Telling it like it is.
I’ve noticed a recent surge of plain-speaking in whiskyland. This is a good thing.
Tim from The Whisky Exchange has an article in the current issue of Whisky Magazine poking some fun at whisky bloggers (oops), Ian Buxton’s new book takes no prisoners as mentioned in the previous post and now the editor of Malt Advocate magazine, John Hansell, is letting us into the darker corners of his brain where the little niggles live. These niggles eventually grow up and get too big meaning they need to come out. And out they are coming. Of course, I can’t go on without mentioning Ralfy who has always been one not to mince his words.
Is this all part of a bigger backlash? The calls for unchillfiltered and colouring-free whisky are growing louder, and whisky producers are starting to listen. Gripes about the never-ending limited editions and cask finishes are also becoming more widespread, highlighted in the case of Bruichladdich who are scaling down their releases after giving their fans a bit of a headache trying to keep up with them all. The escalating cost of this whisky habit is also becoming an increasing sore point but again there’s an example of those going against the flow in Glenfarclas who released a 40yo whisky without any fancy packaging or price to match.
In a sense, the internet is in fact helping this, I think. Anyone who produces a whisky can now get loads of feedback on blogs and forums in a matter of days or weeks. The good news is that they seem to be listening to an extent. So we need to keep making a noise but not just for the sake of it. We want things to be better and as their customers we are always right. We need to tell them what we want and keep doing so but simply saying, “this whisky is shite”, is just not constructive. By all means point out something that’s rubbish but give reasons why and offer suggestions for improvement. I’m guilty of not doing this and will endeavour to try harder.
Sadly there are a few writers and bloggers (blaggers) who are only happy to give glowing reviews to whomever will furnish them with free booze (and other things) on a regular basis (I was recently asked to provide press passes for my festival in return for a good review). Clearly this helps nobody. Honesty is the best policy and all that jazz. In the main, though, it seems that clear and truthful opinion is increasingly becoming the norm and hopefully that’s the way it will continue to go.