I talk too much. And write too much. I’m not as verbose as some I know (Hey, I’m looking at you, ‘Caner!), but I certainly have the gift of gab. This comes in handy at times, but does drag along its own baggage as well. Case in point when I sit down to share a few tasting notes here on the site and feel obligated to spin a l’il web of words in order to flesh it out a bit and pad the background info. Perhaps we can all agree that the Malt Madness site and the Malt Whisky Yearbook have covered this stuff way better than I ever will. I’d suggest both as indispensible resources.
So why am I telling you all of this? Simple. Because it affects all of us here on ATW.
Here’s the thing…daylight’s a wasting. So many whiskies, so little time. What it boils down to is that I can go on trying to find the syllables to cough up 500 word posts, and struggling to avoid repetition and verbal diarrhea, or…I can cut down a few of the less…errrrr…exciting reviews to a size we’ll call ‘micro-reviews’. This should allow me to publish a little more frequently, if all goes well.
Some write-ups will still be in the style of my regular, witty, irreverent and occasionally cheeky self. (Did I forget modest and humble?) Y’know…long, meandering and likely to have you skipping to the tasting notes at the end (if that even). It will depend on the muse, to be honest.
This is something I’ve debated for a while now. Let’s try it out and see how it goes. Feel free to let me know your thoughts as the first few go up.
As always, folks…thanks for reading and dropping the occasional line. It is appreciated. Sincerely.
I likeed the style you used. Shorter reviews – less pleasure. 🙂
Hahaha. Thanks, Peter. Kind words, sir.
I empathize with the need sometimes to shorten it up. While I don’t have as many reviews as you, I started pretty gangbusters with the long reviews, and then they started to taper off… I’ve finally settled on letting the dram dictate the length: some warrant a short review because they’re brilliant and to-the-point in their own right, and some are so lack-lustre as to not warrant the effort of more words.
I’m with you on the shorter reviews, if it keeps the quality at the high bar you’ve always set.
My feeling is that there are more than enough McNugget-sized review capsules out there (I love Serge’s haiku-style expressions of brevity, for example). In today’s ADD-afflicted world, everyone wants less, so they can read faster, save time, do something else. But really, a good review, a good essay, can be so much more than that – your sense of humour, your cheekiness, your insouciant observations on life, can all enhance the review. Why eliminate such a thing? Would you make a tasting last five seconds?
Too, while I fully appreciate people wanting the bare bones, I simply don’t agree with changing my writing style to suit unless that’s what the review calls for (and have taken a lot of s**t for that attitude). You are doing this on your dime, and readers are getting it for free. If a reader doesn’t pay for it, he’s hardly in a position to demand a review to suit his preference, and such a demand probably says more about his reading style than your writing ability.
In that sense, I believe your narrative observations at top and brief tasting notes at bottom are an excellent balance between the two philosophies. You could switch the order (tasting notes at the top) if you really must, and see how that works — but beyond that, keep it exactly as it is.
Of course, it’s his dime, so if he actually wants to change his style there is nothing we ought to do about it…
I’d just say write what you like as you like, as the spirits move you. I’m personally more apt to skip reviews, or parts of reviews, of the more rare whiskies regardless of review length. I’m happy that people have a chance to drink this stuff, but I can’t “drink vicariously” through them, so I’m more likely the read an entire review of something that could influence a purchase that I would/could make or of something with which I have experience. As I’ve said before, I think the writing is always first rate, but the subject matter waxes and wanes for me in terms of relevance (and no crime there, as I can’t see writing for just one segment of an audience or not reviewing whiskies because they are rare or expensive). I do sometimes wish that there was less tactful manoeuvring around the shoals of whisky politics here (and I’d still like to see that piece on NAS) and more discussion of value for money (and, I know, ala John Hansell, “that depends of what you think of $500”, etc.), but that’s just me and it’s something I’d like to see on any number of review sites.
With all due respect, I think a few missed the point. Please re-read the post above to note that some reviews will still be status quo. Only those ‘less exciting’ to me will be shortened. I appreciate the input from all of you, though. Hopefully there will continue to be something here to keep you interested.
…And Jeff…my thoughts on this NAS bullshit are coming soon. That should give you an idea as to where I stand. Regarding tact here on the site…well…let me put it this way: there are enough cynics and sycophants out there to make it hard for the average stuff to find something relatable, I find (or is that just me?). I have no interest in being either. I also have no interest in being anything less than honest.
Over and out.
I’ve never doubted your good intentions and, on honesty, I applauded, and still applaud, your acknowledgement that whisky politics sometimes keeps people from saying/writing what they really think and what others (probably mostly the cynics, now to be reviled equally with the sycophants) actually write. In fact, I put it up there with Ian Buxton’s “the dirty little secret of the Scotch industry is they’ve become addicted to high prices, but they’ve run out of old whisky”, and Dominic Roskrow’s “accepting free flights, accommodation, food and premium whisky from the people you are writing about and then printing nice stories about them isn’t journalism – it’s marketing”. But given that you previously acknowledged the influence that whisky politics can sometimes have upon your writing, I don’t see how only one of us can call your honesty into question over acknowledgment of the same point. And my mention of the NAS piece wasn’t intended as a barb – I am interested in reading it as it still might qualify as one of the first 10 blog pieces on the topic on the internet.
I didn’t think you were taking digs. No worries. Just explaining the angle I take. Perhaps it’s my way of trying to stand out by being the moderate in an environment dominated by extremes. I like to think more that it’s simply logic and maturity in recognizing there are multiple sides to every subject.
Anyway…not gonna go down that rabbit hole here.
I recognize that there many sides to many subjects (whisky, evolution, global warming), but I find it more mature and logical to recognize that they don’t all carry equal validity by virtue of the fact that there are people willing to espouse them – particularly if vested interest is involved – and that the extreme isn’t to be logically discarded out of hand in the face of orthodoxy just for the sake of moderation.
I continue to want to drink vicariously through you…or at least taste vicariously.
Even in I had the access you do, I would never have the opportunities to try them all. So please, let us all dream a little.
BTW – did I hear Andrew Ferguson interviewed on CBC radio today?
Hahaha. Thanks, brother. Appreciate the support.
This site will always be a mixed bag of reviews. If I feel it’s relevant (for ANY reason)…it’ll be here as time allows. Coming days will have reviews of:
Johnnie Walker King George
BenRiach ’77 Dark Rum Cask
Longrow Rundlets & Kilderkins
Bushmills Black Bush
A whole whack of GlenDronach single casks and more.
FInally…no, I didn’t hear anything about Andrew on CBC. Will drop him a line and try to find out more. Thanks for the heads up.