By Richard Thomas
In our last installment of “Bad Whiskey Writing,” I explained my hopes of going at least a year before I had enough material to justify a fresh article looking at the factual errors and gross misconceptions that plague major media coverage of the “Water of Life.” Little did I know back then that it would take less than four months to reach that point.
One unsurprising contributor to this surfeit of lousy material was Business Insider, where Shane Ferro was beating the bourbon shortage drum by once again citing only the particular supply difficulties at Buffalo Trace. The troubles certain Buffalo Trace brands have are well-known, as is the practice of using the distillery’s now regular, annual warnings of them as the basis for claiming Whiskeygeddon is around the corner.
This is so much the case that even outlets within the major media are catching on to the practice. Apparently no one put it in a memo at Business Insider that citing Buffalo Trace’s problems is old hat.
Around the same time, British newspaper The Independent managed to confuse Scottish single malts with, well, just about everything else. In writing about Jim Murray’s already controversial choice of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye for his top whisky of the year, this article managed to call the rye whiskey a malt whisky not once, but twice.
Sadly, this article from Smart Traveler was shared by several whiskey bloggers, who should have spotted the factual error in it. Ashley Rossi wrote that Tennessee Whiskey isn’t a bourbon, but the Tennessee state government defined it as bourbon plus the Lincoln County Process in 2013. What Tennessee Whiskey is and is not is no longer merely a matter of opinion, but defined by law.
Writing for Huffington Post, Rebecca Orchant opined on the best of the legal moonshines. Although we at The Whiskey Reviewer would normally applaud at legal moonshine getting more attention, one-third of her list are whiskeys that do not even claim the moonshine mantle. Indeed, I’m fairly certain Buffalo Trace would be at least privately annoyed to learn that their white dog was being labeled “moonshine.”