Thursday, February 23, 2012

what do diamonds filter, anyway? (or how I learned to stop worrying and love Crystal Head Vodka even though I wouldn't pay for it)

Super-premium vodka is bullshit. It's important to get that out of the way right now - you're welcome to disagree with me, but you're wrong. As wrong as a creationist denying climate change whilst adding 2 and 2 and coming up with 7.

Grey Goose, Belvedere, Chopin, Absolut Level, Smirnoff Penka, Ciroc, Uluvka, Stolichnaya Elit, and that ridiculous mammoth tusk were all created to exploit society's ridiculous compulsion to spend more on something stupid in hopes of buying an 'image'. The idea that a liquid whose main purpose in the universe is to be as neutral and vapid as possible, and that the more neutral and vapid it is, the more exclusive and expensive it must become? That reminds me of a certain Hans Christian Andersen story. Hint: it's not The Little Mermaid.

If similar taste factors were used to appraise beer, Bud Light would be the most rare and expensive beer in the world, sold in zircon-studded cans individually wrapped in faux-felt adorned with a stitched print of the St Louis skyline. Think about that for a second. Have you stopped shuddering? Good.

Oh but they use the best ingredients…

Why? So that they can extract all trace elements of character and flavour from them? How important is your ultra amazing water source after 5-10 distillations? Is potato vodka better for when you get wasted and grab a bag of chips on the way home? Is it better to have a cider chaser with apple vodka?

It's all marketing, marketing without substance and marketing without substance is bullshit, pure and simple.

Which is why I fucking love the diamond-filtered, conspiracy-theoried, purified-by-aliens gibberish that is Crystal Head. Because in an ocean of grain-neutral, marketing-driven, multi-national, ridiculously packaged, over-priced, over-hyped bullshit, Crystal Head rises like a leviathan, out-purifying, out-packaging, out-bullshitting every single one of them. And who's doing this? Dan-Fucking-Aykroyd, that's who. Elwood Blues is selling snake oil; Mr Conehead has sewn a new pair of threads for the emperor. Big business marketing bullshit versus someone genuinely creative and surprise, surprise, the latter has a far more interesting line of fertiliser. They're selling image and he's selling a story. He's got my money.

Or, he would, if I ever felt like spending £50 on a bottle of vodka.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

the new wine rant

Things are changing. This blog is one of those things. In the next month or so there will be a move away from Blogger, a re-design and an increase in content.

I started this blog in 2005 as a means of chronicling the wines I encountered along the way. There was no plan, no goal and, as it is plain to see, no set schedule. I guess it was in part a vanity project. I drink nice wines. People who care about nice wines like to tell other people who care about nice wines what they drink. It's a vanity that forms the foundation of most wine writing. I could easily go on infrequently informing my minuscule readership what I've been drinking, complete with my little smart arse rants, for as long as I draw breath and stroke keys.

But that seems lazy to me. My curiosity has grown.

Wine isn't just what's in the bottle, and wine bottles are not the only bottles I'm interested in. The scope here is broadening and with all the tumult and antics of the booze trade, there's little critical commentary or perspective kicking about. The trade press is saturated with barely disguised press releases and sycophantic back-patting. In-fighting grows on issues such as natural wine, craft beer, en primeur campaigns and the Asian market and there are few people that point out how hilarious it all is. I want to be that guy, and I want this blog to be that place - a place with insight, humour, a dash of iconoclastic criticism and a healthy dose of 'are you fucking kidding me?'. The wine and booze world needs more of that.

I should point out that this will take the blog further from any use as a 'consumer' resource. I don't care about the average wine consumer drinks. The average wine consumer doesn't care about what I drink either, so in that sense we're even. I'm sure this smacks of terrible wine snobbery but the truth is that focussing on the average wine consumer means dumbing down, over-explanation and, worst of all, drinking supermarket wines.

Instead of the average wine consumer, I'm looking for the informed and curious wine drinker. So pull up a glass; give it a swirl and a sniff. Don't worry if you spill some - it happens to the best of us.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Updates and looking forward

Apologies for the hiatus. The reasons are multitude - I have dozens if not scores of half-drafted tasting notes to post, waiting in the wings as it were. For a change though, the culprit is not laziness. I've been thinking about major revisions to the blog and my wine writing in general and have paused updates whilst I sort these things out in my head. Also, I've just started working on a top secret wine writing project, the details of which will be unveiled in good time.

So please bear with me. It should be worth the wait