Words by: Ian Cameron
Dave Broom: the Glasgow-born, Hove-based self-professed spirits geek has collaborated on 15 books and recently added the title of Drinks Writer of the Year at the CLASS Awards 2011 to a mantelpiece already stacked with gongs.
My love for spirits comes from my upbringing - an uncle in the sherry and whisky trade- but it also has its genesis in a period when I also wrote about wine and seeing how under-appreciated and misunderstood spirits were. So, there's a natural proclivity and a burning Scottish desire to right a perceived wrong.
It continues to drive me because every glass reveals something new and exciting, because there are people always wanting to learn, because I know that even after a couple of decades of writing I know so little.
Though friends might say a life in drink was inevitable for me, I've never had a career plan and pinch myself every day as to what my 'job' is. I aimed to write about music and have ended up listening to it and travelling the world imbibing.
I'd rate my personal level of geekiness as 'über-geek' but hopefully with a sense of humour and a desire to see spirits in a wider context. The depths it plumbs to include olfaction and cognition and, currently, the aromatic development of degraded esters during long-term maturation.
What's interesting me the most currently is gin's continued development. It's fascinating, and the renaissance of Irish whiskey too, in all its forms, is wonderful to see. Blended Scotch is due a major re-evaluation in the UK as well.
In my opinion, the best spirit releases of 2011 are the new range of single pot still whiskeys from Irish Distillers. These are the motherlode of Irish whiskey, the style which created the category in the 19th century and, finally, they are back.
I don't think we are reaching a limit to the ways distillers and blenders can create distinctive and new products, but I do think (or rather, hope) that we are reaching the limit as to how many contrived products are out there.
If there's one thing that I think is a step too far in the world of spirits production, it's the adulteration of any spirit to make it seem like something which it isn't. For example, the use of boise/wood chips to give an impression of age, or dosing with sugar and other additives. Cognac was bad, now rum is the major culprit.
I would love to know more about tequila. Never been to Mexico. Hint!
Me in five words: A Glaswegian, paid to drink.