A few mates have passed on some wee samples over the past couple of months. I’ve been delinquent in addressing this, so let’s get down to it.
You guys (and gals) know me. I don’t take free stuff. Not my style. And by ‘free stuff’ I mean the kind of commercially ‘gifted’ packages that would come from the brands hoping for reviews or whatever. In the earliest days I debated it, certain I could maintain my independence and lack of bias, but even then I questioned whether or not others would believe me as I spouted opinions from this tiny bastion of non-conformity. Ultimately integrity was much more important than scoring freebies, so I just said ‘no thanks’. I try to be kind when contacted, usually just informing the solicitor that they wouldn’t be able to get it into Canada anyway, but the reality is…I just don’t want to tarnish the relationship we’ve built here.
I do, however, benefit from friends passing tiny vials my way from time to time. They have nothing to gain, just want to share and are curious about my opinion on some of these drinks. I’ve written up some of them here on the site. Usually these posts are accompanied by a pic of the sample bottle labeled in their own handwriting. Sometimes I’ll ask them for a bottle shot to use, in the event they still have the full packaging. I am currently sitting on a handful of these samples that I really should pay attention to. They’re expensive whiskies (I imagine), and will be fun to taste. More than that, though, it seems only right to the good folks who have shared.
The only exception that may seem compromised is that I do occasionally get samples (about an ounce, maybe less) from a couple local retailers. These are friends trying to get the word out on exclusives and such. I’ve always said I would help my friends and our local scene. Here’s the deal: If the product is shit, I probably just won’t review it. If it’s good, I’ll review it and you can trust that I actually liked it. Either way…the quantity is usually single cask kind of small. Its really only the locals that benefit from these reviews.
Anyway…just wanted us to be clear. After all…transparency is key, no matter what the big guys would prefer.
So…heads up. I’ll be posting a bunch of these ‘vial reviews’ in the coming days. I’ll credit those that allow me to (though some prefer relative anonymity).