TALKING HEADS
Published:  11 July, 2008

Philip

Shorten

Milroy's of Soho

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London

If you could have three wishes to improve your working day, what would they be?

No black cab drivers cutting me up as I cycle into work, no newspaper headlines taking us (deeper?) into a recession, and no annoying sales calls.

What are the most underrated and overrated whiskies in the UK market?

Few whiskies are overrated - it depends on personal taste and some are more popular than others. Fine Bourbons are sadly overlooked by many Scotch whisky drinkers, as are the best Irish whiskies.

How do you deal with irritating customers?

Grin and bear it - it goes with the territory.

We all have our bad days.

If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do with it?

If not sleeping, perhaps doing the things I would like to do but don't get the time, like reading the paper cover to cover, enjoying a quiet walk in the park, surfing the net - the important things in life.

What's the most unusual thing you've ever done in your job?

An enraged customer once returned a half-full bottle of sloe gin. After slamming it on the counter, he complained that at 26% abv it was way too light. Odd, if not necessarily unusual.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise your friends?

I really do have a sensitive side ...

After a hard day's work, what drink do you kick back and relax with?

At the moment, Glenlivet Nadurra or Longrow 7 Year Old.

If its been a really bad day, Aberlour A'bunadh, neat.

Which drinks retailer do you most admire?

There are many good drinks merchants in the UK, some of which I buy from. I live down the road from the Philglas & Swiggot in Battersea and enjoy surveying their shelves .

If money was no object, which whisky would you jump at buying?

I rather liked a Glengoyne 1969 36 Year Old released a couple of years ago for 395 a bottle. It's sadly all gone now. If not, Talisker 25 Year Old, a veritable tour de force.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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