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  1. #21
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    I wonder where he found Fleischmann's rye, I have been searching high and low in many locales and never seen it.
    If you find it, let me know.. I'm really interested to see what it's like. I keep meaning to try some Fleischmann's blended based on your suggestion, but can't find anything but 1L bottles around here, and I'm not sure I'll like it a whole liter worth

    After enjoying VOB, I suspect that Barton's business strategy is to sell dollar bills for ninety cents. Count me in!

    - Jeff

  2. #22
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    The more I read, the more I become convinced that Jim Murray was smoking crack during some or all of his tastings. He rates Canadian Club above Pappy 20. I know that ratings of this sort are very personal, but honestly... I'm speechless.

  3. #23
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.

  4. #24
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    Well, he does make some qualification that cross-category comparison of ratings is not going to be useful. The ratings are supposed to be relative to other products in that category, not to completely different whiskies.
    Well, ok... he also rates the standard Ezra Brooks bottling 1 point above Pappy (79).

    At least in my humble opinion, that's some serious crack smoking.

  5. #25
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    Yeah... there might be some crack involved in that instance.

  6. #26
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    I got my 2005 copy about a week ago and while I didn´t expect a whole new book I have to express a certain disappointment about the occasionally sloppy updating.

    Those weird Woodford reserve bottlings are still featured. What´s the point of listing products that the prospective buyer of this guide cannot get? Also, we still get to read that the 10yo Dickel is the only one to be seen on the shelves. This is simply not true. Both the No. 8 and 12 have been readily available for at least a year from most specialist shops in Europe. The 10yo, in contrast, seems to be pretty rare even in the US.

    I still think it´s worthwhile mainly because there is no rival, at least that I know of. His literary style, a field where he easily outshines his rivals, suffers somewhat from this suppressed format, though.

    P.S has anyone had the opportunity of trying that Austrian oat whisky? I´ve written twice to the guy who makes it but, alas, no reply. In a world where a new single malt distillery seems to have popped up every time you wake up after a nap, it is rare to find something truly innovative. Pity he doesn´t feel like sharing it with more people.

  7. #27
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    What´s the point of listing products that the prospective buyer of this guide cannot get?


    This is my biggest gripe with Murray's books. So many of his reviews seem to say something like:

    "Well, this whiskey is pretty good, but nothing like the stuff they made for two weeks twenty years ago. Now that was great whiskey! [Murray waxes rhapsodic in describing whiskey nobody can buy.] You may still be able to find a bottle buried in a barn somewhere." (He doesn't mention it, but if you can find it it will cost $1500.)

    While there were no doubt exceptional whiskies that are no longer available, there is plenty of great whiskey available at any given time, even if it is not exactly the same in all respects as the stuff of days gone by. So, maybe Black Bowmore or that old version of Old Fitz that is occasionally extolled here were truly remarkable, but what possible up-side is there to dwelling on it, especially in a current guide? It only risks discouraging new enthusiasts, who may wrongly believe that they can't get the really good stuff anymore.

    I'd bet that somewhere, today, some distiller is filling a cask of whiskey which, in X years, will equal anything that has come before.

  8. #28
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    On the point of writing about unavailable products, this does appeal to some who have the historical interest. Even if, as is almost certain, I will never taste the old pot still whiskey made by the original Midleton distillery in Ireland, Jim Murray tells me in his book on Irish Whiskey what it was like. A stone demi-john survived in a pub basement and was turned into 33 bottles, one or two of which may still be for sale (at Milroy in Soho, London, for 400 pounds or so). This is pre-1960 Irish pot still, when it was made not just with malted and unmalted barley, as today, but also small amounts of rye, wheat and/or oats, and well, as it was in the "old days" (fortunately renewed for every generation ). Murray's high praise: "Sensational ... massive pot still character with the unmalted barley forming a firm counter to the softer toffee and malts that are drifting about ... fat, oily creamy start then zap: the pot still hardness kicks in with a magnificent follow through of rich cream toffee and malt ... astonishing, glorying in the oily beauty of the old wash still". So, this gives a vivid picture of what the old stuff was like. I agree that merely to catalogue tasty treasures one will never get the chance to try is boring and beside the point, or the main point, but some reference to rare or experimental products can be helpful to give a larger context for those who seek this. I should say I haven't seen, but am trying to find, his latest book where he talks about the special versions of Woodford Reserve. So I can't comment specifically on that book but he mentions a good 10 or so rare whiskies in his book on Irish spirits and I did not find this gratuitous or a distraction. I agree too he is a skilful writer. Michael Jackson, who is working on a new version of his World Guide To Whisky, is still first in my view in the British pantheon but Jim Murray is very good too and of course different in style. There is an "excitement" in his writing that is appealing, he is always the eager student, not just the confident teacher, someone always willing to learn and impart his knowledge (Jackson too but in a different way).

    Gary

  9. #29
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    You have many valid points as usual, Gary, but have you really seen Murray´s whiskey bible? It´s so small that it easily fits into the inside pocket of your jacket. The purpose of it is clearly to be a shopping partner.His book about Irish whiskey is in another league, altogether.

    I, too, enjoy reading about rare and discontinued whiskies (even if it can be a painful experience for a completist like me ) but in a book that to all purposes are constructed as a buying guide, I feel that it´s wrong to flaunt products that clearly do not exist.

  10. #30
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Jim Murray\'s Whiskey Bible 2005

    I haven't seen the book, I hope to pick it up soon. I did enjoy the Irish Whiskey book a lot. Anyway it is really extraordinary how so many people are taking an interest in American whiskey, that of course is all to the good (and hopefully does not bode ill for continued good prices!). It is good to see this interest, much of which originated in Britain (I mean books written from the consumer point of view) but really there is no substitute for books on bourbon and other American whiskies being written by an American. Good as a foreign tome may be, the native almost always will have a surer feel for his or her own country's products and the context in which they arise. An exception is Michael Jackson's writing. He has spent so much time in the U.S. since 1980 or so he practically qualifies as a resident. Plus, he has an unusually wide and thoughtful perspective that allows him to "nail" many key attributes of local drinks and foods. But my point being, we should encourage our local writers, they will usually have a fuller understanding of local production, all things being equal.

    Gary

 

 

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