Thank Yous for 2011 and Happy 2012


Another year is behind us and it's time to re-cap. Please forgive my enthusiasm for the progress this little website made in raising the profile of Canadian whisky in 2011. But first, a little history:In November 1998 I began corresponding with a whisky-mad Dutchman named Johannes van den Heuvel. Johannes publishes a website called Malt Madness which was one of the first real whisky websites to incorporate graphics and text. I visited Johannes in Amsterdam in 1999 and as we strolled to Central Station after coffee at Rembrandt Square he talked about launching a new website, to be called Malt Maniacs. When he asked if I would like to join him and several others in writing articles about whisky for the new site I quickly agreed. Our website soon blossomed into one of the most popular on the whisky web. Johannes dates the Malt Maniacs idea back to 1997 and so in June of 2012 we will celebrate our 15th anniversary.I am still very active with the Malt Maniacs, but for the past few years my primary whisky focus has been right here at home in Canada. The reaction to this website,, has amply rewarded that focus. Interest in Canadian whisky is awakening among connoisseurs around the world. I like to think that this website plays an active role in that awakening. Finally there is an independent source of information to help people identify the best whiskies Canada has to offer. Myths and misunderstandings still abound in popular media, and some spirits media too, but slowly the word about "Real" Canadian whisky is getting out. Support from so many in the Canadian whisky industry has been particularly helpful and gratifying. They keep the information flowing my way so I can share it with my readers. Thank you to Canada’s distillers, brand managers, ambassadors, and marketing folks for your support.To my knowledge, I am the only full-time whisky writer in Canada, and the only one in the world specializing in Canadian whisky. Support for has led to many new opportunities for me to ply my trade and for that I really am grateful. In 2011 I was appointed Contributing Editor to Whisky Magazine, and immediately was able to raise the profile of Canadian whisky in the world’s most popular whisky publication. Whisky Magazine is published in half a dozen foreign languages, as well as English, giving it deep penetration into the world’s developing whisky markets as well as its already strong showings in North America, Great Britain, and Europe. Thank you Rob and Damien for making me part of your success.Last year’s inaugural Canadian Whisky Awards were warmly received by whisky lovers right around the globe. Published reports on the awards came back to us from Taiwan, Sweden, France, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa, India and many other countries on six continents. I think my fellow Malt Maniacs had a lot to do with that. Thanks team for your support! The 2011 Canadian Whisky Awards will be announced on January 19, 2012. These awards are completely not-for-profit and are entirely independent of the whisky industry. This year six top Canadian spirits bloggers and broadcasters joined me in judging the entries, so this is more than one man’s opinion. Of course, all judging was done blind. Once again support from the industry has been very strong. Thank you.Perhaps most exciting for me has been the opportunity to write a book about Canadian whisky for a major Canadian publisher. McClelland & Stewart will publish my Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert in May 2012. Random House will also distribute the book in the U.S. I plan to support its launch by attending a number of whisky events right across the country. This will also give me a chance to meet up with many of you who visit the website regularly. If I am in your city or town please stop by and say hello. Thanks to those of you who made it a point to do just that at Spirit of Toronto, Victoria Whisky Festival, Savour Stratford, and Whisky Live in 2011. And thanks also to the organizers of those events for inviting me. I will be looking for more opportunities to spread the word about Canadian whisky at shows and festivals in 2012.I can't enter a new year as a whisky blogger without paying tribute to Mike Padlipsky. Although we never met, Mike and I corresponded for a number of years. Mike, or "map" as he preferred, passed away in 2011. Mike was one of a group of people who developed the early protocols for what would become the internet. As his friend, colleague, and literary executor, Bill Ricker put it on a recent episode of WhiskyCast, the internet would have been a very ugly place without map. Mike also helped found ARPA MALTS-L, an internet-based whisky discussion group as far back as the 1980s, and he was likely the first whisky blogger. Mike stopped posting in 1996, a year before Johannes came up with the idea for the Malt Maniacs. If you are interested in what an early internet whisky blog looked like map's notes are still posted as part of the Edinburgh Malt Whisky Tour. Thank you map.And now, a look forward: Expect more from, this year -  there’s a wealth of big new whiskies coming from Canadian whisky producers in 2012. Canadian whisky is on the rise, thanks, in large part to you the aficionados and connoisseurs who so enjoy it. At last, Canadian whisky is getting more than passing attention in the whisky press. Thank you to you, who visit this website, and to everyone else who makes the site so much fun to publish.May you drink only the best Canadian whiskies in 2012.Davin