Irish whiskey is resurgent, but are some of the new companies being economical with the truth?
I’m reading a remarkable book about trees. It’s called The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, and is one of those volumes that makes you view what you think is a familiar and known world in a completely new manner. You realise, in fact, that everything you thought about the natural world was too simplistic – or just plain wrong.
A new path: It’s time for Scotchwhisky.com to explore other styles of whisky
Wohlleben’s opening premise is that ‘a tree isn’t a forest’, which seems pretty self-evident. We all know that lots of trees are a forest. He develops his argument – backed-up by rigorous science – to show that a forest is a not a collection of individual trees, but a complex interdependent system in which the trees help each other, communicate together, and even nurse sickly members of the community. They work together in ways which are quite extraordinary.
As he writes:
‘If every tree were looking out only for itself then quite a few would never reach old age... Every tree therefore is valuable to the whole community.’
That got me thinking about whisky. In our increasingly compartmentalised world, we tend to see Scotch as one thing, Irish as another, etc. From a whisky production point of view this is a good thing.
Each needs to be as distinct as a beech is from a birch, or an oak is from a pine – but that doesn’t mean each ‘species’ of whisky stands alone and apart from the others of its genus.
Like the trees, they refer to each other and are part of one greater organism. Separating them and thinking one is better (rather than just different) from another eliminates any chance to compare and contrast, and have perspective.
Which in turn brings us to Scotchwhisky.com. Not to write about other whiskies, producers, styles and approaches would be a dereliction of duty. Most of you will have some Japanese or Bourbon or Irish sitting at home. Should we write about them? Yes. And we will.
Yes, we are still called Scotchwhisky.com and Scotch will remain the primary focus for the site, but it is time to widen the remit and write about everything that is happening out there in the world of whisky.
It’s time for us to walk in the forest and see what we find.
- The truth about peated whisky and phenols
- Ardbeg Twenty Something marks dark days
- Bourbon takes 2018 Whisky Bible crown
- Dalmore sells £1m Paterson Collection
- Does it matter where whisky is matured?
- Glengoyne 30 Year Old earns limited release
- Whisky baubles released for Christmas
- New whisky reviews: Batch 119
- Midleton Very Rare: a retrospective
- Glen Keith distillery releases single malt
The debate 22 June 2017
As the Irish whiskey boom continues, will pot still ever challenge single malt Scotch?
Features 16 March 2016
Dave Broom picks apart Scotch and Irish whiskey’s close relationship in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
Features 16 March 2017
New distilleries are coming thick and fast, and there’s still plenty of room for more.
Ask the professor 23 March 2016
The Whisky Professor tackles triple distillation in answer to another reader question.