Legends of Whisky: Marcel van Gils

Marcel is AKA The Laphroaig Collector www.laphroaigcollector.com. A true Laph lover and expert he has written in 2007 the book “The Legend of Laphroaig” a great informative book with great photos taken by Marcel himself. When you travel with him he’s either holding a glass or a photo camera, a big one.

A dear friend and possibly one of the most honest men I know. Here is Marcel…

3550c
Marcel van Gils

1.YOUR LOVE FOR THE SPIRIT, HOW DID IT ALL START? Tell us about the first days….

It started in 1994 when my wife and I visited Scotland for the first time. So far I only remembered whisky (blended!) from giant hang-overs as a dental student.

A bartender somewhere north of Ullapool suggested a single malt, Bunnahabhain 12 y.o., instead of ‘that English muck’ (beer).

Next I bought the same standard Bunna in a shop and the rest is history.

2. YOU’RE GOING TO A DESERT ISLAND, YOU CAN TAKE 3 BOTTLES WITH YOU…

Glen Garioch Samaroli 1971 59.6%, Bowmore 1955, 40 y.o and, because I don’t want to look too snobbish, a standard 10 y.o. Laphroaig, Unblended from the 1980s.

Excellent stuff.

Would also bring an E-reader with 1000 books on it, a snorkel and flippers.

3.  BESIDES WHISKY, WHAT IS YOUR PASSION IN LIFE? 

History, photography, waterskiing, snow skiing, golf, writing, dogs, Scotland.

4. GIVE SOME ADVICE TO THE NEW COLLECTOR and DRINKER

New collectors are facing a rough time, whisky has become too expensive for collecting, unless you are filthy rich. It’s getting beyond a normal person’s reach.

In all honesty, (and yes, I collected too), just drink the bloody stuff. It has too much become a commodity, surely today’s low interest rates have something to do with that.

For affordable drinking I suggest 1990s Bowmores, Glendronachs and Glenfarclasses. They kept their standards pretty high.

5. WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE, if anything, in today’s whisky-world

Please, please, can we cut the PR and marketing crap and return to making decent whisky again?

It’s sad to see how accountants sharpened their red pencils and quality plummeted. All for the shareholders sake.

Retail prices going up, quality going down, that’s shooting your own foot.

I am really happy to see new start-ups pop up, let’s hope they won’t be just mini-Diageos.

Also would like to see whisky journalists and writers write more critically and independently about whisky.

Unfortunately some of them have too intimate connections with the industry to write with an independent mind. Some bloggers are doing fine in that respect.

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