Whisky Magazine Issue 16
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John Haydock, Whisky Magazine's new columnist, hops aboard the "tasting-note gravy train" to join his whisky writing chums on a rather profitable journey.
For whatever reason I've never managed to embark the tasting-note gravy train that so many of my eminent whisky-writing colleagues manage to ride so prosperously on. I know it's not easy – spending all your waking hours tasting the contents of parcels of whisky that are sent gratis to your door by fawning PR companies or aspiring brand managers. Even worse must be having to conclude, in a ‘must keep the wolf from the door' sort of way, that so many of the said whiskies are just absolutely perfect and certainly worthy of a £25 punt on behalf of our beloved punters. But some, I suppose, have to suffer for their art.
Take a moment to pity the noble independent souls that are forced to travel the length and breadth of Scotland sampling the best hotels and hospitality in order to scribe their impartial views on the great nation's finest product. And marvel, dear reader, how so many of these jaunts result in yet more eight and a half out of ten, four-stars-out-of-five, 93 point reviews (as the cheques hit the doormat) for what some might deem to be, at best, mediocre whiskies. “But,” I hear you say, “surely there's no such thing as a bad whisky?” A view commonly repeated by those supposed critics who live on the scraps thrown from the whisky-industry's table.
Is there really such a thing as bad whisky? One can't help thinking that if the olfactory sensibilities of my fellow scribes are as well developed as they would have us believe then surely they must be able to...