Whisky Advocate

Malt Advocate adds new whisky reviewers

June 22nd, 2010

For the first time since its inception 19 years ago, Malt Advocate magazine will have multiple whisky reviewers. I’m proud to announce that Dave Broom and Dominic Roscrow have both agreed to join me in reviewing whiskies. These guys are great writers, accomplished book authors, excellent whisky reviewers, and also regular contributors to Malt Advocate.

As most of you know, many whiskies are not imported to the US (because of the 750 ml bottle requirements, burdensome labeling requirements, small bottling runs, and other issues). Some of these whiskies are very good, and I sometimes have trouble sourcing them. Dave and Dominic live in the UK and have easier access to them. Their focus will be on reviewing these whiskies, while I continue concentrating on those whiskies that come to the US.

The majority of Malt Advocate magazine’s circulation is in the US, so why include reviews of whiskies that aren’t? I can think of three strong reasons, outlined below:

First, this blog (WDJK) is definitely international in scope. Similar to past whisky reviews which I’ve done, we will be posting many new reviews up here first, before they are published in Malt Advocate.

Second, the world is  a much smaller place. People travel internationally. Plus, thanks to the internet, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., people are becoming more aware of special releases, regardless of where they live.

Finally, now that we’ve joined M. Shanken Communications, I expect our circulation to increase rapidly–and internationally.

The reviews will begin with our next issue, Volume 19.3, due out around September 1st. We still have not determined the number of reviews or the specific whiskies. That will be sorted out in the near future.

No Responses to “Malt Advocate adds new whisky reviewers”

  1. Sjoerd de Haan says:

    That is quite the expansion of your fabulous magazine, Jonn! Congratulations on the rise and rise of Malt Advocate.

  2. Red_Arremer says:

    Nice, good for you and a few questions John:
    1. Will they be using the same reviewing methodology as you?
    2. Many non US whiskies are currently reviewed in Whisky Magazine– In fact many of them are reviewed by Dominic and Dave. Will we be seeing them stop doing reviews for Whisky Mag, sharing reviews between it and Malt Advocate, sharing reviews but changing the format, or what?
    3. What are your thoughts on having two (or even three) reviewers review the same whisky, and publishing all of their thoughts? Whisky Mag does a bare bones version of this, but personally, I think a lot more could be done with multiple reviewers in dialogue about the same whisky. If it was done right, the whisky community would really eat it up.

    This will certainly allow you to expand your scope. However, the more you delegate important high profile work like reviews, the clearer your vision will have to be if you want to maintain whatever it is that’s so great about your business right now. Good luck.

    • John Hansell says:

      Addressing your points, one at a time:

      1) Yes, same reviewing methodology.

      2) Reviews will be unique to Malt Advocate, just like their other writings are.

      3) When we have two people review one whisky, that’s one whisky that could have been reviewed that wasn’t. Right now, our goal is to review more whiskies.

      And to address your last paragraph: There was a time, way back in 1992, when I did everything: all the writing, all the reviews, all the design, etc. I have learned over the years when it’s important to bring talent into the flock for the betterment of the magazine. This is one of those times.

    • John Hansell says:

      Dominic also just informed me that he rarely does reviews for Whisky mag and won’t be doing any this year, so it’s a moot point (regarding him, that is).

  3. B.J. Reed says:

    John I can attest in our visit to distilleries in March that the Malt Advocate was in prominent display in most of them. So, as far as the industry itself is concerned they consider the Malt Advocate an International Journal.

  4. DavidG says:

    Are they going to be Americanizing their English? One of the occasional difficulties I have with international is taste descriptors with items I don’t recognize. While I have learned that sultanas are raisins and biscuits means cookies, I don’t have a frame of reference for clotted cream (as an aside having never had any pork product or shellfish I am somwhat hamstrung on your reviews too). I am unsure if their reviews would be less organic, but it may be helpful for the home market.

    • DavidG says:

      I’m sorry if my post came off as jingoistic – but I guess my sensitivity is that if I am trying to get a feel for what something tastes like, when I have to “translate” the British English and products to American English/products – I find it harder to experience the whisk(e)y that way.
      On balance I am looking forward to more reviews, particularly with reviewers of their experience and stature.

      • JC Skinner says:

        I entirely accept your point vis-a-vis reviewers who start referring to ancient British candies in relation to whiskey, and so forth.
        It’s unnecessary obscurity and doesn’t help convey the taste information to the reader.
        But if you’ll permit me a moment of pedantry, sultanas aren’t your average raisin. They’re golden raisins, which being sweeter have a different taste profile to what most people would associate with raisins.
        On the other side, currants are tarter than most normal raisins.
        I don’t think that is particularly British locution, just a precision in relation to taste.

        • DavidG says:

          Duly noted on the point of order as to the varied types of dried grapes. Another descriptor I have trouble with – Parma-violets – I don’t know what the American equivalent is

          • JC Skinner says:

            Don’t know of one. That’s one of those antiquated British candies I was referring to.
            This is what they are:
            And on my palate they taste highly sweet and floral. I’ve come across the taste in the odd Bowmore, but not often.
            It’s a little like a cross between sugar, lavender and a floral perfume. But if that’s what a taster is tasting, I’d rather they said that than ‘parma violets’.

  5. Gary says:

    Personally speaking, I LOVE whiskey reviews! The more the merrier. For me they open up new worlds and I love to read the tasting notes and opinions of the experts. Then if I have the opportunity to try these whiskeys myself I have something to compare my experience to. Plus, being a novice at this whole whiskey tasting “thing”, it is nice to have a reference point. I look forward to the September issue and MORE whiskey reviews. Thanks.

  6. two-bit cowboy says:

    This is a terrific addition to MA.

    As a follow-up to Red’s Q regarding methodology, will Dave and Dominic provide numerical ratings?

    I understand and appreciate the more, more, more reviews ideal, but I heartily agree with Red about reading a three-way review on the same whisky. Occasionally offering this option on a widely available whisky could be a way to help me learn each reviewer’s “standard” and know how their tastes align with my own, which would then make all their reviews more valuable.

    • John Hansell says:

      Yes, it will be the exact same format.

      Maybe at some time in the future we can do two or three-way reviews. But, for now, let’s just focus on getting more whiskies reviewed. 🙂

  7. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Great news John!
    I look forward to their reviews. Since Dave seems to be “turning Japanese” more these days,will he be our sensor for all the great Japanese whiskies? Also since you are the closest contact I know to Amy, can you ask her to sign up Dave and Dominic for Whiskyfest Chicago? Id love to attend a lecture by one or both to get their spin on Spirits (Whiskies Rhum ect.)

    • John Hansell says:

      I have indeed asked Dave if he could take a crack at Japanes whiskies for the next issue.

      Regarding WhiskyFest, this is always a possibility down the road. Thanks.

  8. Louis says:

    Hi John,

    This is great news, it is always nice to have an expanding universe. One question that I have, how do you plan to manage the difference is what three reviewers value in a dram. By that I mean more or less peat/sherry, old or too old, etc. I would hope that an 88 from one reviewer would not be an 81 or 95 from another.



    • John Hansell says:

      No two people review whiskies exactly the same, but I trust Dave and Dominic and know they will follow the rating guidelines published in each issue of Malt Advocate.

  9. Josh West says:

    Hey John,

    Will the new reviewers be posting their tasting notes to this blog on a regular basis, the same as you?


  10. Sergey says:

    John, your reviews are great, but the way how you make into page…
    For example WhiskyMag has nice pages for their tasting notes, well-structured, easy-to-find and easy-to-read with good pictures. In Malt Advocate they are on random pages, sometimes split into parts, many of them without pictures.

    I always liked MaltAdvocate’s reviews because they were focused on local market. There is enough information about whiskies available in Britain from WhiskyMag or from web-sites, it’s usual thing to find that many interesting bottles are not available here. With MaltAdvocate I always was sure that even if it was not available it would be soon.

    Anyway, great to have more reviews, thanks, but please add info to review if it’s available in US or not.

  11. Thomas W says:

    I love Dominic’s reviews; great to know new ones will be coming along!

  12. Ryan says:

    I am a big fan of Mr. Broom’s reviews on WhiskyMag. Congrats on all the success John, you’re doing a great service to us whiskey lovers.

  13. […] I mentioned here back in June, Dominic Roskrow and Dave Broom have joined me in reviewing whiskies in Malt […]

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