Charles Maclean MBE on whisky 'flippers', Port Ellen rebirth, blends, Tasmanian whisky & more

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In more than 40 years of writing about whisky, Charles Maclean has achieved global recognition and no shortage of accolades for his work.

He’s a Master of the Quaich – the highest honour in the Scotch whisky industry – and a member of the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame. In fact, he was also its founding editor.

Charles has written 18 books and counting on whisky. His magnum opus, Malt Whisky, was first published in 1997.

It’s been translated into nine languages and was the recipient of a prestigious Glenfiddich award, and his 2003 book Scotch Whisky: A Liquid History won the James Beard Award for ‘Best Wine and Spirits Book.’

And in June 2021 his services to Scotch whisky were further recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Charles was appointed as an MBE – a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

So, stay with me this episode as Charles and I discuss some of his career highlights, his love/hate relationship with writing, and what it’s like to taste ultra-aged whiskies retailing at more than $100,000 a bottle.

He shares his insights on the age-old debate of blends vs single malts, the resurrection of the legendary Brora and Port Ellen Scotch whisky distilleries, and his opinion on Tasmanian whisky, after visiting in 2019.

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