Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Sales Excellence

It’s been a long time since I’ve annoyed a lot of people, which is a bit of a branding problem when you write a blog titled My Annoying Opinions. I’m afraid I’m not going to be entirely true to my branding in this post either, as I will not be offering any opinions here. Instead, I’m going to ask you, my readers—the few, the embarrassed—to share stories of the most ridiculous things you’ve ever been told or heard being told by someone trying to sell your or someone else a whisky. Could be a salesman in a shop, a distillery employee, a tour guide, a “brand ambassador”, a buyer, a marketer, an importer, an industry blogger or a bartender. You don’t have to name names (especially if doing so might open me up to legal action). And to be fair to everyone else let’s try to keep the citation of David Driscoll blog posts to a minimum. 

I’ll start: the first and only in-store tasting I attended featured a jolly gent, repping a well-known indie brand, who told all present that the majority of Scotch whisky is matured in white wine casks. True story. Also true: a year or two later I read that he had been named a Keeper of the Quaich. Over to you!

10 thoughts on “Outstanding Achievements in the Field of Sales Excellence

  1. Hi there,

    a classic in my opinion is the marketing story about the Talisker 57° North. When it came out the eager folks of the marketing agency claimed that Talisker 57° North is made at a place more Northern than Alaska. Long gone from the internet of course but here is still some repercussions like this one

    In fact the most Southern of the Aleutian islands of Alaska is at 55° North but Alaska itself is North of 57°. So more Northern than Alaska was a very big claim.



  2. I had a Four Roses tour guide tell the group that Scotch, by law, had to be aged in used Bourbon barrels.

    There’s no Total Wine near me, but apparently their employees are a gold mine for this kind of stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, Total Wine: a few years ago I was in a Total Wine in the eastern suburbs of St. Paul (as it happens, picking up a Booker’s 25th for someone who occasionally comments here). The guy who I’d talked to on the phone and who’d kept it aside for me was busy with another customer who was asking for single malt recommendations. He took the opportunity to drop a lot of knowledge on her, most of it the usual myths about Scotch production. My favourite bit was when he told her that smoke shows up in some malts you wouldn’t expect it to be in because all Scottish rain water has peat flavour in it. I don’t know if he’d come up with that one on his own.


  4. Oooh. This should be fun! I once saw someone post that they were told by a Johnnie Walker rep that you should always shake a bottle of whisky before pouring because the alcohol settles to the bottom.


  5. When I was getting started with whisky, a rep at a tasting stated you should try to keep the corks of unopened bottles wet, otherwise they will dry out and leak. He recommended tipping the bottles upside-down to re-wet the cork occasionally! I believe I created an account at whiskywhiskywhisky to ask if that was a wise thing to do.


  6. Like anyone who has frequented liquor stores, I’ve overheard people say a lot of weird things about bourbon. Bourbon must be made in Bourbon County, KY or that bourbon must be made using water from the Bourbon River.


  7. My Total Wine in central NJ: I found an independently bottled Highlander scotch that had a label as “Andy’s favorite”. Just so happened I noticed Andy the clerk close by. I asked him why this particular one was a favorite. His reply was simply ” it’s one of the most unique and rare ones, having been aged in barrels that were used once for bourbon”.


  8. Likely to have been heard by many others here, but I feel it needs to be mentioned anyway:
    “The most unique thing about bourbon is that it can only come from Kentucky. Everything else is just Scotch.” – The dude that ran a local shop before a large chain opened nearby.


  9. Store employee (of managerial type) to a customer asking about difference between two bourbons – one was Maker’s Mark, the other I can’t remember: “This one is straight and this one is sour mash. Totally different style.”


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