Malt is one of the largest independent whisky sites in the world, read by up to 50,000 individuals each month.
Edited by a regular contributor and reviewer to Whisky Magazine along with the man formerly known as the Whisky Rover, its aim is simple: to write about whisky with intelligence, a bit of fun, whilst occasionally asking questions that few writers seem to want to ask. Ultimately, it’s to provide readers with an honest critique of whisky and some of the questionable products or practices in the industry.
Here’s the problem
The whisky industry has many problems, but as writers, we’re concerned with two:
1. Drinks brands are intimately connected with leading publications and websites. That means they can help set the agenda – a little money for advertising can see massive features with little or no indication to the reader that they’ve been paid for. It’s the nature of the beast sometimes. But it can mean that poor whisky is celebrated. Facts are obscured by marketing. Money, in other words, ultimately talks.
2. A good number people who write about whisky say favourable things – or don’t tell you about the bad things – because they’re worried about no longer being sent free stuff. There are lots of people being very kind to publicists about their whisky, in order to get more whisky (sometimes even work) rather than to offer true critique. There are even bloggers who want to charge for posting articles without telling you that it’s paid content. (There are good ones out there, though, don’t get us wrong.)
So how do you know what to believe about whisky? How can you sift through marketing spin to find really good products or brands?
That’s where we come in.
People actually buy whisky off the back of what’s said online, and whisky isn’t cheap. So it’s important that we tell it how it is so you don’t waste your money on poor products. Also, we want to point out to newcomers to whisky the poor practices – things that mean you’re not getting value for money.
Because if we don’t say something is bad, how can you trust us when we say something is good?
Malt is run by Mark Newton, who’s written about whisky in publications such as Whisky Magazine, where he’s been one of the two lead tasters for 2017, Whisky Quarterly, Fieldsports Magazine and The Scottish Sporting Gazette, has been a whisky judge. He’s an experienced writer, having published several mass market genre novels, numerous short stories and magazine articles, and has even written for BBC Radio 4. For his day job, he works as a content specialist (so, more writing). Keep in touch on Instagram, on Twitter or Facebook.
For the sake of full transparency, Mark’s also involved in communications work for Renegade Spirits’ Waterford Distillery as well as the Renegade Rum operation, which is focussed currently on CaneCo. He may shed more light on this if you ask him…