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Whisky Magazine Apr 2021

Calling all whisky enthusiasts! A subscription to Whisky Magazine is the perfect choice for those looking for the finest and rarest malts and blends. Discover everything from little known (but very special) local whiskies and award winning distilleries, to what dram pairs best with your favourite food. It’s guaranteed to get your nose twitching and taste buds tingling. Packed with regular tasting notes from our whisky masters, in-depth interviews with the leading whisky experts, behind the scene tours of distilleries, a subscription to Whisky Magazine will be your ideal drinking companion.

United States
Paragraph Publishing
SPECIAL: Save 40% on your subscription!
8 Issues

in this issue

3 min
the science of whisky

It is a strange thing how two quite separate ideas can coexist peacefully in one’s mind, never coming into contact until circumstance causes them to collide. On one hand, we are taught to revere the historic art of whisky making, based on intuition, tradition and experience. On the other, that data, hard facts and rigorous assessment is the only true basis upon which any decision should be made. Hearing stories about old customs and time-honoured practices make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, the adult equivalent of a bedtime story. “But why are things done that way?” we ask the distiller manager in earnest. Because that’s the way it was done by the last generation and the generation before that, we are told with a knowing smile. “That’s just the way it…

2 min
light on the horizon

With restrictions still making it challenging to hold live events, some of our Whisky Live organisers have begun to look at alternative options and the UK show, Whisky Live London, will run once again in 2021 as Whisky Live At Home. Following the resounding success of the 2020 ‘at home’ show, the UK team have been delighted by ticket holders’ excellent engagement with the online content, which was composed of more than 15 hours of video interviews, and the outpouring of positive feedback on social media. The team will continue to work with our partners around the world and explore whether it may be possible to deliver a similar experience outside of the UK. Furthermore, with restrictions easing in some countries and a path to post-pandemic life beginning to become…

3 min
to science!

Julian P. ‘Pappy’ Van Winkle was famous for his disdain for chemists. There is a photo of him at the distillery he owned, Stitzel-Weller, standing next to a sign that proclaimed: No Chemists Allowed! The feeling among a lot of the original folks in the post-regulation industrial days of distilling, particularly in Kentucky, was that they didn’t need a scientist telling them what they already knew. Decades before Julian Van Winkle was on the scene, Oscar Pepper hired James Crow as a distiller, who set about modernising the sanitation practices of distilling. Crow was said to have been university educated back in Scotland, but there is evidence he may have learned by sitting in the pub after the university’s classes let out and buying drinks for anyone willing to share the…

3 min
by the numbers

The news certainly wasn’t great, but it was less harrowing than I expected. In late January, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) held its annual economic briefing – virtually, obviously. I always look forward to this winter gathering, one of the rare opportunities lifestyle writers like me have to mingle with business journalists and stock analysts. It’s sort of like talking about movies with people who watch them for their technical merits, instead of with my fellow liberal-arts types who home in on characters and plotlines. I’ve attended the annual briefing for about a decade and every year the story plays out vaguely the same: revenues grow, but not because people are drinking more, they’re drinking better. Lesser-recognised categories can grow exponentially. Irish whiskey became the gold standard…

3 min
antediluvian whisky

Who distilled the first whisky? We know distilling began in Mesopotamia, where beer was the omnipresent alcoholic beverage and a seminal product of the Neolithic agricultural revolution. The brewing of beer started more than 13,000 years ago in the Middle East. The first distillation of beer, spiritus frumenti, likely began 6,000 years ago when the first earthenware stills appeared during the late Ubaid and Uruk period. Several millennia before Europeans started distilling beer and the Gaelic word for water, ‘uisge’, entered the Irish and Scottish vocabularies – finally Anglicised into ‘whisky’ by the early 18th century – antediluvian whisky appeared in the Middle East. Dating from 3,500 BCE, archaeological discoveries at Tepe Gawra in Iraq found clay pot stills incorporating rims to channel the condensed distillate, mounted by a Rosenhut-style head…

9 min
the peat provenance mystery

Long ago and far away, when distillery tours and live whisky tastings were common, a question could often be heard at events where peated whisky was served: “What’s the PPM of this one?” Curious whisky fans asking this question were searching for the fixed number of phenolic ‘parts per million’ (PPM) that’s often quoted by brand reps and industry figures which, in theory, determines on a sliding scale the level of peat in a whisky. These fans have made the assumption – encouraged by the whisky industry – that the higher the PPM number, the more ‘peaty’ aromas and flavours will be found in the spirit. By this logic, more peat equals more phenols which therefore equals more smoky aromas and flavours in the glass. The light peat of Benromach, for…