Saturday, 19 January 2013

Jim Murray Tosses A Toffee

I think Mr Jim Murray is being quite rude about the whiskey industry in generalising about Scotch whisky in the manner he has done in his recent whisky bible. 

Mr. Murray wants all distillers to employ a blender who can spot the problem of rotten eggs in their whisky. He goes on to say that distillers have their head in the sand; that increasingly he meets people who are being turned off by this stink bomb nose and bitter finish they cannot tolerate. In one sentence he states: 'We have got to the stage where a significant number of bottles are substandard.' He goes on to state that in the new edition of the Whisky Bible: 'we are facing crisis time. This is no longer an occasional problem, it’s rampant’.

Most distilleries I know of in Scotland employ individuals far more qualified than Mr Murray to do the distilling, blending and maturation job. Rather than seek cheap publicity by being so controversial, name and shame those distillers and give them the opportunity to defend themselves.

To be fair, Mr Murray does name one malt in the 2013 edition of his 'Whisky Bible' - Arran Malt - Devil’s Punch Bowl - the tipples tainted - 'ruinous brimstone'. Not nice sir. Many folk love Arran whiskies but at least they have the opportunity to respond. The rest of the Scotch whisky world wonder what the hell you are talking about.

Picture from the Arran Distillery website picture gallery

By the way - Arran Malt has won many International Spirit Championships including golds and double golds. In 2007 Arran distillery received the "Distiller of the Year" award. So it seems it's a case of one versus many. Or maybe there are rotten eggs somewhere? 

In closing:I purchased the online version of Mr Murray's Whisky Bible and will not do so again. Not because of this but merely because it is not worth it. Michael Jackson's whisky books are still the benchmark but he is no longer around. There are some other awesome whisky writers around that I continue to follow.

Paul Pacult (pictured left) is recognised as America's foremost spirits authority. The F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal is considered the premier source of review, evaluation and know how.

Charles MacLean and Dave Broom are also knowledgeable on whiskies and both have written some sterling works.

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