Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Whiskey Persons #1 - A Blogger With a Secret

One of my favorite new whisky blogs is Oliver Klimek's excellent Dramming.com which includes tastings, articles and interviews with people of the whisky world. Oliver's blog is so impressive (and listed in the Malt Whisky Yearbook after little more than a year in existence!) that I decided to copy it and start doing some interviews, but they didn't quite work out as I had planned.

This first interview is with one of the web's most famous whisky bloggers. If you are a whisky lover, it's a name I guarantee you would recognize, but this is a blogger with a secret. I must warn you that the interview that follows may shock you and lead you to question everything you thought you knew about the whisky blogosphere.


What gave you the idea to start blogging about whisky?

I was lonely. I had a family, but I wanted a more intimate community, one that would think I was really special, so I started hunting around on the web. For a while, I posted on gardening sites, but those people are horrible. I mean, if you suggest that you use the wrong shaped hoe or soil, they will flame you to death. I just couldn't handle the stress of the gardening forums. I flirted briefly with the parakeet-loving community, then I followed a link to a whisky forum and I loved it. Right there, I said, okay, this is for me.

Had you been a whisky drinker before that point or did you only start tasting whisky when you became involved with that forum?

Oh, I don't drink.

I'm sorry, what do you mean?

I don't drink whisky, or anything alcoholic, not even a bit. I just blog about it.

But you rate and sample whiskies by the hundreds, you are a household name among whisky fans, and you are in a famous tasting society. How can you not drink?

I'm interested in blogging, not drinking. It's really quite easy. When I started out, I read everything I could find about whisky, studied ratings, bought every book and became knowledgeable. I know how whisky is supposed to taste from sherry and spice, to malt and heather, to peat, iodine and seaweed. I mean, once you know those combinations, you just make up the rest. It's easy and it's a great creative exercise. I use heather and treacle all the time in my reviews, and to be honest, I have no idea what those things are, but they sound great.

You're kidding, right? I mean, you've sampled Bowmore Black and Macallan Lalique. Did you just make those up?

Oh, those are the easiest. With whiskies that almost no one else in the world will ever taste, I don't even have to try. Who's going to prove me wrong? Do you think some Russian tycoon is going to post a comment saying my tasting notes are bogus? That's why I confidently wrote that I tasted "Iam's kibble for senior cats" in the finish of the Mortlach 70. Why not?

But don't the distilleries send you samples?

I get more of those damned things than I know what to do with. I do like the little bottles though. They're so pretty! The whisky? Most of it goes down the drain.

You dumped a Bowmore Black down the drain?

I don't dump all of them. I give some of them to the wino who hangs out on the stoop outside my apartment.

What about your scores? Whiskies have been known to double in price when you give them a high score?

Scores are just a way of imparting confidence in the consumer. When you think about it, I'm like the Wizard of Oz, and the consumer is the Cowardly Lion; all they need is the courage to make the choice they know they want to make anyway. People want Ardbegs, Broras, Port Ellens and Highland Parks to get high scores, so I oblige. They don't care about much else, except that they like it if you occasionally give something that's really expensive a low score. That reaffirms the consumer's feeling that they aren't missing anything. Scoring isn't a matter of taste or math; it's a matter of psychology. And, of course, who can disagree? Taste is subjective, and I include the disclaimer that my scores are only my opinion and it may be different from that of others, which is certainly true.

How do you live with yourself?

My liver is very healthy.

Common Questions

Your Three Tips for Whisky Novices

1. Always listen to the experts. Remember, your palate is not sophisticated enough to judge whisky. Leave it to those of us who know what we're talking about.

2. Don't buy anything that scores less than a 98.

3. Please support my advertisers.

Your three tips for experienced whisky lovers

1. Always listen to the experts. Remember, your palate is not sophisticated enough to judge whisky. Leave it to those of us who know what we're talking about.

2. Don't buy anything that scores less than a 98.

3. Please support my advertisers.


Oliver Klimek said...

No need to apologize, Steve. I feel honored by this great parody!

If we only knew who might hide behind this.....

Dr. Shitky said...

If I had laughed anymore while reading this I would have been convinced it was real.

What? It is?

In that case I advise using the cute mini bottles distillers send you to start a thread on innovative water feeders on your parakeet forum!

Great post, Sku

JMForester said...

Hysterical! great parody of the blog scene, and the whiskey scene.

DavindeK said...

Hilarious! and very revealing. Can we look forward to more?