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tanstaafl2
11-18-2012, 06:27
I was reading through the various blogs I keep up with and in the context of the recent well deserved flogging of Wine Enthusiast for the Michter fiasco and I confess I found the most recent posts on the K&L Spirits Journal to be at least mildly ironic.

I recognize the Spirits Journal blog is not necessarily intended as an independent source of information about the industry but rather has a direct connection to the industry with the primary purpose to promote and sell the products they have. It is not an independent blog that, in theory, should have no allegiances to the industry.

Although the presumably more independent blogs run the gamut from fiercely independent if curmudgeonly (not naming any names mind you!), to blogs that seem to be little more than shills for the industry with every review proving to be the latest and greatest thing to come along in hopes of getting free booze and their 15 seconds of fame in industry circles. And pretty much everything in between.It can leave us poor consumers more than a little bewildered!

But on more than a few occasions, especially recently, the Spirits Journal blog has been focusing on issues within the industry and "encouraging" them to improve. I had gone there to read the blog about competition in California (that was referenced in a post here I think but my searching skills seem to be failing me) and noted with interest the two posts just above it. In the first (http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/11/17/having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too.html) David Driscoll, rightly in my opinion, calls to task the industry for trying to have its cake and eat it too. Then in the very next post (http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/11/16/more-hot-deals.html) he is touting the virtues of a whiskey that would seem to be a well known poster child for "truthiness" in the industry.

It is probably a bit too much for the second post (and the associated blurb on the K&L website) to say:

The most talked about little rye is finally available to the general public. The back story is complete garbage of course but the rye inside is a spice monster! It almost feels like they've steeped it in spices after they got their allotment from the real distiller that the bottler won't reveal. Big, rich, clove, cinnamon, very intense, very delicious.

I don't really mean to pick on the that blog specifically. In fact I have and will continue to read it regularly (even if they won't ship booze to my state!). It just seemed to present a rather apropos target.

But in this case it almost seems like the Spirits Journal blog is also trying to have its cake and eat it too...


(Clearly I have way too much time on my hands on a Sunday morning to be musing over this sort of thing. But I guess it is a little too early for a wee dram to distract me!)

Trey Manthey
11-18-2012, 06:57
Well he does say "You either say, "We're not going to give away our secrets," and move on, or you tell them what they want to know. It's as easy as that. I'm fine with it either way!"

I think this is a case of just having their cake.

Lazer
11-18-2012, 07:51
David's job is to sell whiskey, go easy on him, he has thin skin. If he's got Templeton Rye in his store, he's going to tell you what's great about Templeton Rye, not how sneaky the owners of the business have been. When he criticizes, he doesn't name the brand, because at the end of the day, most customers only care about what they're getting in the bottle, not the politics of it.

If you saw that some brand was selling, even if you didn't like they way they did business, would you refuse to sell it? Would you tell customers, those guys are a bunch of frauds?

tanstaafl2
11-18-2012, 09:24
David's job is to sell whiskey, go easy on him, he has thin skin. If he's got Templeton Rye in his store, he's going to tell you what's great about Templeton Rye, not how sneaky the owners of the business have been. When he criticizes, he doesn't name the brand, because at the end of the day, most customers only care about what they're getting in the bottle, not the politics of it.

If you saw that some brand was selling, even if you didn't like they way they did business, would you refuse to sell it? Would you tell customers, those guys are a bunch of frauds?

Yes, I recognize that and did my best to preface my post with the fact that I recognized that the purpose of the blog is different from blogs that purport to be wholly independent of influence from the industry. He does have to walk a fairly fine line though if he is going to take a poke at the beast as well. I don't envy him the task but hope he continues to do so.

And I am not trying to pick on Mr. Driscoll personally so I hope it doesn't take too much offense. I in fact like reading the Spirits Journal and accept it can be a bit of a two headed beast. But he has on occasion mentioned names when pointing out "flaws" in the industry. If not specific brands then certainly the industry giants. Diageo (http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/11/1/re-evaluating-johnnie-walker.html) is the most readily available example I can point to since he says so himself when he notes: "I have been thrashing Diageo on this blog lately."

I was trying more to wax philosophical I suppose. Always dangerous early on a Sunday morning and no doubt it is not my strength!

cowdery
11-18-2012, 13:55
Emerson wrote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

Speaking for myself as a writer, I write about what interests me at the moment and I might say some different things about that same subject when I'm in a different mood. Obviously, it's a flaw if you're all over the map, but a little inconsistency doesn't bother me. I'm pretty comfortable with ambiguity, some people aren't.

Even moreso than me, David is bombarded with marketing spin from the producers, and he is trying to sell product so he can't piss them all off like I can. He's very honest and straightforward and if he gets something wrong, hey, who doesn't?

T Comp
11-18-2012, 16:05
I very much enjoy his writing when it is not about a specific product being sold by him/them. He is a good writer and puts into words, a lot of thoughts about life and spirits, I agree with. I don't disagree with your observations either tanstaafl2...and David should be able to take some heat...as he's made a few snarky comments about message boards at times too iirc.

silverfish
11-18-2012, 16:44
David's job is to sell whiskey, go easy on him, he has thin skin.

Unless your definition of "thin-skinned" is different than mine,
I agree with you regarding his job but disagree with the rest
of your statement.

cowdery
11-19-2012, 10:49
It should be noted that Driscoll's Templeton note was a walk down Memory Lane. He recalled, and reprinted, his first notes from when they first got Templeton and I think part of his point is that it was written before he knew what he knows now.

T Comp
11-19-2012, 12:03
And making up for anything he said on Templeton, I thank Driscoll for his link yesterday to the NY Times opinion piece by Princeton Professor Christy Wampole on the prevalence of irony in our current culture. Great stuff like this:

"While we have gained some skill sets (multitasking, technological savvy), other skills have suffered: the art of conversation, the art of looking at people, the art of being seen, the art of being present. Our conduct is no longer governed by subtlety, finesse, grace and attention, all qualities more esteemed in earlier decades. Inwardness and narcissism now hold sway."

tanstaafl2
11-19-2012, 12:16
It should be noted that Driscoll's Templeton note was a walk down Memory Lane. He recalled, and reprinted, his first notes from when they first got Templeton and I think part of his point is that it was written before he knew what he knows now.

Well, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. As it happens those same notes are still the blurb on the website (http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1063176).

Maybe I am misreading it! Maybe "The most talked about little rye is finally available to the general public." is really subtle code for its being talked about because it's marketing campaign is untrue.

And perhaps "It almost feels like they've steeped it in spices after distillation" is code for the fact they would have to put spice in it after distillation because somebody else did the distilling.

OK, I am going a bit overboard. Just poking a little fun! :cool:

Although I see the selected review for Templeton Rye on the website is from the fine folks at none other than Wine Enthusiast!

Coincidence? Hmm...

IowaJeff
11-19-2012, 14:21
I think to get good information you need multiple sources. It helps control differing opinions and agendas and gives you a more well-rounded perspective. Luckily, we have a lot of great sources in the whiskey world. K & L, Cowdery Blog and Newsletter, WA blog and mag, Sku, Sour Mash Manifesto, SB, etc. That's a lot of high quality writing and information, and most of it is free.

The K&L blog is great; and I don't use that term lightly. I don't know of any merchant blog in any field that is even close to that good.

mark fleetwood
11-20-2012, 13:57
Well, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. As it happens those same notes are still the blurb on the website (http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1063176).

Maybe I am misreading it! Maybe "The most talked about little rye is finally available to the general public." is really subtle code for its being talked about because it's marketing campaign is untrue.

And perhaps "It almost feels like they've steeped it in spices after distillation" is code for the fact they would have to put spice in it after distillation because somebody else did the distilling.

OK, I am going a bit overboard. Just poking a little fun! :cool:

Although I see the selected review for Templeton Rye on the website is from the fine folks at none other than Wine Enthusiast!

Coincidence? Hmm...

I like the way you think. My organization, Conspriacy Enactors of Histortical Theory (CEHT), is looking for a treasurer. Interested?

tanstaafl2
11-20-2012, 21:51
I like the way you think. My organization, Conspriacy Enactors of Histortical Theory (CEHT), is looking for a treasurer. Interested?

Possibly! What does it pay? I accept cash, check or bourbon...

Lazer
11-21-2012, 10:09
Unless your definition of "thin-skinned" is different than mine,
I agree with you regarding his job but disagree with the rest
of your statement.
Exhibit A: http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/11/21/dont-put-all-your-booze-into-one-basket.html

David D
11-22-2012, 07:46
Exhibit A: http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com/klwinescom-spirits-blog/2012/11/21/dont-put-all-your-booze-into-one-basket.html

Exhibit B - I'm telling you it's true. But I am getting better. The more you put yourself out there, the more you have to be ready to take it.

And, yes, those Templeton notes were written years ago. Chuck, you are correct in that this was a look back at to what my tasting notes once were.

I have an email guys! You can always just ask me if you're curious about something :)

I appreciate all the kind words. Honestly, especially during these months. It is a very fine line. As a retailer, you can't go too far. I'm lucky that I've gotten away with what I have.

daviddriscoll@klwines.com

squire
11-22-2012, 14:06
Gosh, the imagery of words. Since 1783, since 1795, smelling up the house with bread recipes to get the right yeast, first registered distillery, rediscovered great-grandad's original recipe, we make it the same way we always have, well, we can't ignore the appeal. A close friend of mine still believes Jack Daniels is a small production operation in a hollow in Tennessee.

Regards,
Squire