DIgestif Blog

on 30 May, 2014

Another one of those low key informal briefings this time revolving around the new Johnnie Walker expression: John Walker Private Collection 2014. As has become customary, held in London’s Soho, officiated over by Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan and in the hot seat a jet and train-lagged master distiller, Jim Beveridge.

on 27 May, 2014

As the Scottish referendum looms, Patience Gould ponders the possible fate of the scotch whisky industry if EU membership is lost

on 15 May, 2014

It’s hard to know what Diageo is really thinking. But sat at the trade tasting of Haig Club in London yesterday, I had a glimpse into its inner workings.

on 12 May, 2014

Hamish Smith was at The Distillers City Debate, where the future of rum was the topic of discussion

Peter Holland explains how rum, above all other categories, is vulnerable to mis-labelling

on 01 May, 2014

Patience Gould was unsure about Diageo’s latest approach to Scotch marketing, but is coming round to David Beckham and blue bottles

on 09 April, 2014

Gruppo Campari has become a major force in the global drinks industry. Patience Gould looks back on its humble beginnings

on 27 March, 2014
J&B Urban Honey

The flags of war are unfurled and hoisted, and the powerhouses of the spirits industry have readied their infantry. The battle of Flavoured Scotch can now begin.

on 11 March, 2014

Last night in London kilts and headdresses collided as two very distinct worlds united. It’s hard to imagine there has ever been a more amusingly incongruous marriage than Scotland and Brazil.

on 14 March, 2014

Patience Gould has been following the fortunes of the drinks giants – and of the countries where they seek those fortunes

on 18 February, 2014

The Pernod Ricard team were in London today (February 18) to flesh on the bones for their half year interim results which were announced last week.

on 31 January, 2014

Playing the numbers game Diageo’s interim results for the six months to December 31 which were reported yesterday (January 30), make bleak reading.

on 24 January, 2014

Patience Gould charts the ups and downs of Whyte & Mackay as the distiller once more goes on the market

on 03 January, 2014

There’s been a shift in the way drinks are marketed. Patience Gould looks at the new worthy contenders

on 13 December, 2013

Jan Konetzki, head sommelier at several Gordon Ramsay restaurants, has outlined the dos and don’ts of pitching wine to sommeliers.

on 10 December, 2013

A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.

on 04 December, 2013

Last night (Tuesday December 3), I attended a tasting of Balblair vintages. We tasted five whiskies, 2003, 1997, 1990, 1983 and 1969, prefaced by a glass of Balblair’s base spirit.

on 28 November, 2013

I have just returned from the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of Havana Club International. Standing in a huge hall with more than 1,000 people – mostly employees but also people associated with the company and the eponymous Cuban rum brand – it became obvious what a force for good an alcoholic drinks brand can be.

on 02 October, 2013

Last night I was at the London Gin Summit, which, contrary to its lofty title, was a relatively low-key meeting of drinks commentators and producers bound by a common craft, encircled by a common road (...the M25). The premise for the summit was the question: ‘should London-distilled gin be protected?’ and this is what happened... 

on 01 October, 2013

Steffin Oghene talks tequila at El Fortaleza, one of the distilleries visited on a tour of the region

on 05 August, 2013
Ardbeg Half Marathon

Brokeback Mountain: Ardbeg runners show the love for Saddle [sic] whose back hampered progresss over Islay's hills 

on 02 August, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould takes a look at the great age debate that’s aging in the whisky sector.  

on 31 July, 2013

Listening to BBC Radio 4 this morning (July 31), I heard the voice of the new chief executive of Diageo. Ivan Menezes coped well with the busy, bustling questions from the Beeb’s city correspondent in the minute or so allotted to the interview.

on 21 June, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould enjoys cocktail innovation from Cognac and Japan

on 20 June, 2013

You don’t often go to a whisky tasting and get given raspberry sorbet, half way through.  Sniffing strawberry and getting a vanilla stick stuck up your nose, isn’t common either.

on 29 May, 2013

Standing listening last night to The Macallan’s brand ambassador, Joy Elliot, who was conducting a tasting of the new 1824 Series at the Whisky Shop in London’s Piccadilly, I could not resist a feeling of déjà vu.

on 26 April, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould gets a bee in her bonnet about honeyed whiskies

on 26 April, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould finds the trend for reducing alcoholic strength can compromise the spirit

on 26 April, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould ponders Diageo’s approach to gin as it follows the flavoured route

on 26 April, 2013

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould looks at the wacky world of flavoured drinks as Baileys nears 40

on 08 February, 2013

I vividly recall a conversation, over lunch, with a one-time publisher, who will remain nameless, and my utter astonishment when he pronounced that, up until said lunch, he had always thought blended whisky was a mix of different malt whiskies...

on 30 November, 2012

In the doorway in the soft, Mexican early afternoon, sitting on the floor against the wall is a figure that in most other settings is a pariah. He is a Mexican man with down syndrome. In this place he is accepted, welcome as is everyone. I am again in La Capilla.

on 05 October, 2012

Last night Indian whisky producer, John Distilleries, unveiled its first single cask whisky in London recently.

on 03 August, 2012

There’s something quite transfixing – almost hypnotic – when it comes to looking at the latest brand figures for spirits around the world. You cannot stop. More particularly so as there seems to be so much cause for celebration in the 2011 round-up. There’s Johnnie Walker scotch whisky on an incredible 18 million cases; the Irish whiskey Jameson’s posting a 20%-plus increase and now nudging the 4 million case-mark, well I could go on, and on. But one result has really warmed the cockles of my heart – and that’s William Grant’s single malt scotch whisky Glenfiddich.

on 30 July, 2012

It’s been something of a month in gin terms. It kicked off with the International Spirits Challenge gin tasting. Chaired by Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne this was indeed something of a ‘challenge’, with no fewer than 58 gins to slurp, taste and rate...

on 03 May, 2012

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould is puzzled by scotch that’s marketed to women like perfume

on 18 January, 2012

Last night I went to Boisdale, that well known London haunt for whisky, cigar and red meat lovers, for the launch of The Balvenie Craftsman's Reserve No1, The Cooper...

on 03 January, 2012

I am being followed. Right now. By hundreds – well about a hundred – people. I haven’t gone mad, I’ve got a Twitter account...

on 10 May, 2013

I became an honorary Gin Rectifier last night (May 9). I took an oath and now I am duty bound to promote the best interests of gin.

on 09 May, 2013

I went to two whisky launches yesterday (May 8) – Bacardi’s Glen Deveron, the Royal Burgh Collection and Pernod Ricard/Chivas Brothers’ The Glenlivet Alpha. Both interesting for different reasons and very much a case of ‘chalk & cheese’ when it comes to the brand and what they are doing with it.

on 07 May, 2013

So, London Wine Fair organisers have bowed to the inevitable and announced that the new UK-only show will return to Olympia in 2014. It was always a bit of a gamble shifting the old war horse out to London Docklands, even if it was to a purpose-built exhibition complex.

on 03 May, 2013

I attended the Worshipful Company of Distillers’ City Debate on Gin last night. I have to say I think it was an opportunity missed.

on 30 April, 2013

Another great food and wine matching event at the Cinnamon Club in London last night (April 29). This time hosted by Wines of Germany with master of wine Jeannie Cho Lee leading the charge for Riesling and Spatburgunder (or Pinot Noir).

on 16 April, 2013

On Monday night I became a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’. For those of you who do not know what that it is, The Keepers of the Quaich is an “exclusive, international community of people recognised for their outstanding commitment to Scotch whisky”.

on 14 February, 2013

Last night (February 13) I sat through another Diageo master class on the art of blending and the importance of blended Scotch Whisky to the overall whisky and spirits market.

on 09 November, 2012

Going to the airport is a generally depressing experience these days. We only do it because either we have to for work, or we’re off on holiday to somewhere far, far better...

on 09 November, 2012

India has huge tax tariffs and a labyrinthine bureaucracy. At the moment most Indian whisky drinkers have to raise a second mortgage to get their hands on a decent bottle of scotch...

on 30 October, 2012

I may be on holiday but that doesn't mean I have stopped sampling and tasting.

on 17 October, 2012

At this time of year, the books start thudding in. This week I got the third tome from whisky man, Dominic Roskrow. Boy, has Dom been a busy boy. The latest is ‘The World’s Best Whiskies – 750 Unmissable Drams from Tain to Tokyo’, published by Jacqui Small, price: £20.

on 11 October, 2012

I’ve seen the beginning and the end of a lot of eras. That says it all about ‘King Cocktail’, Dale DeGroff. The great man is in London to co-host ‘The World’s 50 Best Bars’ event which was held in London last night (Oct 10) near Trafalgar Square...

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Private Collection on parade

Another one of those low key informal briefings this time revolving around the new Johnnie Walker expression: John Walker Private Collection 2014.

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