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#418

A WORD WITH DAVE BROOM

20 Oct 2016 By

What’s better than whiskies at Whisky Live 2016? Legendary booze writer Dave Broom at Whisky Live.

Dave Broom at Whisky Live makes complete sense. He is one of the most prolific whisky writers in the global scene; a regularly contributor to a host of international titles. His primary journalistic platform is Whisky Magazine and its international subsidiaries but he is also a regular contributor to Malt Advocate, Imbibe and other publications. Broom also travels the world to offer whisky masterclasses at whisky festivals, and will be in Singapore at Whisky Live 2016 (12-13 Nov) to do so as well.

We managed to score some interview time with him, and there are still a feeeeeeew masterclass slots left if you want to book a spot.

dave broom whisky live 2016

There are a number of distilleries in Islay that do not age their barrels on the island, but on mainland once it has been distilled. (Caol Ila e.g.) What’s your take on this?

It’s true that most Islay-distilled spirit leaves the island, but if it was all stored there the entire island would be covered in warehouses! There are good reasons for shipping it off the island. 90% of Scotch whisky is blended and, for logistical purposes, it makes more sense to store it close to the blending houses and bottling plants. The other important thing to remember is that Scotland as a whole has a maritime climate. The conditions in Glasgow are not too dissimilar to those on Islay.

How much of the natural climate do you think affects barrels (and its spirits) in the warehouse?

Undoubtedly climatic conditions: temperature and humidity have an effect on how a whisky matures. It will dictate how the cask breathes and as a result how the spirit’s flavours interact with the flavours coming from the oak. As I said above though, while there’s a massive difference between a whisky matured in Taiwan (or Kentucky) and one in Scotland, there won’t be a massive changes between different parts of Scotland itself. Scotland’s climate is not one of extremes – it’s always cool!

If the above mentioned Islay whiskies are aged in mainland Scotland, then it’s missing Islay’s salty mists and cold wet winters, is it then still considered an “Islay” whisky per se if it hasn’t spent much time in Islay?

It is distilled on Islay and that’s what’s important. The salty/mineral element which you often find is present in the new make whisky. The smoke comes from Islay’s peat. It is the distillery which matters. It is how the spirit is mashed, fermented and distilled which gives it that bedrock of flavour which is then added to in maturation.

Having said that, I am convinced that the unique conditions in Bowmore’s No.1 Vaults, which form part of the sea wall of the town will have an impact on the whisky lying there. In other words, you can never discount anything in whisky!

sunset in Skye

Sunset in Skye, where Talisker is. Yes, this view is for real!

What’s the first single malt that converted you into an evangelist? (Your “a-ha” moment)

Drinking Talisker 8 years old in the back of a car in the far North of Scotland. I looked at the landscape and realised that this whisky was a distillate of place and people.

What’s the single malt you’d want to be buried with?

That sounds like a threat!

Which distillery visit is your favourite?

All the distilleries which welcome visitors do an exceptional job in informing, educating and entertaining, no matter if you are a beginner or a connoisseur. Go round a distillery and you will feel the love and pride that the people working there have for the whisky they make. In other words, you can be guaranteed a good time at them all.

It’s impossible to reduce Scotch whisky to a favourite. There are 115 distilleries in Scotland alone, there’s probably 2,500 – 3,000 bottlings on the market at any time. The joy of Scotch is its diversity – there’s Irish, Japanese, American, Canadian and many, many more.

Whisky Live 2016

Whisky Live 2016, 12-13 November. Capella Hotel Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island.

Get your tickets here.

Like this? We visited Islay – here’s what happened

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