Thursday, October 24, 2013

Our First Whiskey Reviews

I thought it might be fun to go back into the archives of some well known whiskey bloggers and see what the first whiskey they ever reviewed was.  Many bloggers had been tasting whiskey for years before they actually posted a review, but it's interesting to see where people started when they went to print.  (Of course, this is just a small sampling of the many whiskey blogs out there.)

  • Because he started in the days of the ARPANET, Serge Valentin's first reviews on Whiskyfun are no longer on-line.  The most recent available post is for a massive blind tasting from February 15, 2004.  Even then, he was sipping only the best; the tasting featured nine whiskeys, including the second release of Brora 30 and a 25 year old Signatory Port Ellen.
  • The first episode of Mark Gillespie's WhiskyCast aired on November 12, 2005.  In that first episode, Mark said he would not review whiskeys (though he later did), and he reported about two new releases:  Penderyn and Bernheim Wheat Whiskey.  The episode was eight minutes long.
  • The first meeting of the LA Whiskey Society took place in October 2006 and the stand out bottle was a 16 year old 1985 Glen Elgin from the Bottlers.
  • Sam Simmons, now the Balvenie guy, was once upon a time a blogger known as Dr. Whisky.  He made a few brief recommendations in late 2006, but the first of his series of "Malt Missions" was a review of Johnnie Walker Black on January 1, 2007.  He called it a "world-class knock-out dram."
  • John Hansell started his blog, then called What Does John Know on June 28, 2007.  Then, as now, the blog was mostly news with occasional reviews.  His first blog review was a series of 12 single cask Highland Parks reviewed on September 17, 2007. 
  • Ralfy uploaded his first video (though it was titled "Whisky Review 2") on February 15, 2009 in which he reviewed the Canadian single malt Glen Breton 10, calling it "the best non-Scotch single malt I've ever tasted." The video was three minutes and 18 seconds long. Ralfy clearly has a lot more to say these days.   
  • Oliver Klimek opened with a trio of short reviews on July 18, 2009:  Ardbeg 10Port Charlotte PC 7, and Caol Ila 12.  He liked the PC7 the best, followed by Ardbeg and then Caol Ila. 
  • Josh Hatton's JewMalt Whisky used to be the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society and his first review was a February 18, 2010 review of Ardbeg Uigeadail which smelled like his "sister’s suede jacket after a Bon Jovi concert."
  • Jason Pyle at Sour Mash Manifesto didn't do a formal review until his third post, on May 6, 2010, when he blogged and vlogged (remember when he was a vlogger?) about Evan Williams Single Barrel (vintage 2000) which he was quite fond of.
  • And me? I started this blog as a food blog (hence name) on May 10, 2007.  My first whiskey review was a survey of Buffalo Trace bourbons Eagle Rare 10, Buffalo Trace (which wasn't even available in California back then) and George T. Stagg on May 15, 2007.  The regular Buffalo Trace was "probably my favorite of the three."  I clearly knew a lot more about doughnuts than bourbon back then.    


Oliver Klimek said...

Nice idea! For the records: started out as for the first year.

Tim Read said...

Fun! I've perused some peoples' deep archives to see how things evolved over time, and it's always a fun study. Glad to see I'm not alone on that.

Jason totally needs to bring back the vlog format.

Certainly not among the illustrious company listed, but Scotch & Ice Cream's first was Macallan 30.

EllenJ said...

Wow! Thanks for having the imagination to do this!

Now, I suspect you're already planning on it, but just in case, let me suggest another posting with the LATEST reviews each of these products these fine writers have posted.

I'm not trying to point out "errors", only that everyone's tastes change over time (as does the actual whiskey for that matter), and it would be fun to see how the addition years of experience have affected these writers.

Lazer said...

+1 for the sourmashmanifesto vlogs. He just needs to invest in some lighting gear.

My Annoying Opinions said...

I look forward to being in the 2033 edition of this list. Then again, my first review was of the Bowmore Legend.

(Also, Captcha wants me to enter the word "daboney" to have this post approved; what kind of site, are you running here, Sku?)

Justin said...

Indeed Ralfy has much more to say these days. How about researching best non-whisky posts from these whisky bloggers. I nominate Ralfys post on prostate health in which he describes, in overly exacting detail, how to perform a selfie on your prostate.

I am glad he quickly returned to whisky reviews instead of launching into something like how extract your own rotten molars.

sku said...

EllenJ, that's a great suggestion. Of course, there will be a question of whether the whiskey changed, as well as the rating.

Justin, the original title of my blog was actually Sku's Recent Colonoscopy, but over time, I found whiskey was more fun.

WTK said...

Sku, allow me to add to the other compliments on your latest post. Very interesting read and a cool idea. And I too hope Jason returns to vlogging real soon

BriggsSWC said...

You have all come a long way. Gotta appreciate longevity. Carry on!

(insert my own first review here to make this about me)

The Rookie said...

Cool idea, thanks Sku.

Man, I thought Ralfy had been around for longer than that.

I also enjoyed Jason's vlog.

Scotch&IceCream is one of my favorites, good call Tim.

The Rookie said...

Chuck Cowdery's Blog goes back to '05. Here's a exert from his third post, April 2, 2005:

"Things I am tired of watching people do on television:

Play poker.

Fix houses.

Eat bugs.

Build motorcycles.

Redecorate houses.

Have plastic surgery.


Chuck is awesome.

sku said...

Thanks Rookie. I left out Chuck because he doesn't really do reviews, but he's obviously one of the great whiskey bloggers. It's fun to flip through his old entries. Back then, his blog had many more non-whiskey musings.

Bob.Frederick said...

Sku, so where is your top doughnut shop in LA currently? :D

sku said...

Bob, after all those years, I still tend to favor the same ones: Stan's, Primo's and Bob's.