The Unfortunate State Of Things: Or The Worldhood Of The World As I Know It

Bet you expected another rant on rising prices, NAS follies and shady practices, yeah?  Not this time.  I tackled much of this recently for a rather bigger audience.  An article Ian Buxton published in the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2017 is liberally peppered with my thoughts and quotes (thanks, Ian!).  That’s good for me for now.  I can’t lie…I’ve been enjoying the smooth sailing of late.  Nice not to always be the one rocking the boat.  The waves made may only be wee ripples by the time they spread to the wider world, but locally they can be quite choppy.

Anyway…I’m jotting away here for a reason.  Thought I would provide a bit of context and a ‘heads up’.  2016 has been a very rough year.  I won’t get into all of the personal stuff we’ve dealt with, but the one thing that most affects this site is likely the monolithic shadow of unemployment under which we’ve been living since April.  Obviously whisky buying (and cigars, and…) had to be one of the first casualties.  It sucks, but that is life.  I still have things to say, and whiskies to share the word on, but we may not be able to be too contemporary or relevant.  Not that I’ve ever minded being the guy late to the party.

I think what will suffer the most is reviews of lower quality malts and more budget brands.  I simply have trouble getting my hands on mediocre whisky.  I don’t buy it often (occasionally for reviewing), and now certainly won’t be buying it.  I actually have fun writing about some of those lesser quality drams (it gives me an entirely new vocabulary to work with), but this has always been a shortcoming of the site in my opinion.

Things will pick up again, but do be aware that we may try a few new things in the coming year.  I’ll see what I can do about sourcing whisky samples to keep things topical, and we’ll tackle some new ideas, I think.  Perhaps even a guest writer or two to bring a freshness to the scene.  Oh, yeah…and I’ll try to be a little more regular with posts.

Finally…in the interest in full disclosure I want to share the truth.  I have little interest in returning to the industry I was previously employed in.  And even if I did want it, it will be a loooooooong time recovering.  Chances are slim.  I have been actively investigating work in an industry I know a fair bit about.  Yes…the whisky world.  Not sure what that could ultimately mean here, but we’re all adults, right?  It should be understood that feeding my kids and keeping the bills paid supercedes all other thoughts and priorities.  Hope we don’t find too many conflicts, but only time will tell.

As always, appreciate your engagement.  Onwards to 2017.


– C

5 thoughts on “The Unfortunate State Of Things: Or The Worldhood Of The World As I Know It

  1. David

    Personally I would welcome you becoming involved in the industry. I could easily see you in that capacity.

    I think you have enough respect for the consumer and for the tradition that you would do a good job. I’m envisioning someone with integrity like Ashok from Amrut when I think of the kind of work you would do.

    Reviews however….I think this site might need to have some changes if you were going to continue it.

    I wish you best of luck in whatever you decide.

  2. Chris 1

    Don’t let the bastards grind you down, Curt. I’m sure things will turn around for you in 2017. I’m with David; I’d love to see someone with your integrity and honesty working from inside the industry.

    I’m sure I speak for many when I say that we value what you do on this blog and we value the way you do it.

    Keep your pecker up, mate.

  3. Jeff

    I understand the motivations, of course, but I don’t think an industry ever gains a knowledgeable spokesman without also silencing an effective critic. When it can become a case of not really what you know, but what you’re allowed to say, it can also be seen as the neutralization of knowledge, no matter how personally extensive; becoming a team player is part of the price of joining a team. God knows what Charlie MacLean COULD say if he ever cut loose, but it could be the whisky equivalent of Bulworth.

    On the other hand (and this IS just as true) there is currently NO money in telling the truth about whisky; the model for it simply doesn’t exist (and the model for truth telling at large is also in danger; “news” has largely become just another label for entertainment); it is, and probably always will be, a cottage industry at best. Although it would be a huge undertaking, a book in the style of the Whisky Bible (but where the scores actually made sense) might be an exception in terms of truth profitability, but it’s a still a real question as to whether the original book survives, or COULD survive, if Murray REALLY had the “independent and adversarial” relationship he often describes as having with the industry at large. In the largest context, I can’t help but wish you every personal success in any case, no matter what you do. If you’re ever getting over to Ontario, please let us know. Like your whisky credentials, the value of the blog has never been in question.

    The piece also addresses another interesting point about not intending to buy more mediocre whisky, and I’m in the same boat, as pricing and dicey quality keeps pushing me more and more toward the mediocre, the armagnac, or the door – even as the need for documentation of the descent, rather than the continuing “triumphs”, of whisky becomes more pronounced. Beating up on bad whisky can seem snooty or elitist, but it’s also a public service; whether they ever hear about the good ones or not, it’s only bad, or overpriced, whiskies that ever rip people off.

    Sláinte Mhath!

  4. Chris 1

    I don’t think it’s uncommon to have to stretch the truth, or at least selectively disclose the truth, on behalf of an employer in order to keep a job and save your ass from the soup line. I’ve yet to hear anyone explain to me why if age is suddenly so irrelevant the 18 year old costs so much more than the 10 year old.

    I can’t add anything else, Jeff, I think you pretty much nailed it. Particularly your last paragraph.


  5. David

    If you’re looking for bottom shelf malts to review I’m happy to bring back a half a bottle I got in Calgary. Solan. Not sure if it’s a blend or single malt. The only thing I’m sure about is it’s not AMRUT. Also comes as a single grain.


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