Three things that really frustrate me: Part 3November 26th, 2007
This is something that really frustrates me. Far too many times, there are writers doing stories on whisky for big name newspapers and magazines and they keep writing things that are incorrect or very misleading. Sometimes, it seems obvious that the writer doesn’t even like whisky.
This happens fairly frequently (i.e., a few to several times a year). I’ll give an example just this past week. It was in New York magazine. It was titled “Bourbon at its Best” and was a listing of bourbons to buy as gifts. Their favorite of the bunch? Michter’s 10 year old, which the author describes as “being made by the distillery that supplied rye to the Revolutionary army.”
Sorry, but the Michter’s Distillery has been closed for about two decades, and the last remaining stocks of Michter’s whiskey was sold on the market as Hirsch, at 16 and 20 year old expressions. A different company bought the rights to the Michter’s name and is selling whiskey as “Michter’s” but it is not from the Michter’s distillery. (They do not reveal the source of the whiskey.)
Sometimes writings on whisky (what whisky is, how each is made, how each one differs, etc.) are so generalized, that they serve no real purpose to the reader. Other times, what they write is inaccurate, perpetuating the very problem they are supposed to resolve: consumer ignorance and misunderstanding about a increasingly complicated subject.
It is so important that the consumer understands what they are drinking. An educated consumer is a satisfied consumer. Large circulation newspapers and magazines can go far to helping this cause. I can think of several really good whisky writers who would do a great job on just about any whisky topic. It would be nice if the editors of these major publications would hire someone who actually knows the subject, rather than assign it to a staff member just to save time and money.
I have written for a newspaper for several years now, and I can tell you first-hand that freelancer pay is so pathetic, most good whisky writers would just laugh at an offer, even if the editor was wise enough to go out and attempt to hire a knowledgeable freelance writer. So, I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.