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Whisky Pet Peeves

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@Devo
Devo started a discussion

Curious what everyone's pet peeves are in the whisky world, both with companies and consumers.

Mine?

Companies: Extravagant packaging for mediocre whisky.

Consumers: When folks get too fixated on criticizing out of principal instead of giving fair due to good quality whisky. (ie: when people get their knickers in a knot over e150 even when the whisky is quality stuff)

12 years ago

15 replies

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Devo, I think that e150 is the colouring agent that Coke and Pepsi are pulling from their recipes. Aparently it contains a carcinogen. I would just as soon not have it in my expensive whisky.

My main peeve is the price we are being charged for mediocre over-hyped product being sold as exclusive, one chance only, never to be seen again investments. I know, for example, I can always get an Ardbeg 10 for a reasonable price and it is consistently good. Why bother with all this other goofy one off stuff that Ardbeg comes out with every 15 minutes. And they are not the only ones.

12 years ago 0

@OCeallaigh
OCeallaigh replied

My main pet peeve is how overpriced single malts are in restaurants and bars. The profit margin they make on this stuff is ridiculous.

It is not uncommon to find a bottle of Glenmorangie Original for about 30$ at retailers, but then I have seen it in restaurants and bars for 10$ a glass! For an ounce and a half!

But even worse than that, the pricing seems more or less arbitrary. I may find a Glenlivet 12 for $11.00 and at the same restaurant, Lagavulin 16 for $9.00 (that choice would be pretty obvious).

I almost never get single malts when I'm out anymore for that reason alone.

12 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh replied

Personally my pet peeves with the whisky industry is what has been mentioned before: fancy packaging and high prices for mediocre whisky designed to make you want to buy it. If it's a limited release it should be rare, it should be GOOD and it should be reasonably priced.

Pet peeves for whisky drinkers are three. The first one is whisky snobs who refuse to drink american, canadian, irish, etc because it is "X". All whiskies in my experience have good sides and bad sides. There is no superior whisky style in my experience.

The second one is whisky snobs who refuse to drink bottles that are not sold for more then "x" amount of money. Some basic bottles are quite good, Abelour 10 yr old or Ardbeg 10 yr old for example. It does not need to run for 300+ bucks to be a good whisky.

And last is people who call themselves whisky drinkers yet you never see them drink a whisky straight, it's ALWAYS in a mixer of some sort. If you can only drink whisky in a mixer then I hate to break it to you, but you don't like whisky then. Sometimes a mixer can be nice, but all the time, sorry, but in my mind you're missing the point of whisky if that's the only way you enjoy it.

12 years ago 0

@Zanaspus
Zanaspus replied

Actually, I'm all for over-priced mediocre whiskey! It keeps the "investors" from drinking the good stuff :)

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

@two_bitcowboy

I used to get ticked off when I'd order a certain whisky and the importer would say "No allocation for your state." Diageo, LVMH, and Wm Grant (I don't care if it's privately owned, they act like the big conglomerates) seemed to be the worst. I don't get upset about it any more. There are too many really great whiskies that aren't allocated by control freaks.

No peeves about consumers.

Also not a pet peeve of mine, but here's a contrast between a seeming pet peeve of two "names" in the whisky industry. Richard Paterson tells us to hold our glass in such a way so we don't warm the whisky. Jim Murray encourages us to hold our glass in such a way that our hand will warm the whisky. Is one wrong? Like so many other pet or petty peeves in the whisky world (chill filtration, higher abvs, coloring, smoke, wine finishes, etc.), personal likes and dislikes are just that, personal. To each her (or his) own.

12 years ago 4Who liked this?

Marcus replied

Mine is also the outrageous prices charged in restaurants and bars. I'm sure everyone has seen JW Blue for between $50-$75 per pour, Lagavulin at $18+, Laphroaig 10 at $16 or higher. I am all for businesses making a "reasonable" profit, but this is absolutely outrageous. I live in New Orleans, a town with a plethora of fine dining establishments. However, when I go out with my girlfriend to one of these places, it really bothers me not to be able to end a great meal with an equally great whisky. It has nothing to do with being able to afford it; it has to do with paying what I consider to be extravagant prices for an affordable whisky. And it is not just the single malts, this goes for bourbons and cognacs as well.

12 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Doug
Doug replied

@Devo, Mine fits in with what SquidgyAsh said, "whisky drinkers" who have to soften their whisky with something--particularly when you serve them a good whisky only to watch them drop half of a can of something on it. The most heinous of these happened to me when I offered a stranger a dram of Macallan 18. He dumped the remainder of his can of coke on it.

12 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Andrew
Andrew replied

As far as pet peeves go add another name to the mediocre whisky in premium packaging.. in this camp I include many if not most of the NAS one-offs as well as the specialty “finishes”. Sure I understand why they exist and I believe that experimentation is good for the industry but charging a premium price is absurd.

I’m also none to pleased with people telling my how I should be drinking my whisky, this type of glass, that type of glass, add water don’t add water .. I paid for it I’ll drink it any way I want. That being said one of my favorite stories involved a vary large tour I was on at Bruichladdich, at the end we were all being offered our choice of dram and my wife replies “None thanks” when asked (she drinks a glass or two of wine a month). The guy giving the tour asks her a couple questions says try this and proceeds to pour a heavily sherried 18 y/o (I think) in to a glass that he tops up with coke. The sound of people jaws dropping was deafening.

You shouldn’t worry about asking someone how they will take their whisky, I’ve got a bottle of Johnny Walker Black I keep around to offer those who express an interest in ice, soda or ginger ale.

12 years ago 7Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@Andrew, excellent story. I love the sound of jaws dropping.

12 years ago 2Who liked this?

@olivier
olivier replied

US online Whisky retailers which refuse to ship outside the US. There are so many American Whiskies I'd love to try (and would be willing to pay extra shipping for).

12 years ago 2Who liked this?

@SamM
SamM replied

@SquidgyAsh @Doug I'm not a whisky connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination.. infact the little that I do know from whisky comes from two main sources, my grandad and my studies in my dissertation. What you both said has interested me though, mainly because a massive part of my current dissertation is based on what attracts new consumers to the malt whisky market, and what turns them off. One of the things that was picked up on was the 'mixing'. Many young people have had the idea that mixing whisky with a soft drink etc is practically sacrilige... judging from ur comments would you both agree with this? Is it acceptable for a new drinker to 'ease' their way in as such with mixing, or is your opinion as whisky drinkers, that it shouldnt be done? As I say, since I'm still completing my dissertation, your views would be very much welcomed :)

12 years ago 1Who liked this?

Marcus replied

I am definitely in the camp that mixing "fine" whisky just destroys the taste. I also just detest all the new "flavored" whiskies coming onto the market - honey, cinnamon, Tabasco, etc. While this may attract a new generation of drinkers, the fact is that they are not tasting the whisky! They are tasting honey, cinnamon, Tabasco, with a whisky kick. The same goes for flavored vodkas. I put all these in the category of wine coolers - I loved them when I was 20 and on spring break, but not now. If you're going to dilute whisky, do it with a little water to enhance the flavor, not mask it.

12 years ago 0

@SamM
SamM replied

@Marcus From what I have gathered so far there are many people who are in your camp of thought, although some of my research did show that some over 45 malt drinkers are less offended by the idea of mixing as it is something that they do partake in. As I'm no a whisky drinker, I can only go on what I'm told in my research, but your opinions and info from the questionnaire will be very valuable to me.

I do believe that alot of the flavoured products on the market are obviously in place to attempt to attract that younger consumer.. but from what I've found so far they're not altogether that popular, both with new and current consumers. The main risk of developing new products in the market, from what I can see, is the alienation of the current malt drinkers. For example, if your preferred brand of malt was to jump on the band wagon of Ready To Drink (RTD) cans, or the flavoured malts, would you lose respect or loyalty to that brand? Is the main issue for new drinkers less about the taste, and more about the trading up and the education of the palate? Johnny Walker obviously adopted the colour labels as a way of moving the novice through the ranks.. the question is, is that the alternative route to go down?

Sorry, I'm totally going on a bit here, and you've already agreed to help out loads with the questionnaire completion.. I just get a bit involved in this chat these days, I feel like I've been thinking about it forever haha!!

Sx

12 years ago 0

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh replied

@SamM I personally don't believe that it's sacrilege to mix whisky with soda or anything else. My main issue with mixing is when people who call themselves connoisseurs wind up drinking all of their whisky in a mixer of some sort. In my mind if that's the only way you can drink your whisky then you're not a connoisseur, you're barely a whisky enthusiast.

I, myself started drinking whisky as soon as I turned 21, which is the legal drinking age in the state I'm from in the US. I wound up starting in Crown Royals and Makers Mark mainly, which would be Canadian and Bourbon. When I was drinking them almost always I would drink them in coke. I would taste a little bit of the whisky, but not really enough to call myself even an enthusiast. I then also started drinking Jameson and Chivas, again in cokes.

My first single malt was a Glenfiddich 21 year, which I then promptly drank . . . in a coke. Did I understand the awesomeness of what I was drinking? Nope. Was it a waste of money? for what I was doing . . .yes. I didn't get any of the flavors for which I was paying alot of money for. Because it was drowned in coke.

I don't mind casual whisky drinkers doing the mixer thing. I mind the "Whisky connoisseur" drinking all their whiskies in mixers though. If someone wants to ease their way into whiskies through the use of mixers personally I would probable suggest sticking with Jack Daniels and Jim Beams, because to buy an expensive or rare bottle and stick it in any sort of mixer would just be a waste of money and good whisky.

I REALLY hope this doesn't come across as pretentious or know it all or arrogant at all. If it does please accept my apolagies.

12 years ago 3Who liked this?

@Pudge72
Pudge72 replied

Living in Ontario generally (for whisky), and specifically for three reasons:

  • Not being able to import at all from the US or overseas, or even from within Canada! This means no internet purchases at all (though my credit card bill probably appreciates this limitation!!)

  • The general LCBO (the provinicial government liquor monopoly) pricing structure...especially after having the Auditor General of the province report that, rather then using their status as one of (if not THE) largest purchaser(s) of liquor in the world to lower their costs from their suppliers, the LCBO essentially determines the final shelf price for the product, and then advises their suppliers the price that they should charge the LCBO to meet that shelf price (usually quite a nice extra profit for the wholesaler, instead of more reasonable purchase prices for consumers).

  • The seemingly low duty free allocation that a traveller is allowed for bringing alcohol back from international jurisdictions (no allocation for less than 48 hours out of the country and only 1.14 litres / person for over 48 hours).

A general "grrrr" to all of the above.

12 years ago 0