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Whisky Proust Questionnaire: Martin Eber

Martin Eber has long been a familiar face in the Australian whisky scene and is the chief writer at TimeForWhisky.com, one of the original Australian-based whisky blogs. Now living in Hong Kong, he is also the co-owner of The ThirtySix bar.

Describe your job in five words

Legitimising frequent drinking of whisky.

What do you appreciate most in a whisky?

Character, which can come from complexity, taste, familiarity or something entirely left-field.

What do you appreciate least in a whisky?

Generic… ness?

What is your most treasured whisky?

It’s not whisky yet, but an Archie Rose cask filled the day my second son was born. For my first I filled my own cask with two litres of Archie Rose new make malt. Ended up with about 900mL after four months maturation in Hong Kong.

What is your favourite virtue in a whisky bar?

Bar chat and a good list of IBs.

What do you most dislike in a whisky bar?

Wank. Or bars that label themselves ‘whisky bars’, have 40 generic OBs and wouldn’t know a malt from a rye.

If you could have any job in whisky, what would it be?

Dave Broom’s, sadly I have neither the wit nor the charm.

What is your favourite distillery name?

Bowmore. They’ve had their ups and downs but right now, for me, they’re on song, and on the rare occasion I get to enjoy it, their ‘60s/‘70s gear is magic.

Who is your hero in whisky?

Sam Simmons of Atom brands and former Global Balvenie BA. I love that he turned his whisky hobby into a full time, impressive career, and he’s also a seriously nice bloke and a heck of a lot of fun to drink with.

What is your idea of whisky happiness?

Having the knowledge I have now, in 2008.

What phrase do you most overuse when talking about whisky?

“Interesting.”

When do you lie about whisky?

Usually when I refer to a whisky as “interesting”.

Who or what is the love of your whisky life?

1960s Bowmore.

What is your happiest whisky memory?

Too many to recall, but living overseas, it’s always a happy and memorable occasion when I get to catch up with my whisky mates back in Sydney and share a few great drams and even better chat.

What is your saddest whisky memory?

Missing out on visiting GlenDronach distillery as a key road was closed and the GPS couldn’t figure out a way around. If we waited any longer we wouldn’t have made our next tour).

Who do you most admire?

Brand Ambassadors everywhere. To the outsider these guys and girls spend their days travelling around the world drinking and talking about whisky/spirits, and sure, they do, but they also work incredibly hard to further their brands/categories, put in some incredibly long hours and make some significant sacrifices.

Sherry cask or bourbon cask?

Port.

If you could work at one distillery, which one would it be?

Bowmore (for access to said 1960s casks). Ha, no really, probably Archie Rose. They mix fun with serious product development in a way few others do, and I think if we fast-forward ten years, they’re going to be a huge force in the global whisky scene. The same could be said for Starward.

What is your greatest achievement?

My two sons. May they never touch my whisky! At least not until they’re 18...

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