Whisky Advocate

One year old. Your thoughts, please.

August 17th, 2008

The blog is now about a year old. I’d like to know what you think.

I started “What Does John Know?” because I want to get you information on whisky as soon as I find out about it. I am fortunate that, because of my great relationship with the whisky industry, I get information on whisky (and whisky samples) in advance of it becoming public knowledge. I see blogging as a means to pass on this information to you almost immediately.

There are plenty of blogs out there that have report or links to news items relation to whisky, which I think is great. While I do post information on these newsy items if appropriate,  I have been focusing more on getting you information that won’t (or hasn’t yet) become public. This includes information on impending new releases, tasting notes, and my interviews with distillery managers and master blenders. I also have been trying to focus on information that will be useful to you.

So, tell me what you think. What do you like? What don’t you like? What would you like to see more of?

23 Responses to “One year old. Your thoughts, please.”

  1. DMusic says:

    I’m new here (only found the site about a week or two ago) but I have to say that I love it so far. Great, timely information!

  2. John,

    I find myself reading your blog and buyer’s guide on a regular basis. I’ve been drinking scotch whisky for only a few years now, and your comments offer guidance in what might otherwise be overwhelming. I find your reviews to be ‘right on the money’ in most cases, and your descriptions of flavors are quite good.
    I enjoy the blog in particular because I feel like I’m getting the inside scoop from a guy in the know.
    Keep up the good work!!

    Shaun

  3. John Hansell says:

    DMusic, Shaun: Thank you for your kind words. The blog is a lot of work–more than I thought it would be. But, as long as I know that I know that it has a purpose and is being appreciated, I will keep it going.

    Who else is out there lurking? Let me know your thoughts?

  4. David says:

    A quick check of my own Irish whiskey blog shows that I’ve linked to items here at least five times.

    “What Does John Know?” is in my feed reader so I don’t miss an entry. I appreciate the heads up on new products along with the nuggets of info that come directly from conversations with industry professionals.

    So, if anything, just more of the same, please. In as much geeky detail as possible!

  5. Louis says:

    When I started subscribing the The Malt Advocate, I got my non-liquid whisky fix every three months. Then I joined MAWS, and got to read Whisky Notes every week. Thanks to the blog, I can get (almost) daily info. So yes, keep it coming. I prefer the emphasis on tasting notes and new releases, the other news can wait until Monday.

    Slainte.

    Louis

  6. Zach Beane says:

    I found your blog some time ago when you wrote about a bourbon that was auctioned for thousands and thousands of dollars. I stuck around because I found that article fascinating, and your writing style direct, accessible, and engaging. I also learn a lot about whisky from it! Keep up the good work.

  7. Bill Groot says:

    I found this blog several months ago, the RSS feed sits front and center on my Google homepage!
    I enjoy the timely information, you do a great job of covering whisk(e)ys of all prices-those I can afford, and those that are on my “if I hit the lotto” list. The taste notes are really helpful, I have avoided some styles that I don’t care for, and picked up on some that I never thought I would have enjoyed.
    Keep up the good work.

  8. Jon W says:

    This is one of the few blogs I’ve kept up with for more than a few weeks or months. I think the range and balance of the information you provide is great and helps to keep it interesting and engaging. It seems you manage to capture everything from specific reviews, news on future releases, and general industry events. Also, although I understand that to a certain extent you need to be careful about what you write, I do enjoy reading some of your more editorial comments regarding the general direction of the industry, etc..

    In any event I tend to lose interest in blogs that are too one dimensional. This is certainly not the case here.

    I think you should hold a tasting at Monks to celebrate this one year milestone!

  9. Sku says:

    Fabulous site. One of the best for breaking news on the whiskey front. Keep up the good work!

  10. orangedog says:

    John – to highlight a few previously mentioned characteristics, your blog:
    1. is regularly updated
    2. contains inside information from someone in the know
    3. is written well, with a straightforward style

    The combination of upcoming info on new releases, summaries of discussions with others, tasting notes, industry trends and significant events, etc. is exactly what I’m looking for in whisky news.

    Anything along the lines of what is happening on the business side pre-press release (and sometimes pre-spin) – what decisions are being made, what new releases are coming, what challenges the industry faces, what opportunities individual companies are looking at, etc. – isn’t readily available to the average whisky drinker in real time. This site fills that void.

    orangedog

  11. Adam H. says:

    I too keep your feed on my Google home page, so I read every new post the day they’re issued. They’re invaluable. As others mention above, your very frequent updates, inside information, and straightforward style are superb. Getting the heads-up on new bottlings to look out for is especially helpful, along with corresponding tasting notes. You’ve definitely helped me find some good whiskies I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen — and helped me avoid some bad ones I would have! The “backstory” to various whiskies and their distillers is particularly interesting and, I think, deepens one’s enjoyment of that whiskey.

    Most important is your honesty and willingness to call it like it is. If something sucks — be it a particular whiskey, business practice, or whatever — you tell us. That makes you all the more trustworthy when something earns your praise.

  12. Kevin says:

    This is definitely the number one blog that I read. The breaking news, inside info and the notes that let me know what whiskies that are WAY above my price range taste like. Also it is a place where whiskey fans can communicate with an expert in the field. Not many passions/hobbies have a chance like that. I really appreciate what you have going here John!

  13. Michael says:

    I think your sites great and visit it at least once per week. It’s great to have a good mix of industry info and reviews. I’d really like to see more tastings and perhaps an index by distillery/company. For example – it would be great to be able to jump straight to all Ardmore related news and reviews or all Diageo related news and reviews.
    That said I really appreciate that the few people like yourself do what you do to keep the general public informed. Great stuff! Cheers.

  14. John Hansell says:

    Thanks everyone, for your positive comments. I’ll just keep “doing what I’m doing” as time permits me to.

    Michael, you can sort by categories. There’s also a search function which you can search for specific names, like Ardmore or Diageo. It’s on the right column of the blog.

  15. Scott says:

    John I have posted before and told you how useful your site is for me who works in the spirits industry on the retail level. You blog gives me more information about whiskies than all the salesmen that come threw the doors combined. You blog has often helped me get in new items and stir up interest in whisky.
    Now as a whisky drinker, this website has given me great advice about what spirits to buy and given me the jump on getting them. The interaction you have with people in the whisky industry always provides a great insight to what is going on and an interesting story to read.
    Thank Again John and please keep up the good work.
    -Scott-

  16. Scoats says:

    Thanks to a heads-up from Lew’s blog, I have been here from the beginning.

    I say keep doing what you are doing. It is unique and I find it worth
    my time. Hopefully you find it worth yours. :-)

    Not all the posts interest me (like the super pricey stuff for the
    most part), though most do. But that’s OK, other people probably like
    the few I don’t, and it doesn’t take long to skip over them.

    Congats on your first anniversary!

  17. JC Skinner says:

    I can only reiterate what David wrote. Your blog has become an essential source of disseminating news about Irish whiskey before people in Ireland even know.
    I too have the blog on my reader so I don’t miss anything.
    I would concur with Scoats that I’ve no interest in hearing about yet another preposterously priced, crystal decantered, super-aged malt retailing for the price of a small house or large car.
    Though possibly, I suspect that without disseminating that sort of puff for the distillers, you might not be in a position to hear and spread the news that we all are interested in hearing.
    Keep up the good work.

  18. Harvey Fry says:

    your blog has become th’best source for new whisk(e)y information,
    period. we American drinking/collectors have come to depend more
    & more on it. th’just posted Bruichladdich new releases is a good
    example= just days after TWE puts it up for sale, you fill in some of
    th’blanks. THANKS

  19. Tim McCann says:

    John,

    Checking the blog for your latest entry has become one of the first things I do everytime I log on. The information is not only timely but gives me the opportunity to deal with the local retailers on an informed basis.

    I recently took the Hard Hat tour at Buffalo Trace, and our guide was impressed by the knowledge we showed concerning the ‘experimental barrels’ – info taken from the blog. (Didn’t impress them enough to get us a bottle of one of the experimental bourbons, though…)

    There is not another source for this type of information of which I’m aware. By all means, please keep the blog going!

    Warm regards,

    Tim McCann

  20. Ewan Morgan says:

    John,

    Congratulations on your milestone and all the hard work you have done over the past 12 months in creating an informative and entertaining single source of all things whisky/whiskey.

    Thanks,

    Ewan Morgan

  21. John Hansell says:

    Thanks again everyone for your comments. I really appreciate it. I’ll commit to doing this for another year.

  22. Katie says:

    John,
    Excellent job and Happy Anniversary!
    I read with much interest each day- sometimes I check in twice a day- don’t want to miss anything. I feel that it keeps me informed as a retailer as to what to look out for and as a personal buyer of whiskies.
    Thanks so much and keep it coming :)
    Katie

  23. B.J. Reed says:

    John

    Sorry for the tardy reply – Been a little hectic lately – The Blog is an excellent resource. I scan lots of sources to keep up with the goings on in the whisky industry and I never fail to find valuable information on the Malt Advocate Web Site and I go to the Blog more than any other place for current information. I also wish we could get more dialogue and discussion going to create more of a true social marketing capacity with the Malt Advocate leading the way!

    B.J.

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