Say Hello To Neil MacKinnon

Since starting this blog in it's current format almost two years ago, in May 2013, it has taken over my life; I post regular new updates, reviews, tours, new releases and the occasional (too occasional) opinion piece and my backlog of work for the blog is getting rediculous; over 90 whiskies still to review at last count.

With that in mind, and after an odd conversation about guest reviews, Neil MacKinnon (@neilmackinnon1) has agreed to come on board here at Toms Whisky Reviews. Neil will be joining me as a regular contributor posting reviews of whiskies, and maybe other drinks, along with his own tour notes, news and opinions.

To make it easy each article will be identified, down near the bottom, as to who wrote it. In the meantime here's a little bit of background about Neil himself.

Here is a little insight to me and how I have come to this part of my journey.

I am from Glasgow and live in Glasgow, I love whisky that will help, but like many Scottish citizens I grew up with whisky being around me, my impression was whisky was an old mans drink that had varied consequences. In my family my dad and mum would have friends round and end up singing to Calum Kennedy records and I would on the occasion go round and have a sneaky smell of this drink that was kept in a cabinet which was strictly out of bounds.

My first impression was of dislike as with most alcohol and how on earth could my dad drink it. My dad had a small connection to the whisky industry working for a shipping company that exported whisky to Japan, on occasion on holidays I would be a work buddy for the day and travel to several whisky companies sitting waiting on my dad to finish business, Ballantine's was always a favourite due to seeing the geese guard the Bonded Warehouse.

I also enjoyed several family holidays to Islay as my mum had relatives from there so this was where I had my first tour of a distillery which now looking back is probably not a bad place to start. As I got older my Dad started to discuss whisky with me about blends and malts, he enjoyed generally a Hauf and a Hauf which always made me laugh. When he finished his whisky he would get every last drop out by adding it to his half pint of beer so not to waste any, and that was just a blended whisky. His favourite malt was Macallan 10 he would pour me a generous glass and discussed how to enjoy the flavours and how it would change with adding water, and that's where I accepted whisky as being an enjoyable drink.

My life would later take me to Campbeltown where I worked in the Ardshiel Hotel which has an award winning whisky bar with over 500 different whiskies available. I met a lot of whisky enthusiasts from around the world on their pilgrimages to visit Springbank and Islay. I learnt a lot about whisky from people outwith the UK and was amazed by the knowledge that these people had about casks, bottling's and distillers which was an education to me and something a lot of people in Scotland don't know.I was surrounded by fantastic whisky and fantastic friendly people from Springbank and Glen Scotia who were always too happy to show me around or answer any question I would have. Glen Scotia even allowed me to help or get in the way of production which was fantastic. I started Campbeltown's first whisky club where I did all the presentations and sourced all the whisky and my true love of whisky was now well established.

I found whisky on twitter after meeting Joel and Neil from Caskstrength in Campbeltown and then Tom, I love the whisky fabric on Twitter and look forward to contributing my small insight to this fantastic product we all love.

Tom, Neil, Jan
Tom, Neil and Jan Beckers @ Douglas Laing August 2013

I'm really looking forward to what the years ahead will hold and i hope you welcome Neil along with open arms.