Whisky Advocate

Malt Advocate magazine is now The Whisky Advocate magazine

September 20th, 2011

Welcome to The Whisky Advocate! We changed the name to more accurately reflect what we are all about: whisky. After years of considering a name change, we felt now was the time to make it happen: celebrate 20 years of Malt Advocate, and then begin anew as The Whisky Advocate.

We didn’t just change our name. We completely redesigned the magazine. We made it bigger in both size and length. We improved its visual appeal, making it easier to look at and read. We don’t just want you to read about cool places like Campbeltown, we want you to feel like you are there—touring the distilleries, visiting the pubs, meeting the people, and enjoying the scenery. A picture really can be worth a thousand words, and we now have some great photographs and artwork to accompany the text.

Speaking of text, that’s what’s really most important to us. With this new issue, we’ve expanded our pool of outstanding whisky writers. We’re digging deeper into every topic to make our writing even more stimulating. In addition to learning more about whisky, we want to change the way you think and feel about whisky.

As you already know by reading this blog, we have also expanded our number of whisky reviewers and their reviews. In this issue, we have 81 reviews, spanning ten different countries. We may be based in the United States, but our reach is now truly global.

Join me in raising a dram! Here’s to the next 20 years of celebrating whisky—and delivering all there is to read about, and think about, right to your doorstep!

Slainte!

John

P.S. We also updated our website to reflect the new name and re-design. Have a look here.

119 Responses to “Malt Advocate magazine is now The Whisky Advocate magazine”

  1. Chris says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to read the new issue John! Are you going to review the new EH Taylor soon/ I’m getting antsy to hear how it compares to the first one.

    • John Hansell says:

      Yes, I’ve tasted it several times already and will post up my review shortly. It’s similar to the first release, but with more viscosity and weight to it.

      • Chris says:

        Awesome! I really like the first one, even though it doesn’t really fit in terms of style with the other bourbons I love. Can’t wait to read your review, and I really can’t wait for the first issue of Whisky Advocate!

  2. lawschooldrunk says:

    The King is dead!

    Long live the King!

  3. Looks great! I look forward to reading the new issue and seeing the new design!

  4. Congrats! I am betting it will be terrific!

  5. B.J. Reed says:

    I like the layout and font styles – cleaner, crisper – Nice.

  6. Red_Arremer says:

    As my gf notes, Malt Advocate wasn’t a name that would necessarily ring any bells in an whisky novice’s head so this is probably a smart move. It’s also a good way of letting everyone know that an era has come to an end.

  7. Davin de Kergommeaux says:

    Lookin’ good John. Let’s hope for another 20 years with Hansell at the helm.
    Davin

  8. Gary says:

    Very nice. I look forward to getting my first issue of The Whisky Advocate. But, you spelled whiskey wrong. :)

  9. Vince says:

    John:

    I really like the name change and the re-design of the magazine. You and your staff do a great job. Keep up the good work! Can’t wait to get my copy of Whisky Advocate

  10. David says:

    Congrats, looks great. One question, will you still occasionaly write about beer. If I recall part of the reasoning behing the Malt Advocate name was so you can discuss beer. Of course I value the whisky reviews and focus, but when you do mention beers, I know they are going to be excellent and worth seeking out.

  11. Ryan says:

    Congrats on the renovations. And hey, great to see The Whisky Advocate homepage now includes, “search by reviewer,” functionality. Nice touch:)

  12. Louis says:

    John,

    Makes perfect sense. Maybe years ago, somebody might have only been ‘into’ single malt scotch whisky. But today, it’s probably hard to find someone who doesn’t drink SOME other type of whisky, at least occasionally. One thought popped into my mind, the general public is pretty clueless about what malt is, but they can’t exactly explain what whisky is either. So it’s all of job to educate them.

    Slainte.

    Louis

  13. two-bit cowboy says:

    Ah, change: keeps life interesting and fresh. Congratulations John, Amy, and all. Has the new issue been shipped?

  14. Luke says:

    Excellent News – The Best of Luck to ye John!

  15. Bob Siddoway says:

    Wow, I’m liking the redesign.

    I agree with the others that this is probably a wise move at least in terms of marketing and attracting a larger audience to the magazine and blog. Exciting news! Spread the whisky love!

  16. Bacchus says:

    The new layout looks like a terrific change and I’m sure the magazine will be better than ever. The name change seems to be unnecessary as malt says it all, but I’m sure it was unavoidable because of marketing concerns.

  17. lawschooldrunk says:

    My only gripe is that now the size won’t match all my saved back issues. Is it the same size as whisky magazine? Was this done to be more visible on the bookshelf, perhaps to peek out above other magazines? I have not yet seen the new magazine but I IMAGINE that I’d like the same dimensions but just more pages.

    • John Hansell says:

      It’s about 1/8 inch taller, but about an inch and a half wider that Whisky magazine. And comparing it to the most recent issue, the Whisky Advocate is 30 pages longer!

  18. Scribe says:

    John and Team, congratulations!!! It is so exciting — in the midst of global recessions, countries on the verge of going bankrupt and political gridlock — that innovation and change are alive and well with the good people at The Whisky Advocate!!! I think it’s a great name, design looks fresh and clean, and I can’t wait to see my new issue! Well done — and keep those innovations coming!

  19. Fantastic John, and a bold move. Wishing you and TWA team even more success for the next 20 years. All the best!

  20. Red_Arremer says:

    Have to say that, while the cover design is highly attractive, I would rather see that whisky in Glencairns, or some other glassware more appropriate to engaged appreciation. Nix the rocks glasses.

    • lawschooldrunk says:

      I made that comment to John on twitter!

    • John Hansell says:

      We intentionally picked a generic glass for the cover to not show favoritism. In reality, I drink whiskey out of many typles of glasses, depending on the whisky and my mood–including smallish tumbler glasses.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        The image of whisky in a tumbler is generic. However, The Whisky Advocate is about an appreciation of whisky that goes beyond the generic and towards the informed and discerning. Putting three tumblers on the cover of your magazine doesn’t get that across.

        • John Hansell says:

          I disagree Red that this was a bad move. I didn’t want to put glasses on the cover that would scare off or alienate future Whisky Advocate readers (and new whisky drinkers we could bring into the flock). There’s a time and place for many different whisky glasses, including tumblers. Let’s not get too pretentious. (Wasnt that the criticism about some of my other whisky reviewers’ tasting notes recently?)

          • sam k says:

            My hands-down favorite sipping glass is a plain, cylindrical, tallish five-ounce glass with a heavy base. Glencairn’s nice, but I can get my nose right in this one while sipping. Works even better with moonshine…er, I mean white whiskey!

            Though I probably wouldn’t choose to drink from them, the tumblers look great, and so does the magazine!

          • John Hansell says:

            Yeah, I think I would rather it be cylindrical than rectangular (or square). No corners to deal with. I’m drinking bourbon out of a glass right now, Sam, that’s very similar to what you describe. I don’t know who made them, but they are simple and do just fine for what I am drinking.

            When I am reviewing whisky, that’s a different story.

          • Red_Arremer says:

            I follow you, John. You’re trying to make the magazine more inviting to people who are less experienced with whisky than your current clientele. Totally understandable for someone who wants to grow their brand. I trust you that this generalizing (dumbing down?) of the WA’s appeal will confined to superficial cosmetic aspects of the publication.

          • sam k says:

            Red, I trust that you’re in favor of exposing more people to the beauty of whisky. I hope that you’ll reserve your opinion of the content and any potential “dumbing down” (a quite unfortunate term, I think) until you see more…much more, in the current issue.

          • Red_Arremer says:

            Sam– Man, you know well that sharing my opinion here will have zero impact on the process of “exposing more people to the beauty of whisky.”

            So why are you telling me to muzzle it. I don’t appreciate it. I don’t tell you to reserve your pure unbridled positivity for this that or the other whisky related thing even though it rarely takes the discussion in a direction I care for. And of course I’m looking forward to reading the magazine– I specifically said I assumed that the content would be better then the cosmetic rocks-glass choice implied.

          • John Hansell says:

            Red, there’s a big difference between making a magazine more visually appealing (and inviting) and dumbing it down.

          • Scribe says:

            John, IMHO, this passion toward the glass(es) one uses to appreciate Whisky underscores an idea I tossed out a few months back…a post on different glasses that can be used to enjoy the beverage we all love! In my case, I know of Glencairn, certainly, and have my share of dated annuals from WhiskyFest New York events…Riedel, too. Would love to learn more on this front since obviously it is a passionate issue! Maybe topic of a future post — maybe with a number of reviewers from the magazine/website weighing in with their favorites? Just a thought!

          • John Hansell says:

            Good idea. Point taken.

          • Vince says:

            Scribe:

            I really like your idea, I hope John looks at this in the future. I prefer a glencairn glass but I don’t judge people by what glass they prefer, I can see different glasses for different moods, whiskey’s etc.

          • Scribe says:

            Vince, agreed…and while I won’t beat this “glass” issue, because I think we’ve already gotten blood from that stone, I will say the container issue takes different forms especially when eating out. In my case, I like a single malt at a restaurant since it gives me a chance to try something new. But I learned early on to ask for it neat — in my case — in a rocks glass, after one time I got a pour in the largest, most pretentious brandy snifter I had ever seen! So others are there with cocktails…bottles of beer…and there I am looking like Sir Winston Churchill with every sip I took! I’m not at all pre-judging the new magazine based on the glass on the cover — it’s the content that has drawn me to John’s editorial pursuits over the years, and will continue to do so for years to come! I just see it as part and parcel of the continuous learning I try to bring to my never-ending quest (I shall refrain from saying “thirst!”) for knowledge of all things whisky!!

          • Cheryl Lins/Delaware Phoenix Distillery says:

            I think an article on whiskey glasses is a great idea. What kind of glass you want depends very much on your purpose. And most people buy whiskey to drink it. Very few people buy whiskey in order to explore the headspace aromatics. I know this is heresy for some. :-) How to properly “nose” whisky as well as tasting is important too. Too often I’ve seen a shopkeeper pour a small amount of whisky in some largish wine glass, put the nose in the glass and take a good whiff. All without watering the whisky down at all.

            I like the new typefaces and layout used in the What Does Whisky Advocate Know? blog. More readable to me. Patiently waiting for the new magazine!

          • two-bit cowboy says:

            And the problem with your shopkeepers’ nosing without first adding water is ….?

          • Red_Arremer says:

            On “dumbing down,” John– Let’s be honest.

            A shift from representing and catering to the experienced and knowlegeable to trying to get noticed by the inexperienced and ignorant– Isn’t that the definition of “dumbing down”?

            For years and years, you chose to heavily cover-feature Glencairn, Congac, and brandy glasses for a reason– Because they’re useful in really appreciating whisky. This time you chose to feature a striking pic of 3 rocks glasses for another reason entirely– Because you “didn’t want to put glasses on the cover that would scare off or alienate future Whisky Advocate readers (and new whisky drinkers…” who don’t yet really appreciate whisky.

            All of us here are fans and supporters of your endeavor. However, Look at what George Jetson had to say. Notice that several other people made the same comment I did. Then, look at your explanation about bringing new drinkers into the flock. See the vibe that emerges from all this. Still, I’m not prejudging the contents magazine– I’m very interested to see it.

          • John Hansell says:

            Sorry, Red. I disagree. Casting a wider net doesn’t automatically mean dumbing down. And it sure sounds to me like you are prejudging, Red. Which I think is a bit unfair, given you haven’t even seen the magazine yet. Let’s agree to disagree and move on, okay?

            I find it comical that just a few blog posts ago we were being accused of being pretentious with our tasting notes, and now we are being accused of dumbing down because of the glassware we chose for our cover. To me, that means we are right where we should be–in the middle of it all.

          • Red_Arremer says:

            Sure John– I think we’ve explored our positions in sufficient depth that anyone reading can make up his or her own mind.

          • John Hansell says:

            Thanks Red. And I’ll be honest with you. Determining what glass to put on the cover was not an easy decision–for many reasons. There was a down side to every option–including this one, naturally, for the reasons stated here.

          • lawschooldrunk says:

            Oh Man! The barcode rectangle runs vertical and not horizontal…

          • two-bit cowboy says:

            Well played

  21. G-LO says:

    Congrats John! Look forward to seeing how the magazine and the website evolve as we move forward. Great looking redesign. :)

  22. Morgan Steele says:

    John and team,

    Congratulations on the new format! Looking forward to tagging along on this new incarnation. Cheers!

  23. anorak77 says:

    John:

    Has the price gone up as well, like Ardbeg has done to us with the NAS cool new name/packaging gimmicks?

  24. John Hansell says:

    Thanks for the (mostly) positive comments so far, everyone. Trust me, the inside looks even better!

  25. Jewmalt says:

    Congrats, John! A great move for you and everyone else at The Whisky Advocate! I wish you nothing but success and will be sure to help in that wish by always keeping my subscription current :)

    Cheers!!

  26. Tim Cababa says:

    Out of curiosity, why did you choose to spell it “whisky” rather than “whiskey”? I’m aware that both are perfectly acceptable, but I’ve always thought of “whiskey” being the preference in the United States.

    • John Hansell says:

      We cover Scotch whisky more than any other category.That was the decision we made 15 years ago. When we are writing generically about whisky, we will spell it without the “e”. Otherwise, we will spell it in the appropriate manner when writing about a specific category. (Bourbon whiskey, for example.)

      • Louis says:

        That ought to be the standard way to determine the appropriate spelling. Now if you could only get spell checkers not to flag ‘whisky’. At least the one here doesn’t :)

  27. George Jetson says:

    Congrats on your relaunch John. I will say however I do miss the common thread that “malt” plays in my most common choice of drinks. Not so long ago, I celebrated “cold malt day” with some friends and even though I have a fondness for blends, it is usually the malted component that is leading the flavor profile. I always thought the Malt Advocate stood for something a little different, more inclusive, not another “me too” whisky magazine. I understand that change is inevitable and with partners come benefits and more cooks. I always enjoyed the more scruffy aspects of MA, but print media needs to be competitive nowadays and hence a more slick appearance to the demographic to which you are trying to appeal. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  28. anorak77 says:

    Should have used some Glencairn glasses on the cover photo instead of tumblers =)

  29. Kevin D. Kearney says:

    John, do you have plans to reinstate the e-magazine version or to make the magazine available on Kindle?

  30. Ken says:

    John, vast improvement! Particular kudos on the reduced javascript load.

    Question: does this mean you might consider bringing back your Awards page? Last time I asked, you said you were working on it…and then it vanished altogether. I’d sure like to know your Best Buys for ’94-’02 and ’04 (I know the rest). As well as all the Runners Up, which you teased with the 14th Annual Awards in 2007.

  31. Jim Gartin says:

    I realize I am making a terrible error here and surly will be vilified but at first look from a novice whiskey person it seems you should have changed the name to the “Scotch Whiskey Advocate”. In the most recent reviews and emails that is all I am seeing. Not saying thats not interesting but there always seemed to be a good balance of Scotch, American etc.

    • John Hansell says:

      You are forming an opinion on this magazine without even seeing it. Get the magazine, read it, and then offer an opinion. Thanks.

    • Kyle Henderson says:

      Jim, as you might see in this issue, there is a very lengthy article dedicated to the roundtable of some of the unique craft/micro distillers popping up everywhere. l think if you continue to read you will see that John does a great job of maintaining that balance.

  32. […] good lookin’… Posted on September 21, 2011, 3:57 pm by Jack Curtin // Malt Advocate has a new look and a new name.  This is one of the great and most deserved success story in the American drinks press. and what […]

  33. Jeffrey Lavallee says:

    Although I have a healthy relationship with whisky/whiskey, I’m jonesin’ hard for my Whisky Advocate Magazine. When’s it coming out?

  34. Jeffrey Lavallee says:

    Each issue could feature a centerfold. A whisky bottle laid-out provocatively perhaps…

  35. Red_Arremer says:

    Yeah Jeffery, they could get that photographer who did the Macallan nude photo op for the 30 yo Fine Oak.

  36. Greg Adams says:

    Congrats, John

    I like the the new name and cover and can’t wait for my issue to arrive. As for the glass issue heck I am presently sipping some Four Roses Single Barrel from a rocks glass.

    I have broken an untold number of fancy glasses and no longer have any. I think the main thing is to get new whisk(e)y drinkers into the fold. I may get flamed for this but I could care less how someone enjoys their whisk(e)y even if they use a Mason jar like my Grandaddy did.

  37. Rodney H. says:

    Congrats!

    Definately looking forward to the new issue, and the new format! Nothing wrong with rocks glasses on the cover, thats what I started drinking whiskey in…

  38. Jerome says:

    John, I like the new look of the website! It has a nice clarity about it and a very pleasant color combination.

    However, if I understand your marketing correctly, you are not willing to send a free trial issue outside the U.S.? Why is this? Wouldn’t that help with future international sales?

    • John Hansell says:

      I don’t get involved in the marketing end of things (and I am not certain of the corporate policy on internation subscriptions), but I am going to assume that it’s too cost-prohibitive? That would be my guess.

  39. Congrats John..! Cannot wait..!

  40. anorak77 says:

    Over two weeks and not a single Whisky review? Even with all the extra reviewers?? How long are you going to bask in the glory of the new, deluxe, super-premium, over-the-top and larger than life Ardbegian style rebranding?

    How about we get back to talking about actual whisky?

    Thanks!

  41. Joshua Powers says:

    Congratulations John on the “NEW” look. I will miss the Malt Advocate name and classic look. I guess I have some collector items for the future. I am counting down the 35 Days to Whiskey Fest New York and have Malt Advocate to thank for the e-mail about tickets. I got two tickets just before they sold out! I look forward to my first issue The Whiskey Advocate!

  42. two-bit cowboy says:

    Howdy John,

    Received our copies today. Barbara and I had the same initial reaction to the size: too big. Cumbersome. More after I’ve had a chance to crack the cover.

    Bob

  43. two-bit cowboy says:

    When I opened The Whisky Advocate tonight the Big Dipper was handle up, pouring a wee dram; when I closed the book the dipper sat horizontal in the northwestern sky. In other words I spent some time reading, looking, absorbing.

    The baby’s ugly. Doesn’t mean I don’t still love the baby, but it’s ugly. Simple as that.

    In your original post you said, “We made it bigger in both size and length.” True. My first thoughts (above) about its dimensional size difference haven’t changed. The length? Well, you added 8 pages, of ads, one additional two-page ad and six full-page ads. The “ad–(no pun intended)–vantage” to me is …? (Yes, I counted the one and two-page ads in the Summer and Fall 2011 issues.)

    Two authors whose work I enjoy reading are Gavin and Dave. But…. In Gavin’s piece on Campbeltown I know I’ve read his first paragraph about Glengyle nearly in those same words a score of times. And in his review of Edradour 10 yo, why does the text of the review say “12” yo? That’s the stuff of Copyediting 101. And please share with us which retailer offers Edradour 10 for $50. As regards Dave’s whirlwind tour of Scotland’s distilleries, the otherwise nice piece of work ends by “telling” not “showing.” Creative writing classes preach “showing” not “telling.” Don’t tell me you (Dave) cried; make me cry.

    Now then, I can offer a few positive words: Thanks much for making the articles track one page after the other (even if they are interrupted by the new one and two-page ads), instead of making me thumb all the way to the back of the longer magazine to find the end of an article. I truly appreciate the reviews of some of the more mainstream single malt Scotch whiskies.

    I still love the baby.

    • sam k says:

      two-bit,

      Thanks for your feedback. It’s not my place to comment on much of what you’ve written, but your statement that, “…why does the text of the review say “12? yo? That’s the stuff of Copyediting 101.” isn’t quite accurate. As copy editor for TWA, I can tell you that, like most other specialty publications, we have our own style guidelines, which were recently updated for the re-launch of the magazine. Those guidelines have always held that any time a whisky is referred to as “years old,” the number will be used instead of the word. It’s one of our most basic rules, so if you ever see it used otherwise, please let us know.

      As for ads, they are the lifeblood of any medium; broadcast, print, and online. They pay the bills and are a direct indication of the health of the magazine and the confidence the industry has in its ability to reach an appropriate audience in a cost-effective manner. A scan of similar publications will speak volumes in that regard.

      All the best,
      Sam

      • MaltExplorer says:

        Sam,
        I think two-bit is referring to the fact that Edradour 10yo is being reviewed while the text mentions 12yo and not that the age statement being written using a number or a word.

        • two-bit cowboy says:

          Exactly

          • sam k says:

            I read that review four times prior to publication, and each time I read it simply as a reference to “the standard 12 year old” as opposed to the 10 year old being reviewed. I should have realized that the standard Edradour is not a 12 year old, and I apologize for the error. I’ve been with the magazine for nearly five years now, and have prided myself on not only being a thorough proofreader, but someone who knows and loves whisky, too. I read this magazine for years before coming aboard in an official capacity. I am one of you.

            It was my intent to produce a flawless first issue of Whisky Advocate magazine, and though I came close, I did not achieve my ultimate goal. For that I apologize to my friends at Whisky Advocate and M. Shanken Communications, and to all our faithful readers. There is always room for improvement, and I promise to work to make the next issue more precise.

          • John Hansell says:

            Sam, you mean you aren’t perfect?

    • John Hansell says:

      I think you will be in the minority thinking this is actually ugly, two-bit. Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. And a lot of ads are good, as Sam points out. They are an indicator of the health and overall respect for the magazine. Advertisers aren’t going to want to advertise in a magazine they don’t respect. (Take a good look at some of our competition.) Even if you take out the ads, you will see that the editorial word count (and number of whisky reviews) in this issue are at record highs.

      Having said all of this, I will make a deal with you, two-bit. I will continue to work very hard to win you over in the upcoming issues, and you try to keep an open mind. Okay?

      • two-bit cowboy says:

        I’m comfortable being in the minority, John. I’ve never been much of a herd animal. I hope you didn’t miss my last few comments; I intentionally ended on positive notes. You don’t have any “winning over” to do so I’d like to amend your offer of a deal: you do what’s right for you and I’ll continue to let you know what I think.

      • sam k says:

        John, the occasionally imprecise copy editor in me feels that “ugly” was used inappropriately in this instance. An “ugly baby” would be judged solely on its looks, not its inner character. Two-bit never once derides the elegance of the magazine’s appearance…his quibbles are with content.

        H. Diaz even mentioned the improved look of the photos. One thing it isn’t, is ugly.

    • sam k says:

      A quick Google search provides at least a dozen retailers offering Edradour 10 at less than $50. It may not be a common price, but it isn’t impossible to find, either.

  44. H.Diaz says:

    Oh no, “new products”, one of my favorite sections is no more.

    ….. I’m not crazy about the new width, too wide, doesn’t feel natural, feels like I’m stretching my arms apart. I need a third hand to balance it. Maybe it should be read while sitting at a desk or table, laid flat, something I never do.

    The photos look great, more sharp, more crisp. I don’t mind the ads. As many of us know, advertising makes the media world go round.

    Now, time to start reading. I’m sure the content is tip-top, first class. Salud.

  45. Red_Arremer says:

    I’m agreeing on this size thing– Today, I had trouble reading it on the subway without it poking into my neighbors. Scale it down a little please.

    Have talked to others who feel the same. Just my two cents.

  46. Chris says:

    I have to say, I am a little disappointed by the new magazine. I haven’t read everything, but my initial impressions are that the new dimensions are much more cumbersome. It’s harder to read without some sort of support, and the bigger dimensions mean it’ll be harder to store. I do love that it’s longer, but it’s much less portable now, and that glossy new paper looks great, but it’ll show wear a lot faster. And I am very disappointed at the lack of a New Product section, which was always the first place I flipped to. I’m sure the quality of the content is still very high, but the presentation seems to me to be an unnecessary tweak to a formula that was great the way it was.

    • John Hansell says:

      Chris, there are pros and cons to our redesign, but we feel the pros far outweigh the cons.

      Regarding your comment about missing the New Products section: we realized that we were reviewing just about every whisky listed in New Products back in our Buying guide. It was essentially redundant. What I have decided to do instead is post more new product news here on this blog, which will get to you faster than if you waited for the magazine to be delivered.

  47. IowaJeff says:

    The new magazine looks great! When a change was mentioned I envisoned a couple of new fonts and manybe some more gloss. This is totally revamped for the better. There seems to be a lot more content and the pictures are beautiful. Congrats and keep up the good work.

  48. Jeff says:

    I can’t wait to check out the new magazine and read the content. Unfortunately I haven’t received my copy yet. Should I be worried?

  49. Vince says:

    John

    Just finished reading the Whisky Advocate last night, cover to cover, and I loved it! I thought the text and the pictures were fabulous! Thanks for putting out such a quality magazine.

    I do however, find it more cumbersome because of the size. I had to jockey around a bit when I was taking sips of my Parker’s Heritage Bourbon but all in all very positive changes as far as I’m concerned.

  50. Just received my copy of the latest Malt, ooops!, Whisky Advocate.

    First, I’d like to say that I am pleased to see that a lot of effort (and probably expense) went into the redesign and that our readership is not being taken for granted.

    • The size is a bit awkward, but it does allow for some nice images (such as the 2-page photo of Campbeltown). I’ll probably get used to it.
    • Having read the issue from cover to cover, I am relieved to see that you did not go the same way as Whisky Magazine and start writing features on irrelevant persons (IMHO) such as the bartender of a bar where I will in all likelyhood never set foot, or the incredibly toadying latest issue focusing on “Women and Whisky” which spends 30 pages over the course of 5 articles patronizingly telling us that women “can” also enjoy Whisky (whoopee!).
    • I was not so taken by the cigar and malt pairing article, as I am not a smoker, but I assume this was a (hopefully) one-off team spirit effort as you are now owned by the same owners as Cigar Aficionado. Despite my lack of interest in the subject, I did read the article and was happy to see it was not fluff. So kudos there as well.
    • I would like to add my voice to that of Chris, above, and ask for the return of the New Products section. True, as you write, many of these are subsequently reviewed in the Buying Guide, but what is missing are the New Product photos and even the distilleries’ little propaganda text which was interesting. Also, I find myself skimming the Buying Guide as so much of the stuff there is very very old hat (ie. the Lagavulin 16yo, a great malt, but hardly news). Please bring the New Products section back.

    My final comment is in response to one of the readers’ letter, which you chose (alarmingly) to print, and which suggested devoting part of the magazine to Vodka, Gin, … PLEASE, OH, PLEASE, do not do that. The French version of Whisky Magazine tried this (now called “Whisky Magazine and fine spirits”) and now the magazine is flooded with ads for all sorts of Vodkas whose only originality is being able to misspell the word Vodka in as many ways as possible to stand-out from other Vodka makers.

    At the risk of sounding parochial, IMO there is no reason to devote pages of “our” magazine to spirits such as Vodka and Gin (and to a lesser extent Rum). Not that I do not enjoy a nice Gin and Tonic or Planter’s Punch or Screwdriver, but what makes Whisky special, and worthy of reading about in a magazine is what the Wine community calls “terroir”. When one buys a Single Malt, or most any American Whisky, one knows exactly where it is produced, by whom, and one can even go there to visit. When was the last time you visited a Gin or Vodka distillery ?

    • John Hansell says:

      Yes, it is a significant investment it both time and $$. We will always keep the editorial related to whisky in some manner. The cigar/whisky pairing feature was logical, because of our new relationship with Cigar Aficionado and the fact that a lot of people like both cigars and whisky.

      We don’t plan on covering other spirits on a regular basis.

      Regarding the new products section, we discovered that nearly all new whiskies are also reviewed in our Buying Guide, so it was redundant. Instead, I started mentioning new releases more in this blog, which is much more timely than the magazine which only comes out quarterly.

  51. […] writes about a show from History Channel about Whiskey that you can see on Hulu. He also writes an article about the name change of both the blog and the magazine. Many tasting notes from Dominic Roskrow […]

  52. patrick says:

    As mentioned by Olivier, the images on the new format have a bigger depth but for archiving purposes, its format is rather big.
    In terms of content, I have not seen any striking new changes and happy to see that the quality of the content remained to as the same excellent level as the first one.
    Pages are brighter and I liked the “round table” discussion. Hopefully, we will see more of those in the future?

    • John Hansell says:

      You will be happy to know that roundtable is a regular column in every issue.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Good– I really liked that roundtable, John. However, I think as time progresses you can make that feature even more substantive. When it comes to roundtables with experts, they can be ho hum or really meaty. It all depends on how things are run. It’s a hard skill to grasp– like being a good interviewer.

        • John Hansell says:

          Guys, I misspoke. We do “a round with” in every issue. We do our roundtable when we get the chance to get a bunch of guys together to discuss a common topic. It’s usually right before a WhiskyFest. We will try to do one a year if we can.

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