Welcome to 2010, whisky lovers. It has been over 3 years since this blog began and the frontier of the whisky web has changed greatly in that relatively short period of time. I remain grateful for your support, links, and refererals online in in person. With literally dozens of new whisky-tasting-note websites and blogs that have appeared in the time since this whisky blog began the internet has become saturated with professional and amateur opinions on the water of life: Tim's Whisky Exchange Blog, Ruben's amazing Whiskynotes.be, Chris' unparallelled Nonjatta, Red Hare's Adventures in Whisky, Joel and Neil's Caskstrength.net, Edinburgh Whisky Blog (Happy Birthday, lads!), Scotch Chix, Whisky Host, Ralfy's empire, Whisky For Everyone, Whisky Apocalypse, Nose Palate Finish, Jason's Scotch Whisky Reviews, Richard & Matt's Whisk(ey) Apostle, Mike, Mike and Dan @ Whisky Party, Jeff's Scotch Hobbyist... heck, there are so many of us now we even have the Malt Impostor.
Although Serge Valentin's Whisky Fun remains the IMDB of whisky, it seems we could use a Rotten Tomatoes as well... albeit one not littered with ads (again, kudos to Serge for remaining so bullshit-free for so long... all you 'instant experts' in the wake of the Scotch Blog era should take a cue).
And although there is currently no single site that aggregates notes, we are close! We have a community here, people. We have great sites like:
-For Peat Sake, a user review-based site covering a great range of malts where anyone can share an opinion, but who can I trust? And there is no space for the STORIES of the malts, just tasting notes. Not sure how I feel about the new look, either (note: link to Dr Whisky is a dud). Whisky Rating attempts to provide a similar service with more spelling mistakes and fewer participants, as does WhiskyConnosr (among other useful whiskygeek things).
-True whisky scholar/archivists/geeks non plus ultra, the Malt Maniacs have their Matrix, and although I am not sure how many newbies dare press the yellow button this really is the closest thing we've got to what I'm talking about (whatever that is). And Jeff (Scotch Hobbyist) has his google doc of ratings (HERE) but again, can Jeff's opinion alone that, say, Chivas 12 is a C+ whisky, be trusted?
-The Balvenie's new Whisky Shelf where members of Warehouse 24 create virtual shelves of their home bars (real or imagined), contributing reviews on all single malts, showing average ratings and sample comments, is great. But currently interaction between users is minimal and there is no function to look at comparative reviews for any one malt. Improvements are being made constantly but this ambitious site is still finding its legs.
-Whisky Portal, and Scotch Whisky.net are true classics in www terms and are both still of use and incredibly up to date. Still, the searchable catalogue leads only to images, no notes or ratings or anything to guide a consumer.
-The Whisky Mag Forum remains an invaluable archive of whisky geekdom but can be a bit intimidating to the newcomer and athough the search funtion helps, it can be a bitch to navigate. WhiskyWhiskyWhisky provides a similar forum but is actually WAY easier to navigate and find the info the newbie or maniac may seek. Great section of user generated tasting notes, too.
-John Hansell's What Does John Know? provides a real global community of opinions with Hansell acting as Linda Richman (Coffee Talk, SNL circa 1990s) stirring conversation, posing questions, stoking fires, and occasionally putting them out. The comments on this site provide some of the richest dialogues on Scotch that can be found anywhere. That being said, they can really be a buzz kill for those new to the world of whisky and while it no doubt is therapeutic for malt maniacs, I worry that it does a disservice to fostering new relationships to Scotch whisky.
So after all that, I am not quite sure what this post is about, but suffice it to say that I feel frustrated with Dr. Whisky's contributions over the past year+. Over this time some have noted in comments, emails, and in statements on other sites that, for example, Dr. Whisky's week of 'new whiskies' aren't all new. Well with over 200 whiskies tasted this year alone I simply haven't had the time to post as I once did so I am being selective in which malts I create Malt Missions for. The existing 370+ Malt Missions still attract 600-1000 unique visitors per day, but they feel like dormant pieces of the past rather than active members of the rich whisky communities of now.
I guess my point is that I am looking to create a Rotten Tomatoes of whisky and I hope you'll join me when the time comes.
With love and best wishes for 2010,