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苏格兰威士忌在全球取得成功的秘诀

What is the proper way to drink whisky?
苏格兰威士忌在全球取得成功的秘诀

Scotch whisky often seems shrouded in mystery to the uninitiated.

对外行人来说,苏格兰威士忌似乎有种神秘感。

This image is part of what has made whisky so successful, but it is also a hindrance to the spirit.

这种神秘形象正是威士忌成功的原因之一,但也是一种精神上的自我束缚。

“What I like to do,” says Blair Bowman, “is cut through the myths.” Bowman is a whisky consultant. Someone who, in his own words, is trying to convert people all over the world into whisky fans, one by one. But he has no patience for fusty ideas about how the spirit, which has been distilled since at least the 1400s, should be consumed. The purists’ cardinal rules over whether or not to add ice, what temperature is ideal and whether one category of whisky is superior to another – all can be dispensed with, he says.

威士忌顾问鲍曼(Blair Bowman)说:“我喜欢做的事,就是打破神话。”用他自己的话来说,他就是这样一个人,试图把全世界的人一个一个都变成威士忌迷。但他对在14世纪就开始形成的蒸馏酒,应该如何饮用的刻板想法没有热情。他说,对于纯粹主义者的是否加冰、什么温度是理想温度,以及某种威士忌是否优于另一种威士忌的基本问题都可以免去。

“You should drink it however you want and not let anyone tell you otherwise,” says Bowman, with refreshing nonchalance. One of his own mixtures of choice, for instance, is whisky with ginger beer. A fantastic combination – but he still gets asked in bars now and again if it should be “allowed”.

鲍曼说:“你想怎么喝就怎么喝,不需要别人告诉你。”例如,他自己的选择之一就是威士忌加姜汁啤酒。这是一个奇妙的组合,但他常在酒吧被问到是否应该“允许”这样做。

Few beverages have cultivated the reverence that Scotch whisky has. For some, it’s the very essence of Scotland distilled, matured and poured into a glass. The drink is rich with history, craftsmanship and culture. There’s truth in that – Bowman happily agrees. But there’s another side to Scotch.

很少有饮料像苏格兰威士忌(Scotch whisky)那样令人崇敬。对一些人来说,这正是苏格兰蒸馏、成熟后倒入杯中的精华。这种饮料历史悠久,工艺精湛,有着深厚的文化底蕴。鲍曼认为这是事实,欣然赞同这种说法。但苏格兰威士忌还有另外一面。

It’s also a booming export product that is taking certain foreign markets by storm. In 2018, Scotch whisky exports were worth £4.7bn in total, up nearly 8% on 2017. More than a billion bottles of Scotch were sent overseas that year. And these considerable sales made up 70% of Scotland’s food and drink exports, and 21% of the UK’s as a whole.

它是种不断增长的出口产品,正大量销往国外市场。2018年,苏格兰威士忌出口总额达47亿英镑,比2017年增长近8%。这一年有超过10亿瓶苏格兰威士忌被运往海外。这些可观的销售额占苏格兰食品和饮料出口的70%,占英国食品和饮料出口的21%。

The dominance of the whisky trade in Scotland’s economy is an example of specialisation taken to a fine art. It runs two ways: Scotland’s food and drink industry specialises in the spirit, while whiskies themselves are differentiated depending on the particular region, method or distillery that produced them.

威士忌贸易在苏格兰经济中占据主导地位,这是专业化发展为一门艺术的例子。它有两种运作方式:苏格兰的食品和饮料行业专注于标准统一的烈酒产业,而威士忌本身则根据生产它们的特定区域、方法或酿酒厂而有所区别。

So far, this strategy has been successful for Scotch, but such a high degree of specialisation comes with its own risks. With increasing specialisation, there is also vulnerability. As new markets emerge and tastes evolve, whisky-makers that have crafted a spirit over decades are in a constant race to keep up with the demands of new palates.

到目前为止,这种策略对苏格兰威士忌来说是成功的,但如此高度的专业化也有其自身的风险。专业化程度的提高,也存在脆弱性。随着新市场的出现和口味的变化,几十年来精心打造威士忌的制造商们,也在不断追赶和满足新口味的需求。

Single malt whisky, which is produced entirely at one distillery, is especially prized for its tight connection to a particular place. Single malts make up a smaller share of the Scotch export market than the alternative, blended whisky, but its popularity is growing at a faster rate. The value of global single malt exports rose more than 11% in 2018. Blended whisky export sales also saw a rise, of about 3%.

单一麦芽威士忌,完全是在一家酿酒厂生产的,因其与某个特定地点的紧密联系而备受喜爱。单一麦芽威士忌在苏格兰威士忌出口市场上的份额比混合威士忌要小,但其受欢迎程度却以更快的速度增长。2018年,全球单一麦芽威士忌出口额增长了11%以上。混合威士忌的出口销售额约增长3%。

For those in the industry, single malt represents a golden ticket. Scotch with a strong sense of identity has, it seems, special appeal. Sellers can play on associations with specific distilleries such as those on the western Isle of Islay, for example, where some of the most peated malts are made, giving them a distinct smoky flavour.

对于业内人士来说,单一麦芽威士忌就是一张黄金门票。带有强烈认同感的苏格兰威士忌似乎具有特殊的吸引力。卖家可以利用与特定酿酒厂的联系,比如在伊莱岛(Islay)西部的那些酿酒厂,那里生产的麦芽酒含量最高,有一种独特的烟熏味。

It’s no surprise that Scotch whisky-makers want consumers to feel that the drink sloshing around in their glass has an indelible association with a particular place. It’s considered good for business – the drinker might look to buy the same whisky again and again.

毫无疑问,苏格兰威士忌制造商希望消费者能感受到,在酒杯中晃动的威士忌与某个地方有着不可磨灭的联系。这对销售非常有利,消费者可能会一次又一次购买同一个厂家同样的威士忌。

But the real interest lies in the differences between whiskies. Scotch whisky is genuinely diverse, ranging from rich and dense peat to smooth fruit – even light floweriness in some malts. Consequently, distilleries have found that their whisky may appeal to one emerging market over another, which can be extremely lucrative – if sales take off.

但真正有趣的是威士忌之间的区别。苏格兰威士忌是真正多样化的,从丰富和密集的泥炭到光滑的水果,甚至在一些麦芽中有淡淡的花香。因此,酿酒厂会发现,他们的威士忌可能对某一个新兴市场有吸引力,而不是对另一个,如果销量上升,这可能极其有利可图。

One distillery that has taken this approach is Tamdhu, between Aberdeen and Inverness. The facility was purchased by its present owners in 2012. Here was a brand of whisky, they thought, that had potential for rejuvenation. The sale included whisky already sitting in casks, the great oak barrels in which the spirit is aged. That meant that newly bottled whisky could be quickly sent out to shop shelves as distillation got back up and running.

位于阿伯丁(Aberdeen)和因弗内斯(Inverness)之间的坦杜(Tamdhu)酿酒厂就采用了这种方法。该设施于2012年被现在的所有者收购。他们认为,这是一种有复兴潜力的威士忌品牌。这次收购包括已经装在木桶里的威士忌,即存放酒的大橡木桶。这意味着,随着蒸馏的恢复和运行,新瓶装威士忌可以很快被送到商店货架上销售。

Sandy McIntyre, distillery manager, says Tamdhu is “on the up”. And a big reason for that is a new sales strategy that turns toward Asia.

酒厂经理麦金太尔(Sandy McIntyre)表示,坦杜酒庄的生意“蒸蒸日上”。其中一个重要的原因是面向亚洲的新销售策略。

Tamdhu is in the Speyside region, which has traditionally been associated with fruity, sweet whiskies. Many of the whiskies distilled there are aged in sherry casks and such is the case at Tamdhu. The casks are initially filled with sherry and left to mature for 18 months to two years. That imparts a flavour to the oak itself so that when the casks are later filled with whisky, colour and flavour are in turn transferred into it. Whiskies aged in sherry-seasoned casks are extremely popular in Asia, which makes the region a perfect export target for Tamdhu.

坦杜位于斯佩赛德(Speyside)地区,该地区传统上与水果味、甜味威士忌联系在一起。那里蒸馏出的许多威士忌都是在雪利酒桶中陈酿的,坦杜酒窖的情况就是这样。木桶最初装满雪利酒,然后等待18个月到2年的时间成熟。这样,橡木桶本身就有了一种味道,当橡木桶稍后再装满威士忌时,颜色和味道就会转移到橡木桶里的威士忌中。陈年在雪利酒桶里的威士忌在亚洲非常受欢迎,该地区成为坦杜酒庄的完美出口目标。

“The palate over there seems to very much go for the fruitiness, the sultanas, the dates, the Christmas cake that comes through in any sherry-matured whisky,” says McIntyre.

麦金太尔说:“那里似乎很喜欢浓郁果味、葡萄味、甜枣味,以及圣诞蛋糕的味道,这些都是雪利酒陈年威士忌的特色。”

Tamdhu has had particular success marketing its whiskies to Japan and South Korea.

坦杜在向日本和韩国销售威士忌方面也特别成功。

Matchmaking

关键味道


Matching a whisky to a particular export market is increasingly important for Scotland’s distilleries.

对苏格兰的酿酒厂来说,将威士忌与特定的出口市场相匹配变得越来越重要。

Rachel Barrie is master blender at the BenRiach Distillery Company and has nearly 30 years’ experience in the industry. She says that three of the whiskies she helps to produce fit the expectations of three distinct markets. The rich tone of BenRiach Peated, for instance, appeals to consumers in northern Europe. And one emerging market there is Poland. “It’s just starting to explode – that was not really a market before for malt whisky,” says Barrie.

巴里(Rachel Barrie)是本利亚克(BenRiach)酿酒厂的调酒大师,在这个行业有近30年的经验。她说,她们生产的三种威士忌有助满足三个不同市场的预期。例如,本利亚克泥煤风格(BenRiach Peated)的威士忌以丰富的色调吸引了北欧的消费者。还有一个新兴市场波兰,巴里说:“在此之前,那里并不是麦芽威士忌的市场,现在开始爆炸式增长。”

Meanwhile, another of Barrie’s malts, the much sweeter Glendronach, is popular with consumers in Taiwan. Its producers noticed this back in 2009, when 400 cases of the whisky were sold to Taiwanese buyers in just 15 days.

与此同时,巴里的另一款麦芽酒——更甜的格兰多纳(Glendronach),在台湾深受消费者欢迎。生产商早在2009年就注意到了这一点,当时在短短15天内,台湾消费者就买走了400箱格兰多纳威士忌。

Finally, Glenglassaugh, another fairly sweet whisky, has proved to be a hit in Australia.

最后,另一种相当甜的威士忌格兰格拉索(Glenglassaugh)在澳大利亚大受欢迎。

But what is the origin of these distinct flavours that have such varied appeal in different countries? Barrie, whose background is in chemistry, says it has lots to do with cask-aging. Different substances in the wood, such as lignin or cellulose, get broken down gradually as the cask and whisky interact. This brings out specific compounds that impart aroma and flavour.

但是,在不同国家有不同吸引力的独特口味的根源是什么?巴里有化学的学历背景,他说这与木桶老化有很大关系。木材中的不同物质,如木质素或纤维素,随着木桶和威士忌的相互作用会逐渐被分解。产生了特殊的化合物,给酒添加了香气和味道。

For example, BenRiach has an “apple orchard” flavour that comes from the compound ethyl caprylate. Lipids in the spirit, fats from the barley, degrade during maturation to release this compound over time. It occurs commonly in Speyside casks more than in the casks of other regions, but why that is remains a bit of a mystery.

例如,本利亚克有一种“苹果园”味道,来自于化合物辛酸乙酯。酒精中的脂类,来自大麦中的脂肪,在成熟过程中降解,随着时间的推移释放出这种化合物。它通常发生在斯佩赛德的木桶中,而不是其它地区的木桶中,但为什么这仍然是一个谜。

“We know the compound, we know that happens in Speyside rather than anywhere else,” says Barrie. “But we don’t know why exactly.”

巴里说:“我们知道这种化合物,知道它发生在斯佩赛德,而不是其它任何地方。但我们不知道确切原因。”

It could, for example, be something to do with microbes in this area that act on the chemicals in the casks or the spirit ageing within them. But either way there’s a bit of an enigma here – which is of course part of the attraction.

例如,它可能与该区域的微生物有关,这些微生物作用于酒桶中的化学物质,也可能与桶内的酒精老化有关。但不管是哪种方式,这正是有魅力的部分原因,这里存在一个谜。

At Tamdhu, the whisky casks come exclusively from Spain. Oak from the north is transported south to Jerez, where the wood is made into barrels and then treated with sherry. Once properly seasoned, they’re shipped to Tamdhu in Scotland and filled with whisky.

在坦杜,威士忌酒桶全部来自西班牙。橡木从北方运到南方的赫雷斯(Jerez),在那里木材被制成桶,然后用雪利酒进行处理。一旦调味得当,它们就会被运到苏格兰的坦杜,并装满威士忌。

Global spirit

法律地位


Scotland is far from the only home of whisky-making. Ireland, the US, Japan – all have long traditions of distilling the spirit. Plus, some countries you might not expect to make whisky are now producing case after case, including Denmark, Australia's Tasmania – which has a world-beating whisky – Wales and even England, which today has 14 distilleries.

苏格兰并不是唯一的威士忌产地。爱尔兰、美国、日本都有制作蒸馏酒的悠久历史。此外,一些你可能想不到会生产威士忌的国家现在正一箱接一箱地生产威士忌,包括丹麦、澳大利亚的塔斯马尼亚州,威尔士有世界一流的威士忌,至于英格兰现在有14家酿酒厂。

But Scotch whisky can set itself apart, not just in image, but legally. It has special protections enshrined in a law that was introduced in the UK in 2009. The legislation includes the line, “A person must not manufacture any whisky in Scotland except Scotch Whisky” – exactly what makes a Scotch whisky is, mercifully, defined in detail. For example, it must be matured entirely in Scotland and have a minimum alcohol strength of 40%.

但是苏格兰威士忌不仅在形象上,而且在法律上都与众不同。2009年,英国出台了一项法律,对它进行了特殊保护。该法案规定,“在苏格兰只能制作‘苏格兰威士忌’,不得生产任何其他威士忌。”法律对苏格兰威士忌也做了详细的定义,例如,必须完全在苏格兰成熟,酒精浓度最低为40%。

How Scottish is Scotch, though? Almost all of the things needed to make it are locally sourced, says Graeme Littlejohn, from the Scotch Whisky Association.

然而,苏格兰威士忌又如何呢?苏格兰威士忌协会(Scotch Whisky Association)的利特尔约翰(Graeme Littlejohn)说,几乎所有的制造原料都来自当地。

“About 97% of the inputs to Scotch whisky, if you like, come from the UK,” he explains. Water, barley, distillation equipment – much of it will come from a distillery’s local area. This is why the Scotch Whisky Association proudly proclaims that Scotch whisky is the UK’s best contributor to balance of trade. That means that those billions of pounds in exports are only offset by a small amount, a couple of hundred million, in imports that are needed to produce Scotch.

他解释道:“换句话说,苏格兰威士忌的原料中大约97%来自英国。”水,大麦,蒸馏设备,大部分来自当地的酿酒厂。这就是为什么苏格兰威士忌协会自豪地宣称,苏格兰威士忌是英国贸易平衡的最佳贡献者。这意味着,数十亿英镑的出口中只有一小部分,几亿英镑,被生产苏格兰威士忌的进口品所抵消。

But there is one crucial element that often does arrive from further afield. Those are the hefty casks in which the spirit is matured. BenRiach’s Rachel Barrie says that the distilleries she manages house a bewildering array of casks from around the world. Some are treated with wine from France or South Africa. Others with bourbon in the US. Marsala in Sicily. Sherry in Spain.

但有一个重要东西来自遥远的地方。那些用来储存至成熟的沉重的大酒桶。本利亚克的巴里表示,她管理的酿酒厂拥有来自世界各地的令人眼花缭乱的酒桶。有些是用法国或南非的葡萄酒处理的。另外还有美国人爱喝的波旁威士忌酒桶。西西里岛的马沙拉白葡萄酒桶。西班牙的雪利酒桶。

“We have the most diverse range of casks in the industry in Speyside,” says Barrie.

巴里说:“我们在斯佩赛德拥有业内最多样化的木桶。”

This is the other global side of Scotch – it isn’t just a Scottish product hoping to appeal to world markets. It’s a Scottish product that relies on the world market for other beverages, not least the all-important casks that shape the spirit’s flavour.

这是苏格兰威士忌的另一面,它不仅仅是一种吸引世界市场的苏格兰产品。它也是一种依赖世界其他饮料市场的苏格兰产品,尤其是塑造不同口感风味的至关重要的木桶。

When Blair Bowman does one of his tasting sessions, which he hosts all over the world, he likes to explain to people that there are all sorts of flavours waiting to be found in whisky. But there are also lots of different ways to discover those flavours. Take your whisky of choice and cradle it in a glass while you dream of the Scottish highlands – or, whack it in a cocktail. Mix it with ice cold green tea, even. Or try tasting it with chocolate. He’s no snob.

当鲍曼在世界各地主持品酒会时,他喜欢向人们解释,在威士忌中有各种各样的味道等着品尝。也有很多不同的方式发现这些味道。当你梦见苏格兰高地的时,拿起你选择的威士忌,放在玻璃杯里,或者放进鸡尾酒里。把它和冰凉的绿茶混合均匀。或者尝试用巧克力品尝。他是真内行。

But he does say that some groups can be particularly interested in the backstory and heritage of individual whiskies. “Whenever I do a tasting for Chinese groups,” he says, “they want to absorb every nugget of information.”

但他也说,一些团体对个别威士忌的背景故事和传承特别感兴趣。他说:“每当我为中国团体做品尝时,他们希望记住每一条有用的信息。” 

This interest could be very much to the benefit of those in the whisky trade. China is seen as an enormous potential market for Scotch whisky. It’s the most populous nation on Earth and the largest spirits market in the world. But Scotch whisky only makes up 0.1% of the Chinese spirits market, according to Littlejohn. Breaking into a market like China's would be one way to bolster the spirit’s future.

这种兴趣对从事威士忌贸易的人很有好处。中国被视为苏格兰威士忌的巨大潜在市场。它是世界上人口最多的国家,也是世界上最大的烈酒消费市场。但据利特尔约翰说,苏格兰威士忌只占中国烈酒市场的0.1%。打入像中国这样的市场,将是支撑未来烈酒市场的一种方式。

Bowman, who insists there is a “whisky out there for everyone”, thinks Scotch is already enjoying a boom period. It’s good for distilleries – and good for him – but he says he always worries a bust may be around the corner.

鲍曼坚称“每个人都有适合自己的威士忌”,他认为苏格兰威士忌已经进入了繁荣时期。这对酿酒厂是好事,对他也有好处,但他说,他总是担心破产可能即将来临。

Whisky booms and busts have happened before – notably around the turn of the last century and again in the 1980s. That’s part of the nature of any business. But for a product of such increasing importance to Scotland, a bust could wipe out the livelihoods of many. The effects would not be confined to Scotland, but would reach places like Jerez where casks for whisky are a staple of the local economy.

威士忌的繁荣和萧条也曾经发生过,尤其是在上世纪初和上世纪80年代。这是任何行业不可避免的。但对一个苏格兰日益重要的行业来说,一次破产可能会毁掉许多人的生计。这种影响不仅局限于苏格兰,还会影响到像赫雷斯这样的地方,在那里,威士忌酒桶是当地经济的主要组成部分。

To secure a truly global market for Scotch, Bowman thinks the spirit needs to progress from a purely antiquated image and ideas about how you “should” drink it, which can be off-putting to people unfamiliar with traditional whisky culture. At the same time, denying its heritage won’t do Scotch whisky much good. The spirit’s strong links to place and producers, and the unique taste that comes from that, has been largely responsible for whisky’s success.

为确保苏格兰威士忌赢得真正的全球市场,鲍曼认为,这种酒需要从一个纯粹过时的形象和关于如何“喝”的想法中走出来,这可能会让不熟悉传统威士忌文化的人感到失望。同时,否定它的传统对苏格兰威士忌也没什么好处。这种酒与产地和生产者的紧密联系,以及由此产生的独特口味,在很大程度上是威士忌成功的主要原因。

There is a balance to be struck between old traditions and fast-growing demand from countries new to whisky-drinking. Distillers who get the balance right won’t only reap the financial dividends, they’ll shore up the future of Scotch itself – and ensure we’ll still be talking about how it is evolving decades or centuries from now.

在古老的传统和新加入饮用威士忌国家快速增长的需求之间需要找到一个平衡。能平衡好两者之间关系的酿酒公司,不仅能获得财政红利,还将支撑苏格兰威士忌的未来,并确保我们能在几十年或几个世纪后谈论苏格兰威士忌的演变过程。
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