Welcome to the second issue of the World Whisky Review, which I hope you enjoy as much as the first. I think this issue is bigger and better and takes a big step towards what I want the magazine to be. In this issue there is a greater emphasis on European distilleries, I've added a new, lighter magazine section.
The response to the first issue was overwhelmingly positive, and I want to thank everybody who expressed their view. As usual it was met by one great big silence from my British writing 'colleagues' so we're obviously doing something right!
the rest of the world no longer needs to seek Scottish approval
Two things struck me in the wake of the first issue. The first is that there is a genuine thirst for information on new and unusual world distilleries. Readers across the world have picked up on features on distilleries which they know little about and may never get to experience, but which clearly fascinate them. And on the other side of the same coin there are people in America, Canada, Israel and South Africa who have been able to experience the first wave of new world whiskies and have clearly developed a healthy interest in learning more. It seems our timing is just right, and we're filling a much needed gap in a peripheral niche market.
The second thing I've noticed is how quickly confidence has grown among new world whisky distillers. The general upsurge in demand for whisky has sucked in whisky makers in new territories and they have responded with ever better whisky. What's more they know it. I've been transferring old files on to my new laptop and in the process looking back at features I wrote on world whisky five years ago. There are a lot of them, but they share a general naivety and are, to a degree, patronising because they view the world from a Scotch-centric perspective. There has always been assumption that Scotland sits at the centre of the whisky universe and everyone else has to aspire to be accepted there.
Scotland is, and always will be, the big daddy of whisky, and rightly so. But gone are the days when the rest of the world felt the need to seek Scottish approval. If you're in Sydney then Scotland is out of sight entirely, and in between Australia and the Northern Hemisphere are Asia, China, India, and Africa. Whisky makers across Europe are selling all the whisky they can make in their home territories, so why should they be bothering with the United Kingdon. And why would someone in New Zealand care very much about shipping quantities of new malt to flat lining 'mature' or saturated territories such as the UK when they have a ready made market in Australia or Asia on their doorstep?
One thing that hasn't come as a surprise to me is the overall standard of whisky across the world, or the development on whiskies which taste nothing like Scotch but which are wonderful additions to the world of whisky.
We're on an exciting journey, and the world is our proverbial oyster. With a new book project ahead of me I will be travelling extensively in the New Year, with trips planned to Europe and to Bangalore. Please get in touch with your thoughts, observations and ideas. And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy The World Whisky Review as much as I enjoyed writing it.