America, Asia, Canada, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, Oceania, UK

The ten homes of whisky

It’s the golden seal every country strives for, to be the home of something… so where are the ten homes of whisky?

You’d probably not to be surprised at the top five.

And so it’s more of a case of shuffling that pack to see who is tops.

The next five though is a bit more surprising.

So on this World Whisky Day join me for a distillery tour.

But do me a favour please, don’t ask about distilling or the mashing process.

It just holds us up on our way to the sampling.

Scotch Wahey

Fergie’s dram: Sir Alex’s bottle in his cabinet near Aberdeen

Scotland: And the reach of Scotch (just whisky in Scotland) became clear when the distillers held a whisky-tasting in Barbados.

Now we can blind you with science and stats… 44 bottles of whisky are exported from Scotland every year.

There are five designated whisky regions… Cambeltown, Highland, Lowland, Speyside and my own fave Islay.

They’re all heavenly and 

But my No.1 is Laphroaig. It’s so peaty, just like a bowl of water in an ashtray but stick with me here.

After all you have tried haggis.

United Nips of America

Mark of a whiskey drinker: Kentuckian Mark, Cath and Mum

USA: And, of course, when the Scots left home they took their whisky and its secrets with them.

And adapted it to the new world of America and went on to produce nectar such as Kentucky’s Woodford Reserve bourbon.

But US whiskey isn’t restricted to the Deep South… branch out to Oregon.

Where Westward Whiskey have released a reimagined single malt for World Whisky Day.

Green, malt and gold

The oul’ sod: The oldest distillery in the world

Ireland: And Teeling only made it into our Barbados tastings.

While Bushmills lays claim to being the oldest distillery in the world, established in 1608.

They were also responsible for the extra ‘e’, well the Irish are the masters of using two words when one will do, and more letters too.

Land of the Rising Suntory

Made in Japan: Suntory

Japan: Now this is a love story that drams are made of.

And is the result of a relationship between a Japanese chemistry student at Glasgow University Masataka Takaretsu and Jessie Roberta Cowan.

Masataka had been dispatched by the Settsu Shuzi liquor company.

A love Suntory if you will.

Maple leaf

We’re in the Club: Canadian Club

Canada: Right, we’re told that Canadian whisky has its origins not in its big Scottish diaspora.

But because the natives, the First Nations, got a taste for what they called the traders’ firewater.

It was a meld of rum and ‘high wine’ which developed into Canadian whisky, of which Canadian Club is the most recognised.

Sikh beatha

Basket of goods: Indians love their whisky

India: Or Sikh of life, my twist on the uisce beatha which is Gaelic for water of life and is what Scots call their favourite drink.

And long may the Indians keep up their love affair with whisky which they have been producing since 1948 since Amrut entered the market.

More than half of all whisky drinkers in the world come from India. 

Wizards of booze

Bonzer: Aussie whiskey

Australia: And we should have come to expect this with our ne’er-do-wells sent over there as convicts.

Specifically Tasmania is whisky haven with the best Aussie whiskies Sullivans Cove, the best Single Malt at the world awards, and Lark based there. 

A Swede whisky

That way, Sweden

Sweden: Now here’s something you don’t get at your local Ikea with your meatballs but should.

Mackmyra was Sweden‘s first distillery and the Swedes got it right first time, winning the First Edition Gold Award in 2013.

The Isle of Tai

Gold standard: Taiwanese whiskey

Taiwan: You see what we’ve done there. Yes, Taiwan‘s connections with the West probably plays its part here.

Kavalan whiskey won the World’s Best Single Malt at the awards in 2015 and the island’s distillery produces 9 million bottles a year. 

Ja beauty

Dram busters: Germans on the whisky

Germany: Now some of us have ripped it up in Germany at the Oktoberfest where it’s lager obviously but also schnapps chasers.

The Germans though are open to everything and they have around 250 distilleries and around 130 of them are focused just on whisky production.

So, on this World Whisky Day a big Slainte to the ten homes of whisky.





America, Countries, Culture, Food & Wine

Oregon and a Gallery of Rogues

I’d miss the flight, stuck in the Westward whiskey tasting room and lounge in Portland Airport, but I’d be happy to… to toast Oregon and its Gallery of rogues.

Our pals at Travel Oregon put on a Happy Hour for us yesterday as they looked forward to opening up their doors again.

Map it out: Oregon

And British Airways are looking at direct flights from London Heathrow to Portland in 2022.

And, of course, provided us with the tools to join in… a hamper with Westward whiskey and Rogue Hazelnut Beer.

Get the picnic glasses out

Now Oregon being The Great Outdoors the locals holster up and throw their Pendleton rugs over their shoulders.

Love is a rug

So when in Portland do like the Portlanders and lay your rug out on an open field and picnic with that other household we’re now allowed to meet.

A word or two about Westward Whiskey… they’re only multi-award winners at last year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Bottle it up: Westward

Founded in 2004, Christian Krogstad came to whiskey from beet and wine.

And when he rocked up there were only three dozen craft distilleries in the US… now Westward are among more than 2,000.

Let ‘Er Buck

As they say (and remember I’m holstered up here albeit with a rug) ‘Let ‘Er Buck’

You old Rogue you PtI

So that’s your whiskey chaser, or the American Whiskey Elevated cocktail, the recipe which they sent ahead), let’s talk beer.

Rogue nation

We have Rogue founder Jack Joyce (and I’m detecting an Irish flavour in his name here) he rented his Ashland premises from Mohava Niemu.

Jack had dropped in out of a snowstorm to Mo’s Chowder in 1989.You old Rogue PtII

By the time he’d left he had rented out her garage and large vacant space to set up Rogue Ales Brew Pub with two stipulations…

To feed the fishermen because they sustain us.

And to put a picture of her naked in a bathtub above their bars as she always wanted to be above a bar.

I’m now off with my Rogue Hazelnut Beer to the tub for a wash and a selfie.

I’ll place my rubber duckies sensitively around me!