Wow, I agree 100% with your posts in that link Johanna, and no doubt
you all did not get any clarification re: Jim Murray's strange inuendos
that liter his book....
This makes another discovery in malt-L all the weirder: it seems that
you defended Jim Murray in a previous Malt-L post. Specifically it was
regarding what was one of Jim Murray's (many) conflicts of interests
with distilleries. My questions is why did you defend him at the time?
As a reader of WM I read, in one of the earlier issues, his glowing
reviews for Japanese whiskies and one company in particular got great
grades all around but nothing in the magazine allowed to figure out
that he was or had been a 'consultant' for that company(!).
It seems to me that Jim Murray is clearly an inferior whisky writer who
uses the worst kind of innuendos to 'jazz up' his tasting notes, and
has had some obvious ethical issues as his bible is replete with
whiskies he has 'made' and grades very, very highly all the while
loudly proclaiming his independence!
So why your previous defence of Murray which I cannot for the life of
me reconcile with your valid criticism of his book.
In his Whisky Bibles he usually mentions when he has consulted for a certain
whisky during the review. I don't know if he does this for all of them or
not but it does happen a few times throughout the book. Maybe it was the
magazine publishers error not to put the necessary information in the
I do not take anyone else's reviews too seriously because at the end of the
day it is really what I like. That being said I usually find his reviews
informative and fairly accurate with my taste.
I agree! Although there are some strange things about this bible (for
instance: it took me some time to figure out that you can't compare his
ratings of malts with blended whisky... as they seem to be in a category of
The whole point of blended whiskies is that they are blended to produce a
consistent taste. Therefore however good they taste, and some do taste
passably good, there is never any adventure with them. With single malts,
especially non-standard or independent bottlings, every bottle is a new
adventure. Although of course a single malt may well contain whisky from
more than one barrel, as long as those barrels are from the same distillery
it's still a "single" malt
will Johanna ever answer it? And if so which Johanna, the Jim Murray
gunslinger, or the rightly tough critic of his absurd tasting notes?
I'm not holding my breath" usually when faced with one's
contradictions one prefers to hide behind silence (and a glass or
Are you for real or has someone chained you to your notebook? ;o)
If I remember the thread correctly, Jesper was talking about Jim Murray
and other writers essentially being on the take, biasing their tasting
notes in exchange for financial considerations. This is a very serious
and potentially damaging accusation that IMO was way out of line and has
never been proven. To my knowledge, Jim Murray has always disclosed his
working relationship with various distilleries although how seriously
you can take his tasting notes on his own products is up for debate. But
so long as these come with "total disclosure" of his consulting
activities, I do not see a conflict of interest with his work as a writer.
Fast forward a couple of years and I comment on the new Whisky Bible
which to me is littered with illogical, confused mutterings of wife
swapping, naked women and memories of pubescent flings. I honestly don't
see how any of these sexist remarks contribute to a tasting note.
Neither do I see what is wrong with a certain British whisky magazine
publisher trying to turn a profit. I've worked in magazine publishing
and know firsthand that you won't last more than a few issues if you're
not motivated by the dollar (or pound if you're in the UK). That was a
cheap shot at a former employer and I saw no place for it in a book of
tasting notes. I also saw no place for his swipes at other whisky
writers or brand ambassadors. JM's remarks were petty and childish and
severly undermined his credibility.
If there is a connection between these two threads then please fax me a
drawing. Jim Murray's writing has deteriorated in a serious fashion with
his Whisky Bible series and his swipes at former colleagues undermine
his professional reputation. That said, it does not imply that he is "on
the take" or that he should not hire out his services as a consultant
blender. I do not even see a problem with writing tasting notes on his
own whiskies so long as he includes a disclaimer that he is commenting
on his own work.
So sorry to disappoint but I don't see myself as gunslinger nor as tough
critic -- just simply a commentator on two very separate incidents as
they came up.