Has There Really Been Less Bad Whiskey Writing?


By Richard Thomas

For years, it was my standing lament in introducing a new installment in our periodic series on bad whiskey writing that depressingly little time had passed since I had written the previous one. For once, I can report that it has been a surprisingly and refreshingly long time between this, the tenth piece on the clueless and asinine things written about whiskey, and my ninth article on the subject! By the time this sees print, almost a year will have passed since the last time around.

Eater has produced plenty of subpar examples of whiskey writing these last few years, but these weren’t quite bad enough to justify being called out here. Or so it was until almost a year ago, when Whitney Filloon published this piece on new technology meant to accelerate whiskey maturation. The problem with this article is its laziness: Filloon quotes just one person, and that person is not only not much of an authority on the subject, but also another writer from Eater! Quoting someone working under the same roof as you is only slightly better than quoting yourself!

Another entity who has finally earned a Bad Whiskey Writing call-out after numerous close calls is G. Clay Whittaker. His July 2016 article “What Does The Deadly Oak Epidemic Mean For Whiskey?” for Popular Science was pure yellow journalist clickbait, as it’s about a tree disease that poses absolutely no risk to the coopering-critical American white oak whatsoever. Worse, you can actually feel his reluctance to admit that there isn’t any scaremonger potential to Sudden Oak Death in his prose. All smoke, zero fire clickbaiting is shameless, and should be condemned wherever and whenever it arises.

Next comes this undated piece from The Robb Report that I bookmarked sometime during the last year, “6 Reasons Why Rye Is Taking Over As America’s Most Popular Whiskey.” Making a direct point here, Rye whiskey is not even remotely close to overtaking Bourbon in popularity, not by any measure.

The fourth example for Bad Whiskey X is an article in Metro, presaging World Whisky Day 2017 by exploring the difference between “whiskey” and “whisky.” Besides being so simplistic that I doubt the author actually knows much about whisk(e)y beyond what can be skimmed (skimmed, not read) on Wikipedia, the plural of “whiskey” is “whiskeys,” not “whiskies.” The latter word is the plural for whisky, without the “e,” and just the word whisky.

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