face tariff or tax discrimination, distorting competition in the market and denying local consumers choice. In other markets, Scotch Whisky has been imported in bulk for blending with domestic whiskies.

While it is likely that there would therefore be considerable legal difficulties in requiring that all Scotch Whisky now be bottled in Scotland, the situation is very different for Single Malt Scotch Whisky, as only very small quantities have been exported for local bottling in the past and any requirement to bottle in Scotland would only impact on trade to a limited extent. SWA members are therefore supportive of introducing such a requirement as part of the wider package of proposals that are currently being brought forward.

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

But all of a sudden, Diageo’s VERY REASONABLE, if not happily accepted, plan to move bottling operations from Kilmarnock to Fife is being attacked.

Yes, jobs will be lost in Kilmarnock…But new jobs will be created elsewhere. And Fife isn’t exactly China, is it?

In this economy*, lost jobs are not often replaced in other areas of the same country, are they?

When written as “DIAGEO’S plan to end Johnnie Walker’s historic links with Kilmarnock could be the beginning of a process that will destroy the Scotch whisky industry,” it sounds quite alarmist, doesn’t it.

“A spokesman for Diageo accused the MPs of overreacting. “We fully appreciate that emotions are running high, but we reserve our right to have undertaken a major review of our business in Scotland,”

I whole-heartedly agree.

As Douglas Fraser, business and economy editor at BBC Scotland, correctly states

Already, between 10% and 20% of Scotch Whisky – leaves Scotland in bulk rather than bottles. Diageo sends less than half that proportion.

So articles such as Diageo plans ‘could ruin Scotch whisky’ are alarmist and unnecessary – and fueled by a political over-reaction to the necessity of consolidating jobs in a down economy – which is ANY employers prerogative.

I am sure Diageo has been dreaming of moving more bottling “off-shore” and has a perfect excuse In this economy*. And nothing in the existing OR PLANNED law prevents them from doing so. But they aren’t doing that here, are they?

The politicians got caught with their pants down and the people whom they represent who may be losing jobs will not be happy – but when the only argument the opposition has is that Diageo is laying the ground-work for ruining Scottish historical significance of a whisky brand, they’ve already lost the battle.

When will people realize that Diageo isn’t a foundation of Scottish culture – it’s a large multi-national company – that exists to bring share-holder value. And while I have been an outspoken commenter against a number of their marketing practices, as a Diageo shareholder, business consultant and MBA, I understand and accept operational review and elimination of redundancies.

That’s Business, folks.
_________________________________________
* Vastly overused term.

NYT WTF?

And for your reading pleasure, might I give you the stupidest analogy I’ve seen in quite some time…

Some Scotch drinkers like single malts, while others prefer a blend.

Leaf-eating insects had been thought to prefer a blend as well. Their olfactory receptors respond to a mix of volatile chemicals released by a plant and the insect moves toward it, a behavior called chemotaxis. But a study in Current Biology reveals that silkworms, at least, are more like single-malt lovers.

You COULD read the rest, but there’s no other mention of Scotch.

To 'e' or not to 'e' – Part 2

I’ve been pretty vociferous that whisky should be spelled based on the local spelling of where the product is from and not (as some [looking at you Chuck Cowdery :)] think – that it should be spelled based on where YOU happen to be.

Let’s revisit the lively argument: To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’

Well, seems like the New York Times finally agreed with me…

New York Times forced to drop the ‘e’ in whisky
By Alexander Lawrie

SCOTLAND’S whisky industry is celebrating after a respected US newspaper was forced to change its spelling of the country’s national drink from whiskey to whisky.

For years Scotch experts have been fuming at the paper’s erroneous spelling of whisky with a superflous ‘e’.

But now the newspaper has decided to amend their style guide following “aggressive” complaints in a piece they carried about Speysidemalts.

An article appeared in an edition of the New York Times last month sparking a barrage of letters of complaints about the misspelling.

And editors at the US newspaper have now decided to see sense and amend any future copy that includes the word.

Whisky experts in this country are now delighted that their perseverance has finally paid off.

A spokesperson for the multi-national giant Diageo – who own the J&Band the Johnny Walker brands – said: “There is clearly a hard and fast rule for Scotch Whisky which should be spelt without an ‘e’, and the New York Times is to be congratulated for accepting that fact.

Read the rest here

Do you have any idea how this stuff is made?

I’ve heard of Bill Dowd – and had been told that he was a well-known and well-educated writer on the subject of Spirits.

However, I’d not had an opportunity to go to his site or read his work until today (Friday December 7, 2007) when a Google Alert let me know about a beer story that mentioned Scotch:

Dowd On Drinks: But Is It Beer?
Falls Church News Press – Falls Church,VA,USA
The world of brewing, therefore, has entered the same field of controversy as that of Scotch whisky and tequila. When the original product is changed to a …

Controversy? In the world of Scotch? Why didn’t I know about this???

I went to read the story…which turned out to be about Utopias a new "beer" from Sam Adams.

But it was these few paragraphs that caught my eye:

The world of brewing, therefore, has entered the
same field of controversy as that of Scotch whisky and tequila. When
the original product is changed to a marked degree, is it legitimate to
include it in the same category?

Some Scotch
distillers and blenders have succumbed to the lure of changing their
manufacturing process to expand their product line and, ultimately,
their sales.

The switch to closed-pot
stills, for example, blocks the traditional smokiness of the whisky,
making it more like Irish whiskey (yes, spelling the liquor with or
without an "e" also is a difference between them), and maturing it in
used brandy, sherry or bourbon casks further changes it.

Likewise
with tequila, a Mexican spirit usually consumed young but in recent
years becoming available in an "extra-aged" style that involves
maturation for longer periods in used casks and results in more of a
cognac-style spirit.

The bolded sections show a complete ignorance of the manufacturing and maturation processes for Scotch.

I’m not really sure what Mr. Dowd means by "closed-pot stills". I’ve seen a lot of pot stills, and I’ve never seen an open one. And is it just me or does the use of the term "used casks" sound just a little disparaging?.

The worst part of all of this is that the mention of Scotch is not only erroneous, it is a complete non sequitur, and completely unnecessary for support of his original question "Should Utopias be considered beer?". Had he simply left out this section, his article would have been an interesting musing on a topic.

According to Mr. Dowd’s personal site, his column is:

distributed by both
the New York Times News Service and the Hearst News Service. His
writings have been published by literally dozens of North American
newspapers, on numerous Web sites, and various magazines, and his work
has been made available in at least 10 different countries.

I can’t fault someone for success – but is it worrisome to you – as it is to me – that someone has a column that is printed around the world – and they talk about Scotch – yet they have no freaking idea how Scotch is made?

Maybe it’s because I spend my time trying to educate and demystify whisky that I take particular umbrage when someone has a much broader forum than do I, yet their ignorance of the topic equates to the  spread of mis-information.

Read Mr. Dowd’s Full article in one of several places

Is India being bullied?

That’s what Charles MacLean, arguably "Scotland’s foremost whisky writer", seems to think.

In Sunday’s The Telegraph (Calcutta India), Charles MacLean, was interviewed in regard to the long-running, and imminent sale of Whyte & Mackay to the UB group.

MacLean also said the “Scottish Whisky
Association has been trying to bully the Indian government” into
lowering tariffs — and he forecast this, too, would happen since lower
taxes would be good both for the Indian government and the Scottish
whisky industry.

Wow. Does MacLean really view the very reasonable attempts by the SWA to get tariffs lowered as "bullying"?


<UPDATE 1: If Mr. MacLean was misquoted by the
Indian Press, I certainly invite him to let everyone know that fact
here on The Scotch Blog and demand a retraction from the Telegraph!>


Perhaps it is MacLean’s existing business relationship with Mallya that is coloring his views:

In
November, UB flew him to India for a hectic tour of Delhi, Mumbai,
Calcutta, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa during when his mission was to
speak about Black Dog, a brand first made by Whyte & Mackay in 1879
but now owned and marketed by Mallya.

“When
someone as astute and as close to the levers of power as Vijay Mallya
starts looking to secure spirit supply by buying Scotch distilleries
and brands and promoting his own Scotch, Black Dog, which I helped with
last November,
then the writing is on the wall,” said MacLean.

MacLean must have also bought into the propaganda of the Indian government/media/beverage industry triumvirate and accepted the Indian claim that this molasses-based distilled beverage is, in fact, whisky, and not the more appropriately named "rum".

MacLean pointed out. “Bear in mind that India is the
largest consumer of whisky in the world by a long chalk — 70 million
cases per annum; global sales of Scotch amount to a mere 85.5 million
cases. All but less that one per cent of the whisky drunk in India is
locally made.”

The regulations of most nations do not agree that it can be called
whisky – and every legal definition of the countries which do not allow the India spirit to be imported dictate that whisky is a
distillate made from grains.

The sun never sets…

Mr. Mallya has made a ridiculous correlation between the SWA’s protection of the Scottish Whisky industry and 19th century "British imperialism".

"This imposition of British imperialism is
unacceptable," Mr Mallya was quoted as saying last year. "The SWA has
to understand there are two sides to the coin. They have double
standards. I will continue to oppose SWA coming to India until they
allow us to sell in England and Scotland."

The SWA has NO desire to "go to India" they simply want to allow Scotch whisky to have a fair shot at being sold in Asia. Campbell Evans’ quote from yesterday’s story was on the money:

"This is often dressed up as an issue
for the Scottish industry, but there are 70 countries around the world
that have legal definitions that whisky be made from cereals.

If you’ve read The Scotch Blog in the past, you’ll know that I
appreciate what the SWA does on many fronts, and I disagree with them
on as many. On this one, I am 150% behind them.

Fallout?

If you thought the saga of the purchase of W&M was interesting, wait until the
purchase actually happens – which according to sources will (barring last-minute problems) be announced
tomorrow in Glasgow for somewhere around £610m.

Will Mallya withdraw Whyte & Mackay as an SWA member? Will the SWA extend an olive branch – by way of a council seat to Mallya? Will there be a talent flight from W&M?


<UPDATE 2: When
a member company’s ownership changes, under SWA rules, that company
ceases to be a member of the Association.  Anyone who is a distiller,
bottler, or blender of Scotch Whisky, who is prepared to sign up to the
terms of membership, can apply to join.>


Two things are for sure.

  1. Resumes are being freshened up at Dalmore House, and
  2. Willie Tait and Richard Paterson will be told not to talk to me anymore :).

NYT – Stupid, Ignorant or just plain Arrogant?

On Sunday August 20th 3006, Sunday’s New York Times, a media institution which I’ve taken to task several times*  featured a story about Venezuela entitled "Venezuela’s Cup Runs Over, and the Scotch Whiskey Flows". The story included numerous misspellings of "whisky". Here is but a sample…

Scotch whiskey holds a rarefied place in the collective psyche of
this status-obsessed country of 26 million. Per capita consumption
outstrips that in relatively prosperous neighbors like Brazil and
Argentina. Venezuelans, both young and old, often drink Scotch over a
leisurely lunch, at family gatherings, at nightclubs, or as an
aperitif, their ice-clinking glasses filled to the rim.

“Scotch
whiskey has a mystique for Venezuelans that is unmatched by any other
drink.”

Continue Reading >>

Just because you keep saying it, it doesn't make it true…

Now here is a silly little story, full of hyperbole and wishful thinking: India beats US to become world’s largest whisky market

Where to begin?

For scots, the problem with
Indian whiskies just got bigger. India has quietly emerged as the largest
international whisky market, toppling the US by volume.

In order to be the top whisky market, the market has to be purchasing whisky. But the definition of every whisky producing country (with the exception of India) is that whisky is an alcoholic beverage distilled from grain.*

Indian "whisky" is distilled from molasses – the article acknowledges this:

Indian whiskies, 
non-matured alcohols mostly made from molasses, and hence not considered whisky
by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)…

I’ve never understood the insistence of taking a beverage that is essentially rum**, and calling it whisky. And then complaining that Indian "whisky" is being kept out of the export markets. Why not simply call it "rum" and sell it freely?


Indian whiskies account for 98% of domestic whisky consumption,
reporting 8-10% growth annually, which makes it one among the fastest growing
whisky markets anywhere in the world.

No it does not! It makes India the fastest growing market for Indian molasses rum.


India’s emergence
as the top whisky market comes at a time when it has alleged that EU and SWA, in
particular, have been building non-trade barriers on definitional issues to keep
Indian whiskies out of the global market. Besides the domestic market, Indian
whiskies sell mostly in the Middle East and in some other Asian markets, but has
no market access to the mature markets in the West.

"Definitional barriers". I love that.

I can take crack cocaine and call it rock candy – but that doesn’t mean I can sell it in candy stores.


However, voices on the side of the Scotch
industry tended to play down India’s ranking as the largest international
whisky market. As expected, they qualified the domestic market, citing the
definitional problems pertaining to Indian whiskies.

Ya think?
————————————-
From the US Code of Federal Regulations Title 27, Part 5, §5.22 – The standards of identity:

* (b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic
distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190°
proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma,
and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak
containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled
at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such
distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

** (f) Class 6; rum. “Rum” is an alcoholic
distillate from the fermented juice of sugar cane, sugar cane syrup,
sugar cane molasses, or other sugar cane by-products, produced at less
than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste,
aroma and characteristics generally attributed to rum, and bottled at
not less than 80° proof; and also includes mixtures solely of such
distillates.

Huh????

Johnnie Walker Honored as Wine Enthusiast’s 2005 Distiller of the Year!!!

That is GREAT news! My favorite distillery in the entire world is the little-known Johnnie Walker Distillery. Since you may not be familiar with it, the distillery is nestled in a beautiful, pristine valley on Tiree, one of the most lovely Hebridean Islands you’ll ever visit.

The distillery has been owned and run by the same family for over 15 generations. Johnnie Walker (the 12th) is the Master Distiller for this wonderful non-peated Islay-inspired, Lowlandish, Speysider. He grows all of his own barley on his one-acre farm, which he malts, mashes and ferments by himself in a very large machine of his own design. He uses only Evian water, imported from France, for the production process and dilution.

He only produces one cask at a time, and ages each of these precious containers individually for 10 years by perching atop the cask like a mother hen. His wife of 43 years, Marybeth, fills and hand labels each bottle (she also runs the small visitor center).

The bottles are then gently swaddled in rare Cambodian silk, and then lovingly placed in a custom-made gold-hinged box constructed of petrified wood. His aged grandfather "Chuck" Walker then swims to the mainland and walks to Edinburgh where he hand-delivers each bottle to Royal Mile Whiskies – the sole purveyor of the line.

Said Johnnie Walker when informed of the distillery’s award as "Distiller of the Year":

I am absolutely ecstatic that someone has finally recognized this small family-owned  distillery.

We are even more excited that it is that well-known whisky-oriented periodical "Wine Enthusiast."

For some unknown reason, the rest of the world believes that Johnnie Walker is a blended product. Which is simply NOT true.

Our line of Single Malts – which we refer to as "Red", "Black", "Gold" & our brand new, "Blue" (for the budget conscious), are all produced here at the distillery by me, my wife, and our man-servant, Hamish.

We also recently introduced a raspberry-infused cream bourbon, the first legally produced outside of the US, which we call "Green" because of it’s chartreuse color.

I’d like to thank our public relations agency, the small London-based boutique firm Diageo which is helping us more firmly establish ourselves as an up and comer in the Single Malt world.

Their unending dedication to the simple idea that confusion in the Scotch whisky industry is the single biggest blight on the planet – their never-ending fight to make sure consumers are not confused between what is a Single Malt Scotch and what is a blend.

It is through their work alone that the world now knows that we are, in fact a distiller, and not a producer of something so pedestrian as a "blend."

————————————————————————————-

Of course, the article above is a work of sarcasm. Nothing in the story is true EXCEPT that Wine Enthusiast DID in fact, name Johnnie Walker the "Distiller of the Year." Here are some facts to reduce potential confusion:

  • A blended whisky is created when the single malt whisky of a distillery (and usually multiple distilleries) is mixed with grain whisky.
  • Johnnie Walker is the brand name of a line of blended Scotches owned by Diageo.
  • Johnnie Walker Red purportedly includes 35 different single malts, while Johnnie Walker Black contains 40 different single malts.
  • Unlike Red, Black, Gold & Blue, Johnnie Walker Green is a vatted (or blended) malt and contains no grain whisky. In my estimation, it is a pretty good dram.
  • 150 million bottles of Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch whiskies are sold each year.
  • Johnnie Walker does NOT have a distillery. And if they did it would likely NOT be on Tiree.
  • Diageo is NOT a small London-based Public Relations firm, but is the largest producer of alcoholic beverages in the world with a market capitalization of $44.4 billion and revenues of $12 billion which generates $3.25 billion in profit per year.

Boos and hisses to:

Wine Enthusiast – for either doing zero research, or allowing advertising dollars to sway their votes.

Had they named Johnnie Walker BRAND of the year, or marketer of the year, I’d have had no issues with the award. Had they named Johnnie Walker (any of the labels) the best tasting blend, I may have had issues with their sense of taste.

F. Paul Pacultwho is the Spirits Tasting Director at Wine Enthusiast, and should know better – however I’m starting to wonder if he isn’t also an employee of Diageo. He wrote the original article selecting Johnnie Walker as "Distiller of the Year." He has a long history of writing what I consider to be Diageo "fluff" pieces. (One example of this is discussed in Integrity)

Diageo – Instead of CLARIFYING Wine Enthusiast’s misinformed (easily-swayed?) award granters, and simply turning down this "award" to avoid confusion, Diageo accepts the award and issues a Press Release to tout it. Not only do the attempts to confuse Scotch drinkers continue, now they want to confuse wine drinkers.

Shame on you all.

Read the press release here: Johnnie Walker Honored as Wine Enthusiast’s 2005 Distiller of the Year
Read the Wine Enthusiast article here: Distiller of the Year – Johnnie Walker Dieageo (sic) Ltd.
Here is a snippet from that article:

Innovative marketing successes and institutional pedigree duly noted, the editors of Wine Enthusiast Magazine have named Johnnie Walker Distiller of the Year primarily because of the continued, unwavering quality of the Johnnie Walker portfolio of blended Scotch whiskies. This is true, in particular, with the company’s two “core” offerings, Johnnie Walker Red Label and Johnnie Walker Black Label 12-Year-Old. These two sibling whiskies represent remarkable value, while embodying quality and sophistication. They epitomize why blended Scotch whisky is the world’s most popular kind of whisky.

The company’s triumphant foray into the superpremium and ultrapremium blended Scotch whisky categories, with Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old and Johnnie Walker Blue Label (the latter priced at $190), has bolstered its ranking as the world’s foremost blended Scotch whisky source. The Gold Label has been lauded as one of the top blended Scotch whiskies in the world, while the Blue Label enjoys a reputation of mythic proportions among connoisseurs.

PLEASE NOTE: I want to point out QUITE CLEARLY that I include many of Diageo’s products among my absolute favorites. It’s the Marketing department and their duplicitous tactics which I clearly have issues with.

I’m imploring Diageo to use their leadership position to help clarify, and not confuse the general public about Scotch. I also hereby offer myself to act as their "marketing conscience."

I will only charge them a case of each of the Classic Malts and 2 cases of Guinness per calendar year. Oh, and profit sharing.

——————————————-
Whisky101
I wanted to remind you all of Whisky 101. The base is growing slowly but surely – Registered users include Misako Udo, Author of The Scottish Whisky Distilleries; Ulf Buxrud, a Keeper of the Quaich & Malt Maniac; The Liquor Snob; and we’ve even had a Mark Reynier siting.

Stop by and share your wisdom.

Still looking for moderators, Resident Experts, and of course, people who just want to have a friendly place to discuss Scotch (and maybe even some other adult beverages).

So short, and yet, so wrong

Here’s something that’s sad, yet funny. And made sad and funnier still, by something I’ll reveal in a bit.

The following little snippet appeared in the online version (and appears in the January 23rd print version) of Time Europe.

Life Style Easy Drinking
A round up of the latest rounds. What’s new at the bar for 2006

By Lisa McLauglin

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006
Say goodbye to single-malt snobbery. It’s time to toast the arrival of more approachable — and affordable — blended whiskeys. Scotland’s Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Malt Scotch Whisky blends — the Smokey Peaty One, the Rich Spicy One and the Smooth Sweeter One — are already hits with the 18-to-35-year-old set in Europe.

Now American distillers like Phillips Union are hoping to crack open the U.S. market with vanilla- and cherry-flavored blends.

OK, let’s get started.

  • Don’t know why they switch back and forth between whisky and whiskey spellings.
  • Smooth Sweeter is 70% Irish (Cooley’s) and 30% Scotch (Bunnahabhain) so it isn’t a blended Scotch whisky (much less a "Malt Scotch Whisky blend")
  • Phillips Union does make a line of flavored, blended whiskies, but as it is made in the US, it is certainly not Scotch.
  • What’s so snobbish about Single Malt anyway? Why are blends more approachable. Or affordable for that matter?

ANYWAY
1101051219_400 Ok, that’s a lot of grief I’m giving to a (barely) 2 paragraph piece of filler. BUT (and here is the sad/funnier thing I mentioned earlier) THE SAME EXACT little snippet appeared in the December 19th issue of the US version of TIME magazine.

But here is the kicker…I KNOW FOR A FACT that someone – a person in the Scotch whisky industry – sent a letter to TIME to point out the flaws. I know, because they copied me:

Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 8:15 PM
To: ‘letters@time.com’
Subject: Re: "Your Time" -19th December edition

Last week the venerable Wall Street Journal put its foot in it in a big way with a dreadful and inaccurate article about Scotch Whisky, and now TIME follows suit with the (thankfully) short article by Lisa McLaughlin.

For start, will someone out there please take on board the long established fact that Scotch whisky is not spelled WHISKEY ?  We Scots dispense with the E, while others prefer it (eg. American, and Irish whiskey). TIME displays a penchant for carelessness… in the lead paragraph of the article you use the correct spelling without the E, and then in the lower section headed “Big Spenders” the dreaded E shows up !  I offer my services as an eagle-eyed proofreader at a very modest fee.

While I’m at it, would you kindly explain to me, and the great unwashed out there, why blended Scotch malt whisky is necessarily more approachable and affordable than the far more distinctive single malts that abound ? The world of blended Scotch whisky, a product consisting of a mixture of single malts and grains Scotch whiskies, has been around since time immemorial, and I am at a loss as to why your writer has decreed that a mix of single malts to the exclusion of grain is magically cheaper and/or approachable than single malts, which can be had at prices below $20 and upwards.

While confessing that I have a vested interest in the issue at hand, as one who has had the good fortune to have thus far spent almost thirty years in the Scotch whisky industry, I have to say that I find your assertion that it is time to “…Say goodbye to single-malt snobbery”  (by the way – the hyphen is superfluous) absurd and wholly unsupported by any logical argument. Single malts are thriving in the U.S., consumers are undoubtedly enjoying them as growth in sales of these nectars is running well ahead of growth in blends’ sales, and the plethora of different distilleries’ wares at  prices that cover a wide spectrum which is in many instances at or below the level of many a blended Scotch, attest to the splendour of single malt which is enjoyed by people from all walks of life who harbour no sense of snobbery whatsoever when they imbibe what they simply enjoy.

There is a viable market for blended Scotch whisky (the mix of malts and grains), single malt Scotch whisky, and what we used to refer to as “vatted” malt which is now known as a blend of malts, and your publication does our industry a disservice with ill informed musings of the sort that you have just published.

Yours in some displeasure,

An industry guy I know.

So, these guys write something bad, ignore feedback from an industry person, and then reprint the same wrong stuff one month later. Funny. And sad.