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Online Scotch Whisky Awards

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Wierdo started a discussion

Ralfy and Roy (Aqvavitae) have come up with the idea of the Online Scotch Whisky Awards. There is a website here:

www.oswa.co.uk

Roy and Ralfy discuss it in this video here:

youtu.be/-gXtww9VOVU

It's a long video but there are time stamps in the blurb and they start discussing the OSWAs at 2:07:55

For those who don't want to watch the video there are 8 categories so it isn't just about Scotch. The online community of commentators make a recommendation in each category. With the emphasis being on a more natural presentation. They eventually whittle it down to a few options in each category. Then we the whisky buying public through their website vote for our pick from the options until we have a winner in each category.

They say they have around 20 contributors at the moment but the gates are still open to have those expanded.

@markjedi1 I don't know if you are one of the contributors? But if not contact Roy if you are interested and as an active online whisky commentator they'd most likely include you.

11 months ago

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Replies: page 1/2

@RianC
RianC replied

@Wierdo - cheers for the heads up, I'll try and look at it later. Agreed, @markjedi1 should definitely try and get involved - is there a whisky he hasn't tried? stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

I can imagine this is great news for the SWA and the 'big heads' in the industry grin I can already hear the hurrying and scurrying behind the scenes as they try and work out a way to either infiltrate or scupper it satisfied

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

I have been looking at online mass-voted whiski rankings for 10 years. It is called the Connosr Top 100 Rated List.

11 months ago 8Who liked this?

@Hewie
Hewie replied

@Wierdo are you a barfly? I'm not but Roy is really the only online whisky channel I watch regularly - he has a unique format that I do enjoy (I often watch it in bits while making dinner etc.). Their intentions are good and the OSWA seem pretty well thought through - it'll be interesting to see how they go.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@Hewie I'm a barfly in the sense that I follow them on Facebook and YouTube and will contribute to the chat on Facebook. But I've never joined in on a live video. Apart from anything else they go out quite late on a Thursday evening UK time and I have work the next day. So it's just not very practical for me.

Like you I tend to listen to the videos on catch up. They're usually well over 2 hours so I don't want to just sit and watch them. I tend to listen to them whilst I'm doing some DIY.

The Facebook group Advavitae barflies is a pretty good group that I'd recommend to anyone who drinks Scotch that is on Facebook. It's very friendly and a good source of information on what's good at the moment etc.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

You can now vote for your choices in each category. Roy and Ralfy talk about it in this video (long video) or you can just go to the site. Register and place your votes.

www.oswa.co.uk

youtu.be/5rzNiQhBg6Y

10 months ago 3Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

From the nominations I see, this may actually be more commercial than the existing market place. Where are all the little guys?... especially in the Indie category

10 months ago 0

Astroke replied

@paddockjudge Was 2 hours of my life that I won't get back for watching it live, well some of it.

10 months ago 2Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@paddockjudge Because one of the provisos is that the whiskies have to be accessible to most that inevitably rules out the more obscure stuff.

10 months ago 3Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

OMG, watching those two egomaniacs trying to out talk each other. Worse than an hour in the dentist’s chair. I’m having a dram of Arran 10 and listening to Keith Jarrett to ease the pain. They are right about the Arran 10, though, I’ll give them that.

10 months ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

I just skimmed through this and thought the choices fit the bill nicely; given they have to be accessible and affordable world wide, they were reasonable if a tad predictable. Certainly no wacky outliers or token offerings to please certain distilleries or vested group interests, which is reassuring.

One question I have is, did the other YouTubers simply pick their favourites or did they generate options from their audience? I assume the former but not sure.

I'd also have liked to see a category each for blended malt and blended Scotch as they are different drinks. To me it's like comparing bourbon to Scotch ...

I've put my votes in, for what it's worth, and will be interested to see how the voting goes.

And I didn't know there was a sherry finished Laffy 10 until watching that! That's one to add to the list for starters grin

last quibble - I like Roy but I think he needs to work on condensing his content. Granted, that's the style he's going for and I can respect that, but I, and I'm sure many others, don't have the time to sit through 3 hour vlogs. Sorry, Roy confused

10 months ago 6Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@RianC @BlueNote I never sit down and watch any of these videos. Moved house this year and the new house needs a bit of TLC so I tend to just put my wireless headphones on press play and get to work. In that way they work quite well. I do like Roy's 'is it a speysider?' quiz. I find that fun.

The strange thing is Roy's 'recycled reviews' is the opposite of the vpub. 15 reviews in 25-30 minutes or so. Very condensed. I think I much prefer those videos to Ralfy's listing 35 different flavours he can get from a Malt. Although I do still have a bit of a soft spot for Ralfy.

Both channels seem to have a few sycophants who message in about them being 'legends' etc. I could do without that if I'm honest.

The one thing that I'm not sure about is does Ralfy have a patreon subscription channel? I'm not sure. You think he'd mention it if he did?

10 months ago 7Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Wierdo - pretty sure ralfy has a patreon account.

Yeah I also like those recycled reviews he does (although the tune grates on me after a while laughing ). I used to enjoy the ralfy 'rants' but it's rare anything new gets broached these days so find I pretty much skip to the mark.

As I think I said above, this is a good idea and I hope it takes off. We can quibble about the format, style etc but the man point here is to create an online consensus that will have a reach far wider and an impact much stronger than any marketing campaign: this will benefit all of us, if it pans out!

I also like the way they said they will drop awards if pricing becomes cynically inflated. thumbsup

Ultimately they're attempting to give the 'little guy' more of a voice and some power in the dynamic. Now that I am 100% behind!

10 months ago 6Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Wierdo Ralfy does occasionally mention his patreon account. Apparently they get first access to reviews, so if something he reviews is sold out by the time you watch you know why...

10 months ago 4Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Wierdo, logical pursuit. Thanks.

There should be some “obscure” categories because “affordable and accessible” caters to the giants. A noble pursuit, but I’m not buying it. Coca-Cola is accessible and … never mind, I’m just being a dick.

10 months ago 5Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@RianC, the concept of openness is similar to the Connosr Top 100, formerly Top 50, and perhaps at one time was Top 20. One person, one vote, regardless of the origins or influences. I would like to see more Indies represented. I buy very few Distillery Releases these days when it comes to single malts. I watch very little Ralphy and none of Roy, no prejudice, I just don’t. I shouldn’t be overly critical , this type of selection process interests many whisky drinkers… I wonder if prices will be influenced… and we shouldn’t be too critical of the distilleries, I believe it is the distributors and RETAILERS who ratchet up the prices. ‘nuff said

10 months ago 6Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@paddockjudge - agreed, the Connosr top 100 rating is very useful and provides a global (ish) outlook. It would be useful to be able to filter results over time (as a whisky rating from the years ago is less useful than a more recent one) but it certainly gives a good overview.

I just really like the idea of buyers/customers having more say in these kind of awards rather than the usual 'in crowd' ones or ratings from 'the fat man in a hat's' books laughing .

Agree about the price bit but if they see that promise through, word of mouth/net chatter alone might well shame retailers into dropping prices (post hike). And if not, distilleries themselves might reach out to such retailers and politely suggest they do so as it's hurting their brand. Or maybe not, ha wink .

10 months ago 5Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

I'm a bit disappointed the Highland Park 12 makes it into the nominations for entry level malt. It's 40% abv (43% outside the UK), chill filtered etc. All the rest of the nominations are 46%+ NCF and I think it should have been a proviso for nominations that they had to be naturally presented.

Imagine if the HP12 wins ahead of the Arran, Deanston etc just because it is more readily available on every market.

10 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

Hearing all the complaints about these awards makes me very happy I have not spent my time looking at them at all, and will have nothing to do with it. I know what I like. I trust people on Connosr more than industry shills. I will happily review the results when presented here.

10 months ago 5Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

Here is the awards ceremony for the OSWAs for those that are interested.

Long video as always. I just fast forwarded to the winners in each category!

youtu.be/p_v2R0n1Y4k

Alternatively the winners are also now listed on the website

www.oswa.co.uk/winners-2021

9 months ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@Nozinan you don't think they're a good idea or you think they are rigged?

9 months ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Wierdo I doubt that these awards are a guide to what is really up there as the best the industry has to offer. I looked at the winners, and I can think of many others in the same categories that I might choose. Sure that's subjective. But I remain sceptical.

9 months ago 3Who liked this?

@ajjarrett
ajjarrett replied

@BlueNote I am glad to see another Connosr reference Keith Jarrett. The Keith Jarrett Trio are some of my favorite jazz recordings to listen to. Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette compliment him so well.

Oh wait, am I supposed write something about the OSWA. I never heard about it until now. ^_^

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Wierdo - I caught up with the winners on Sunday. A few surprises but mostly expected. I liked how they broke the votes down too as some were very close. And I know they addressed this, but they do need a separate category for blends and blended malt, or just do away with the former, and the new distillery category was a bit pointless given how many abstained (myself included). Just an opinion grin

It was quite sweet-natured though and a good industry turnout too, but some of the award ceremonies and accompanying sycophantic behaviour was a bit cringe worthy at times. Pah, I'm just clearly a crank who'll critique anything stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@RianC Some of my best friends are cranks. wink

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

@Nozinan the main people who will have voted for these awards will be people who follow Ralfy and/or Roy's youtube channels. I'd have never heard of the OSWAs if I didn't keep a close eye on both their channels.

The nominations for each category were made by the 30 or so contributing Whisky channels. So people serious enough about Whisky that they start their own channel about the stuff.

Then the 6,000 people who voted are the sort of people who are that into the stuff they'll watch a YouTube channel about it. So the thin end of the wedge really.

Both of these groups will favour quality whiskies. High abv. Natural colour etc. So Deanston not Macallan.

Both Roy and Ralfy's channels are probably 90% focussed on Single Malt Scotch Whisky. I don't know what the make up of subscribers to Ralfy's channels is like but the Aquavitae Facebook page is generally populated by people from the UK or Europe. I've not seen any statistics on the nationalities of people who voted but Roy generally loves producing lists and charts so I wouldn't be surprised if we see that in the future. But I'd wager the make up of people who voted heavily favours Europeans and the UK in particular. So the awards would lean towards Scotch and to be fair that was stated right at the outset.

They also had a proviso that the awards should lean towards whiskies that are available and affordable to most. So that rules out the 'best Whisky' award going to some 30 year old in a Lalique decanter only a handful of people can afford.

With regard to the winners. Some surprises. Some less so.

Springbank as best distillery is a no-brainer. They have been at the forefront of doing things 'the right way' (higher abv, NCF, natural colour, fairlt priced) for a while Ahead of most other distilleries. Many of the newer distilleries follow Springbank's model and are fairly open about that. And look how popular Springbank is with enthusiasts. Any new Springbank release practically evaporates when it goes on sale. The one criticism you could aim at them is they don't produce enough of the stuff. But it's not their fault they can't produce enough to meet demand and they've never resorted to upping their prices. They could double their prices if they wanted to and still sell all their Whisky but they don't. I suspect if it was more available they would have won more of the categories.

Arran is a great distillery producing really good whiskies. I've not actually tried the 10 yet. But I've had a few of their's and they've always been decent. So not surprised that the 10 won best entry level. Bit surprised it won best Whisky as well. But that's probably a reflection on the fact that people think it's a great Whisky for the price and that people perhaps haven't been able to try some of the other whiskies nominated in the category.

Best new distillery. Not tried Ardnamurchan yet. But have a bottle on my list as apparently it's good stuff. Not surprised at all that it won as they are actually putting a fair bit of whisky out there. So the one most people have probably had a chance to try.

I won't go through every category. But I don't have too many complaints with the winners generally.

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Wierdo I think if they’d had a “Best bang for the buck” category, that’s where Arran 10 would be a clear winner. But really, is it a better whisky than Springbank 12 CS, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Laphroaig 10 CS, Lagavulin 12, Talisker 18, Glenfarclas 15, a whole load of indies, etc, etc? Not in my HO. There’s a whiff of manipulation there. I’m with @Nozinan, I’m sceptical.

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

Astroke replied

@BlueNote I have a couple Arran's but I cannot find an Arran 10 anywhere, or a Springbank 10 for that mater.

9 months ago 2Who liked this?

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@britwhiskyfan@paddockjudge@NamBeist@Hewie@RianC + 1 others

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