Good whisky blues

I went to a great whisky tasting night at The Whisky Exchange this week and to avoid forgetting everything I thought I’d write down some of the more interesting bits.

It’s widely accepted that there have been three golden ages of whisky; presumably defined by the number of distilleries in operation. The first came in the 1860s as a result of a phylloxera outbreak in France that crippled imports of cognac. The second came in the 1940s after the end of war in Europe. And we’re living in the third now. Indeed there are more distilleries opening now than ever before.

Whisky doesn’t do well in a recession. Which is odd given that alcohol broadly is fairly safe in a recession. I’m guessing that’s just the cheap stuff. During the 1980s the number of distilleries operating in Scotland got down in the the single digits!

I know what you’re thinking, “but we’re in a recession now and supposedly in a golden age too.” They didn’t go into that, but my guess is that distilleries now ship a large quantity of their product overseas.

We tasted some great whisky during the evening. Highlights for me included a 1964 Port Dundas which had a sweetness to it that made it feel like a distant relative of a rye or bourbon. Also 30 year old Brora which had a really delicate peatyness, apparently that particular distillery doesn’t make a bad bottle so you might one to try and pick one up. Expect a bit of a challenge though, as all the distilleries from the nights tasting have since gone out of business. It was a night of “Lost Distilleries” after all!

Try and get yourself down to one of their tastings, and in the meantime enjoy Good Whisky Blues from the aptly name Peetie Wheatstraw.

UPDATE: Here are the tasting notes from the evening.

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My name is Dan, I'm a product manager and entrepreneur living and working in London. Check out my blog archive or read more about me.