Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Magazine article The Spectator

Drink: Bruce Anderson

Article excerpt

A long-standing friend of mine is a lucky fellow. He has spent his career doing exactly what he was born to do: befriending the human race. An inspired philanthropist, he has done more to help mankind than most aid agencies and NGOs put together. His name is Andrew Smith and he has devoted his career to selling whisky. Whisky and freedom gang the gither: whisky and all good things go together.

Andrew spent many years working for Brown-Forman, an admirably well-run American family company. Family members who wish to join the firm have to possess two degrees and to have proved themselves working for another outfit. Brown-Forman is probably best known for Jack Daniel's, a Tennessee whisky which sells very well, all across the world.

That is helpful. The danger is that as a result of Andrew's and other similar characters' efforts, an increasing proportion of the globe will develop a taste for true whisky, from the Scottish highlands. But there are only so many streams and glens: only so much peat. Already, the pressure on resources has led to a steady increase in prices, which can only get worse.

This is where Jack Daniel's is so useful. To be fair, that famous brand works well in mint juleps or a Tom Collins. It could no doubt be used to make toddy. On its own, however, it requires ice to be palatable. That is a giveaway. Any whisky which needs ice is not a proper one. Equally, anyone who puts ice in real whisky is an ecological vandal; almost as bad as adding Coca-Cola. But Jack Daniel's is a perfect dram for women, children and Americans. The more they drink of it, the less the danger that they will find their way to the glories of malt. So we should all raise a toast to Jack Daniel's. Lang may its lum reek.

As one might expect from his philanthropic endeavours, Andrew is a Scotsman. But he has one characteristic often associated with the south British. …

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