Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

This is the Whisky Magazine forum. Please post your comments or queries about our magazine.
Read online - Subscribe - Back Issues

CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rosebankfan » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:53 pm

At the risk of being shot down for being a narrow minded anorak, I feel that the content of Issue 74 is worth a comment. It breaks down (I would stress approximately) as follows;

Total pages (inc covers) - 88
Pages devoted to rum - 14
Classifieds, ads, promotions pages - 24
Non-Scotch whisky related pages - 9
Food and cocktails - 9

Leaving Scotch-related pages at 32, some of which are full page pictures. Also, the cover story on Ardbeg is only 4 pages, the first of which is a full page picture - it can hardly be considered in-depth......Scotch articles therefore feel a litle thin on the ground in this issue. I haven't gone back through previous issues as life is too short, so maybe I'm being a bit unfair with this analysis but it was quite striking to me in this issue.

I fully appreciate the need for ads to help with costs and accept (if not agree with) the view that the whole world of whiskies has to be covered.....but 13 pages on Rum and 24 pages of ads does feel excessive. Most people I know buy the magazine to read about Scotch first and foremost and the rest is of passing interest to a greater or lesser extent.

I know I am probably straying into dangerous territory with this post but I just feel that it is worthy of comment. This is not a rant and is just my humble opinion.

What do other readers feel ?

Rosebankfan (currently with a CS Highland Park in hand)
Rosebankfan
New member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:59 pm
Location: Falkirk, Scotland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Willie JJ » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:26 pm

Most magazines don't make much, or any, money from subscriptions, they rely on the advertising for survival. Without them the magazine probably wouldn't exist. Wider readership makes the mag more attractive to advertisers and more ad revenue means (hopefully) more reader content. On that basis I don't mind the ads.

As far as non-scotch whisky is concerned, the mag is called Whisky Magazine, not Scotch Whisky Magazine so I think its fair enough to look at whisk(e)y wherever it comes from.

Rum? Well it is a departure, but cask matured Rums have a lot in common with whisky so they can be interesting too.

I think the real issue for me is the maintenance of the quality of the articles, so that when I read them I feel that I have learnt something rather than just having read about someone's latest jolly, or spent time looking at pages of photos of yet another Whisky-Live event. I don't mind variety in the content, but lets have quality please.
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Muskrat Portage » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:33 pm

One of the problems I ran into when I was running a magazine at Uni was the difficulty in flushing out the monthly offering with germain issues. Sometimes I was resorting to the very bottom of the journalistic barrel for content. It may be difficult to find whisky writings for every issue that are up to the usual standards. Also, generally decisions are made months in advance on the content of future magazines, so this was probably coming down the pipeline from a long ways back.

I've not received this issue as yet so cannot comment specifically, however I am interested in seeing what information is presented in reference to rum. That being said, I trust this is a one off pertaining to rum, as I am subscribing to a Whisky publication.

Muskrat Portage
User avatar
Muskrat Portage
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2376
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:47 am
Location: Jan says the North Pole, Ontario, Canada

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rosebankfan » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:23 am

I should just add that I am a devoted reader of WM and have been reading it since Issue 1, so I guess that is why I feel justified in commenting. At £4.25 per issue, it is not overly expensive and is still pretty much the only mag of its kind in the UK. I suppose it is just some of the little things which make me feel like space is just being filled for the sake of it - for example I don't feel that we really needed a full page picture of the MD of SMWS, handsome though he may be.

Rosebankfan
Rosebankfan
New member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:59 pm
Location: Falkirk, Scotland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Willie JJ » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:04 am

You have every right to comment Scott. I think that has to be one of the functions of this forum. Also, if I were the editor (and I saw this) I would regard it as useful feedback, which can often be hard to obtain by other means.

Even though I think there is much good content in the magazine, I share some of your concerns, especially where it looks like big photos are being used to cover a lack of quality writing.

Cheers

PS nice to see you back in action Musky. :thumbsup:
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby les taylor » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:10 am

I look forward to reading mine and looking at the pictures next week when I have time.
User avatar
les taylor
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4943
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 9:16 am
Location: Gunwalloe

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Sep 16, 2008 10:47 am

I'll confess to being a little disappointed too. I buy this magazine - which let's remember is titled the "Whisky Magazine", for news, tastings and in-depth coverage of all things whisky-related.

I'm not interested in cocktails, food, a staff member's latest jolly, etc. There are plenty of magazines and publications out there covering such subjects.

The "Ardbeg" article - which was showcased on the cover - was pretty weak. Short in content and in quality info. I'm a relative novice and there was little new to me.

I'd assumed that the "Rum" section was going to focus on rum-finished whiskies. But not a bit of it. Don't get me wrong, I like the odd drop of rum now and then. But I don't want to read about it in this magazine.

There's so much going on in the whisky industry right now. Surely, enough to focus on the subject. Why not in-depth features on independent bottlers (say feature one or two per issue)? Why not more on the background to new releases? Why not more on personalities and locations? There's endless scope without straying off subject.

"The Malt Advocate", although not a whisky-dedicated publication, often has much more detailed articles on single malt. If it can do it, so can our favourite magazine.

Perhaps time for a "Whisky Magazine" focus group. Readers get together over a few drams and discuss what they'd like added and removed.
Deactivated Member
 

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rob Allanson » Tue Sep 16, 2008 4:32 pm

Willie JJ wrote:You have every right to comment Scott. I think that has to be one of the functions of this forum. Also, if I were the editor (and I saw this) I would regard it as useful feedback, which can often be hard to obtain by other means.



I always appreciate feedback from the forum. I may not have time to respond but I always read, listen and take on board.

ps apologies for my mug appearing twice in 74. :insane:
Rob Allanson
Editor
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:30 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Willie JJ » Tue Sep 16, 2008 5:15 pm

That's a good point LSD. I guess John Hansell is under less pressure to find content to fill his pages.
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4593
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby jmrl » Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:18 pm

It must be difficult to keep everybody happy. As we all have different areas of interest it follows that some articles are of less interest to some and more to others. For me cooking with whisky, cigars and cocktails hold no interest but I can live with them as long as can find something to read. Rum is of interest to me but I understand the issue some readers have with the articles. The SMWS upset a few members when the started bottling Japanese, grain, Bourbon etc but I think they offer more to their members than before, but if they on;y did the occasional Scotch malt their customer base wouldn't dissappear just change. So perhaps we should let our voices be heard all the way to the top floor of Whisky Magazine Towers by feeding back our thoughts. But I expect a hand full of protests will be insignificant compared to the silent who continue to buy. I'd like to see more features on small independent whisky services especially those provided in Edinburgh by males about 5 foot 6 tall. Mind you the coverage on this forum of such enterprises is very commendable.
jmrl
Gold Member
 
Posts: 804
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:38 pm
Location: Edinburgh, Scotchland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:07 pm

I got mine last Tuesday and only opened it today for a quick flick through. I too am a long time subscriber(Missing only 10 issues before subscribing full time 4 years ago) and I had come here to do exactly as Rosebankfan has done. I must admit that I'm in the quite annoyed category :( . The way I look at it is I pay for a magazine about Whisky ... I never saw anything in the title to suggest other wise :evil:

I enjoy many things in life but should a specialist magazine try to pander to all? I know there are many here that like rum and I too have nothing against it but I feel that this is out of bounds for a whisky magazine. I can understand the want to be fresh and new but is this the way for a WHISKY magazine. Are we going to have major coverage of tequila or vodka next ?!?!?! Maybe wine, I do love a glass of wine but is this the place for it....

74 issues and it has been looking for a while that Whisky mag are struggling for ideas. I was ready to give up my subscription a while back but decided to support the magazine as there is not much else for me to get. Why is the magazine struggling????? Could there not be 2 distillery focus per issue there are plenty of them still to have an indept look. Do a Scottish Distillery and a some where else in the world Distillery every issue. How many distilleries have not been covered yet or on the other side 3 Irish Distilleries have been covered at least twice. Now I should not complain but there is certianly an imbalance there in my view. With this approach it would not look like the magazine is trying to promote a single product (distillery) every issue instead of just writing about it.

I have had supported the Magazine as much as I can and aplaud the Forum which is a great community but after the Rum issue I am sadly reflecting on whether I should renew my subscription which is up very shortly.
User avatar
irishwhiskeychaser
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3644
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:27 pm
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rosebankfan » Thu Sep 18, 2008 10:48 pm

Good post IWC. I too think the content of WM has become quite stale and formulaic and there does seem to be a preponderance of WM staff giving snippets from their extensive (it appears) travels. What about more emphasis on the other people who help pay their wages - ie the readership and folks who actually drink whisky. There have already been some good suggestions on the related thread within this topic but here are a few just off the top of my head (I'm sure there are many others out there).

1. Interviews/profiles of enthusiasts/collectors.
2. Profiles of whisky clubs and their activities.
3. Articles on the various tasting events eg Cadenheads regular tastings in Edinburgh.
4. Profiles of independent whisky bars and pubs.
5. A selection of posts from this forum (a single page of letters from readers is not enough in my opinion).

Come on WM, it shouldn't all be about your travels and interviews with the senior figures in the industry - get to the users and enthusiasts - we don't bite honest.

Rosebankfan
Rosebankfan
New member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:59 pm
Location: Falkirk, Scotland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rob Allanson » Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:49 pm

Right I have sat and read, and reread this thread with great interest.
While I feel your criticism is harsh - there is a staff of three putting this magazine together under tight schedules (this is not a plea for mercy by the way) and we do the up most best we can which what we are given - it is certainly bordering on the fair.
As editor it is a fine line to appeal to the wannabe mavens and those who already have a great knowledge.
In the coming months Dave and I are sitting down looking at direction and tweaking a few things, what what has been said will be taken on board.
To take a few of the criticisms of WM74 in turn:
Cocktails: They are part of the whisky culture, we do one big cocktail story a year - out of eight issues thats not bad in my book.
Rum: Is a premium brown spirit with historic and production links to whisky. Therefore it made sense to do a special written by Dave (lets face it who else knows more).
Staff trips: Specifically my trip to Macallan. Occasionally I get to do something cool like the En Primeur and figure it would be nice to share the experience. No one has written out this particular scheme before so I thought people might want to know about it.
Whisky/Whiskey: We are an international magazine and therefore cover the whole world of whisky, be it Swedish, American, Scotch and where ever. We try to balance each edition but sometimes good stories come from other places in the world other than Scotland and we want to cover them.
I hope that makes sense, and I do appreciate the comments - and do keep them coming.

Cheers.

Rob
Rob Allanson
Editor
 
Posts: 445
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 2:30 pm
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:47 pm

Rob appreciate your input .... and let it not be said that ye guys do a great job and always willing to interact.

Content can be a very hard one to balance and I agree that too much anorack stuff can become mundane, after all it is a narrow field. In all fairness this issue is actually quite diverse and interesting with a wide appeal but I still fail to see the relevence of discussing Rum in the Whisky Mag whether historically linked or not. Just my opinion and I'm sure there are plenty others that enjoyed it being included.

We'll watch this space :wink:
User avatar
irishwhiskeychaser
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3644
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 9:27 pm
Location: Galway, Ireland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:43 pm

It'd be interesting to know the type of reader who buys "Whisky Magazine".

I'd be very surprised if it was just 'casual' whisky drinkers wanting to understand the basics.

I'm guessing that it's more individuals - like myself - who've a thirst (excuse the pun) for more details on distilleries, personalities, new expressions, etc.

Personally, I don't like highly scientic articles. But I do nevertheless want good detail on the industry worldwide.

There are some magazines out there which try and 'cover all the bases'. Inevitably, they often end up as bland 'surface scratchers.

Not our beloved "Whisky Magazine" please!
Deactivated Member
 

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Rosebankfan » Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:00 pm

Rob,
Thanks for posting back on this. Having started the thread I'm now feeling just a wee bit mean but it was with the best of intentions and heartfelt. WM is good and is pretty unique but I stand by what I have said. Detailed coverage of whisky regattas and cocktail mixing events in the US are fine and have their place but most ordinary enthusiasts will find it a bit difficult to identify with these type of events - I feel you could go a long way to finding a more common touch whilst still being informative by getting down and dirty with the guys like ourselves (the ideas suggested previously as a start) - these could be done really cheaply and easily, which sounds like an important factor given what you have said about staffing and deadlines at WM. Some of the regulars on this forum that I have met have superb knowledge of Scotch (guys like Willie JJ, Nick Brown, Mark Davidson at Cadenheads etc) and woud no doubt have some great stories to tell - try a "20 question" type format and see what you get - I'd be pretty certain that would make for some interesting copy.

Only my humble views - maybe I'm way off the mark.
Anyway, nuff said - I won't post again on this subject and appreciate you taking the time to reply.

Rosebankfan
Rosebankfan
New member
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:59 pm
Location: Falkirk, Scotland

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:35 am

I don't expect every story in any magazine to be of interest to me. In the case of WM, stories which relate cigars (in which I never indulge) and food (in which I indulge daily) to whisky are fair enough. I don't care a whit for cocktails, but some do. The occasional look at other aged spirits--rum, cognac, tequila, calvados--is fine with me. I think a broadminded approach is fine, as long as the core is always there.

What I do object to is fluff pieces with large photographs, many short paragraphs, and little real information. These are what occasionally make me feel as though I've wasted my money.
Deactivated Member
 

Re: CONTENT OF ISSUE 74

Postby shoganai » Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:24 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:What I do object to is fluff pieces with large photographs, many short paragraphs, and little real information. These are what occasionally make me feel as though I've wasted my money.


I could not agree with this more. Like the others here, I don't want to turn this into a WM bashing session (I enjoy the magazine for the most part and it has been a staple in my bathroom for the last two years) but I do often feel like I am reading an 80 page advertisement.

Has any consideration been given to less frequent publishings?
shoganai
Silver Member
 
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:25 am
Location: Philadelphia, USA

Return to Whisky Magazine

Whisky gift and present finder