Whisky Advocate

Blog post #1,000. What next?

October 19th, 2010

I started WDJK back in June, 2007. I realized that, as good as Malt Advocate is, there needs to be a platform between issues to provide you with more timely news and views–something that magazines and books lack.

I also want WDJK to be a way for you to get to know me a little better, and vice versa. I want to be accessible to you, which is one luxury you don’t often get with some of the other full-time whisky writers. If I’m going to dish out constrictive criticism, I should take it too. I think I have, and I’m a better person for it. Relationships are two-way streets, and I would like to believe that’s what we have here.

Your time, and my time, is valuable. When I take the time to post something up here, and when you take the time to visit here, I want it to be worthwhile and meaningful. You might not always be interested in the topics I write about, but I always try to keep the focus on whisky and its impact on us and our lives.

We do have a voice.  Because of WDJK posts and your comments, whisky companies have admitted that they’ve changed their policies on how they bottle and sell their whiskies (increasing their whisky to 46%, cask strength and not chill-filtering them, etc.) and how they market their whisky (establishing new company policies against employees “pumping up” their brands through anonymous comments, etc.). We are fighting the good fight, and we are winning.

So, what should be our direction for the next 1,000 posts? I use the word “our” because your comments are as instrumental to WDJK as my posts. What should we focus more on? What would you like to see less of?

46 Responses to “Blog post #1,000. What next?”

  1. Patrick says:

    Simple: just keep an open minded attitude as you have shown so far …

  2. My congratulations to this achievement, John! I wouldn’t have imagined it’s already a thousand posts.

    For the future I don’t think your blog needs much of a shift in direction. For my personal taste I would prefer a littte more “opinion” articles and a little less press releases, but I would be happy with “more of the same” as well.

    • John Hansell says:

      Thanks. I try to maintain a good blend of material, similar to the variety of editorial content in a magazine.

      • Ryan says:

        Where WDJK is concerned, your willingness to be subtly subversive with inquiries into industry ethics and morality has been wonderful. More importantly, your expositional content has been wise and hugely beneficial in framing previous discussions and debates. We certainly do have a voice, but that voice would not amount to much without your efforts to keep our discussions clear, concise, and cogent. With such a variance of opinion on all matters whisky, it would be easy (and counterproductive) for our chats to slip into fragmented rambling polemics. Keep up the good work John!

  3. Gllaguno says:

    Congratulations John!
    I would like to see more about the magic behind every bottle, I mean, how every bottle is different from the others (reviews) and the history behind that particular expression, and how that little piece of history forms the greater distillery history. Also I would love to know about extinct distilleries and expressions, and if it’s possible a way to compare old bottlings with new ones. So we can have a glimpse of how the liquid has evolved.

    • my thoughts exactly. There is a lot of history behind every bottle and truthfully I like the romance of it. The only blog I check in on daily. Keep up the good work.
      Larry Kantrowitz
      Pearsons Wine of Atlanta
      150 malts and growing everyday

  4. Albert says:

    Your website was around two years ago when I discovered whiskey, so to me it seems like it’s always been here. From the day I learned what single malt means, to the day I started befriending my local buyers so I could get the rare stuff first. Your blog has been a map to navigate very confusing waters.

    I think you’ve struck a perfect balance of scotch, Irish and American whiskey coverage.

  5. Luke says:

    Congratulations John – Keep up the Good Work!

  6. Michael says:

    Congratuations John and thank you for the great blog/magazine.

    I have to admit that I am very much a traditionalist – more interested in the old whiskies distilled in 70’s, 60’s and earlier than in what future may bring. I fully recognize that I am in a minority of your readers.

  7. JWC says:

    John, I believe you accomplished all the goals you set out for yourself when you started WDJK. I introduced this site to a friend of mine who is getting into bourbon and he uses you and the site as a go by. Moreover, I know for a fact that the largest retailer in Houston uses your magazine as an evaluation/sales tool.

    Congratulations and here’s to thousands of more posts.

  8. Barry Jay says:

    Here here! John is true renaissance man of whiskey. His ubiquitous presence on the web thru this great blog, his tweets and facebook keeps us all informed…and entertained. I myself am waiting for the next chapter “What Does John Catch?”

  9. Joe M says:

    Continue listening to your readers! I liked the addition of inexpensive whisk(e)y reviews. I like when your reviews veer towards the lyrical (as if you’ve been drinking!) and avoid excessive deconstruction of flavor components.

    Learning about your private whisky collection was very enjoyable, along with learning about everyone elses’.

    Your personal anecdotes and stories are well written. I wouldn’t mind some more.

    Product announcements are generally my least favorite, but I understand they are important to this community.

  10. Glen F. says:

    Less rating and more tasting notes. Maybe a system where one could click to see the ratings would be great in my opinion.

    Also, what about a podcast?

  11. Jason Pyle says:

    John, congratulations! You deserve a fine bottle of something brown tonight with this 1000th post.

    WDJK is one of my favorite sites on the internet and certainly a huge impact on the whisk(e)y world. You really focus this site as a true supplement to MA and are able to hone in on the issues and current events around the world of whiskey as they happen. Perhaps it’s “planned” to a degree but everything seems so organic and that’s what I think I love about it.

    I also appreciate that you are fair to visitors/comments and cover all segments of the whiskey world pretty evenly As an American Whiskey and Bourbon advocate I love how much coverage you give that classification. I’d also like to continue hearing more from you on the little guys and the craft distillers int he US. I’m sure we will.

    No suggestions other than keep doing what you are doing. Here’s to another 1K+.

  12. John Hansell says:

    Thanks everyone. I am listening and appreciate your suggestions. And after 1,000 posts, I might just take tomorrow off. But first: a good dram this evening. Time to pour something nice.

  13. sokojoe says:

    Rather than make a suggestion I just want to thank you for reviewing erm…cheaper options. As a young drinker, I usually spend around around $20-30 for my everyday drams and your archived reviews of Buffalo Trace, Eljiah Craig, Isle of Skye, et al, not only helps me put my limited disposable income toward quality products but, more importantly, gives me a chance to try to taste what you taste and, thereby, help me expand my knowledge.

    Over the past year or so, this website in particular has helped nurture what could have either been a passing or stunted phase into what will probably be a lifelong appreciation of the water of life. Cheers John.

    • Eric H says:

      I was going to write a comment, but sokojoe said everything I was going to say perfectly, so; ditto sokojoe.

  14. Congratulations, John…can’t wait to read the next 1,000 posts!

  15. smellmyskunk says:

    I don’t know what you could improve upon considering that this is my favorite whiskey website and the only one that I consult regularly. My favorite feature is the whiskey reviews. The main reason that I spend time looking at this website is so I know which whiskeys to buy that taste great and are reasonably priced.

  16. gz says:

    i guess #1001 is the next 😉

  17. Gary says:

    I love reading about all these great whiskies and am always interested in trying as many as possible. However, living in a small Connecticut town, not everything comes our way. I would love to maybe utilize the resources you have available in your blog world to get more information as to where these whiskies can be purchased.

    Congrats on the 1000 posts John. I really enjoy your blog and read it every day. Here’s to your next 1000 posts.

  18. B.J. Reed says:

    You really have integrated a # of valuable elements into the blog (e.g. industry guests, consumer guests) and have covered a range of topics that have stimulated great debate and discussion. For the most part these discussions have been civil and on point which reflects the quality of the participants.

    As the blog has grown so have has the learning curve (industry folks need to identify themselves). I think the key going forward is to mix news/information with true discussions around trends, events, directions that readers feel passionate about.

    Perhaps there could be a structured dialogue on a topic similar to what John has done in the Malt Advocate from time to time and then posting that dialogue and asking for reader feedback.

    Perhaps have a “newbies” thread from time to time or a “lurkers” thread where those who post are new to whisky, or new to the blog who might feel intimidated by some of the discussion.

    Just some random thoughts but it has gone extremely well the last 1,000 posts so I would not tinker with it too much!

    • B. J. has alluded to the only feature I would like to see a little more of.
      Despite the interconnectvity of this online medium, whisky writers seem to be somewhat isolated within their own interfaces. I suspect that this is not the model for how you whisky journalists interact on the ground: at tastings and conferences, festivals and corporate events. I would like to see the other professionals – those with whom you share certain views or, better yet, constructively disagree – occasionally brought in. I don’t know which whisky writers you have more than a professional respect for – I know Serge drops in regularly – but a talking-heads two/three way debate over certain topics would be of real interest to me. I can’t think, after 1000 posts, any writer would pass up the opportunity to appear on WDJK.
      I appreciate that you are all busy people with often wildy conflicting schedules, but once a fortnight or so would be more than frequent enough. My suggestion operating as such, and being in no way a criticism, this is an exemplary blog that ain’t in any way broke. Keep it up, as others have said.

  19. Brian Bradley (Brian 47126) says:

    It is hard to be critical here as I like the way everything has flowed thus far. You do a great job John, and honestly it was your blog that drew me into getting a subscription for your magazine. My own scoring usually only deviates a point or two from your own.

    I too also enjoy the opinion pieces more than the press releases; however, it is all needed and all well done. Keep up fighting the good fight!

  20. Louis says:


    You’ve done a darn good job so far! Only one small request. Does you content management system support mobile devices?



  21. davindek says:

    Hearty congrats John!

    Suggestion # 1 – just keep up the good work.
    Suggestion # 2 – more guest posts, that was a great run with 10 in a row – lots of controversy
    Suggestion # 3 – keep holding the industry’s feet to the fire
    Suggestion # 4 – continue to maintain your integrity.
    Suggestion # 5 – see suggestion 1 above, and promise us at least a second thousand posts.

    Seriously – all the best John; it’s a great blog which benefits one and all

  22. Texas says:

    Congrats on 1,000! A very, very successful blog.

  23. Red_Arremer says:

    I’m surprised you’ve kept it up so long, John. I know that one day you will start to phase yourself out from WDJK and I’m glad that day hasn’t come yet. In the mean time, keep nonindustry guest bloggers to a minimum. The respect this blog commands is an aspect of the respect you command. We’re all interested in each others comments, but the sense that someone of your stature is hovering around makes for a kind of atmosphere that other blogs just don’t have.

    Keep up the good work.

  24. Jason Debly says:

    Wow! 1,000 posts. A lot of people wouldn’t understand the amount of effort it takes to come up with interesting posts. Besides having something interesting to say, one has to be dedicated, which you clearly are. Keep it up.

    What I would like to see are more posts with your opinions of where the industry is headed (ie. more blends coming on to market, more NAS offerings, etc.).

  25. H.Diaz says:

    Could we finish the what pisses you off topics, John? There must be a few more things.

  26. Mark Davis says:

    You’re my favorite whiskey writer.

    That said here are m suggestions. More posts and articles about bottles that cost under $50. 99% of spirits sold are in this category.

  27. vince carida says:


    This is my favorite whiskey site. I check your blog every day. I would agree with Gllaguno/s comments (#3) but other than that I think you strike a great balance.

    Keep up the great work!

  28. Hector says:

    Well done John 1000 posts and counting keep up the good work.
    I would love to be able to access more writers such as yourself, maybe you can invite them, especially writers from other continents sort of a world roundup.
    And as much as I enjoy all the reviews opinions advise etc what really is cool is when you give us ancedotes of your whisky lifestyle and beer for that matter.

  29. John Hansell says:

    Thanks everyone. I appreciate your kind words and vote of confidence.

    My postings will not be as frequent over the next couple months, for the simple reason that I will be travelling a lot and it’s the busy season for the drinks business. But I will post up as often as I can.

  30. Tanguy says:

    Congratulation John for your outstanding work and magazine.
    I would like to see more about American Whiskies and less Scotches that we can not even purchase here.
    After all, we are in the United States.

  31. Texas says:

    John, FYI..Ralfy gives you, WDJK, and Malt Advocate glowing praise and recommendation in his review of Elijah Craig 12 (review 156)…recommends it to his viewers for info about bourbon.

  32. I echo the sentiment of “Congratulations”, John. It’s nice to have not just a magazine format but a more readily adaptable avenue of Malt Advocate (especially since you’ve got so many irons in the fire). As for suggestions, there are few that I can suggest that others haven’t suggested but I do have a few in reserve.

    The two I’d like to see is an “open panel” or forum in which you pose a question to several people (industry insiders, bloggers, reps, etc.) and then collaborate the answers. While it is done in miniature already, I think it would be cool to have a large list of (hopefully conflicting) opinions that we could seek to find the merits of.

    Also, while I know it’s Malt Advocate, I think it would be cool if you occasionally broached other spirits (probably brown spirits) such as well aged tequilas, rums, etc. I’m sure you don’t drink JUST whisk(e)y. You have the “New Products” section in the magazine so I think it would be cool to see what other things, aside from whisk(e)y, that you’re tasting.

    Other than that, keep on chuggin’ along (semi-pun intended?). You’re doing great work.

  33. two-bit cowboy says:

    A guest of our inn this summer suggested a person must do a thing ten thousand times in order to be good at the thing. I reckon his philosophy underestimates your ability. Congrats on your thousandth post. I can’t imagine how great this might be at ten times that.

    I’d appreciate seeing less marketing and more openness from distilleries and their representatives. Specifically their logic behind allocations and price differences from state to state (shipping notwithstanding).

    Keep up the wonderful dialogue. This is a daily stop for me, too.

  34. Pat B says:

    Great work and a great site. This is the only blog I read consistently. More of everything is the only suggestion I can give. I look forward to the next post.

  35. Jason G says:

    John, I am new to your site but have been a whisky drinker for many years. I have to say I am enjoying your blog very much and hope to enjoy it through many thousand more posts! Thank you for the information you provide and giving whisky enthusiasts a place to come and learn more!

  36. John Hansell says:

    Thank you, Gentlemen.

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