Yesterday a blog post received this anonymous comment: “So many of your postings only focus on very negative things. Why is that?” To which I replied: “What you get here is my honest view of things which you may like or not. Why are there so many “negative” posts here? Because I think these points neeed to be addressed. You might just as well ask the question the other way around “Why do so many whisky blogs only focus on positive things?””.
I will pick up this question in a proper blog post because I think it deserves a longer explanation. When looking back at the timline of the articles I posted over the years, I myself have sometimes wonderered if I shouldn’t have been more positive, or cheerful if you wish, at times. Or how they say: “Hey, it’s only whisky! Whisky is about fun and enjoying drams with friends.”
Yes, whisky is wonderful and usually fun. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been bothering to blog about it for over four years now. I am not a masochist. But what is fun for us whisky lovers is a buisness worth billions for the industry. And I cannot deny the impression that the fun aspect of whisky often makes consumers and also bloggers look at the whisky world through rose-coloured glasses.
“Hey, whisky is so much fun. I just bought the 2013 annual Port Ellen. Price was a tad steep but I desperately need it for my collection. And they say it’s a stunner.”
“Hey, whisky is so much fun. I’ve just been to that fab Glen GooglyMoogly launch event where they presented their new virgin oak finished travel retail range in which for the benefit of …err… quality they got rid of the numbers on the labels in order to be able to use younger casks and crank up the prices by 20% without having to feel guilty about it. I like the whisky so where’s the problem?”
Some whisky lovers are so deeply in love with the liquid that they don’t seem to care if they are being ripped off or lied to. Also some some whisky bloggers don’t seem to care if they are instrumentalized by the whisky industry for their marketing.
In my 2012 article about Why Private Whisky Blogging Is So Important I have already stated – and I still stand to it – that there isn’t really such a thing as watchdog journalism in whisky. Professional whisky writers have to balance criticism with the need to generate income. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” comes to mind, because for their work they need to rely on good a relationship with the whisky industry.
But despite not having this dilemma by definition – apart from receiving freebies – many non-professional whisky bloggers just like the pros choose to focus on the nicer aspects of the whisky world: good whisky, fun events, interviews, whisky travel, and maybe an occasional rant about high prices. Fair enough, and I don’t want to accuse them that they are only in it for the free whisky.
I for one am interested to find out why things are the way they are. And quite often I am not amused with what I learn. One should not be surprised that under the carpet it can be dirty. Not that I indulge in it, but I can’t help looking.