Category Archives: Spirits

Booze interview with Ian Buxton

I am delighted and honoured to have Ian Buxton as guest on my blog. His new book, Whiskies Galore: A Tour of Scotland’s Island Distilleries, comes out this month. It’s an idiosyncratic and often very funny stroll around some of … Continue reading

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Arak and a hard place

Last November I was fortunate enough to have dinner in one of Beirut’s best restaurants, Em Sherif, with a group of Lebanese winemakers. There was no menu, they just bring you seemingly endless small dishes such as Kibbeh nayyeh, finely … Continue reading

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Don’t be snobbish about blended whisky

January 25 is Burns Night, Scotland’s annual feast to celebrate its greatest poet, Robert Burns. Whisky is an integral part of the evening, and Burns, a famous whisky lover, has for years proved a useful ambassador for his national drink. … Continue reading

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How to sell Armagnac

WHILE I WAS IN THE Armagnac region in March, a producer (who shall remain nameless) told me: “You British, you used to buy our armagnac, but now not so much.” He shrugged his shoulders as if it was one of … Continue reading

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Is vodka’s highest calling to be tasteless?

This appeared in Harper’s Wine and Spirits magazine earlier this year. It seems like not a day goes by without the launch of a new gin. I thought we’d reached peak gin two years ago but it shows no signs … Continue reading

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The mysteries of distillation

The image above is on the distillery door at Delord in Armagnac. It shows the working of an alambic,  a continuous still used to make the spirit. Continuous in that the wine is constantly pumped in (where it says vin) and … Continue reading

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Armagnac trip

My wife and I have just come back from a trip to Armagnac which was organised by Amanda Garnham (most of these photos are courtesy of her) from the Armagnac marketing board (BNIA). I arrived knowing next to nothing about … Continue reading

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