Happy National Whisky Guy Rob Day!
Why not? Yesterday was Father’s Day, which was a made-up holiday that, while started by a well-intentioned Washington woman in the early 1900s, was something that was truly championed by tie designers and pipe makers who touted it as “Dad’s second Christmas” in order to sell more stuff. Saturday was National Bourbon Day, a made-up holiday that was started this year by a website company that has other National “Fill in the Blank” Day websites in order to drive people to sign-up for their themed party news.
Considering that today is the first blog I’ve written in a while and is also the launch of my new website, I figure I’ll continue with the made-up holiday theme and shameless commercialism of the other made-up days. In case you’re new to my site, I’m Rob Gard, author of the highly acclaimed book Distilling Rob: Manly Lies and Whisky Truths, which you can purchase here to send to your loved ones for their belated National Whisky Guy Rob Day gift.
So, kids, where have I been? You may recall a blog from last fall involving a girl and timing in life and how it all relates to whisky. Well, I pursued said girl many a mile to Seattle, racked up many frequent flyer miles, had many rainy adventures, drank many a whiskey (soon to be told in my upcoming whiskies of the Pacific Northwest piece), had many memorable times, had her tell me goodbye for good, drank many a whisky, cut my hair, grew a beard, tried to hunt down the best Old Fashioned in Los Angeles (Bar Stella never fails to get it perfect) and revamped a website. And now here I am, dedicating a national holiday to myself.
Whiskey writer and Bourbon Guardian of the Galaxy Chuck Cowdery blasted National Bourbon Day and the editorial suckers who wrote about it as if it were an actual event (and plenty of people did). I received a Scotch whisky sample from a PR agency that suggested I taste it on National Bourbon Day because it was aged in a bourbon cask. In other words, I was asked to drink a non-bourbon on a non-holiday to post it on my non-website (which wasn’t live until today).
I did one better than that. My non-contribution to the non-holiday of National Bourbon Day was to post a posed photo of me non-pouring a non-bourbon for a non-person..
But, like so much in life, there’s more to the story than the perceived image implies.
Even though that’s a fake picture, I’m a real person behind the filter – a real person who is happy that I had meaningful life experiences (and some great old fashioneds she made at home) with the young lady for those few months. I had real feelings that are now pleasant memories, not masked by any kind of pain or bitterness (age, wisdom and experience are panaceas in that regard). And, ultimately, is an acknowledgement that plenty of people would like to see Whisky Guy Rob in full whisky action more often than they have in recent months.
National Bourbon Day is a BS marketing ploy that rightfully annoys long-time bourbon champions like Chuck. But, behind the ploy is a simple fact: bourbon (and all whiskey for that matter) is an amazing human accomplishment that should be celebrated every day. Father’s Day was scoffed at for decades as being a marketing ploy at best, or a sissy holiday that real men didn’t need (seriously, research the origins of this holiday) at worst. But, behind the pretense is a simple fact: fatherhood is a rudderless journey down a raging river and those who navigate it without killing their diapered or truculent or pimply passengers should be revered. As for National Whisky Guy Rob Day, well… it’s kind of fake as well. But, the simple fact is I now have the website I need to tell the stories I want and that is something for me to celebrate.
The site has pages dedicated to my book (which you can buy with real money), my whisky education sessions, and to something I call The Mash. Here, you will find regular whisky news, as well as links to other writers and whisky fabric bloggers, distilleries and other cool things (those links are still being populated). There’s also a place on The Mash for the unfiltered press releases that PR people send to me, such as asking me to drink Scotch for bourbon day. Though I don’t review often, there’s even a section for my occasional tasting notes. I will make it clear if those tastings are something I am doing of my own accord, or if I’m drinking a whisky sent to me by a PR person asking me to drink Scotch for bourbon day.
Most important, my blog returns with my musings on whisky, writing and life – writing beyond the liquid – to tease your neurons and tap into your heart. And if that fails to make a difference in your world, I hope I can at least encourage you to enjoy the Water of Life, uisge beatha, in all its wonderful varieties.
So, raise a toast to celebrate National Whisky Guy Rob Day! Or just raise a whisky to your lips for the hell of it.