Editor’s Note: This guest opinion column is republished from a social media post with permission from its author Becky Paskin, a whisky writer, consultant and presenter; co-founder of OurWhisky and former editor of Scotchwhisky.com.
This post will no doubt attract some hate comments, but something needs to be said. Why does the whisky industry still hold Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible in such high regard when his reviews are so sexist and vulgar?
In the 2021 edition there are 34 references to whisky being ‘sexy’ and many more crudely comparing drinking whisky to having sex with women.
There is no room in the whisky writing world for sexism (image copyright The Whiskey Wash)
Penderyn is made by an all-female team of distillers and blenders, yet this is how he refers to their whisky: “If this was a woman, I’d want to make love to it every night. And in the morning. And afternoon, if I could find the time… and energy…” (Penderyn Celt)
And again: “This celebrates maltiness in the same way a sex addict revels in a threesome.” (Penderyn Single Cask)
Murray refers to Canadian Club Chronicles, Water of Windsor as: “Have I had this much fun with a sexy 41-year-old Canadian before? Well, yes I have. But it was a few years back now and it wasn’t a whisky. Was the fun we had better? Probably not.”
A few more examples:
“If whisky could be sexed, this would be a woman. Every time I encounter Morangie Artisan, it pops up with a new look, a different perfume. And mood. It appears not to be able to make up its mind. But does it know how to pout, seduce and win your heart…? Oh yes.” (Glenmorangie Artisan Casks)
“The malt for the woman of your life, first to enjoy her to seduce and/or be seduced by, and then to share together.” (Glenfarclas Family Casks)
Despite sexist and explicit language being a mainstay of Murray’s reviews, his ‘bible’ is still held in high regard by brands and whisky lovers when it’s published every year.
Much of the industry has been working hard to change whisky’s reputation as a ‘man’s drink’, but condoning, even celebrating, a book that contains language like this erases much of that progress and allows the objectification of women in whisky.