Whisky Writer Dominic Roskrow 1961-2022
November 22, 2022 –––––– Jonny McCormick
Dominic Roskrow, one of the world’s best-known whisky writers, passed away on Saturday, November 19th at the age of 61 after a brief illness. With a career spanning more than 25 years, he broadened the appeal of whiskies from around the world, making them more accessible and approachable to the curious whisky drinker. Forthright and passionate about music, politics, and his beloved Leicester City soccer team, his drinks writing broke down the barriers around scotch whisky’s hegemony in the early 21st century to advocate for underappreciated whisky styles.
In his spring 2008 debut feature in Whisky Advocate (then called Malt Advocate), he tackled whether scotch whisky regions really mattered. After M. Shanken Communications Inc. acquired the magazine in 2010, Roskrow joined an expanded review team of four with a focus on whiskies not available in the U.S. His first review was Laphroaig Triple Wood, which scored 94 points, and he went on to review more than 200 whiskies before his departure in 2014, focusing on blends, Irish, and world whiskies. His tasting notes were liberally peppered with references to rock music and sport, making them distinctive and engrossingly entertaining to read. At the WhiskyFest Weekend New York events in 2012–2013, Roskrow moderated a seminar on Irish whiskey and presented award-winning whiskies including Compass Box Great King Street, Yellow Spot, and Redbreast 12 year old Cask Strength.
Dominic Roskrow had a colorful, patchwork career; he had been a rock journalist, a regional manager for a UK whisky retailer, and the editor of lifestyle magazine “AGA Living.” He contributed writing to dozens of drinks periodicals and websites throughout his career, and served stints as editor for several prominent drinks titles interspersed with returns to freelancing. He was also a successful author whose books include “The World’s Best Whiskies; 750 Essential Drams From Tennessee to Tokyo” (2010), "Whisky Japan" (2016), and “Whiskey America” (2018), and he edited the substantial tome “1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die” (2012).
Roskrow was made a Keeper of the Quaich in 2007, a Kentucky Colonel in 2010, and was named Fortnum & Mason Drink Writer of the Year in 2015. He was an expressive storyteller and loved traveling to distilleries to talk to distillers directly. He also waved the flag for the underdog—he was a rebel in a world of journalistic conformity. He’ll be greatly missed by the world of whisky.