Yes, I know this is #Old (at least in internet terms, two weeks is old). But I think it is fun, and almost no place I’ve seen it posted has any insight beyond pulling quotes from it. Let’s watch, and smile, shall we?
The two experts are Rick Edwards, Glenlivet’s American Master of Scotch, who evidences here in spades that unique quality of charm that you see in every single star brand ambassador in the world, and Kat Aagesen, who is… a stand-up comic.
If you didn’t watch the video, perhaps because you are at “work” right now and your “boss” is all “unreasonable” about you watching videos on the company bandwidth instead of doing your “job”, two scotch lovers are separately given five different every-day-person-priced American whiskeys, and asked to opine. Hilarity ensues. These are not really “cheap” whiskeys, by the way. And only three are actual whiskeys. The other two are a knock-off of a venerable flavored booze, and the other is a war crime in a bottle.
Our two pundits are clearly in on the joke, which I was surprised to realize as I watched the first time, because BuzzFeed is terrible. (Link goes to a Cracked.com post from back before Cracked became terrible.) I was expecting this to be in the genre of experts secretly given plonk and who either embarrass themselves by extolling its virtues, or visibly contort themselves in desperate knots trying to find something polite to say. Instead, we are treated to an $18 bottle tasting in the style of a $60 one.
Aagesen’s commnets are funny, and actually harsher than Edwards’s, but it is the latter that I think illustrates the valuable point to take away from this video: Judge booze (or any product) for what it is. Are Wild Turkey and Jim Beam four star bourbons in the overall constellation of American whiskey? No, of course not. But are they four star products in the world of mainstream consumer bourbons? Hell yes. At the least. Kickin’ Chicken is one of the venerable bourbons in history, and the Beam family practically defines 20th Century American distilling. Is there “a little rubber” in Wild Turkey’s profile? Sure. But there are (admittedly a lot fewer) rubber tones in that $60 single barrel you bought, too. Is there a waxiness to Jim Beam White Label? Eh, probably. But add a mixer, or even just a glass full of ice and no one who orders $20 bourbon will notice it as anything other than “my bourbon”. Measure products against their competition. That bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is certainly no 1er Cru Bordeaux, but the question that matters is, “is it better or worse than that $14 bottle of Napa Valley SB?”
And speaking of worse, if you watch nothing else about the video, jump to 1:55 and enjoy the Fireball segment. It is a reminder, at the end of this sweet little video, that Buzzfeed is indeed cruel, with a mother-in-law suite built into its corporate soul for Beelzebub. But it reminds us that, for all my sermonizing about comparing within a product’s market, some fluids are just objectively bad.