By Jim Gilchrist
MISAKO Udo's infatuation with Scotch whisky was sparked by a teenage encounter with a White Horse - of the 40 per cent ABV variety - in her native Nagasaki. A few years later, when she arrived in Scotland for the first time, she found to her incredulous disappointment that the pub back home stocked a better range of whiskies than her newly adopted howff in Edinburgh. Twenty years on, this effervescent Japanese tour guide, naturalised Scot and evangelical whisky aficionado is doing her bit for what she regards as our appallingly under-appreciated native spirit. Her book, The Scottish Whisky Distilleries, is a vastly compendious guide to our existing distilleries - not to mention evoking the ghosts of those which sadly are no more.
When we meet in (naturally) the Leith rooms of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, she's delighted to find me nursing a single malt. So many Scots, she argues, simply don't appreciate what she regards as a precious national heritage. "It's a real shame," she says.