Now THIS is fun.

I took Canadian Club to task for the "Your Dad Drank It" ads as being stupid and misogynistic.

I recently came across this commercial (Australian?) for Jim Beam Bourbon.

How’d I miss this the first go around?

From the same parent company. This one is, by comparison, fun.

Update: Another one in the series…(Thanks Michael)

Ratings revisited and the horror of "Edvertising"

I hate ratings.

We’ll get to whisky in a bit, but first, take a walk with me into the strange and unbelievable world of wine critique.

The triumvirate of wine publications.

Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator. These magazines aren’t sold for their editorial content. They are sold on the numerous, abridged reviews they do each month, to people who are apparently incapable of making wine purchasing decisions on their own.

Taste, review; taste, review. They churn through wines (apparently by the case load) for each monthly issue – slapping each wine with a breviloquent single paragraph review and a rating . . . allegedly on a scale from 0 – 100.

Yes, the scale is 0 – 100, but apparently it’s ass water if it scores below 80, and "Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed".

I wonder – "why not?" Aren’t readers of these magazines just as interested in what NOT to buy as what to buy? I’d wager the answer to that question is "Yes".

So why wouldn’t a magazine that prides itself on being the final word in wine critique actually do some critiquing???

Could the impact of (potential) lost advertising sales be a factor in not mentioning the unmentionables? Of course it could.

Continue Reading >>

Houston, we have an (image) problem. (Part 2)

Pass the Courvoisier

When I was growing up Cognac was considered to be more of an old
fuddy-duddy drink than Scotch. And compared to the pronunciation of
‘Courvoisier’, ‘Bruichladdich’ seems simple.

But now it’s the hip drink of the gangsta-wannabe – and every15 year
old can pronounce it. How’d that happen?

This from a 2003 Wall Street Journal Article:

Behind this trend are the likes of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Snoop Dogg
and other rappers who have embraced the pricey brandy with the 300-year
history as a status symbol. That has spawned a cult cognac following
among young urban blacks, who mix the liquor in new cocktails with
names like "Thug Passion" and "French Connection."…

The U.S. imported 3.7 million cases of cognac last year, up from 1.3
million in 1993, accounting for 36% of the world-wide market. Hennessy,
the biggest cognac brand in the U.S., with 53% of the market, says
young blacks now account for 60% to 85% of its U.S. sales.
That surge in consumption has helped the roughly 20,000 Cognac-area inhabitants whose livelihoods depend on the cognac trade…

Am I suggesting that someone make Scotch the next hip-hop status
symbol? Well, if your goal is to sell a lot of it quickly, by creating a
fad-based demand, then, er…yes. But there are better ways to achieve increased and longer-term sales without resorting to that tactic.

Continue Reading >>

Houston, we have an (image) problem. (Part 1)

In the U.S. there is much confusion over what Scotch is, how it differs from Bourbon, and what makes it “Scotch” – and the industry working as a whole has done little to clarify the confusion. As a result, the average American is averse to most whisk(e)y beverages.

Word Association

I am told, with absolute certainty (by Americans), that “Scots don’t like the term
“Scotch” and it shouldn’t be used."

Really? Is that why the term is
printed on every single bottle?

The truth is that the industry should get on their knees and thank
the barley gods that Americans aren’t really clear on the terms “whisky” and
“Scotch” and don’t necessarily think of them as synonymous.

You DO NOT WANT Americans to think “whisky”. Why? Read on…

I asked about 50 people to email me the first 1 or 2 words that came
to mind when I mention the following words: Scotch, Whisky, Whiskey,
Tennessee Whiskey, and Bourbon. All of the respondents consume alcohol, but
are not single malt Scotch whisky drinkers. The majority drink high-end
white spirits as well as being fans of American micro-breweries,
Belgian, German & English beers.

Continue Reading >>

HP gets an extreme makeover

Hp_18smLast year Highland Park was selected "Best Spirit in the World" (though, of course, THAT accolade was granted by the same man who named Johnnie Walker the Distiller of the Year – so take such awards with a grain of salt).

But despite such silliness, Highland Park really is a fantastic whisky, and is easily in my top 5. The only problem with Highland Park, to my mind, was the packaging. I’ve always found it to be a little off-putting – all dark and moody like a teen goth girl, with obscure photos of meaningless scenery (which happened to be from Orkney, but could have been anywhere) – it likely wasn’t the first choice of a consumer not familiar with the brand.

Continue Reading >>

This is pretty cool…

As much crap as I give to Johnnie Walker Blue, here’s a cool idea from them…

Beginning November 15th in the center atrium of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle
ed. – in New York City), consumers will be able to have their unopened bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky engraved for the holidays free of charge. The Johnnie Walker Blue Label engraving kiosk, will engrave personal inscriptions on unopened bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  The inscriptions can be engraved in multiple languages, including English, French Spanish, Korean and Chinese.

So, go buy your bottle of Johnnie Blue; have it engraved; and give it to your boss – you’ll make partner in no time.

Apparently, they will only engrave 750 ml or 1.75L bottles – you cheap bastards who bought the 200ml bottles at duty free are out of luck on this one.

Time Warner Center – Center Atrium
Columbus Circle at 59th Street

November 15 – January 4
Monday – Saturday 10 am – 9 pm
Sunday 11am – 8pm

Drambuie airs ads. They suck.

Drambuie has decided to create the worst whisky-related television ads since the horrible Basic Instinct inspired William Lawson ad.

The first Drambuie ad I saw starts with some goofy bastard running along the rooftops. (That doesn’t seem very safe.)

Cut to a woman’s fantasy of what Scottish men look like – all long-haired and kilted, running along the mountain tops.

Cut back to modern, goofy bastard jumping from roof to roof. Cut to stereotype Scotsman jumping from crag to crag.

Continue Reading >>