Growing up the only time an open bottle of whisky was on show in the house was when my Dad had family or friends, more often friends, visiting the family for a catch up and to put the world to rights, as the expression goes, it was never something that was used for the purposes of getting drunk, it was there as a loosener of the tongue and making chat flow more easily.
Whisky was about Conversation, it was the conversation starter, loosener and finisher, whisky was the be all and end all.
Today this is still the ethos I stick to, whisky is for sharing with family and friends, no matter which corner of this great earth they reside, and to assist with the flow of conversation. In the technological age in which we live now that conversation takes place over many medium, whether in person at a bar, or sitting around a table, or via written communications like Twitter, or even visual communications like Skype or Facetime.
Back in 2012 when I was beginning to write more notes, and seeking whisky to sample, other than the bottles I was buying I discovered Tweet Tastings and I owe a great debt of gratitude to Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire for the Tweet Tastings he has organised and I have been lucky to partake in over those 7 years.
Through these Tweet Tastings and other interactions on social networks I discovered a group of friends and others who were tweeting or writing blogs about whisky and they were given the name #WhiskyFabric (by the very awesome Johanne McInnes), and many of those connections are the ones I call very close friends now and will likely spend my retirement in 20 years time still chatting to these same friends about whisky.
Throughout this time writing on this site, and occasionally for other sites, I have seen a number of writers on large(r) platforms take a side swipe at whisky bloggers like myself, whether it be Blair Bowman in the Cask and Still article I replied to here or some of the more recent articles such as that by Angus MacRaild on The Whisky Lounges blog in August 2018 and by Dave Broom on Scotchwhisky.com this week. I am an eternal optimist and would hope that none of these writers had bad intentions when writing these articles and always had the best of intentions to push whisky bloggers into writing more, fuller, better articles.
The biggest problem with this is when you ask what is a better article, is it better because it was published in a national magazine? or because it had a wider audience? or because it is what they think is better? Again like everything it simply comes down to a personal opinion (like it has before).
I have seen articles about whisky bloggers deliberately bashing whiskies, or distilleries for effect, or others talking about whisky bloggers only doing it for the freebies, or to get into the industry.
But that is not the truth, the clear majority of bloggers I know do so because of their love of whisky, of their love of sharing their notes with friends, in the same way my Dad would with his friends around a table, but in a new way, across the medium of the internet.
Taking a dig at whisky blogger (or writers) is doing a complete dis-service to the work and effort put in by these guys and girls from around the world to spend their spare time, yes remember these people do this as a hobby not a profession, to be poo-pooed by writers smacks of throwing stones in glass houses.
We are all out there for a common good and that common good is to provide a medium for our site visitors (I am just going to call them friends now) to view information about whisky, whether it is a basic tasting note, a fully fledged detailed chemical analysis of a whisky, an article on which whisky would best suit your political beliefs, or handbag, or even a full on rant about a distillery consistently adding E150a colouring.
All of these things have value to our friends (yup the visitors) and it really is time we remembered that like our whisky tastes, not everyone will like every written opinion, but I have every respect for those that chose to write an opinion and we should all be doing the same.
None of us get everything right all of the time, so lets get out of the habit of criticising each other, and yes I see the hypocrisy in this but this article is a response to not criticism of the opinions of others, and get back to offer opinions and providing information that our friends want to read.
Whether you write 5 word tasting notes, or 1500 word tasting essays, you have the right to do so and have your opinion respected, even if I, or any others, disagree with it. If you do not agree with someones opinion why not suggest an alternative, with reasoning and begin that old fashioned thing that we all seem to have forgotten… Conversation.
So I invite you all, let us join in a conversation about whisky! Why not stop me and chat to me about whisky the next time you see me, if you have my number call me for a chat about whisky, tweet me, email me, facebook me, Instagram me or even send me a youtube reply, lets talk about whisky, in fact it really does not even need to be about whisky, lets just talk again!