Whisky Connoisseur Whisky Connoisseur Wine and Food Diary of Giles MacDonogh

Whisky: The Connoisseur Guide.

Written by Giles MacDonogh

Whisky: The Connoisseur Guide

Written by Giles MacDonogh

For fifteen years or so I had the enviable task of writing about spirits for one of the world’s great newspapers. While I had plenty of rivals working on magazines, there were few people who touched the subject in the national or international press – just me, and occasionally the late and great Michael Jackson in the Independent (I should possibly add – he was the hirsute, corpulent Jackson, alias the ‘Beerhunter,’ as opposed to the svelte, diminutive crooner of the same name).  


I went to Scotland several times a year, but insisted that I saw some of the rarer distilleries on my trips, in return for writing about whiskies pushed by marketing departments. Most of the time I drank tea and broke biscuits with monosyllabic distillery managers, many of whom had been drummed into the business from the merchant navy for no other reason than the fact they knew how to keep a tight ship and patch a leaking boiler: boilers and stills are sister contraptions.


There was very little spin, or indeed information. Most of the time your question elicited a short grunt and a long ‘dunno’. You were lucky if they could put their hands on a bottle of the current release. There was usually one – a 12 or 15-year old. Sometimes there were two: one old (16 or 20), one young (8 or 10). Gordon & MacPhail and some other independent bottlers normally offered a version but none of these other expressions would have been found in the tied distillery.

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Giles MacDonogh

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