In case there’s anyone I haven’t told in person/on Facebook/by email/via carrier pigeon/etc: I’m going to the Islay Festival of Music and Malt this year. If you’re going, you should come and say hello.
While almost every news item that has popped up over the past few months has seemed like an elaborate ruse put together by bored copywriters, 1 April is the day where there is some vague excuse to actually make up a story or two. Here’s 2017’s crop:
It worries me where simple questions can lead. “What is an average bottle of whisky?”, I innocently asked myself recently when the Scotch Whisky Association produced their yearly pre-budget report on how damaging spirits duty is to their industry. While I’m on the fence on lower alcohol duty, and am still working out what I think of Minimum Unit Pricing, I always like to see what the SWA say about the world of whisky, especially when they’re pushing for duty to be lowered in budget. One of this year’s headline numbers was that 79% of the price of an average bottle is now tax. “That sounds like a lot,” I thought to myself, leading inevitably to my earlier question – “What is an average bottle of whisky?”.
In a previous life I lived on the edge of the finance world. Very much on the edge, as I only ever really played with numbers in a naive fashion, ignoring what they meant and focusing on how fun it is to play with numbers. I also rather like Lego. Anyway, after abandoning the world of computers and finance for a world of booze and, well, computers, I started looking back fondly on those numbers and wondered what they meant.
In a recent attempt to find new podcasts to listen to I was pointed at Planet Money, currently towards the top of my lists of favourite listens – short bi-weekly shows explaining what the numbers mean and how finance works. The most recent episode brought up something that got me thinking about booze. It’s title – What’s a Bubble?
This post has been sat, unfinished and many times rewritten for over a year. Sparked off by a conversation on Twitter it was originally about how blended whisky has changed over the years, but as is often the way it spun into something else in my head. Originally I was just trying to be contrary but on further thought I found that I sort of agreed with myself, a situation that I try and avoid as often as possible. With further prodding and poking I’ve realised that my opinion truly lies between that of the whisky geek mainstream and my argumentative internal voice. So, what is the question that my brain asked me? Simple:
Who decides what we drink?
[In which I write about labelling issues that I’ve probably got the wrong end of the stick on]
An issue that’s popped up recently in the whisky blogging/whisky geek world is labelling. It pops up from time to time anyway, but with announcement of Dewar’s Highlander Honey earlier this year, and more recent notice of Knob Creek Smoked Maple, it’s definitely at the forefront of many brains, my own included. As ever, I’m in two minds, so this is an attempt for me to work out what I think.
In recent times I have come in to contact with a number of interesting new ‘products’, all coming from quite different angles but at the same time all focusing on one quite specific part of the drinking experience – water.
Now, water drunk on its own isn’t the sort of thing that I’d consider appropriate for this blog, but over the last couple of months (and also a few years ago) I’ve come across a number of different ‘waters’ pushed towards the whisky drinker, and being the cynical git that I am I thought I’d better put finger to keyboard and records some observations.
Another in a ‘series’ of occasional asides, this time collecting a couple of thoughts and numbers on the UK’s governments’ recent forays into minimum alcohol pricing.