Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Whiskey and Philosophy

I am sure "self searching" used to mean something very different. Now, of course, it means banging one's own name into Google and hoping for plaudits. In a recent bout of "self searching", I found a nice mention of the essay I wrote for Whiskey and Philosophy, which was published by John Wiley & Sons last year.

I decided not to publicise that book at the time it hit the shelves because Wiley were so laughably miserly with their pay and because they did not inform me of this until after I had spent days writing for them.

Enough time time has passed for the pain to dull and for my ego to get the better of me. Farenheit173.com liked my essay:
That said, the best essays in the book are ex­cel­lent: Andrew Jefford's, Ian Buxton's and David Wishart's essays on whisky's history, provenance and authenticity; Ian Dove and Burnham/SkilleĆ„s on whisky tast­ing notes and Chris Bunting on Japanese whisky.

(As did the editors, who I do not blame for the wage niggles. And these two chaps on Amazon: 1,2. One of them even elevated me to Messianic status, which seemed to be taking things a bit far.)

Almost makes me feel it was worth my while writing the damn thing!


DavindeK said...

Yes, Chris, you wrote a very insightful essay. Besides those two reviewers, others liked it as well:

Full review at:

But here's an excerpt:
“Chris Bunting, for example, explaining the skyrocketing popularity of Japanese whisky, posits 
that "By so tightly defining what it means to be an authentic Scotch-style whisky: specifying the 
ingredients it must contain, focusing the attention of consumers on specific locations (rather 
than on the much vaguer and more defensible blended Scotch brand names that the Japanese 
were vainly trying to imitate in 1918), and, most important, by allowing a priesthood of experts 
to be built around this complex idea of what is authentic, the Scots may have made top-quality 
Scotch whisky production portable. The consumer, taught to focus not on a familiar brand but 
on a highly codified set of criteria for authenticity (e.g., malted barley only, a single distillery, 
long aging, and so on) and to listen to experts extolling certain abstracted qualities in the 
whisky, can be forgiven for concluding that it hardly matters whether the whisky was made in 
Hokkaido or Speyside."”

Davin ;-)

Nonjatta said...

To my shame, I hadn`t seen that review until you pointed to it. It was nice that my tuppence worth was flagged up. The irritation associated with writing that piece is fading by the day.