Mar 292017
 

So…how many ways can we tackle the issue of feeling like the industry is taking the piss out of us?

It is, I must admit, getting tiresome being the squeaky wheel.  I’m sure it’s equally irksome to hear it all the time.  Some, like Saint Serge over at Whiskyfun.com, seem to have struck a nice balance between saying what needs to be said and still having fun at the same time.  Serge is an anomaly, though, and his access to whisky is unprecedented.  That certainly changes the game.  Ergo, his issues are not necessarily ours.  Having said that…even Serge buries a lot of his criticisms under humour and plenty o’ words.  It’s easy to gloss over the underlying message if one sees fit.

But I digress.

I’ve shared these thoughts a few times over the past year or two, but the situation seems to have become even worse of late.  We keep looking for the bubble to burst, and it continues to defy both logic and past trends.  I say this from a point of being days away from closing up shop.  Disillusion is rampant lately.  And running a site like this only perpetuates the machinations of an industry mad with power.  I’ve reached a point where I no longer want to publicly promote products that only continue to increase in price and, in turn, price me out of the game.  At some point we have to recognize lunacy.  Twice this week alone I nearly put up a post saying ‘I’m out.’  It remains to be determined if that will happen.

I took a bit of a smackdown last week in which it was suggested that if I was one of the ones who had helped the industry reach this point, I needed to either swallow it all (marketing/packaging/etc) or walk away completely.  Fuck that. I love this drink.  I’ve given a lot to it.  Financially and otherwise.  In other words…I’ve paid for the right to have a voice.

Anyway…before I get heated and nasty…let’s move on.

I’m wondering if anyone else if eyeing grain whiskies lately with as much cynicism as I am.  I keep seeing more and more of them on the shelves.  Independents, mostly, but all sorts, really.  Let’s be clear about what we’re discussing in grain whiskies: spirit made in continuous stills, in vast stringently controlled conditions (i.e. no room for personality-development), generally poorer cask policies (multi-uses, dead barrel syndrome, etc), cheaper component grains (i.e. corn), etc etc.  It is as much a blank check as non-age-stated whiskies, when you think about it.  If these drinks don’t sell for grossly less than malts, there is something seriously wrong.  Just you wait, friends…this is the new NAS.

Appreciate the ongoing dialogues here, as always.  Forgive my lack of enthusiasm of late.  Perhaps we’ll find it again.

 

C

 Posted by at 2:26 pm

  81 Responses to “Eyes To The Future”

  1. Curt,

    I can’t deny I’ve felt the ebb of the enthusiasm. A site needs the owner to flourish, and the days-long pauses between posts are a result. This is not a criticism, just an observation. You’re in charge. If you look to your left in the margin you’ll see as we all do how much you’ve given to those who visit your site. You owe nothing. I know there are other things that need your attention, and I’m really looking forward to reading more of your work, for example.

    Saying that, I would hate to see the demise of Canada’s best source for good information on whiskies, and what has been a great place to kick around (sometimes hard) some ideas. Sure, we all have lives outside of ATW (we do, right?) but this is a nice place to stop and visit a couple of times a day when the attention wanders from patient charts or whatever we do in real life.

    But it’s a lot of work to keep the momentum on your own. What about letting others help? How about rethinking letting others do some guest reviews, or commentaries of interest?

    As to the grain phenomenon, could you go into more details? Other than the loss of numbers on some bourbons I haven’t noticed anything, but to be fair I haven’t had a lot of time to shop around for spirits since January. Sounds like something I want to learn more about, especially if I DO run into them on a shelf.
    D

    • Can’t imagine I will ever hand the reins (even in some part-time or modified capacity) over to anyone else. The reasons are multi-fold.

      A couple, just so all understand…

      First…the site has been built on a platform of one reviewer with a specific scoring system, weighting, and palate. If I allow others, who’s to say their scores will be even close to what mine would have been? Or their notes?

      Second…I would always have to be a moderator of all content, as I simply won’t allow anyone else’s agenda to supercede my own.

      Third…I would never give ‘write’ privileges to others and have them going in the back door to upload or adjust content. hat means I would still be on the hook for all formatting, publishing, etc.

      I could go on listing things, but ultimately it negates the central premise stated above. Why would I want to continue helping an industry that isn’t helping us? The more we talk about it and point out the positives the easier it is for them to continue jacking prices.

      As for grains…more to come. Probably.

      • Fair enough, it’s your site, it’s your call, but:

        1. It is a lot less work to screen a review, format it to fir your site, especially if someone sends a photo, than it is to research and do your own review.

        2. You already let us put forward our “agendas” in the comments. If we’re talking reviews you can set the format, choose whose reviews you accept, and make sure there are no subliminal (drink coke) messages in the text.

        3. Other sites, like Connosr, get by just fine with different subjective scorers.

        The thing is, I don’t think David is suggesting you abdicate as supreme ruler of the site. I think he would agree that we’re grateful for what you’ve built and like what you do here. And I would point out that in the past you’ve hinted, teased, suggested you might bring in a guest review here and there, so it’s not like the suggestion is coming from left field.

        The issue here is self care and momentum. If you have a lot on your plate it’s right to focus your attention elsewhere, and you should. But the site is definitely losing momentum, and though you built it, you have a lot of people who want to see it stay healthy.

        Cheers!

  2. It’s true that I have a drum that strikes about three sad notes:

    1. NAS doesn’t have a rational leg to stand on in terms of what it says about the influence of age on whisky;

    2. Most whisky pundits, in ignoring the above, not only show how much they toe the industry line but also how little they care about whisky and the people who buy it;

    3. Most consumers, in ignoring both 1 and 2, are acquiescing to being treated like mushrooms and to promoting industry interests over their own.

    Yes, it’s repetitive. Yes, it’s discouraging overall – but I find the reality sometimes discouraging in a way that puts me at odds with the Buddha and the idea that “we only make the world with our minds”. No, the message doesn’t have all the “new and improved” pizzazz of the latest NAS release or what someone thinks of something that they just bought/opened/tried/finished/replaced (pick your marketing info trope). But the real question that should concern whisky consumers is “is there a fight here that we should be fighting instead of observing?”. I think it goes without saying that there’s far more internet than there is sensible commentary, particularly whisky commentary, to fill it, and no one person can fix that – but ATW certainly does its part, recognized/appreciated or not.

    And is it all hopeless? Maybe not – https://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/the-macallan/the-macallan-12-year-old-double-cask-whisky/ – a new age statement from Macallan under $200? From Macallan – without a “colour statement”?! I see that and then listen to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbeLFG6Lglo

    So keep up the fight. No, it’s not the most important thing in the world – and fight for that thing, too, whatever you feel it to be – but nonsense must be opposed or it will take over completely if the few voices left fold up their tents.

    Sláinte!

  3. I just read the latest reviews batch 88 at scotchwhisky.com this morning and thought this odd, 3 grain whiskies. You are right, grain is the next NAS!

  4. I’ve almost totally gone to bourbon, at least Wild Turkey 101 and Rare Breed, EC Barrel Proof and Bookers. I’ve been opening my stashed scotch and I’m now down to only ten bottles. I’m about 50-50 AS and NAS. The scotch I do have open includes Ardbeg Ardbog, Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, Glenlivet 16, Dalmore 15 and Craigellache DE 1992 (2005). I still love scotch but tired of the endless game. I’m gonna pick 5-10 and make that my cabinet, dropping anyone that has a price hike.

    • I’ve turned to bourbon too, but not for the same reasons. I started out with scotch because that was what I was introduced to. I started out with premium scotches (A’Bunadh, Bruichaddichs, etc..) because I recognized from the beginning that I don’t drink enough to evolve from rotgut to the top stuff.

      Then I met people who liked Canadian and US whiskies. They encouraged me or introduced me to some of the best the industry has on offer, so now I have some Canadians and some bourbons in my cabinet.

      Each is good for a different mood. When I want a dram I always want something good and I turn to what calls to me.

      But I don’t choose bourbons or Canadians because they are cheaper. I may acknowledge a great deal for a great spirit (Old Granddad 114 for $25 – as good when I want it as a $100 single malt can be), but I would much rather go without alcohol than drink something that falls below my taste standards, regardless of how much it costs me.

      • I can’t drink crappy booze either. I watched a couple of “Jesse Stone” TV movies recently on cable and cringed each time he would pour two fingers of JW Red. Ick! Same reaction for Jack Daniels and Beam. Actually the bourbon I do drink costs $20 (WT101) to $60 (Booker’s), so basically the same range as most scotch I drink ($30 for Glenmorangie 10 to $75 for Corryvrecken and Glenfarclas 105.

        • If you can find Corry in Ontario it’s $180, and I’ve never seen a Glenmorangie for $30.

          You live in a very whisky friendly part of the world…

  5. Hi Curt,

    I feel with you. Like you I have given a lot of time to whisky and whiskey not as a blogger but as a reader of blogs and forums. And the odd dram of course now and then.
    It is part of my job to keep up with whisky developments so I read a lot via the internet.

    You remember last year when sku was (is?) at the same point and many other bloggers voiced their frustration and concern along the same lines as you do.

    If it helps you any – from where I sit the picture is even worse. Forumwise there is much less traffic than there once was in places like whiskywhiskywhisky.com or the forum of Whisky Magazine. There are less participants and there is less enthusiasm to take part in discussions or to start new threads. I could name more but the song remains the same.

    Sku’s doubts and the chiming in of other bloggers made me write a little piece in German where I asked if the critical voices that are a counterpoint to the whisky industry died out on the internet.
    I hope not. They are needed and if you have doubts… they are noticed by the industry. They don’t care most of the time but they notice. Because there is much power in the hands of the customers and even if we whisky lovers and buyers are not organised in a Trade Union you and other bloggers are neccessary.

    As to grain whiskies… I remember a time when there were two or three grains around and that was all. When Duncan Taylor began to release IB bottlings of grains they were 30 to 40 year old and cost around 50 to 60 Dollars a bottle. Times long gone.

    I see here a bonmot at work that was coined by Ian Buxton “The dirty little secret of the Scotch industry is they’ve become addicted to high prices, but they’ve run out of old whisky“.
    Old grain whiskies are a treessure trove if the customers are stupid enough – and I mean stupid – to pay up.
    My two cents and I hope it can motivate you a little bit to keep up. Where should the likes of me turn to if you quit? 😎

    Greetings
    kallaskander

    • Appreciate the kind words and candor, as always, mate. You’re a voice of reason and logic in a sea of…well…less than that. Hahaha.

    • Kallaskander: I’ve found that the scotch board on Reddit is one of the few places online anymore that still has plenty of good chat going. You might want to check that out. It’s more sarcastic than the likes of Connosr, or whiskywhiskywhisky, or the more prolific blogs like this one, but it’s good fun. Lots of newbies looking for advice, tons of new reviews every day, and the not-too-rare discussion topic that gets many responses.

      (Or have you already? I don’t think I’ve seen your name over there, and I know you’re one of the whisky people who thankfully uses the same screen name on different sites.)

  6. For me, the frustration with whisky is related to skyrocketing pricing. It is near impossible to buy an entry level scotch for less than $90 in Ontario outside of a handful of options. Anything beyond entry level is into the stratosphere. Balvenie 15 yo single barrel – purchased for $140 in Alberta a year ago – is $279 in Ontario. 14yo Caribbean cask is $140. NAS from Ardbeg? $190. I make good money in a stable job. If I’m being priced out of the scotch industry. It’s not as if Ontario offers the same opportunities for whiskey tasting that are available in Alberta either. The LCBO might host two tastings a year in Toronto and Ottawa. That’s it.

    If I’m being priced out, I can imagine scores of others are too. In the 3 years I have been an avid whisky drinker non entry level malts have gone up at least 50%. Glenfiddich 18 went from $108 to $155 for example. Canada’s horrific import taxes make getting anything from overseas impossible. I saw a 1.75L bottle of Macallan 12yo Sherry in Florida for $120. I just can’t bring it back because it exceeds my personal allowance of 1L. The whole thing is a constant source of frustration that makes it easy to consider other options for my drink budget.

    • Yes, although being priced out probably isn’t unique to Ontario by any means, it’s certainly true in Ontario – the hikes in many things 15+, say HP, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich 18s, are good examples – and 50% is probably a pretty good figure. It’s not that what’s left under $100 is bad whisky, but it’s just a shrinking set of options made far smaller if you don’t go NAS. The problem with the LCBO is that it’s a monopoly with a mark-up mandated as a percentage of landed price, so even “one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of beverage alcohol” has no real motive to use its weight to negotiate lower prices that can be passed on to consumers.

      Although I don’t doubt that whisky sales remain strong – even in the absence of any real promotion that I’m aware of – the net effect is placing a lot of higher-end stuff beyond replacement for me in terms of value. By the time I’m through my current HP and Bunna 18s, they will likely also be my last in terms of QPR, and ‘Fiddich 18 is already well past the event horizon. Prices on Balvenie and Oban in particular seem pretty stiff and Macallan and Dalmore are largely in a world of their own – again, all respectable in terms of quality, but the objective seems to be to make all scotch at all age levels into a luxury product, period.

      Bourbon’s an option, but a limited one in Ontario and, although the profile’s OK, I just don’t find the variation in it that can be found with scotch – by comparison, it all just seems like minor tweaks on a very common theme (virgin barrels are virgin barrels, so casking’s sort of out of the equation at anything like buyable age levels). So it goes.

      So, what are you left with in scotch as we continue our ascent? I’m sipping on an HP 10 as I write this – decent enough, but no stellar standout in the grand scheme of things and no surprise in terms of the results of its age/casking (nobody, despite the “magic” of wood management, “reinvented” whisky with this one). 10 y.o. and sub-10 stuff at $75+ will probably become the norm and, at that point, I’m probably out of the market and just drinking up what I have now – exploration and chance taking officially over. There’s good stuff still in the library (such as it is) and very little new under the sun or on the marketing deck that I’m both interested in trying and that anyone will let me buy for anything under nosebleed prices.

      Sláinte!

      • I agree Jeff.

        Pointing out a few excellent sub $100 Scotches with ages, like Bowmore Tempest, just highlights that there are so few left that we remember them.

        I wish I had become interested in Scotch when I received my first bottle in 2008. I waited until 2011 to really start my journey, and refined my acquisition approach only 2-3 years ago.. I could have filled my cabinet with some great stuff at a fraction of what it costs now.

        Luckily I have enough stuff I like to last me decades, because most stuff I would like to buy is now out of my reach. I would still like the experience of tasting them but I prefer paying off my mortgage.

        My purchasing is at a pace to be about 10-15% what it was last year, and absent some freak lottery win (Lotto max or BTAC) I can only see it declining….

        • It speaks to a good point – and one that many people find hard to accept – but most of us really either missed the Golden Age of Whisky or, just because of where we lived, never really had any chance to experience it in the first place. I think that we’re now on the cusp of surrendering the resistance represented by the Heroic Age and resolving ourselves to an Iron Age of Hype which, in the long run, the industry might not find so bankable and most consumers might not like either.

          Sláinte!

          • I agree whole heartedly. If I had gotten into scotch 3-4 years earlier my collection would have included some incredible bottles. I’ve still managed to cobble together a pretty substantial range of bottles, but, like my compatriot above, I can’t justify replacing my bottle of Highland Park 18yo because $215 for a bottle of 18yo makes me shudder – especially when I paid $135 for it 18 months ago. The fact that people seem to be losing their minds over the arrival of Macallan 12yo Double Cask that has been released to mediocre reviews for $100 tells us all we need to know about the current state of scotch. An age statement and under a $100 by 5 cents is all of the sudden reason to scramble? Crazy.

          • I haven’t tried Double Cask – and I didn’t find much to write home about on the old sherry 12 either – but what I find encouraging about it is, quality aside, that Edrington might be getting the message that this “colour coded” nonsense is wearing thin for some people – somehow somebody can “certify” colour but nobody can provide you with age info? Like Dalmore, I don’t mind what I find in Macallan; I just don’t find enough OF it to really justify the rarefied pricing. It’s like the two brands are in some kind of competition to see which can do a more frugal job of dispensing quality with a 40% ABV eyedropper.

            Sláinte!

  7. WTF? I don’t understand all the malaise here. Did they stop making Ardbeg 10 and Talisker 10? Or Laphroaig 10, 10 CS, and QC? Did the latest shipment of Lagavulin 16 sink in the Atlantic? Did all the Caol Ila 12 get diverted into a vat of JW Red?

    Did Glendronach stop using sherry casks?

    Did Aberlour, Highland Park, Old Pulteney, Oban, and Bunnahabhain drop their age-statement lines?

    Did Bowmore, Clynelish, and Mortlach stop selling to the IBs?

    Did Glengoyne start “tainting” their whisky with peat?

    Did Springbank buy computers?!?!?!

    There’s PLENTY of high-quality, affordable whisky out there to be excited about. I for one am still excited about it.

    Let’s set aside the price grumbling from the (seemingly) many Canadians on this site. Prices in Canada suck. Got it. I don’t see that this is a complaint against the greater whisky industry.

    So what’s all the complaining about? There’s plenty of perennially good whisky available—of which my examples above are only a few obvious examples. In addition to THOSE being tasty, readily available, and affordable (to non-Canadians), are people ALSO expecting quality from latest shiny new thing being pumped out to satisfy demand from those who require shiny new things?

    Are you bored with all the great standbys?

    • WADR (with all due respect),

      Prices are going up outside Canada as well, quality expressions in all genres are falling off (Canadian, bourbon, Scotch), and for crying out loud, Laphroaig CS has NEVER been available in my memory in Canada, at ANY price.

      Sure there are some quality age-stated ones, and some may even be affordable (apparently Benromach 10 is < $60 in Ontario), but they have risen in price and "reasonable" is much more expensive than it used to be.

      And I believe Mortlach is now going OB, priced up and dumbed down, so it my dry up in the IB market.

      Even I, who have challenged (to put it nicely) Jeff all the way, can see that Scotch is accelerating to a state of mediocrity (with some high priced exceptions).

      While I can always sneak into David's stash of Amrut single (young but age states) casks, he can no longer afford to buy them, and the future looks bleak for those who didn't plan ahead and anyone who, like me, didn't develop a taste for older whiskies before they skyrocketed.

      So, TF

      • Sure, prices have gone up outside of Canada too. But that can’t explain the “sky is falling!” vibe everyone here has.

        What gives?

        And if ya’ll will excuse an idea from Econ 101: If you choose to buy a bottle (assuming it doesn’t significantly disappoint your expectations), you have by definition come out on top. (This concept applies to all purchases. Google “buyer’s surplus” if you’re not already familiar with it. But basically, you wouldn’t pay the asking price for something unless you value that item at MORE than the asking price.) So, unless you’ve totally stopped buying—which I guess some folks have, so fair play to you—then you’re still a winner in the current market. The producer’s higher price might have claimed some of that surplus over to their side, but you’re still a winner.

      • Mortlach: Yep, we used to have virtually no OBs.and plenty of IBs. Now, we have some stupid OBs and still plenty of IBs—at least from what I can tell.

        I don’t see any loss to us whisky enthusiasts in that story.

      • “Scotch accelerating to a state of mediocrity:” Really? I gave lots of examples in my original “WTF” above that still taste great to me.

        Sure, there’s plenty of garbage. But are we holding out for 100% universal excellence before we appreciate what we DO have?

        Do music lovers stop enjoying their favorite songs because Michael Bolton exists?

      • Yeah, that would suck to have no Laphroaig 10 CS. It’s my favorite whisky, and you have my sympathy.

        On the other hand, I wish I can easier access to Talisker 57. So it goes.

    • what I meant to end with, but I tried to use the HTML tags below without knowing how, was:

      “So, THAT’S TF”

      • And what does “So, THAT’S TF” mean?

        • WTF = what the fuck.

          That’s TF – that’s the fuck

        • Good translating – must be a Canadian thing!

        • I think “the fuck”, roundly speaking, isn’t that there aren’t any decent whiskies at decent prices left, even in Ontario; it’s that decent whiskies and decent prices are both generally in decline for many consumers at many spending levels – that basically values aren’t really even static; they’re in rout.

          Not that these guys can’t, and don’t, outspend me multiple-times-to-one on whisky – and that might be what makes it so telling – but the comments from the guys at LAWS on why the “Latest Must-Try Whiskey” box is usually empty could be revealing:

          From Adam:

          “This box has been mostly empty for a long time now. In today’s market, finding an excellent, readily-available whiskey is a rarity and a challenge. We’re talking about truly great whiskies, not ones that are good, or okay. Just a few years ago, you used to be able to walk out and buy one. But due to the whiskey boom, it’s immensely harder now.

          We’ll probably replace this feature with something else when we get a moment to rework the code.

          It was July 2013 when “Nada” first spent a lot of time in this box. Some comments below remain from then.”

          From Tim:

          “I love me some great whiskey.

          Even in my pre-LAWS days, I would watch this section turn over with regularity and shop against it. What’s it been lately? Balvenie 1401/3 (long gone and now fetching almost 2x original asking price when you find it) and Longmorn 20 (an excellent pick by K&L but LONG gone)?

          Unfortunately, there’s just very little these days that arrives without Royal-Baby-level hype, no matter how mundane the bottle contents are. And unfortunately, the “value for the money” thing has been out of whack for ages.

          I doubt we’ll see another value along the lines that the Balvenie provided, and the IBs are pricing high lately (one need only follow K&L to undersand that). Distillers and bottlers: I love your stuff; no way in hell am I paying what you’re asking these days for too-young or overoaked stuff, and by extension, absolutely NO WAY am I paying what’s being asked for the non-young or non-oaked stuff. Maybe there are enough saps out there, but I question how long it can last.”

          From Sku:

          “Another sign of the end of the golden age of whiskey. There isn’t much great whiskey out there, and the little there is carries a hefty price tag. I’ve written “decent but not worth the money” more times than I can count. Check this space again in ten years when the next glut hits.”

          The issue, right now, might not so much be the reality as much as the overall trending. Right at the beginning, if one jumps from a great enough height, falling can seem a lot like flying.

          Sláinte!

          • So the narrative is that whisky used to be “up there” (let’s say at a 10, but whatever), and now it’s slipped “down here” (at 8?—again, whatever).

            And everyone’s complaint is that it’s no longer a 10?

            I’ve only been into whisky a few years, not decades like some (since around 2009). So maybe I don’t have the long perspective of everyone else here to realize that whisky today sucks and I should forget about it?

            Yes, that’s a little facetious. And of course, I would love it if old glories were to be had for a song like they seem to have been ~10 years ago. But I look at today’s market and still find PLENTY to happy about.

            Has anyone out there grown disinterested in whisky lately who’s not (a) Canadian, or (b) a blogger always on the hunt for the latest new thing to blog about?

          • No, the issue, I think, might be that EVEN IF it’s still “a 10” or whatever, and not slipping in quality (a debatable issue these days), prices are climbing in fairly crazy fashion (not so much a debatable issue for many) so that values/QPR are in overall, and rather rapid, decline – and I don’t know that that’s so much “a narrative” as “a fact”.

            Having tried a number of whiskies that I would put at “8+”, there’s still only so much I would pay for them, even if their quality isn’t really in doubt.

            But, if a whisky WAS once a “10”, and is now only an “8”, what kind of cause for celebration is that? I really don’t think that Talisker 10 is everything it once was, for example.

            I guess I really only look at QPR and product information… because I never believed in all the “whisky re-imagined/reinvented” hoopla anyway.

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff, I didn’t say a “10 to 8 slide” would be cause for celebration. That’s a straw man. And besides, that arbitrary numbering thing I introduced above was an attempt at describing “whisky”—not “A PARTICULAR whisky.”

            I’m trying to nail down what everyone’s so gloomy about when it doesn’t match my experience at all. Some old glories aren’t spilling off the shelves like they supposedly were a few years ago, and many prices are going up faster than inflation. That’s all I see.

            At the same time, I see some stuff that seems to be getting CHEAPER (Ardbeg Ten) and nothing that fails to deliver the expected quality—of course, from my necessarily limited experience. Thanks for giving a concrete example, though; I’ll keep that in mind next time a get a new Talisker 10, which I plan to buy from K&L for $50 next time I order from them.

          • I’m glad that we’re at least on the same page that declining quality (where found) isn’t anything to celebrate – hence my “if”, but only as a comment on the scenario/interpretation you seemed to be putting forward – not that you were saying declining quality was something to celebrate but that, if you were right in thinking that declining quality was what was principally being complained about, it should be readily “understandable” that consumers would be unhappy about it.

            Furthermore, if what I said about “a whisky” could, in theory, be applied to any whisky, in what way could it not also be applied to “whisky” in general and thus not be consistent with your interpretation/scenario?

            To be honest, I never knew exactly what (if anything) you are celebrating or “didn’t get” from all of the above. The guys from LAWS are, of course, in California, and I think that they made the case as well as anyone.

            But, to recap:

            No, the issue, I think, might be that EVEN IF it’s still “a 10” or whatever, and not slipping in quality (a debatable issue these days), prices are climbing in fairly crazy fashion (not so much a debatable issue for many) so that values/QPR are in overall, and rather rapid, decline – and I don’t know that that’s so much “a narrative” as “a fact”.

            Your “faster than inflation” is putting it rather mildly (a bit of a “narrative” in my book), but we at least seem to agree on the general mechanics and values trending there as well. Your Ardbeg 10 is “getting cheaper”? Mine just went up – not by much, but it went up. As for Talisker 10, the proof’s in the pudding and the eye of the beholder (I’ve said my bit), but I don’t think it’s improving in any way.

            Give Driscoll my regards after you give him your love of his methods. We’re old friends.

            Cheers!

          • Jeff, the goal of my posts here has been to (1) nail down what the heck people are complaining about, so that (2) we could discuss whether it’s true. Quickly:
            •Is it prices? OK, I get that prices in Canada suck. And they’re up elsewhere too. But I still see plenty of good values.
            •Is it quality? OK, I get that some whiskies have surely slipped. But some have improved. And I still find plenty of great whiskies.

            As you can tell, I’m still not convinced there’s anything to be gloomy about here beyond some higher prices. Allow me to repeat the challenges I made at the top of this chain:

            “Did they stop making Ardbeg 10 and Talisker 10? Or Laphroaig 10, 10 CS, and QC? Did the latest shipment of Lagavulin 16 sink in the Atlantic? Did all the Caol Ila 12 get diverted into a vat of JW Red?

            Did Glendronach stop using sherry casks?

            Did Aberlour, Highland Park, Old Pulteney, Oban, and Bunnahabhain drop their age-statement lines?

            Did Bowmore, Clynelish, and Mortlach stop selling to the IBs?

            Did Glengoyne start “tainting” their whisky with peat?

            Did Springbank buy computers?!?!?!”

            ***

            I guess what I’m “celebrating” (to use your word) is that all these standards are still great. And still available. And for the most part, still affordable.

            ***

            What’s the deal with your Driscoll comment? Is that a dig on my intention to buy a Talisker 10 from K&L? I don’t get it.

          • Jeff,

            Looks like price increases across the board at the KGBO… A’Bunadh, Redbreast 12 CS, Ardbeg 10… all by a few dimes. Curious..

          • Sorry, I don’t take your “challenges” any more seriously than you do, because they really had nothing to do with what people were talking about – which also sort of undercut the idea of trying to nail anything down – but I do, sincerely, give you credit for undertaking a deeper exploration of these issues, particularly in a climate where they are largely ignored in order to clear the decks to hype the next big release. So, props to you before we continue.

            If you (now) get that it’s a combination of prices rising FAR above inflation and “steady-state” quality (and, to me, only steady), and that the combination is leading to a pattern of rapidly declining value/QPR overall, then I think you get it. I know the guys at LAWS get it.

            The outlook for the average whisky drinker with an average budget, to me, is not good: production information itself is being premiumized now while the (sometimes, somewhat) cheaper NAS choices only really offer pig-in-a-poke options; yes, you’ve bought whisky, but what is it, and what is it now compared to what it was last time? It doesn’t matter what it is in terms of age, so long as it comes from this distillery with those casks and has that label? Sorry, I’ve never seen the combination of distillery, casks and labels for which that was true – and neither have producers; it’s the reason they have warehouses and put whiskies to sleep for decades.

            Or, maybe, it only matters that it’s “good”, or that someone can convince someone THAT it’s good, or that someone says that it’s good? OK, but is any level of complexity, as opposed to just big, bold, oaky flavours, still any part of what’s considered “good” at purchasing levels that are affordable for most? It’s less and less the case. If the industry can simply constantly REDEFINE “quality” (what’s “good” and “great”) in terms of just what it’s offering at any given time (and/or at very different levels of purchasing) then we’ll always be in some perpetual state of “whisky celebration”, won’t we? And, according to all the marketing crap, isn’t that already the case? “Bright times ahead for whisky!”, etc., etc., etc.. S’all good man… sure, by definition… if you constantly move the goalposts, everything’s a touchdown. “Another triumph for Ardbeg” – thank God for that; I was so worried about Ardbeg. Many of the whiskies made today wouldn’t have previously been considered even mature, let alone “good” or “great” but… move the goalposts… touchdown! And the crowd goes wiiillllddddddd! “Whisky reinvented”? – guess again.

            I guess we’re mostly agreed on prices, but I’d be interested in hearing about whiskies that have improved in quality in recent years. We might also, predictably, have somewhat different ideas as to what “great” as opposed to “good” whiskies are out there – and the problem isn’t helped by the fact that “great” and “good” seem to get used more and more interchangeably. I think this might have to do with the marketing pattern discussed in the previous paragraph, but let’s move on.

            What do I understand could be daunting, or certainly confusing, however, is that all of this gloom and doom might seem to being coming from people rather suddenly or “all of a moment” – like whisky suddenly tanked – but I think that it’s really the pointed articulation of factors that have been building, and that some have been feeling, for some time.

            And it’s also looking beyond the, yes, not–so-completely-horrible present and into the future somewhat (as per the thread name); I’ve not given up on whisky completely yet in terms of new purchases, but I can see the point where I will without a market correction – beyond the transparent bullshit that now passes for whisky “expertise”, pricing alone is now telling me that whisky won’t always be for me (and not out of any lack of personal interest or enjoyment). Knowing what many of these whiskies are, there are also prices that I simply won’t pay for them.

            As for Driscoll, we encourage the kind of business models that we support with our dollars – and Driscoll supports both lying and the kind of Eli Wallach “if God didn’t want them to be sheared, He wouldn’t have made them sheep”-anything-for-a-buck-is-justified retailing that I could never support. So yeah, please give him my regards when you give him your support – it’s probably the only way he’ll get those regards as no one can comment directly on his blog page and I wouldn’t give him my business even if it were an option.

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff, I don’t disagree with most of what you write above, but:

            1. Benromach has improved its game in the last few years. The newly branded 10 YO and for sure the 100/10 are a step up from before. (You said you were interested…)

            2. I don’t think that the position of goal posts have a bearing on touchdowns, more like field goals and conversions. Unless you make the argument that when the NFL moved the posts to the back of the end zone it discouraged longer field goals which may have resulted in more attempts to score touchdowns.

            건배 !

          • 1. I would agree that Benromach has improved its game with the distillery reboot – and I support it on that basis. Would you say that any of its whiskies since the reboot have been on the upswing?

            2. If that’s what passes as criticism of the point, then I take the point as safely made; constantly change the standards for declaring a success and you can declare a success anywhere.

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff:

            1. I don’t have enough personal experience to say what has happened SINCE the reboot, only that the reboot did raise the bar.

            2. I agree, and I infer you took the “criticism” in the way it was intended.

            건배 !

          • 1. Fair enough, and no fault on you, but I’m still interested in any and all products that have improved as part of a continuous chain of production.

            2. Fair enough again – I got too tied up in the “moving the goalposts” phrasing and lost sight of the rest of the analogy – but the point, such as is, still stands pretty well; if only judged by its own shifting, and contradictory standards, the industry will NEVER make a clunker. Whisky isn’t being reinvented; people are being brainwashed.

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff, I don’t have enough personal experiences over time to demonstrate upward trends for any given product, but popular opinion seems to be that upswings are being enjoyed over the past few years by Benromach, Ledaig & the other Burn Stewart malts, Glendronach, Irish as a category, and Amrut. Good stuff coming from Kilkerran and Kilchoman. Super-newbie Wolfburn is supposed to be good too (no personal experience yet).

            And in general, all those standards I mentioned above continue to deliver.

          • Ahh, so you hear that things are getting better and better, but you have no personal experience of it; no harm, no foul, but you and I have that in common.

            I’ve heard about some nice new products that people support with those distilleries and styles, and I put the Burn Stewart reboot equal to the success of that for Benronmach but, again, it’s not the same thing as the quality of any established product improving while in continuous production; people can proclaim every Amrut product a triumph, for example, but has any individual Amrut product improved?

            For all the touted benefits of “wood management” by itself in the whisky world, why isn’t every long-established whisky noticeably better for that alone?

            What I’m getting at is that I just don’t see products that I’m buying/replacing under the same product labels getting better. “Good stuff” coming from anybody isn’t the same thing as improving stuff coming from anybody, and continuing to deliver isn’t the same as a quality upswing.

            Sláinte!

          • But, to play devil’s advocate, If you have an expression that merits a 95/100, it’s hard to improve on that. Amrut has, from what I have seen, increased its use of age statements, and also consistently put out good products. It’s hard for one person to try batch after batch, but I’ve tried 3 batches of the CS ranging from 2007 to about 20112-13 and all were good. Aside from saying it would be best if Amrut put ages on all their new bottlings (I don’t see it feasible to ask they add them to already shipped product) what more can we reasonably expect?

            건배 !

          • IF you have an 95/100 expression like that, that’s fine, but it still changes the story, in that case, from one of “things are getting better”, to one of “things can’t really GET any better than they are now” – whisky now isn’t being improved; whisky’s essentially been perfected – and with modern whisky, I find the second story even harder to believe than the first one in most cases. Where are all the 95 (pluses)?

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff:

            Right, I’ve heard people who drink far more Benromach and Amrut than I do say that they’ve gotten better. I can’t personally say.

            Just like I’ve heard people who drink far more Lagavulin 16 than I do say it’s slipped. I can’t personally say.

            I hope you’re not taking my personal inability to prove an upward trend as evidence for the claimed grand slide that everyone is complaining about here.

            Bottom line: I don’t understand what motivation or enjoyment people find in all this complaining. Again, from what I can tell, it all comes down to “prices in Canada suck and we’re now living in only the SECOND best-ever whisky era.” Apparently things were incredible a decade+ ago after the big glut, but I’m pretty sure no period before that offered anything close to what we enjoy now. At least those of us outside the few whisky Meccas that might have existed way back when.

            Quick—and this isn’t directed at Jeff specifically: Imagine yourself transported back in time, say to 1987, living wherever you live now (yes, even outside of Canada). How would you even find out about 1960s Springbanks, 1970s Ardbegs, and all the rest? Assuming you climbed the pre-internet mountain of whisky insider knowledge sufficiently high to discover them, how would you get them? Ask your local store? Write a letter and send Springbank a check, hoping they’ll mail you some? Travel to London?

          • Bottom line: I don’t mean any offense to anyone, but just saying something is good, no matter how defined, isn’t the same as saying that it’s either great or improving – the terms good, great and improving (much less essentially perfected) aren’t interchangeable.

            You personally claimed that some whiskies have improved but, like me, can’t name a lot of products that have done so (and just what ARE all those producer “innovation” departments doing if there’s nothing to improve on anyway?).

            And if you don’t understand the issues of declining QPR, getting less product information about what you’re buying on expressions that cost more, and the industry trying to redefine “quality” to just match whatever it happens to be putting out, I think it’s a self-correcting situation – because you will understand it, firsthand.

            As for the time machine question: the people living in 1987 and later who were into whisky somehow knew about those expressions; they bought them. It’s true that access wasn’t the same for everyone, but it’s also restricted by laws, budgets, who imports what products and less aged whisky being produced today; it’s supposedly the reason for NAS.

            Sláinte!

          • Jeff, please tell me that the point of my 1987 time machine wasn’t lost on you: Even if there was an Incredibly Astounding Golden Age of Whisky that’s now over, today is still the second-best period to be a whisky drinker. Ever. In any previous period, 99% of us would, at best, be drinking Glenfiddich 12 from our local bottle shop, maybe rotating a Macallan 18 on special occasions, and asking our shop owner what makes that “Izz-lay” stuff taste so different. And he wouldn’t know.

          • Jeff, on the main point of this whole page here, you and I are just going back and forth now repeating ourselves. I’ll try to fairly summarize, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO’S STILL PAYING ATTENTION, I invite you to respond.

            1. There was a post-glut golden age when incredible whiskies were pretty available.

            2. Even so, overall availability and access to information today is way better that it ever used to be.

            3. Many prices are going up. In some cases, by a lot. Rising prices erode our QPR.

            4. Some whisky lovers cite declining quality in certain cases. Some cite increasing quality in certain cases. Your personal experience with the quality of stuff in your glass has been _____________.

            5. There’s a lot of NAS junk and nonsensical sales messages out there, which we can all choose to either ignore or consume (literally and figuratively).

            6. Many standbys continue to deliver quality at a reasonable value.

            Is that fair?

            If so, what do you all think—are you happy or sad in the world of today’s whisky?

            I’m happy.

          • Sure, except the old standbys that are no longer available:

            Laphroaig 18
            Macallan 12 and 18
            Macallan CS
            etc…

          • 1. There was a post-glut golden age when incredible whiskies were pretty available. – Sure, I didn’t experience it myself but, looking at things like the Malt Monitor, I do take it as a given.

            2. Even so, overall availability and access to information today is way better that it ever used to be. – I’d agree that, with the popularity of whisky, overall access to PRODUCTS is better, although the quality of the products one has access TO is not quite as good (see above) and the access itself is more constricted by the factors of scarcity and pricing than previously.

            The question of “information” is very interesting because, although there are more reviews and more commentary on whisky than ever before, I’ve never seen so many products (and reviews) denying the overall influence of age and which literally substitute legends and fairy tales for production information. The fact that most “authorities” on whisky let the industry skate on this nonsensical trend also invalidates many of them AS authorities – if they don’t know that age matters to whisky, they really don’t know very much about whisky or they’re simply marketers. There’s a lot of people doing a great deal of talking about whisky, but there’s very few actually saying anything or who I trust in any real way.

            4. Some whisky lovers cite declining quality in certain cases. Some cite increasing quality in certain cases. Your personal experience with the quality of stuff in your glass has been _____________. Mine? at least Talisker 10 and HP 12 in terms of slight decline. My point on this is that, while quality can be argued to be steady, I don’t see any upswing in any established product in continuous production – and I don’t know what the certain cases are where people are citing increasing quality.

            5. There’s a lot of NAS junk and nonsensical sales messages out there, which we can all choose to either ignore or consume (literally and figuratively). – It’s your choice within whisky FOR NOW, because there are still available and affordable products that will still tell you what you’re buying. If people keep buying the line that “age doesn’t matter to what I’m drinking if I’m willing to help the industry ignore it”, however, everything that’s within the purchase range of many WILL go NAS, and then your choice is to either knuckle under or leave single malts.

            6. Many standbys continue to deliver quality at a reasonable value. – Sure, but with rapid price increases, and only steady quality, those values are on the decline overall; it’s just math.

            You might be happy for now, but I’m not happy with the trending; it’s not the current snapshot, it’s the film. Again, right at first, falling can feel an awful lot like flying.

            Sláinte!

  8. The criticism that there seem to be a lot of Canadians on the site grumbling about price is hilarious – THIS IS A CANADIAN SITE. There are, as mentioned in my earlier comment, entry level drams available in Canada. BUT, even those are expensive. Talisker and Ardbeg 10 at $100 each, for example. That’s frickin’ expensive!

    • Noting the Canadianrificness of this site isn’t a criticism. It’s setting aside one local variable that applies only to fraction of whisky drinkers.

      (And is this really “a Canadian site”? Am I on the “Canadian Wide Web” here? Is My Annoying Opinions “a Minnesotan site”?)

  9. Hi there,

    what Canadian? I can only say that I am glad that I live in a place without state monopol – as far as sales of alcohol are concerned.

    About the future … I fear we will see more of attempts like described here

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/from-the-editors/13382/not-every-whisky-can-be-a-macallan/

    and we will probably have to fight to stay sane if things like described here go on

    https://whiskysponge.com/2017/04/01/whisky-looking-beyond-cynicism/

    Greetings
    kallaskander

  10. ATW, what exactly was the smackdown you took the week before this post? Was it somewhere on this site?

  11. See previous reply…

  12. Hi there,

    Eyes to the future……

    “And, if we want the industry to thrive, we must move forward! The new age whisky drinker doesn’t believe in this shit; yes, they respect tradition and heritage – they are so important and a huge part of what makes Scotch whisky special – but they want to bring into their world brands that represent who they are – and we don’t want to be known as bigoted, sexist, boring old men.”

    “….I know it’s his regular routine, but it’s wrong on so many levels and painfully anachronistic. Sadly, it’s also representative of the views of too many people in the broader whisky community too.

    (Is that Nick Morgan speech?)

    This thinking – and this preaching – has to stop. And, when it comes from someone like this individual, it just reinforces more of these stereotypes that we must (and, for the majority, are) shake off as an industry, as they’re just not true.”

    This thinking an preaching has to stop – because it is in the way of many further highly profitable sales of whisky. Do away with old concepts and any trace of tradition. We must destroy the whisky category in the name of progress and total flexibility. Anything goes as long as it sales is the new credo.

    Jeff will love this. Is it only me who thinks this “insider” has had an overdose of company marketing? Or a case of successful re-education and re-orientation?

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/the-way-i-see-it/13577/whisky-s-elitist-snobbery-must-stop/

    Greetings
    kallaskander

    • The lady’s arguments are sophomoric and her writing skills well below Pulitzer level.

      If single malts are no better than blends there must be some other reason why they cost three times as much. Ditto if age is no longer relevant.

    • “We all want whisky to be inclusive, fun and enjoyed by as many people as possible in all its forms.” – well, no; while I’m not REALLY against it as an idea, I have to confess that “inclusiveness” was never on my consumer radar as any kind of primary objective. Sure, “industry insiders” are probably all VERY concerned that no one EVER feels “excluded” from buying a whisky that, ironically, paying customers aren’t “entitled” to know the age of but, for me, the second part about that lack of entitlement is FAR more a problem than worrying about whether the industry is currently reading its demographics correctly. That being the case, I’m not sure who “we” are in this context, or whether I’m really one of “us”, even from the get-go.

      But again, look at, and worry about, whisky as the industry does and from its POV, and you’re a least half co-opted into placing its concerns above your own as a consumer. Poor industry… poor people in the industry.. it’s all just terrible.

      By the same token, I can’t lose sleep over “messaging that will just do negative things to the industry and its acceptance among those who aren’t at retirement age” because, as a consumer, I think the industry is long OVERDUE for a serious shit kicking right now and I won’t ever worry about its survival UNTIL that shit kicking puts it in mortal danger.

      “And, if we want the industry to thrive, we must move forward!” – maybe but, again, who are “we” and is the industry’s success, with its current agenda, really the best thing for consumers or for whisky? It’s a real question, but not one our writer is concerned about here.

      Should industry “empathy” for the consumer principally consist of wringing hands over “inclusiveness” rather than providing more information as to what the consumer is actually spending more and more money on? And these worries over inclusiveness are placed in the context of saying “our main role is education” while most prominent “educators” preach that the influence of age on whisky can essentially be turned on and off like a light switch with an uninformative label choice to boost sales!?!

      And people write this while, somewhere, comedians are living in poverty? How’s that for empathy?

      “That a single malt and a blend are both a marriage of casks – that one is not ‘better’ than the other.” – it’s true that they’re really different products with different composition, and that quality is in the eye of the beholder but, in a neat drinking experience, many people place value on flavour and balance. Although there are exceptions in both cases (essentially “bad” single malts and “exceptional” blends, however defined) single malts generally provide more prominent flavours though their malt content compared to blends, and many blends have their balance relatively compromised through (over)use of column-still grain spirit, which is why many people prefer to drink single malts neat while using blends for cocktails. Both are “a marriage of casks”, but what the casks hold does matter. Regardless of all the “excitement” industry talking heads now want to generate around the world of blends, they have their work cut out for them because most blends don’t generate much excitement by themselves.

      My buddy, the Whisky Guru, keeps threatening to buy me a bottle of Red Label for Christmas (even “just” the 1750 ml, to say nothing of the 3000 ml MOAB) and I WOULD get very excited about that; but not for the reasons this lady would like.

      And, on empathy, I’m not defending sexist stereotypes or behaviour by any means, but I also refuse to confuse this lady’s problems as a professional within the industry, real as they doubtless are, with mine as a consumer outside it.

      “I thought the world – and whisky – had come further than this.” – you thought that while, elsewhere, only worrying about industry sales and messaging instead of the consumer? Nah, you know EXACTLY how far the world – and whisky – have come because, from my perspective as a consumer, you’re just as much a part of the real problem as anyone else: people think that they can dump their silly bullshit on others and that no one on the receiving end is supposed to mind. You just don’t like to be on the receiving end – no one does; join the club.

      From what I can see, the writer knows exactly as much about whisky as her professional male counterparts; the problem isn’t that it goes “unrecognized” – the real problem is that the shared level of knowledge, and truthfulness about it, isn’t, itself, a compliment. Even if she was treated as well, or better, than Charlie MacLean, it still wouldn’t help consumers because Charlie MacLean and HIS “messaging” about whisky isn’t helping consumers either.

      Sláinte!

      • Since when is “inclusiveness” a trait of whisky marketing? I far more often see things touted as “exclusive.” (I think sometimes people forget what “exclusive” means.)

        • The point I tried to make was that worrying about “inclusiveness” – as if there’s some current “crisis” in it – serves the industry in distracting consumers from their own issues. People aren’t being “shamed” out of whisky shows, they’re rapidly being priced out of products and being “excluded” from knowing what they’re paying for.

          But just like “age both does and doesn’t matter to whisky, depending on the label”, there is a doublethink to the industry message on inclusiveness and exclusiveness with regard to whisky; whisky is supposed to be inclusive enough that everybody can find something within whisky that’s “for them”, but exclusive enough to allow everyone to be able to think that most other people are drinking stuff that’s either substandard or overpriced. Whisky’s only in the business of being inclusive when it isn’t in the business of being exclusive.

          Sláinte!

          • Hey Jeff. My comment about “inclusiveness” and “exclusiveness” was probably misplaced or badly framed. Or both.

            Point being, it wasn’t a response to what you said; rather, it was just attached to the place on this page where the “inclusiveness” idea first arose, which was in your quoted bits. Sorry if that was unclear.

            That said, I think your second paragraph here—especially the quip “Whisky’s only in the business of being inclusive when it isn’t in the business of being exclusive”—is spot on.

          • I took it to be a question about if, or how, Broom was supposedly (from my view) serving industry ends with his piece – and I thought it was a fair question that deserved an answer. Thanks for the comment.

            Sláinte!

  13. Hi there,

    from the same source but in the category “From the Editors” quite a different tone.
    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/from-the-editors/13579/whisky-belongs-to-all-of-us/
    Dave Broom refers to the same elitist whisky show or whatever that was but he manages not
    to praise the brave new world of NAS-ty whiskies and he avoids the traditonalist vs. new whisky requirements subject.
    Funny though, that both the “expert” article and this is published under the same umbrella.

    Greetings
    kallaskander

    • Broom’s piece in response to the “elitist crisis” is another good example of the industry friendly crusading against self-defined industry problems in order to stay oblivious to consumer problems.

      The issue here, apparently, is that someone is doing or thinking something that does violence to the idea that “whisky is for everyone”:

      “‘Don’t get worked up Dave, it’s just a few rich guys.’ No. It’s more than that. If the universality of whisky is not key to education, then we have all failed. If its qualities aren’t actively demonstrated through talk, and action, laughter and fun, then this ‘elite’ will own the narrative, one which declares that ‘old is good’, ‘single malt is the best’, ‘price is a determinant of quality’, and ‘it is for us and not you’.”

      Well, Dave, the elite continue to try to own the narrative, and you’re as much a part of that elite, and that narrative, as anyone. Whisky never really “belonged to everyone” except in the most extended sense; it always traditionally belonged to the very few who largely drink on the cuff while telling us “it has to be this way” and all the others who, while hearing the industry malarkey, still very much always had to buy their whisky themselves. On that basis, “whisky education” failed a LONG time ago or, perhaps, never even existed as a sincere effort. And your failures are your own, not “all of ours”.

      Whisky isn’t becoming more elitist based on what somebody did or didn’t say to someone else at some whisky show that was never for the great unwashed anyway; it’s becoming more elitist based on the fact many people are simply being priced out of it because no level of profit is enough.

      “Reject elitism: Whisky is not a commodity reserved for rich men.”

      Sure, prices be damned, attitude is king, ONWARD! When he comes up with this stuff, it’s painfully obvious that Broom does a LOT of drinking on the cuff​… and that he will do a lot more.

      Much as I wouldn’t be allowed among all the terrible people at the terrible whisky show, I’ll say one thing for them: they apparently understand that age matters to what they’re drinking. While age isn’t the same as quality, someone acknowledging that age DOES matter is refreshing, considering how I used to read the folks at Whisky Advocate defend NAS to the skies and then talk about how they would be resorting to their bunkered whiskies until the era of “nothing worth buying” – that THEY were helping to create – blew over.

      “What the whisky industry can do, however, is stop pandering to them, stop saying something to one group of people and something else to the rest of us.”

      Apply the above to what labels and NAS paradoxically say about whisky maturation (age is important here, but not over there) and reflect upon the following from Broom:

      “There is nothing inherently wrong, evil or nasty about No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies. The reason that there is an increasing number of them is driven primarily by the fact that there currently isn’t sufficient stock to match global demand. This situation will ease, but at the moment producers are faced with this dilemma.” – https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/from-the-editors/6812/nas-whisky/

      So industry double messaging on age is somehow “justified” by the industry’s problems, if Broom says so? Broom understands what’s good for Broom, but it’s in a world very removed from the truth and that of the average whisky consumer.

      Sláinte!

  14. Why would a rich guy want to drive a Camry when he can afford a Bentley? Why wear a Timex if you can afford a Rolex? Why drink J & B if you can afford Macallan 30 year old? Of course it’s elitist and the rest of us are in at whatever level we can afford. Why would anyone expect that all whisky should be available to all people? Capitalism doesn’t work that way. You pay to play. Let’s face it, whisky shows are not set up to promote JW Red.

    The female whisky professional with the spectacular legs (a fact she managed to slip into her anti-sexist, ageist rant) attributed a lot of dubious comments to “the old rich guys”. I find it hard to believe that even they could display such a lack of class. I suspect that the author took some liberties with the acts. I noted, too that she didn’t see fit to put her name to the piece. (see Kallaskander’s link to the article above).

    • Most pay to play. A few say (what it takes to help the industry) to play. All this egalitarian stuff that pretends that Johnnie Walker Red Label or Ballantine’s Finest is really King George V or Ballantine’s 30-year-old just writ in smaller economic terms is a good case in point, and I doubt Broom has been seen drinking too much of the former whiskies with “the common folk”. The coupons for “my fair share” of Macallan 30 must have gotten held up in the mail. If who does or doesn’t get priced out in the current single malt market isn’t an issue, Broom can just stop with pretending that whisky “belongs to all of us” in any tangible sense. But Broom’s approach here is also very industry friendly; it says “we don’t care if you get pushed around by pricing, so long as you still buy something from us, at some price level, somewhere”. Remember, we’re all “in this together”.

      As for the lady, I thought she worked a backhanded self-compliment into the recount of her “outrage” as well, but I don’t really doubt the incident itself happened. I’ve met a few rich guys in my travels and I wasn’t always convinced that they ever got rich by acting particularly classy – in fact, I often got the impression that one of the reasons some sought out wealth was for the social license it could lend to their behaviour; that they were essentially looking for a life where the rules no longer applied to them.

      Sláinte!

  15. FYI: Anyone looking for a good example of Serge’s only-a-little-sly criticism style, as noted in ATW’s original post here, could do no better than today’s WhiskyFun run-down of some Glenmo NAS things:

    http://whiskyfun.com/#270417

    • Yeah, Serge is sly and clever – and I sometimes think that being sly and clever is the real point – but he isn’t going to do any real damage to NAS with his level or intensity of NAS criticism (compared, say, to Ralfy).

      But Serge and I are on different whisky planets anyway; if everything that I can currently afford went NAS tommorrow, he would still never be forced to drink any of it or leave single malts (even if he cared about NAS a great deal more than he does) – he could still kick back with some 30+ unobtainium and review it for the few thousand that could both find and afford it.

      Sláinte!

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