Whisky Advocate

Your recommendations for improvement?

January 6th, 2010

I’d like your thoughts on ways to improve WDJK.

Before we get too far, let me say that, within a week or so, I will be going live with an enhanced blog design. Among other improvements, it will allow for embedded comments (meaning you can comment directly under someone else’s comment, regardless of where it is in the thread.) Videos are also in the works. When it goes live, you can give me your feedback on it.

But, right now, I am more interested in the content of this blog, rather than it’s design. What would you like to see more of? Less of?

At least one fellow blogger who we know and like said just today that we (WDJK) “can really be a buzz kill for those new to the world of whisky” and worries that it “does a disservice to fostering new relationships to Scotch whisky.”

How do you feel about this? Do you think this is true? Are we really deterring potential newbies from becoming Scotch whisky enthusiasts? If so, what should we do to correct this? (Dr. Whisky, your recommendations please?)

As always, your thoughts are greatly appreciated and can only make this blog better for all of us. Thank you!

103 Responses to “Your recommendations for improvement?”

  1. thomas mckenzie says:

    I would like to see reviews of whiskies that are easier to come by and less expensive. I always enjoy your blog.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Point taken Thomas. I agree. It’s one of my goals for 2010.

  3. Texas says:

    Talk about timing..I was just going to post in one of the threads here about drwhisky’s comments.

    I really don’t understand where he gets that. Sure I am not, and never will be, in the league of some of the heavy hitters here with apparently deep pockets and large collections, but I have never sensed any snobbish-ness from John or any of the posters.

    I know there are constant requests for more cheaper whisk(e)y reviews..but it’s hard to review something that isn’t being released and WDJK is the only place to go for really good American whisky reviews and most of these are very affordable. My only suggestion would be that it would be good to see a tasting of a bunch of <$60 U.S. single malts as a group..new or not. Maybe have a special section devoted to that as sort of a beginners buyers guide.

    The only thing that is killing new relationships to Scotch single malts is the &%$#! prices, not what someone says or does not say on a blog. Hopefully the insane price increases will slow down or stop for a while.

  4. sam k says:

    I’d like some clarification from the good doctor about what exactly it is he means by those comments. I’ve always felt that this is a place where everyone is welcome, even though it doesn’t necessarily represent Whiskey 101.

    Can you enlighten us, Doc?

  5. Texas says:

    Yes, the comments were surprising, especially since the implication is that those of us that post are killing the buzz. I read WDJK long before I started posting and I just don’t remember seeing newbies getting slapped sown so to speak.

  6. PeterD says:

    I subscribe to the blog via the RSS feed (a wonderful tool, to be sure), and was wondering if it would be possible to devote a separate RSS feed related to bourbons/ryes/etc and leave this one for single malt news and reviews (Scotch or not). I’m very interested in single malts (whether from Scotland or not), but have no interest whatsoever in bourbons, ryes, etc.

    Other than that, I’d have to concur with many of the above posters. Yes, it’s wonderful to hear about new $500 bottlings and rare bottlings that can’t be had in the United States, I’d be far more interested in reading your comments on what we mere mortals can/should be trying in the sub-$150 range.

    Thanks as always!

  7. Eli says:

    For the posts that are reviews or about a single whiskey, it would be great to tag or categorize them based on the price level (could be as simple as bargain, moderate and premium). Then it would be easier to search through old posts based on pricepoint. I do really appreciate that you post the MSRP clearly with each review…this just takes that a step further.

  8. Eli says:

    After posting, I read PeterD’s comment and agree that separating Scotch from bourbon and rye would be nice, although I fall on the other side of that preference. I’m interested in bourbon and rye, but not really in Scotch.

  9. Louis says:

    Hi John,

    I’d like to see industry members identify their employers 100% of the time. This can be as simple as supplying a website. Not all of us recognize all of the names that occasionally post here.

    While I am not suggesting that there are gross attempts at dis-information (although I do recall you calling out one or two individuals), let it suffice to say that the interests of distilleries, importers and disributors, retailers, and consumers are not always the same.

    Thanks.

    Louis

  10. John,

    Keep your easy-on-the-eyes color and narrow text format. Some other sites employ too-bold backgrounds, too-contrasty fonts, and run the text all across the screen. Your content is easy to read, including your links to other sites/posts (here’s where some sites make their content frustrating to read by using red, underlined text to point out a link). The simplicity of your design is appealing and invites me back, time and again.

    I’m glad you listened to the “doctor’s” advice, but I’m happier to see you seek a second opinion before you undergo surgery. Someone interested in learning about Scotch whisky seeks information (too easy, I know). An abundance of sites are willing to help these ab initio connoisseurs. How will they possibly pick the “one” that will sate their appetite? They won’t if their modern impatience demands immediate fulfillment.

    “How do you eat an elephant?” a man once asked me when I wanted to “know all” right now.

    “One bite at a time,” he replied to my shrug.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s wonderful.

  11. BFishback says:

    I’m new to scotch and I really enjoy this blog. It is very informative and well written, plus it is updated nearly everyday.

    I don’t really understand Dr.Whiskey’s comments because after reading the comments for the posts on this blog “what distillery impressed you…” and “who are the leaders…”, I added about 10 whiskies to my “to buy” list.

  12. bgulien says:

    John, I really like the mix you present on this blog. Sometimes it’s about the whisky, sometimes about the world of whisky and sometimes about the people.
    So the mix is OK. Also what I find attractive is the mix of Scotch and American whisky, which I also like.
    It’s inevitable, that a blog like this will tend to gravitate towards people who are more advanced in whisky drinking than newbies.
    I wouldn’t worry about that. A newbie can look/listen and if something is not clear, ask!

    No one will flame a newbie for asking a question, even if it’s already answered years ago. You can’t ask from people to read all the archives, so if something’s unclear, just ask.
    There are no dumb questions, only dumb answers!!

    Oh and please, I would like an edit function for own messages. Sometimes you click on submit, and then you see a glaring spelling mistake, or a very rambling sentence!

  13. I find that in an era of search engine and enthusiast centric sites it’s always helpful to see another person’s perspective on malt.

    However, if you want to balance it out you might consider a ‘suggested reading’ list of websites or books.

    Cheers,
    FT

  14. BigMac says:

    right, let’s say we’re scaring of newbies, but where do we go, then?

    I just think newbies should post their questions/comments along with us, more experienced drinkers – I’m yet to see somebody being called ignorant or worse, for being a newbie – whiskyfolk are nice people and -from what i’ve seen- always been willing to help and answer questions from others, (read: newbies)

    John, I’m relativly new on WDJK, but I see a lot of familiar names from other forums/blogs – I think you got a great mix topics here – and I really like the way you get people involved by asking a question in you headline, seems to dram a lot of people in – Good job!

    I miss maybe a sub category like new releases, and then a bourbon, rye, Scotch, irish subcategory.

    New design or not, I will be dropping in from time to time, that’s for sure.

    Cheers,
    Claus

  15. John Hansell says:

    PeterD, Eli, BigMac: On the right-hand column of this blog, you can sort by category (Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, etc.). However, I don’t have any categories by price range. Let me see what I can do about that.

    Louis, most of the time, if a person is working for a whisky company, they identify themselves and who they work for. Even though you don’t, I get to see posters’ email addresses. Still, nothing is stopping them from opening up a gmail account and posting incognito.

    Two-bit, the visual changes to the blog will be minor.

    Bgulien, I have the ability to edit everyone’s comments. I will make a better effort of spotting typos, etc., and correcting them. And I’ll look into whether there’s a way that you can edit your own comments.I’ve never seen that before.

  16. Paul M says:

    It seems as though most (if not all) of your reviews are based on samples that the distilleries send you and they want to promote. I know that this is a good way to keep you costs down, but I think that you are doing a disservice to your readers by limiting your reviews to the marketing departments at the distilleries.

  17. butephoto says:

    Another great discussion going here and some interesting points being raised again, in here and also Dr Whisky’s post.

    When you last asked this question, John, I think the same comment was mentioned about which bottlings to review. Many suggested less of the premium bottlings and more that us ordinary folk can afford. Thing is, a reviewer in any industry relies on being sent samples or promo copies etc. That’s the only way that anyone could realistically cover as many products as is necessary for a regular review. I don’t doubt that most of the main bloggers regularly get samples through the post but I suppose it’s just a matter of selecting those which you actually want to review. Unless you’re Ralfy and you either buy it yourself or get the dregs of a bottle given to you by someone like me! :D

    Now to Dr Whisky’s comments. I’m glad that my forum gets a mention, of course, in such a who’s who of the whisky world online. I’m curious too, though, to know what exactly he means by the buzz killing? I can only think of my own moaning about the premiumisation of whisky but as has been mentioned above that’s not our doing.

  18. John Hansell says:

    Paul M, I don’t always review products sent to me, but I prefer it–and not just becaues of the cost savings. If I buy a bottle of something from a retailer’s shelf, I don’t know what they have done to that whisky. Were they storing it in the sunlight, in excessive heat in a warehouse, or on its side where it could be contaminated by the cork, etc.?

    If I get a product directly from the producer, then I know that it hasn’t been adulterated in any way through the distribution process.

  19. butephoto says:

    Oh, and I don’t think you need to change a thing. The main thing in any site is the content and you’ve certainly got that nailed!

  20. BigMac says:

    @john

    I did notice the categories on the right :-) What I meant was, you might want to consider creating subcatgories for those

  21. Vince says:

    John

    I love your site and would not really do too much to alter it. While I am more interested in Bourbons and Ryes I do enjoy the scotch reviews and discussion topics.

    To improve the site I would like to see more of a compare/contrast format for reviews. For instance, maybe take 4-5 $30 bourbons and provide a review based on their differences in mashbill, cellaring, etc. Other than that I find you and the people on this site to be friendly and welcoming

  22. WhiskyNotes says:

    Personally, I see the WDJK blog more as a ‘meta-blog’. There’s a lot of discussion about the whisky industry, pricing, tendencies, stories, community etc. but lately there’s less actual content (I mean tasting notes, inside news, previews etc.) although I understand this is about to change.

    One other note: although the serious look of this website suits the content, I do think it adds up to why beginners will not be attracted. This doesn’t mean you have to change though, Dr. Whisky has a point but every site has its target audience. Nothing wrong with being serious.

  23. Henry H. says:

    As for improvement — little needed in my opinion — I can only repeat others’ calls for a bit more focus on lower-priced bottlings. Yet please don’t take this as slagging your reviews of high-end whisk(e)y, since quite a few of your readers buy it.

    The enthusiast who isn’t interested can simply skip those reviews and discussions. Those of us who want to know the full range of what’s available, despite limits on what we can afford, appreciate your covering the waterfront. In my opinion, your excellent blog serves all of us, which brings me to Dr. Whisky’s odd comments.

    I’m a newbie who’s been drinking single malts for approximately one year; I’ve been lurking here for about that long, as well. Far from doing any disservice, What Does John Know has been among the very best resources for fostering this new relationship. My buzz is enhanced with nearly every new post, and the informed comments only take me higher.

    One wonders where Dr. Whisky dredged up such feedback. Or is he simply guessing based on his notion of how others should conduct their public postings on Scotch? It’s particularly strange that he would take such a potshot in a post that covers the wide range of whisky sites on the internet. After all, if a website or blog isn’t cutting the mustard for any particular reader, s/he can move along to others that do.

    Must say, then, that I agree with the good doctor when he writes, “I am not quite sure what this post is about.” And Mr. Hansell, please proceed apace!

  24. Texas says:

    As far as the reviews go..even though I can’t afford them I love to read the reviews. Heck Serge is always digging up these bottles that like 5 people have ever seen. All very interesting.

  25. Sku says:

    This blog, over the past few years, has become my number one go to spot for whiskey news. John, you do a fabulous job with both news and reviews. I even like reading about the whiskeys I will never be able to afford, just to know they are out there, and I love that you are always quick to let us know about new releases.

    I don’t see it as a buzz kill at all. You give honest opinions and allow honest debate in your comments, as any good journalist should. I appreciate that while you show respect for the industry, you aren’t an industry cheerleader.

    In terms of improving the blog, I don’t have much to add as I think it strikes a good balance between news, reviews and editorials right now, though I am excited to see your improvements. I will say that I thought the Twitter reviews were sort of a bust. I don’t need a sip-by-sip relay of your thoughts; it’s easier to just read your final post.

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into this.

  26. B.J. Reed says:

    Lots of good suggestions (RSS feed) and good comments.

    Technology can improve friendliness and organizational capacity – I would like to see “themes” such as John’s tasting notes organized in the same place or have the ability of bloggers to do a key word search and have the ability to organize around those key words or themes – This is more an archive function but would be very helpful. I find that there might have been a discussion on something 6 months ago that I wanted to go back to and its not that easy to do with the current structure.

    Now, my most important suggestion – We need to have the ability of all WDJK bloggers to meet at a reception before Whiskyfest in Chicago starts!!! :)

  27. B.J. Reed says:

    Clarification – I know that the current blog has the ability to do key word search but I was looking for a more sophisticated way to do it -

  28. Chap says:

    John, you taught a lot of folk to just drink the stuff, and not squirrel it away for some ‘collection’ that never gets shared or enjoyed. Have you beat that drum here much?

  29. patricks says:

    As someone new to whisk(e)y, I mostly use the whiskymag forum and Ralfy for general tasting info (along with books), and WDJK for industry news/release info, etc.

    Truthfully, I find OTHERS online to be a buzzkill.

    WDJK has always seemed very free of pretension to me, even when John reviews $1000 whiskies (reviews that I read and enjoy, btw) or when discussions turn technical.

  30. WolfgangU says:

    As already suggested, re-editing one’s own posts would be a good feature. Being a non-native English speaker and new to the blogging world, I spend too much time reviewing my posts before hitting the submit button.
    But I really appreciate this blog and keep coming back, exactly because I don’t get the sense it’s only a playing field for the experts, real or self-appointed, but instead encourages and respects contributions from novices as well.
    And while my passion is for Scotch single malts, I don’t mind getting my horizon expanded.

  31. brian mac gregor says:

    To all the veterans of this site, I am a “newbie” to this site, but not to the world of whiskey, and i may have from time to time posted some “newbie” comments, but I have never once felt any bit of angst from any of the obvious veteran posters. For that I would like to say thanks.
    Ever since i found this blog i read it dailly and try to post daily. to John I would like to say thanks.
    In my years of drinking whiskey i have found a strong passion for independant bottlers. So I would love to see more reviews of the Malt Trust, Murry Mc David…etc.
    I also want to denote that I am an industry proffesional, I run a high end bar program in San Francisco, at a fine dining restaurant.

  32. JWC says:

    like the others, i don’t understand dr. whiskey’s comment – but then again, it was vague. of course, if “we” are the problem, “we” may not see it. i’m not a newbie to whisk(e)y although i am by no means an expert but some of your reviews (glenmorangie 10 yo comes to mind) and the posts by others (texas and luis) about springbank had me buy some bottles of scotch i normally would not have purchased (i’ve been focusing on bourbon as far as spirits go and probably will do so for the forseeable future).

    2 suggestions with regard to content:

    1. perhaps a mini-forum for posters to interact with one another (the new embedded comments capability would address this issue to a certain extent, limited by the discussion on hand – perhaps a good thing).

    2. it may not be technically a part of wdjk but the reviews section of the site doesn’t seem to be updated regularly and sometimes the search function doesn’t help. for example, i remember you had reviewed this year’s pappy 23 yo but had a heck of a time finding it again.

    i enjoy this site and as with most other whisk(e)y sites, i always got the impression that posters are polite and helpful to other posters.

  33. JWC says:

    btw, it’s not about content but have you considered doing a fest somewhere in texas (houston, dfw, s.a. or austin)?

  34. JWC says:

    btw, if by “buzz kill” it means you are selective about whiskies you consider superior (i was constantly amazed by the generousity of spirit journal – i don’t even bother any more), than i don’t have a problem with it. i’ve come to trust your opinion and i know that a high rating from you is well earned.

  35. Texas says:

    Agree 100% with JWC on a Texas whiskyfest..I have seen some events in Dallas (not yours) so I would request Houston of course. The Bayou City gets the short stick on things like that. I bet the folks at Spec’s and the other shops down there would be big on that.

  36. Red_Arremer says:

    I second Paul M’s comment about reviewing whisky that is not sent out as free samples by marketing departments.

    “Buzz kill”– I don’t know what that means. Maybe that people are intimidated. Well, why not? The outlooks of whisky novices and long-time whisky lovers are separated by a lot of knowledge and experience. But is this the kind of intimidation that kills someone’s interest, though? Not nescessarily at all. More likely it is just an aspect of the realization that the drink has a lot more to it than one might think– A realization that is often the beginning of a journey that ends with a new years resolution not to spend so much on whisky;)

  37. Naveen says:

    i am very new to the website. I am not sure if these features already exist..

    1) Member login (helps to keep track of comments members write and see if anyone responded to it)

    2) search blogs by member name

    cheers and good luck with your new development.

  38. lawschooldrunk says:

    just to make sure, please do not go into anything other than whisky and whiskey.

    on the tech side, with the screen so big, I”d like to see more of it used rather than this narrow format where one constantly has to keep scrolling down- especially on a thread that more than 100 people respond to!

    And, I have never read a reason or saw a cause that would turn away newbies. In fact, I learned a lot from this site when I became more serious about single malts.

  39. WHISKYhost says:

    I always wonder how amateur tasters lose the amateur tag. By virtue of tasting ‘enough’ or even ‘well enough’ do they just graduate to the next level? Or is there a whisky university that I’ve never heard about… I agree with one poster above, it would be interesting to see who John thinks is of worthy among the ‘amateur’ online community.

    Other than that, I really enjoy this site, and the commenters, and look forward to reading everything that comes down the pipe.

    Keep it up, John.

  40. John Hansell says:

    WhiskyNotes @22: I’m trying to find the proper balance between all those topics you mentioned. But don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of new reviews coming. (I took a break over the holidays and drank just for fun.)

    Sku @25: Thank you for the kind words. And I hear ya re: the live Twitter reviews. I don’t do it every week like I used to, but I may still pull it out of my hat on occassion. Maybe for simultaneous tastings with others? We’ll see.

    BJ @ 26: I’ll try to get more tech-advanced. And yes, a pre-WhiskyFest meet-up is also on my mind.

    Chap @ 28: I am a BIG fan of drinking the stuff! I see too many auctions of whiskies from people who died and never drank the whiskies they love with like-minded individuals. That’s why I opened that special Ledaig Christmas Eve, and it’s also why I sent samples to my top blog post commenters (and shared it with friends.)

    Brian @ 31: Thank you for the kind words.

    JWC @ 32: We’re in the middle of revamping the whisky reviews on our website.

    LSD@ 38: The new blog design will be wider. We felt the same way.

  41. John Hansell says:

    WhiskyHost @39: That’s a good question. I don’t know when you lose the “amateur” tag. We all start out that way. For me, it was putting in my time and earning the respect of both industry and consumer. Having Malt Advocate as a vehicle to post my reviews also helped.

    There’s no Whisky Certification that’s widely accepted, like Master of Wine or the Beer Judge Certification Program. If I had more time, I would consider organizing something like this.

    I haven’t really followed other “amateur” bloggers’ reviews seriously enough to endorce them. I will try to keep an eye on that.

    Having said this, I think Serge at WhiskyFun is doing an great job! Ditto Dr. Whisky, who was an inspiration for this thread, and Tim at The Whisky Exchange. The latter two have been sporadic of late, but I would consider all three above as having graduated from the amateur realms.

  42. Mark says:

    John, I agree with those who think the content is most crucial and that the content is excellent. You set the tone in large part, I think, by making it about the whisk(e)y rather than yourself. The attitude of both your reviews and more general posts/comments is hospitable and encouraging. Especially over this holiday season, you’ve also done much to nurture a sense of community here.

    I lurked for quite a while before posting a comment, but not because it seemed a private domain. Folks complain (in various ways and to varying degrees) about the costs, about paying for packaging, about preferring higher percentages and no chill-filtration, and the corporatization of what was a more purely artisan craft. Yeah. I hope all readers can understand such complaints as coming from love and respect for the liquid and it’s tradition — and a desire for the industry to be less exclusive rather than more.

    I’ll second the idea of a “beginner buyer’s guide,” or maybe a thread along that line: Whiskies we’ve given as introductory drams, or bottles we’ve recommended.

    As for what “buzzkill” means, my mom once found my stash.

  43. John Hansell says:

    Mark, my parents are missionaries (honestly!). Believe me. I know all about buzzkill.

  44. Texas says:

    To further expound on my suggestions about a beginners guide…it would really be cool to see something like the top 3 introductory malts in each Scotch region, maybe a top 3 blend section, and even some top three entry level “other” whiskies.

  45. I love the blog, & though I realize it is yours with your name attached to it, I do enjoy reading the other writers at Malt Advocate Magazine and would like to see them post their ideas as well & get a second opinion on your tasting notes at times. Also, I do agree with Paul M and his statement regarding reviewing samples sent directly from the distillery. I would not put it past a distillery, especially if it is a single barrel product, to send you a specific sample they feel you would prefer based on your years of tasting notes (for example, you made reference to a specific barrel number in your Evan Williams 2000 Vintage review). Otherwise John, you are doing a great job and your blog is a Home Page tab that opens up every time I open up my internet browser!

  46. Here’s a new thread idea I got from my posting on the 2009 release of Port Ellen: What distillery whiskeys have you never had and want to in the new year because of what you have read here on your blog. I had forgot I did get a chance to try some Port Ellen 1982 from Gordan & MacPhail’s Connoisseurs Choice (I can’t believe I forgot that!!). I know I have never had anything from the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection & would really like the chance to try some. I also have never had anything from Glenfarclas & Dallas Dhu and would like to try some.

  47. G Llaguno says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I think that to attract newbies we can start by the simplest thing of all. Explain to them in a very short, clear and readable manner the way that whisky is made and the best practices to enjoy a dram (nosing, taste, etc). Trying to encourage them to savor their malt responsibly and at the same time gather more knowledge on this drink. Take for example certain malts webpage that explains these processes like balvenie, and then explain how to taste a dram. This should start with the most commercial brands (glenlivet, glenfiddich, etc) and then start to go more “advanced” and complex malts (talisker, ardberg, lagavulin, etc).

  48. Jeff H. says:

    This might be a stretch, but I think you should consider posting a combination of whisk(e)y reviews and industry news, along with some posts designed to spark discussion. Maybe the occasional guest blogger as well.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

  49. Texas says:

    BTW, John, looking forward to the videos. That’s going to be cool!

  50. John Hansell says:

    Jeff H. @ 48: I’ll give it some thought… Thanks. New guest blogger tomorrow, btw.

  51. Quentin says:

    John,

    When telling us about new releases or reviewing whiskies, letting us know what markets they will be available in would be a great help. Often a quick email to the distillery can get this information and is valuable for us to know, in addition to the suggested retail price.

  52. Holysinner says:

    John, I love your site as it is and don’t think you need to make any changes. However, if you feel something is lacking, or have gotten feedback to that effect beyond Dr. Whisky’s ambiguous comment, there are some good suggestions in this thread.

    Looking at Dr. Whisky’s criticism – “The comments on this site provide some of the richest dialogues on Scotch that can be found anywhere. That being said, they can really be a buzz kill for those new to the world of whisky and while it no doubt is theraputic [sic] for malt maniacs, I worry that it does a disservice to fostering new relationships to Scotch whisky” – ‘they’ must refer either to the comments or dialogues, rather than the posts or even the site format. I believe he’s calling us out, not you, presumably for reactions to certain trends in the industry – which you have commendably noted and confronted – or the technical nature of some discussions. He has a point, but it’s not specific to your blog as the same can be observed on many of the sites he mentions.
    When I read Dr. Whisky’s post, I interpreted it as both a celebration of the breadth and diversity of whisky resources and a regret that there is not a single, definitive site out there. Dr. Whisky can speak for himself, but that’s my reading.

    If I’ve gotten his meaning, I would encourage you not to attempt to make this The Definitive Whisky Site. Projects that try to be all things to all people typically satisfy no one. The richness of whisky web resources is tremendous for those of us who want to spend the time to explore them, while some formats may indeed be intimidating to the newcomer. The commercial, distillery sites may be a good starting point for some, and many of them have improved even just in the past year. The whiskymag forum, whiskywhiskywhisky, and the Spirit Of Islay forum (which oddly wasn’t mentioned) cover that format well. Serge, Jeff, and others do a great job with hobbyist blogs, and Whisky Party and Whisky Intelligence are good aggregators, as well as providing notes and thoughts of their own. What Does John Know? strikes it’s own balance with your journalism and the interaction between us in the comments.

    I don’t think this site needs to, or should, become a forum. If you’d like to offer more opportunities for interaction, perhaps you could add a tab to the blog with a topic inviting comments to each article in Malt Advocate. That way, you don’t have to write more posts than you do now, but we can respond to the issues raised in the magazine articles. FWIW, last month I purchased (for the first time) a copy of your magazine and that of your UK competitor, and while I participate on the other forum daily, I got more out of your publication and think it is much better presented (I couldn’t believe the lack of editing in the other!).

    I also think G Llaguno’s idea @47 is a good one, to provide an introduction to newcomers.

  53. John Hansell says:

    Holysinner: Thanks for the thoughtful feedback on the blog–and Malt Advocate. We take pride in Malt Advocate and are glad you like it too.

  54. smsmmns says:

    Wow.
    Look at the responses here! It is really amazing and a testament to the community John has created around WDJK that a post entitled “Your recommendations for improvement?” can get 50+ comments in a single day.

    I hope most of you read my whole post before getting too inflamed.
    If not, let me build some context for the quote John provided above… if anyone gives a shit.

    1) my post was written between 8 and 8:45 this morning with a big banana and blueberry smoothie (no, that is not a euphemism for anything).

    2) the post was GENERALLY about resolving to be better (quote from “The Future”, year in review, looking forward 2010, etc.) as I have been disappointed with what I have done with Dr. Whisky this year and impressed by so many other great new sites.

    3) the post was SPECIFICALLY about all the great but disconnected web content out there on the topic of our shared interest, and continuing the new years resolution theme, I guess tried to posit how we can ALL be better.

    4) the post made a list of sites (hey, sorry if I missed you, please see “1”) that approach the idea of community with great success and how I imagine they could be even better (ie. WhiskyBase is great cuz…, but…)

    5) the sentence before the one John quoted from Dr. Whisky above reads “The comments on this site [WDJK] provide some of the richest dialogues on Scotch that can be found anywhere.” So true; I agree with myself 15 hours later. And as for community? There were 140 comments to John’s Dec 20 question “WHERE ARE YOU?”, for goodness sake.

    6) the sentence quoted was based on the advanced nature of the conversations on here. While profoundly informative and contagious with passion, you must agree that for some (the new whisky lover who pointed and clicked their way to WDJK) these could be potentially intimidating. NOT THAT WE SHOULD CATER TO THEM, I’m just sayin.

    7a) there have been countless posts this year about the problems with the whisky industry and such topics, while interesting, valid, and important to discuss among those who know the issues, can taint the new reader’s wider understanding of the industry by painting it in an unbalanced critical light. And that is fine cuz most of us are here cuz we LOVE whisky with no love lost on a winge and/or moan here and there, but for those who are new this given relationship does not yet exist.

    7b) A simple hypothetical: You are a person who tried something called Aberlour at your uncle’s place over Christmas. You think you liked it. You Google “whisky blog”. You click on WDJK. You search “aberlour” on WDJK. The first 3 posts that come up are “Don’t like your whisky? Make it better!”, “And sometimes, a letdown”, and “What is good value anymore?”
    I do not believe that the same curious whisky newbie that arrived at the site wide-eyed and adventurous would leave with the same excitement about the water of life.

    I guess that was all I was saying.
    And am now (for some reason) justifying.
    Buzz killed. Heheh…
    Good night.

  55. Keep up the good work, is all I can say about the blog. I love your advance tasting notes and whisky news.

    I cannot join the premium / affordable whisky, since most prices are almost opposite here in Europe. Bourbon and Rye is much more expensive than in the States and Scotch is a lot cheaper.

    I would like to see more reviews of American whiskey. Mostly because most European reviewers usually skip those, and I love a lot of them, but don’t have a clue where to start.

    The blog is great. I have one small comment on the magazine however: Please place the articles in logical order. It is rather annoying to start an article on page 10 and have to leaf to page 82 to finish it. Usually the ad in page 82 can as easily be placed earlier in the magazine to keep articles together, in my opinion.

    I love your tasting notes, the whisky news and most of the articles in the mag.

    Again: Keep up the good work. This is my favorite whisk(e)y blog, and MaltAdvocate is my fav magazine. This sounds like sucking up, and maybe it is… But I try to be sincere, although it does get me flamed at sometimes…

  56. butephoto says:

    Sam, good to read you post here which again confirms that there is a vibrant whisky commnunity which is happy to interact over several sites and formats. I did get your point about somehow linking them all (reviews at least a la Rotten Tomatoes), and I have had similar thoughts myself, but for now I’m not technically able to do something about that. The way things are going there will be a plethora of new sites again this year trying to grab the attention of the whisky drinkers and perhaps one will be the site that draws everything together.

  57. butephoto says:

    Having said that I would still visit this site as it’s as much about John as it is about the community.

  58. DavidG says:

    Any way to make the site blackberry- friendly would be greatly appreciated

  59. Tim_B says:

    I’m another phantom participant here. I read obsessively and rarely post. That said, I’ve been reading WDJK since day one, and I’ve enjoyed the watching the evolution of the site. I am very happy with the topics of discussion as well as the timeliness of the industry news. I have no complaints regarding the content. Thank you

    Regarding improvements:

    As I’ve stated, I have enjoyed the increased content and subject matter of WDJK, but at the same time, it irks me ever so slightly as I am a member of the MAWS, and I pay for the weekly email updates (along with other perks of course!), which have by and large become redundant because of this blog. Do you plan to continue the whisky notes email? I don’t really read it like I used to.

    I am a little uneasy about WDJK becoming less of a blog and more of a forum. I like the focus that comes with the blog format; extraneous comments are kept to a minimum. In my experience, forums tend to be less cohesive, and I therefore find them less informative. I suspect that others would disagree with me, but this is how I feel. Blog yes. Forum no.

    Again, I love the blog. It is a big part of what keeps me excited about the whisk(e)y world.

    See you at the Chicago WhiskyFest!

  60. John Hansell says:

    Sam @54: Thanks for taking the time to respond. Like butephoto said in @56, it confirms that there is a vibrant whisky commnunity which is happy to interact over several sites and formats.

    And for those of you who didn’t follow my link to Sam’s entire post over at Dr. Whisky, please do, because he has a great summary of the whisky blogs, forums, etc. out there. (And, as he points out, he also had some nice things to say about everyone here at WDJK.)

  61. patrick says:

    I really enjoy the blog like it is but for a newbie, it might not that easy, in particular when abbreviations are used. What about adding a list of abbreviations to be used in this blog?

    To make the blog more accessible to everyone, maybe creating some topics for beginners? or providing them in the column bar with links to “beginner’s guides”?

    Just a comment from my “European” side, US are often complaining about the limited number of bottlings available in the states. Would if be possible to have once an article about the process for importing and selling whisk(e)y in the US?

  62. Monique at the Dell says:

    I love the idea of the Whiskyfest meet-up. It was interesting to see where everyone was from, now let’s put names with the faces.

    I will always feel like a bit of an “amateur” in the whisky world. With so many new whiskies, new information, changes to the industry, equipment and professionals….. It’s tough.

    Like many others, I’d like to see a focus on lower-priced whiskies. Last year at a tasting, we realized that we hadn’t tasted good old Lagavulin 16 in three years. That’s just crazy! It made me realize that it’s always good to go back and compare the new kids on the block to the standards.

    Maybe some of the newbies to scotch would appreciate reviews of things like Talisker 10, Glenfiddich 15, Glenfarclas 105. I continue to introduce these malts to customers daily. We all had to start somewhere.

    Keep up the good work John!

  63. Brian Bradley says:

    I agree with Patrick in post 61.

    I would also add that I think the overall review of a whisky can be intimidating to a newbie. The word choice of flavor-notes can be quite intimidating. To read something like: “notes of dried fig and toffee and a finish of unicorn tears” does not help the new guy know whether or not he is going to like it. I think adding a flavor note lexicon would be handy for many.

    I think the even the “side profile tulip glass sniff” photo adds a whole lot of haughtiness. I liked the old photo better to be honest. I also found it a touch ironic that new picture of John showed up the same day he wrote the blog entry about “does the nose matter”.

  64. Texas says:

    smsmmns..drwhisky I assume. Before you criticize us for being too critical of the industry I suggest you go back and read your Malt Mission #361 where you slam the industry for the same price gouging we complain about here.

    I will stick by my original claim that the Scotch industry is it’s own worst enemy.

  65. Red_Arremer says:

    Dr. Whisky,

    On WDJK, the love for whisky is allowed to distinguish itself from the promotion of whisky. This is one of the reasons that so many whisky lovers make this blog their first choice.

    Whisky industry people often use the size and enthusiasm of a brand’s preexisting fan base to enhance the appeal of that brand. The less critical consumers relationships with whisky are the more these folks can claim that marketing, promotion, and branding- as opposed to smell and taste- are responsible for sales– And the more important these folks, marketers, brand ambassadors, and promoters, can claim that they themselves are.

    Of course the really important people in the whisky world are those who make good whisky and those who love it. Folks like you and John, are embraced by whisky lovers because you support and enable the expression the love of whisky– Not because you are effective promoters of the industry to newbies.

  66. Todd says:

    This reminds me of the comment of Emperor Joself II on Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, “too many notes, Mozart”. I think there is no such thing as too much information, but it is indeed important to be able to extract knowledge that is useful to you. So any additions to WDJK that improve searchability and ease of negotiating the site would be welcome.

    Most other whisky sites I look at seem more like info-commercials or keeping score between the participants as to who has bought what (and often little reference to how a whisky tastes). Other than this one, the only other sites I spend any appreciable time looking at are Serge’s WhiskyFun and the Malt Maniacs sites, which are linked. These two sites provide an interesting compare and contrast, they are both very information rich, but I find the WhiskyFun site easier to negotiate. Specifically, I find it useful to be able to search by distillery and ratings – which are on another part of the MA site. The hypothetical newbie who just tasted that magical elixir Aberlour can find more information on Aberlours on the Whisky Reviews section of the MA site. Maybe a clickable link each time a distillery or product is mentioned in WDJK could be constructed, but I have no idea how much work that would entail. At some level, you have to trust a person’s level of curiosity in browsing the site.

    The only other tangible improvement that I can think of is a new section on “What was your most recent interesting whisky find?” For example, Binnys has a bunch of new single cask exclusives that are delightful, including a vintage 1990 Laphroaig 18 cask strength whisky that beats the OB 18 yo bottle hands down in both quality and price. Binnys new 1997 Benrinnes is another gem. I’d love to taste all of the new Four Roses carried by Binnys, or at least read about them.

    I can’t speak as a newbie, but I just can’t see this site as a buzzkill. A wide range of topics are covered here from matters of taste to technical aspects and sometimes criticism of the industry. There seem to be very few sacred cows on this road.

  67. smsmmns says:

    Texas,

    http://drwhisky.blogspot.com/2009/08/malt-mission-2009-361.html

    I am not sure how to respond to you, but I think you need to read that post again.

    Red, as always a truly insightful comment. You are completely correct to make a separation between the promotion of whisky and professing a love of whisky. But while readers’ comments, for the most part, fall on the side of the latter, John and I fall, sometimes uncomfortably, on both sides. Thank god.

    From the beginnning, it has been my aim with Dr. Whisky to spread the gospel, to be a whiskyvangelist, long before I worked IN the industry I worked FOR the industry. I love whisky and I want others to, too. It is also John’s job to promote whisky, a job that grew out of a passion, and you can’t get luckier than that.

  68. Todd says:

    Sorry Brian, I gotta disagree with post 63, in tongue-in-cheek defense of elitists everywhere, I don’t see anything haughty about the photo, rather it is quite instructive.

    The side profile with the tulip glass emphasizes a fundamental truth that olfaction is the most important sense for evaluating whisky. I’ve poured whiskies for guests who wapped it back down their throat in one shot and grimaced without bothering to nose it, and for that matter, perhaps not even tasting it.

    It also depicts the best type of glassware for whisky tasting, one that captures and concentrates the aroma, but is not too big.

    Newbies (or experienced tasters who don’t like the notion of tasting notes) can always ignore the tasting notes and go straight to the numerical rating.

  69. Texas says:

    smsmmns..maybe you were saying that toungue-in-cheek. Did not seem that way to me..sounded like you were irritated as well, since you went on a streak of non-Scotch reviews. I now see that you work in the industry, I was not aware of that before.

    Either way, I stand by what I said. Seeing the prices of single malts is more than enough to scare off novices, regardless of what we say here. The vast majority of the things that are said here that are negative aren’t just griping..they are intended to wake the industry up to realize the mistakes they are making. After all, we are customers. Without us, there is no Scotch industry.

    Good day, sir. Likely time for me to take a break from this place for a while.

  70. Brian Bradley says:

    Todd in post 68

    You are correct Todd. I should have added the addendum that (perhaps for the newbie)

    I don’t have a problem with the description or the photo; moreover, it could add to that “feeling” of the elitism of scotch.

    I do think the description can be daunting for the uninitiated. I read a couple books on scotch before I totally decoded the language for myself. That may be too large of an investment for some.

  71. Hi John,

    Happy New Year incidentally.

    It would be great if it were easier to navigate your site with respect to postings and tastings notes of previously reviewed products. I often make reference to your tastings notes and reviews when I haven’t personally had the opportuniy to try something, and it can be hard for example finding the exact tasting note I had read a few months back.

    Other than that love the blog. Just wish I had more time to stay up to date and contribute.

    Slainte!
    Andrew Ferguson
    Calgary, Canada

  72. Ernest says:

    I love the blog in its current format but would echo the comments above about making it more Blackberry friendly. As a beer judge certified by the BJCP (Beer Judge Cert. Program) and I also think it’s a great idea to try and develop some sort of universal standards or guidlines. Possibly similar to a BJCP scoring sheet that provides descriptions of what one should expect to see, smell, and taste in a given style of whiskey or whisky from a particular region. I’m relatively new to this blog but have been a subscriber of MA off and on since its initial days in the tan paper format (although initially for the beer and only over the past five years or so for the whisky) and have never felt intimidated or put off by anything written here.

  73. patrick says:

    @ ernest.
    The idea is good to develop some standards or guidelines, but I think it is more difficult to apply to whisk(e)y than beer, since the range of flavours in beers is not as diverse as in whisky. I think the most important element is to share our impression in order to help newcomers and to exchange ideas. As mentioned a few times by John, I have been thinking a few time about removing scores for tasted whiskies, since appreciating whisky is subjective and should remain fun, regardless of your mileage :-)
    Slainte

  74. Neil Fusillo says:

    Honestly, John, I think this is fantastic site for newbies to the whisky world. There’s just so much discussed here that’s not specifically tasting and/or industry news. We talk about people in the industry. We talk about trends. We get some tasting notes on whiskies both new and possibly ones we’ll never ourselves see or be able to afford. We talk about distilleries themselves and things going on there. There’s discussions about WhiskyFest (something I’ve still yet to make, as it never seems to fall close enough to make it without using up my preciously-allocated vacation time).

    All in all, we discuss a lot of things that anyone new to whisky might want to hear about, and your demeanor and candor are such that I’ve certainly never felt intimidated. Your writing leaves me more with the feeling that you’re talking with old friends over a nice dram, not with a random group of strangers. If anything, that’s incredibly inviting to newbies.

    That said, I CAN understand, somewhat, where Dr. Whisky may have gotten the impression that the discussions can be intimidating for newbies. Many of the people who post here aren’t just random passers-by, but run well-read tasting blogs themselves, or work in the industry, or are known to those in the industry.

    There’s a certain camaraderie that is experienced by those who’ve met up with each other at WhiskyFest, or those who are familiar with each others’ works, and it might make a newbie feel like this is a somewhat exclusive club.

    There’s also, on the part of some of us (I’m surely no exception), an almost fierce loyalty we feel to not just whisky itself, but our own opinions of it. Someone might not feel he could just drop in here and say, “I know nothing at all about bourbon, Scotch, whisky, whiskey, blends, or single malts, but I want to try something ‘good’ for my first dram” without being assaulted by a variety of disparate opinions with an overload of information that may or may not be in any way helpful.

    I don’t particularly find that a problem, as I’m of the ilk that believes that knowledge can not be given, it must be gathered; but I do see how absolute newbies might find such a scenario to be intimidating.

    I wouldn’t sweat it. Dr. Whisky was just listing a bunch of resources with some opinions about them, and probably just wanted people to understand that WDJK, while being an amazing source of information, is possibly not all things for everyone (and it shouldn’t be). I don’t think his comment was intended as an insult or even a detractor.

  75. John Hansell says:

    Brian @63: Yes, I see your point about the photo and being intimidating. But, as Todd @68 points out, I think the benefits of the photo outweigh any negatives. Although, having said this, I just might change it every so often so we don’t get stuck looking at the same picture all the time.

    And I try to strike a balance with my tasting notes. I don’t get nearly as fancy and esoteric as some do, but I also don’t want to be so fundamental that it serves little purpose and is boring.

    Texas @69: okay, you can have tomorrow off. But come back on Saturday, okay? :)

    Andrew @71: The Malt Advocate website has all my whisky reviews, and it is in a searchable database. There’s a link to it at the top of this page.

    Neil @74: re: Dr. Whisky. I don’t take it as an insult. All is cool. You are right, WDJK can’t be all things for all people. I do my best with the time I have. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  76. Brian Bradley says:

    John @75
    I almost feel bad for saying that now. I really like how you write. It is a great balance. I was moreover “spit-ballin” as to what could be intimidating.

    I am not sure it’s possible to make everyone happy; however, you do a great job walking that tightrope.

    I still think a flavor note lexicon would not be all that bad. People understand that idea of smoke; however, other specific words could be esoteric.

  77. John, what about a ‘beginners’ section for people wondering about whisky with simple beginners guides to it all?

    Perhaps more dropdowns at the top for people to find different parts of the site?

  78. Henry H. says:

    About that glass in John’s photo at top, can someone enlighten me as to which glass it is — or at least which commercially available glass it most resembles? (It’s time for me to move up from the school cafeteria milk glasses I’ve been using.) Strangely, there’s not one like it for sale in the Malt Advocate shop.

    Thanks in advance for the help.

  79. John Hansell says:

    Richard, good recommendations. Thanks!

    Henry H. That’s a classic nosing glass used by the industry. That picture was taken quite a few years ago. I like the Glencairn nosing glass too, which we sell. And it’s becoming the first “real” whisky glass globally.

  80. Louis says:

    John,

    How about a optional location along with the name. That would help clarify some of the comments regarding price, availability, etc.

    Louis

  81. lawschooldrunk says:

    Here’s another idea for all those cheap, inglorious, basterds like me!: Every day, John will pick a random scotch or bourbon and just ask everyone how much it costs in their neck of the woods. With John’s following and pull, all here will be able to find the cheapest offering (which hopefully ships!) when the thread is exhausted.

  82. sam k says:

    Henry, re: glassware. For what it’s worth, as much as I like the Glencairn (and I do!), I definitely prefer a stemmed glass. Having been a carpenter for many years in another life, I feel that a stem makes for a more versatile tool.

    My two cents.

  83. Ernest says:

    With all due repsect Patrick I think that the flavors associated with beer are every bit as diverse– or more so– than that of whisky. From lagers, bocks, etc to myriad , ales and, of course lambics, there are a plethora of flaov ors in beers; as complex in every way to the finest whisky.

  84. Tim D says:

    Seems the primary thing Dr. Whisky may have forgotten about this site/blog – and John – is that he’s one of the few “professional” whisk(e)y people doing this on a day-in/day-out basis.

    So, it’s going to have less of a “hobbyist” slant and be more professional, or inside baseball than some others. But that’s it’s USP (unique selling point).

    No reason to “dumb it down” when the whole reason anybody would even come here is to get smarter, right? It’s an already engaged, inquisitive person who’s going to even find this site – let alone pursue the comments section beyond the actual articles.

    However, while I will always come to see reviews of Black, Gold, Cyan, & Mauve Bowmore, I, too, would like more reviews of the attainable, along with these aspirational, offerings.

    The requested beginners guide or “Best Buys” lists as arbitrated by John would be great. While totally unrelated to spirits, there’s a site – Tom’s Hardware – that updates the best buys in computer stuff each month, within a given price range. It’s the go-to place for that type of info, and no reason you couldn’t lay out something along those lines.

    Would also be nice to see revisits of some of the more standard offerings who’s reviews may be a bit dusty – I know when I go to pull reviews – say on an Ardbeg 10 – and note that the review itself was nearly 10 years ago, in typical GenX fashion, I think – “wow, that’s old, must not be relevant anymore.” Truth is – I don’t know… but would be fun to find out!

    And what about reviews of things like Lagavulin 16 – which you don’t have a review of? Same with Elijah Craig or Laprhoaig 10… They may be somewhat pedestrian offerings to some, but I’d rather see your take on them than most other reviewers – or at least have your take on them to compare with others.

    But like I said – don’t spare the coverage on the premium/limited stuff – you’re one of the few who does that very well and with true credibility.

    Thanks for your efforts and being a great bridge between the industry and the consumer.

  85. [...] John Hansell himself wants to know how he can improve his blog. [...]

  86. JC Skinner says:

    If ‘Doctor’ Whisky don’t like, ‘Doctor’ Whisky don’t have to read.
    Personally speaking, I find his own blog a buzzkill of the highest order.
    Seems to be all about his ego and not about the whisky. Plus, he’s on the payroll of a distiller, which makes him an untrustworthy shill in my eyes.
    I appreciate such sentiments sound harsh. But I’d never have mentioned them in public had I not seen ‘Doctor’ Whisky’s attempts to do down a significantly better and more informative media outlet and a significantly more relevant and talented whisky writer.

  87. John Hansell says:

    JC: Actually, I think Dr. Whisky does a great job with his reviews and tasting notes. (I wish he would rate them too, but that’s his choice.) And I think he works hard at not showing a bias.

    Tim D: Malt Advocate is in its 19th year. I did review the more “pedestrian” offerings way back in the 1990s. Problem is, our whisky ratings on our website only go back to our 9th year. We’re working on getting the rest in there from the earlier years.

    But having said this, perhaps it’s time to revisit some of these more mainstream products. I know for a fact that many of them have changed over time.

  88. Richard @ 77 and John @ 79

    Check out a new-in-October ’09 site that does some of what’s been suggested here:

    http://www.sipsmokesavor.com

    On the homepage, roll over “Malts” and click the “Single Malt Flavors” button.

    I found the site on Andrew’s “Whisky Intelligence.” As I follow Frank’s progress on his new site, I see him updating frequently (I’m sure you can relate to that, John). All of this is an evolution; that’s what this thread is all about, ya?

  89. Todd says:

    John, post #86 prompts a follow-up comment that combines two earlier discussed threads, 1) good entry malts and 2) batch variation. I know it is some work, but it would be helpful if you could occasionally update reviews on the more affordable and widely accessible whiskies. Nine years is a long time and things change. For example, IMO, Lagavulin 16 went through a rough patch sometime around 2002 or 2003 (due to low stocks) and suffered a triple hit of a dramatic increase in price, decreased availability, and a dip in quality. I loved the older bottlings so I searched around for all of the older 1990s “White Horse” Lagavulin 16s I could find (there were other subtle bottle age identifying label changes around this time). Based on tasting 4-5 different batches of Lagavulin 16 bottled between 2007-2009, I am very happy to say that the current bottlings of Lagavulin 16 are back to their former grandeur.

  90. Red_Arremer says:

    Forget about this beginners guide stuff, John. That’s would be like you giving out free promotion.

    Some better ideas would be to start a thread about whiskies that are good for beginners and as many have suggested to simply post up reviews of conventional, long time, whisky staples that aren’t here– In fact you could do a whole article in Malt Advocate about that.

  91. Tim F says:

    JC, I think your comment is very unnecessarily harsh, particularly the ego comment. Dr. Whisky is one of the most self-deprecating people you could ever meet despite his vast knowledge of the subject and his blog frequently illuminates the history or provenance of whiskies in a very easy-to-understand way. I’ll declare an interest in that I actually know him and am proud to call him a friend. I really respect your comments in general, but I honestly think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick with this one. To suggest that his current job is affecting his output is also very unfair and a insulting, in my opinion he is taking pains to remain as impartial as possible with his blogs since he took the job and has frequently written stuff that few in the industry would dare to reveal, at his own risk. Your opinion is your own but I really think you’ve gone wrong on this one, and I suspect John would say the same. He doesn’t need you to stick up for him, and I honestly think you’ve gone too far on this one, much as I respect and enjoy your posts in general.

  92. JC Skinner says:

    As I said, it’s a personal opinion I’d have kept to myself had this context not arisen.
    I don’t know him personally but am sure he’s a fine chap.
    All I know is his blog, and I find his writing style off-putting. His reviews, for me, are all about his adjectival overload and often very little about communicating a sense of the whiskey to me.
    Now, that’s my personal reaction. His blog is popular, so clearly others think otherwise.
    I’m happy for them to do so, so long as they don’t mind my having my opinion.

  93. Neil Fusillo says:

    You know, John, one thing I WOULD like to see added to the blog that has nothing whatsoever to do with content (and it may be there and I just don’t know about it) is a way to search for previous comments by a poster. Myself, for instance. I’ve often found myself remembering an article based strictly on the comment I made about it, but not remembering the article itself exactly. It’d be nice if I could pull up a post history of my comments and see which articles I’ve commented upon.

  94. Alex says:

    I would be hard pressed to find commentary here that would be detrimental to new whisky drinkers. At times perhaps too much content detail or specifics for the casual fan but that is what makes WDJK so interesting. The only buzzkill may be for the marketers when they read certain rants about industry trends, specifically on costs or marketing gimmicks, that drive great malt out of reach of a loyal fan base.

  95. Holysinner says:

    Like Neil Fusillo’s request above, this isn’t about content or to appeal to newcomers. I’d love to see something like a “view new comments” button (like you’d have on a forum), which presents comments posted since your last visit. Such a feature may not be feasible in your blog software (maybe with cookies? I can understand your wanting to avoid registration), but it would be much easier than having to open each post in a separate tab and scroll to the bottom, trying to remember which was the last comment I’d read yesterday. Also, if someone now comments on an older post, it will likely never be seen, but such a feature could revive a long inactive topic.

  96. Tim F says:

    JC, I take your point and as I said before, I do respect your right to an opinion. I just think there’s a rich irony that when you chose to publish yours couched in the form of a personal attack to refute Dr. Whisky, you actually ended up proving his original point – harsh personal abuse is the biggest buzzkill of all. Incidentally, you don’t need the quotation marks around ‘Doctor’ when referring to Sam – he finished his PhD in 2008.

  97. JC Skinner says:

    Perhaps the quotes should go around ‘Whisky’ instead, given that’s not actually his surname?
    Look, I made no personal attack on the man. As I said, I don’t know him at all. I know his blog and ironically found that it fulfills all the offputting criteria that he levels at John’s blog here.
    Rather than seek to prescribe to other writers how and what they should write, I believe he could address the same issues as they affect his own output.
    And finally, I reserve the right to dismiss the opinions of anyone on the payroll of a distiller as being potentially swayed by the facts of their employ.

  98. John Hansell says:

    Tim F., JC: My friends, I appreciate your thoughts, but let’s move on, okay? Thanks.

  99. H.Diaz says:

    John, although you asked for content rather than design recommendations for this blog, I agree with Neil, #92.

    Often times, especially after several days or more, I cannot remember then find where I last posted. I am unable to follow-up and post any additional comments. Searching for myself can be cumbersome.

    Not sure how much trouble it is, but to click on my name and see my posting history would be fantastic and would likely bring me back more often.

    As for content, it provides for both the novice and the expert.

  100. H.Diaz says:

    Dr. Whisky, go ahead, chime in already. Your professional opinion is long over due.

  101. John Hansell says:

    H. Diaz, I’ve made note of everyone’s suggestions, and will attempt to implement the ones that we can. Not all are do-able.

  102. smsmmns says:

    H. Diaz,
    I think your post at 100 substantiates your request at 99.
    Pleas see 54 and 67.
    Cheers.

  103. [...] here in January, I asked you what I could do to make WDJK better for you. Many of those recommendations I [...]

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