I have been writing on a regular, long term basis for several publications, dating back as far as the early 1990’s for some of them. Included in this august company is Malt Advocate, which started life, as the name would indicate, devoted to all things fermented or distilled from malt, but has since morphed into one of the world’s leading whisky publications, if not THE leading one.
Several months ago, Malt Advocate was purchased by the Shanken Group, publishers of such well-known mags as Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado. I was as surprised as anyone by this development, but recognized it immediately for what it really was: not only an opportunity for my good friends John Hansell and Amy Westlake, the husband-and-wife team behind Malt Advocate, to pocket some well-earned reward for their efforts, but also a chance to take the magazine they still helm to the next level.
With the new issue, they have done just that.
The minute I opened the Spring, 2011, issue, with its 17th Annual Whisky Awards cover, I knew something was different this time out. The pages seem crisper, the colours pop, and the ads, including a few pages for cigars, appear sharper and more vibrant. All in all, graphically speaking, it’s simply a better magazine, and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.
Then, of course, there are the writers and columnists, including such noted scribes as Dave Broom, author of the recent and highly recommended World Atlas of Whisky, the always amusing Terry Sullivan and bourbon whisperer Charles Cowdery, not to mention – ahem! – yours truly.
All of which is to say that if you haven’t picked up the Malt Advocate for a while, you would be well advised to do so now. For about the price of a pint of beer, it offers pretty incredible value.