Private Collection on parade

As we all know whisky buffs are very sniffy about grain. If it isn’t malted barley, it isn’t worth opening. Well, this is another subtle Diageo campaign: the rehabilitation of grain whisky, a recent manifestation of which has been the introduction of Haig Club (the subject of another sort of off the record briefing), a light grain whisky, promoted by no less than David Beckham with a view to enticing younger drinkers to scotch whisky. We wish Diageo and Haig all the best in that difficult mission.

Anyway Beveridge warms to the subject of the role of grain whisky in a blend. “Grain dissolves the shell, like eating a sweet with a sweet centre. The Calculus cask is not very accessible (quite astringent actually) but you add grain and it opens it up.”

All of the samples are 47% abv and the final blend is 46.8% - there’s that 8 again. The final blend is, needless to say, excellent with pronounced smoke but rounded and floral. No rough edges as you would expect from a blend that is going to cost £500 a bottle.

Another fascinating insight into the art of blending as performed by Jim Beveridge and his team. Asked about the 2015 edition, he replies: “It is being worked on as we speak.” He is on the 4.30pm (16.30) train back to Scotland.