Whisky Advocate

Miscellaneous ramblings

December 8th, 2010

This is a crazy time of the year for me. I’m getting review samples of so many new products. I’ve been really busy the past month, and I haven’t had the chance to review many of them lately. But that’s about to change. I have them lined up and ready to go, and I’ll be working my way through them over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for that.

On Monday I received samples of the new Diageo Classic Malts Special Releases. Unfortunately, all the caps were loose and most of them leaked. 🙁 . (Thankfully, replacements are on their way.) I have a really nice, affordable Mackillop’s Choice Mortlach which I’ll be reviewing and telling you about. And I recently received three new bourbons: Jefferson’s Presidential Select 18 year old, Evan Williams Single Barrel 2001 vintage, and the Early Times bourbon coming out in January. I also have more “branded” blended Irish whiskeys coming out of Cooley than you can shake a stick at. I’m hoping to work my way through some of them too.

It’s also the time we begin thinking about our annual Malt Advocate Whisky Awards, which I will announce here first on WDJK in February, like I did last year. This is always exciting and fun, but it takes up A LOT of my time.

Now to some administrative items. For some reason, I can’t upload images right now to any of my social media sites (WDJK, Twitter, Facebook) from my laptop. So, bear with me until I get this issue resolved. Posts here won’t look as pretty in the interim without pictures.

And finally, I actually had to delete a post a few days ago. It was a post from about a year ago mentioning the introduction of Johnny Walker Double Black to select Travel Retail outlets. Normally, comments to any of my posts wind down after a week or two, and only rarely do I get any comments after that. How ironic that I continued to get regular comments by new people throughout the year saying how great this whisky is. Just this past week, I had five! That was when I decided that enough is enough! I canned the post.

I have to go, but maybe I’ll have more ramblings at a later date if you find them interesting.

40 Responses to “Miscellaneous ramblings”

  1. two-bit cowboy says:

    Ramble on, John.

    Speaking of Johnnie Walker, has anyone ever noticed the black rubber mat with the yellow text and “Walking Man” that distributors give to bars in the USA? In the small embossed (also black) print it says:

    “Johnnie Walker ® Blended Scotch Whiskey”

    “Whiskey”? Really?

  2. Michael Z says:

    …keep on rambling…’on we go’….

  3. Rick Duff says:

    Those comments coming in about how great the JW Double Black weren’t originating from Diageo systems, were they?

    • John Hansell says:

      Rick, I’m not going to make any accusations I can’t prove. However, I’ve done over 1,000 posts here on WDJK and the comments all trail off after a couple weeks–except for this one.

      The comments continued to flow in. For an entire year now! Always positive (and many times gushing). And always by people who have never commented here before on WDJK. (I have to approve all first-time comments.) And with anonymous email addresses (gmail, etc.)

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Any of you guys noticed that the Crown Royal Black thread is getting like that too?

      • John Hansell says:

        Red, you are VERY astute. My original post also included Crown Royal Black. I have deleted many of those posts too. The CR B comments didn’t start until recently, but I am seeing the exact same pattern. It’s on the fence right now, and might get the axe.

        • sam k says:

          John, perhaps you should make us all aware of the heavy-handed comments in question and let us revel in (and comment on) them prior to any deletion. This seems worthy of public pillorying before relegation to the dust bin. The Crown Royal Black comments are a hoot!

          Please don’t deny us the opportunity to see the shameless self-promotion you get to enjoy, without further comment from the Peanut Gallery!

          • John Hansell says:

            You should have seen the CR Black comments that I deleted. And the JW Double Black. Some were hilarious. In hindsight, I should have published them all. But I never expected the hits to keep on comin’ for a year on the JWDB.

      • Lawrence says:

        Maybe they are just really good whiskies??

    • ps says:

      I have a friend who briefly worked from home while in college…he would get a list of products and it was his job to locate positive reviews or comments for those products. He’d copy the comments and then paste the postive comments all over the internet, and repeat. It’s interesting to think that sort of thing is going on, IMO.

  4. Any ramblings are most welcome, especially when they are as insightful as the last one 😉

  5. Vince says:

    Really looking forward to your bourbon reviews. I will be very interested to see how the EW Single Barrel 2001 compares to the 2000, an all time classic! I also was not aware the Jefferson was coming out with an 18 year old Presidential. I am assuming that is also from Stitzel-Weller? I purchased 4 bottles of the 17 year old when they came down in price. Excellent stuff!

    I am also looking forward to the Mortlach review. Keep on Ramblin’ John!

    • John Hansell says:

      Yes, the 18 yr old Presidential is S-W stock. Apparently from the same stash, but just one year older.

      And I will be comparing it to last year’s 17 yr. old. Ditto the new EWSB 2001: I’ll be comparing it to last year’s 2000 vintage.

    • JWC says:

      the JPS 17 yo went down in price? you’re lucky. still plenty around here (i.e., unsold) but the price has not gone down.

  6. Very much looking forward to the Mortlach review. And to the comparisons with the Jefferson 17.

    Thanks, John.

  7. JWC says:

    “ironic”? sounds more like SUSPICIOUS. LOL! if it is the folks at diageo, at least they were bright enough to not let the isp no. be traced back to their account.

  8. Ethan Prater says:

    If suspicious comments are coming, why not just close the post for comments, rather than delete it entirely?

    • John Hansell says:

      That’s a good idea. I never thought of it.

      I stopped approving all the suspicious comments many months ago.

    • John Hansell says:

      The more I think about it Ethan, if someone is going to pump up a brand, I’m not going to even give the brand the luxury of being here. Maybe deleting it was the right thing to do? I am contemplating it.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Have you tried politely contacting the companies and saying something like “I know this is just how things operate, but please leave my blog out of it.”?

        • John Hansell says:

          I thought about it. But considering the fact that this is the largest, most global-oriented whisky company, and this whisky isn’t even sold here in the U.S., I wouldn’t even know who would be the right person to approach.

          Plus, in the past, when I approached companies on matters like this, they forcefully denied anything until I found a smoking gun. No smoking gun here. So, I though the easist thing in my control was to just delete the post.

          Anyway, you can bet that the appropriate eyes are reading this, now that I made an issue out of it.

    • This is a blog, not a forum. Entries should be automatically closed for comments after a reasonable amount of time. From what is said, 30 days seems long enough.

      • John Hansell says:

        Well, this has been a moot point until now. I have alway tried to not impede comments here.

        Sorry…I wasn’t aware of blog etiquette.

        • hahaha not really ‘blog etiquette’, it depends on the blog and what it is. I just think for your blog, that would work the best. There are some really busy blogs that end after 3 days (some hours) of comments because some people just go on and on, back and forth like youtube comments but of course that doesnt happen here.

          If you think those extremely late comments are problematic it would be a good solution. However there are even some forums that automatically lock threads that are older than a given time, ie for over a year. So my ‘this is a blog, not a forum’ comment was really tongue and cheek.

          • lawschooldrunk says:


            I have previously commented on a topic way after John posted it because I only found out about it (the topic where John said he could not be bought) a month later on whiskycast. I must have overlooked it when reviewing WDJK.

            I think topics should be left open because not everyone is as up to date as we anoraks.

        • I strongly disagree, Yello. Not everyone is a regular reader, and would it really be good to deny somebody the chance to contribute something worthwhile just because the comment feature can also be abused?

          • Im not *that* much of a regular reader either. There were many times when I squandered time away on the internet and couldnt reply to some blogs because they have been closed for comments. Of course there are negatives to closing early…even if its just the tastings. I just thought that could be a possible solution however I dont know the dynamics of this particular blog like John knows.

  9. Adam says:

    Looking forward to the reviews, namely the Irish, (although I would prefer if they opened more distilleries than just continued to produce all the brands on shelfs from only a handful). Also want to hear about the Evan Williams Single Barrel.

    As for the comments, I wouldn’t put it past big corporations to have a handful of PR experts who are told to spend some time each day on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs etc…. ranting and raving about their companies products.

    • John Hansell says:

      If I were a betting man, this is what I think is happening. Social media PR types instructed to pump up their brands. But, like I said, I can’t prove it, so I’m not many accusations. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. The others weren’t smart enough to hide their identity.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Opening distilleries is a huge pain in the — financially and Ireland is in a nuts recession.I’d also like to see more Irish distileries, but I’m not holding my breath. But while we’re waiting, how about some cask strength whisky from Bushmills or Jameson, how about some independents getting their hands on some Irish and doing something cool with it, how about more innovation in the vein of that Bruichladdich (and Cooley, I think?) Celtic Nations bottling?

  10. If you’re having too much trouble, buddy, you can always shunt off some samples onto me. I’ll break my back so that you may have a merry and restful Christmas season. It’s the least I could do!

    Definitely looking forward to that new Early Times review. I’ve had the original and…suffice to say…I was not pleased. Maybe one day I’ll give it another go but I’d need something to motivate me. A review of the new stuff might just do that.

    • sam k says:

      Scott, what you refer to as “the original” isn’t even close to the true “original” in backbone (90.4 proof straight bourbon as of 1980). We can only hope that the new 80 proof version exceeds the negligible performance of the non-bourbon “whisky” version we’ve been handed over the last quarter century.

  11. Jason Pyle says:

    Lord I was born a rambling fannnnnnnnn. Okay that was lame. But looking forward to the new reviews up coming.

  12. smellmyskunk says:

    I am really looking forward to the reviews of the Jefferson’s and the Evan Williams Single Barrel. The Jefferson’s 17 year and last year’s Evan Williams were both amazing. I bought several bottles of both based on your ratings and was very pleased.

  13. George Jetson says:

    I can’t defend any late coming comments, but maybe it is because the JWDB is just now making it into some d-f markets? Almost every international airport I go through has it now, with Schiphol being the latest about a month ago. After “testing” my third bottle now, I like it, but still prefer the JWB @ 43% when I can get it.

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