Coming Soon…


October, 2019 may have been the month when this finally became a food blog more than a whisky blog. I don’t mean in terms of how I see it or what I post but in terms of what the blog’s readership indicates. The top 10 most-read posts this past month were food posts, either restaurant reviews or recipes. In fact, 15 out of the top 20 most-read posts were food posts. (Which were the five booze-related posts that snuck into the top 20? Port Charlotte 13, 2001, Millstone 100, Ben Nevis McDonald’s Traditional, Glen Scotia 12, and Longmorn 36, 1976.) And, of course, there are fewer and fewer comments each month on my whisky reviews. This is not very surprising. If I take my own reading habits as representative it would appear that interest in reading about whisky online has flagged considerably in recent years. ScotchWhisky.com announced its shutdown in October; I was disappointed but not shocked. I barely read any whisky sites these days—a far cry from a time just a few years ago when my morning routine involved checking in on a number of whisky blogs. Frankly, the state of the Scotch whisky industry makes it hard to stay excited—rising prices and high concept whiskies seem to be the only constants these days. I’m going to keep on doing what I do: three booze reviews a week but whisky readers, if you’re still out there and still interested, send me a sign.

Here now is the long list of potential reviews for the upcoming month. If there’s anything you’d particularly like to see reviewed please nominate it to the shortlist in the comments below.

  1. Aultmore 21, 1997 (Maltbarn)
  2. Balblair 21, 1990 (C&S)
  3. Ballantine’s, 1940s/1950s
  4. Benriach 26, 1987 (Exclusive Casks)
  5. Black and White, 1940s/1950s
  6. Bowmore 14, 1996 (A.D. Rattray for BevMo)
  7. Copper & Kings Pear Brandy
  8. Dailuaine 9, 2006 (SMWS)
  9. Glen Moray 14, 2004 (OMC 20th Anniversary Release)
  10. The Singleton of Glen Ord 12
  11. Glen Ord 15, 1996 (Liquid Sun)
  12. Glen Ord 18, 1996 (Blackadder)
  13. Glen Spey 12, 1999 (Blackadder)
  14. Glenfarclas 1986, The Family Casks, #3434
  15. Glendronach 10, 2002, Virgin Oak
  16. Karuizawa 27, Multi-Vintages #1
  17. Karuizawa 39, 1972, Cask 7038
  18. Knappogue Castle 12 (for The Party Source)
  19. Lagavulin 11, Offerman Edition
  20. Laphroaig 9, 2001 (SMWS 29.88)
  21. Laphroaig 10 CS, Batch 011
  22. Laphroaig 19, 1990 (Signatory)
  23. Ledaig 6, 2004 (Murray McDavid)
  24. Ledaig 20 (Douglas Murdoch)
  25. Le Sable a Lagrange 42, 1974 (Armagnac)
  26. Old Forester, Bottled in Bond
  27. Old Perth 21, Blended Malt
  28. Park 18, Borderies (Cognac)
  29. Strathisla 37, 1967 (Duncan Taylor)
  30. Tap 8, Canadian Rye

18 thoughts on “Coming Soon…

  1. Very much here, for the whisky more than the food, though I do frequently check the food stuff. Good list. I’d love to read about:
    Knappogue 12 Party Source
    Laga 11 Offerman
    Laphroaig 10 CS, B11
    OF BiB
    Old Perth 21

    Cheers!

    Like

  2. We’re still here! I enjoy and look forward to your whisky posts. Sorry I don’t “engage” more. The Maltbarn, Glenfarclas, and Old Perth posts will be on my radar. I definitely find my interest in new releases waning, for the same reasons you describe, and new purchases have slowed to a trickle from my peak hoarding years of 2012 to 2016. I suppose that’s why I started hoarding in the first place; my instinct was that a drought would come eventually which I would need to ride out. I never tire of reading tasting notes, especially when I can compare my own, so please soldier on as long as it makes sense!

    Like

  3. In addition to the Laphroaig and Lagavulin, I’d add the Bowmore because I also have a sample and like seeing different perspectives and the MMD Ledaig because those are usually a wild ride. The Park 18 should also be interesting because I’m curious which one that is.

    Like

  4. Oh, sorry, I took your lack of engagement with the readership as your lack of interest in readership. I’ll keep reading the whisky reviews, the entertainment value is very high.

    Like

  5. While ScotchWhisky.com tried to be everything to all people, that really only meant criticizing the industry lightly enough (and then usually rolling even that criticism back) to try to stay somewhat credible to consumers so that, in turn, SW could help sell consumers on more industry messaging. The backing and forthing eventually burnt out even Broom’s credibility and, being of no further use to the industry, SW was allowed to die on the vine. People who professionally write about whisky while emphasizing that they “aren’t journalists” eventually need to fess up to either being unofficial whisky promoters or just pursuing some agenda to which the reading public somehow need not be privy. It stinks to high heaven and I don’t assign it any credibility, even in cases where the writers might know a lot about whisky, because who and what they serve is at least as important as what they know.

    For what it’s worth, I never really knew what SW’s ambitions ever really were – the site was “about” whisky but didn’t seem to have any particular interest in promoting a consumer POV – so its quality was, to me, as questionable as its agenda, and just about as irrelevant.

    There has never been, and probably never will be, any business model that will support actual criticism of the industry. That industry mouthpiece sites are now fading as well really shouldn’t be any surprise; after more than a decade of selling consumers industry propaganda, most consumers are now fully programmed… so any further support of the programmers is really just an unnecessary expense.

    Present company excepted, there just isn’t all that much interesting, much less true, being said about whisky any more – it seems like a lot of people sat around watching whisky go to hell in a handbasket while being afraid of being “too” critical – so the frog got boiled. If, now, whisky has reached a point where it’s difficult to get excited about it at all, it’s really all just come full circle. Whisky mania hurt whisky badly because, although it was about whisky, it was still a mania.

    Like

    • Jeff, I think you ascribe a little too much power to whisky bloggers. While I agree with you that it would have been a good thing if more bloggers had maintained a critical distance from the industry, the truth is very few of us—probably only Serge—have any meaningful impact on either the industry or the larger market of consumers. That is to say, even if all bloggers had been more critical we would probably still have ended up where we have. So, why do I think anyway that it would have been a good thing if more bloggers had maintained a critical distance from the industry? Well, because even if we have little impact it is paradoxically only the amateurs who can hope to have independence. Why so many people chose/choose to throw that away for the sake of samples and a tiny bit of access, I don’t know.

      As for Scotchwhisky.com, I did find their distillery data/history pages very useful and hope those will be archived somewhere. Broom’s tasting notes seemed more like stand-up comedy routines.

      Like

      • I don’t know if I ascribe too much influence to whisky bloggers or not; the industry seemed to feel that they were worth co-opting at almost all levels if possible… and they were then co-opted at almost all possible levels. The industry may have often just decided to cover its bets with bloggers, regardless of any real need to quantify or assess their influence, and then did so. It was, after all, often what only amounted to the vital illusion of independence from the industry that gave bloggers any influence and, in my opinion, that was what the industry wanted to buy (or rent) and many bloggers just obliged. What it cost to buy or rent them wasn’t so much a measurement of their influence as just how cheaply they could be had.

        It would have been a good thing if more bloggers had maintained a critical distance from the industry if only to live up to idea that they WERE the independent voices they pretended to be. It might be true that we would have ended in the same place anyway, but who knows? I think it’s true that consumers made the modern market for both whisky and whisky commentary and that, in often choosing poorly for both, they have now ended up with mediocre products with obscure pedigrees. If there’s not a lot worth drinking, or reading, now, it’s neither an accident nor unrelated.

        Like

        • Hi,

          I would say that blogs and forums are bubbles which are only relevant to their own audience and participants.
          Now and then „the whisky industry“ let itself be influenced but all in all the industry is the industry where shareholder value and ever increasing profits rule.

          We consumers of whisky were instrumental in making the whisky boom happen that began in the late 1990s and picked up speed about 2005 when the first big distillery expansions and new distilleries were planned. We that means I was younger at the beginning of the 2000s and was able to take advantage of the whisky lake that had been dammed up since the middle 1980s.
          20 years ago the warehouses were full and the industry glad for every cask that was filled into bottles so they had room to fill new casks.
          We experienced the best of all whisky times somewhere between 2008 to 2012 when the range of whiskies was somewhere between 10 to 40 years in the Scotch sector and everything was affordable or at least reasonable priced.
          The problem for the whisky industry was that we old hands caring für whisky for half of our lifes were not enough as a base for ever growing profits.

          New younger whisky drinkers were needed and when they came by the millions the industry found they ran out of stocks. Premiumisation and NAS bottlings were invented at a turning point that Ian Buxtun described as “The dirty little secret of the Scotch industry is they’ve become addicted to high prices, but they’ve run out of old whisky”. There was talk of re-educating whisky consumers. That indoctrination of new values for whiskies was done via the new media and the internet for what are now called the millenials. It is a sign of the times. Superflous opinion has ousted deeper knowledge gained through years of studying whisky.

          Both NAS and premimisation are cul de sacs and the millenials have a short span of attention. We have now reached a point which you so aptly describe as „Frankly, the state of the Scotch whisky industry makes it hard to stay excited—rising prices and high concept whiskies seem to be the only constants these days.“

          The pendulum has begun to swing the other way. Instead of excitement you have a lot of boredom in the whisky sector caused by / manifested through an ongoing tendency to mediocrity. I say whisky has become boring. It would probably be less so if I could afford all these premium bottlings. But at the price range where I move there is not much going on anymore. And if there is it is increasing mediocrity as well disguised as relaunches or giving up vintage bottlings in favour of overpriced aged standard ranges. Whisky with age statements in most cases NAS being in decline as well fortunately.

          So yes there is only very rarely something new whisky-wise worth writing home about.

          Greetings
          kallaskander

          Like

          • “I would say that blogs and forums are bubbles which are only relevant to their own audience and participants.”

            I’d agree with that – in the sense that blogs didn’t influence the industry directly, yet the industry did care very much about the influence that blogs could have on its customers, hence the desire to control the bloggers and their messages. In all its new talk about the irrelevance of age, the industry wasn’t just reversing its former course in order to meet demand; it was saying that cask physics could be suspended by a labeling choice. It was complete nonsense, of course, but encouragement of silence on, if not actual endorsement of, that nonsense was very important if the industry and its shareholders were going to arrive where they wanted to go. If every “independent voice” writing about whisky at the time was unanimous in saying “the idea that age doesn’t matter with NAS expressions is total bullshit”, the landscape in terms of whisky honesty, if not necessarily whisky quality, could be very different than it is today. Most bloggers didn’t do that, so the temptation to say the fight not fought couldn’t be won anyway is considerably strong among those who didn’t speak out.

            The twin resources of quality casks and product time in those casks are now spread thinly enough that a market correction is at least possible, but it’s a mistake to hold your breath.

            Like

  6. My votes are for the old blends, the 96 Bowmore, the Karuizawas, Ledaig 20yo and 67 Strathisla.

    Next time you’re in NY, I recommend Atoboy (modern Korean) and Sofreh (Persian). Of the restaurants I tried this year, those two were by far the most interesting. And the prices are reasonably, which is often not the case in NY.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Jeff Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.