...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lots of blog milestones! Thank you!

It's going to be a quiet whisky week here at Diving for Pearls.  Next week, there will be some goodies, I promise you that.

According to Google Analytics, Diving for Pearls surpassed 100,000 views last week (Blogger has the count at 270K, but they seem to be counting all of the spambots).  Last week, I also passed the 600-post count.  After next week, I'll have reviewed my 300th whisk(e)y.

Thank you to all of my readers, whether you found this site via an image search for Anna Benson or wound up here looking for scuba gear.  Diving for Pearls wasn't originally structured around whisky reviews, but it has fascinated me how many people have stopped by to read my booze posts.  Sitting down with my whisky journal and a Glencairn of something new has become a lovely addition to my life.  My nosing and tasting process is slow, a little meditative, and probably sort of weird to anyone who is not me.  That process has improved over time, especially as I've been trying similar whiskies together.  That approach then helps me schedule my posts, giving each week its own theme.

My palate preferences have shifted over the years and I will try to warn you when they do.  Otherwise, I hope there has been some level of consistency in my reviews.  I do know that I used to give out much higher grades than I do now.  It's not that I like whisky less.  When one has tried 50 whiskies, one's frame of reference (or whisky sensory cache size) is much different than when one has tried 500 whiskies.  As I look at my whisky review list, I see a few towards the top that I want to retaste to see if they still hold up.

Perhaps you've noticed that I also give out fewer low scoring reviews -- for instance, I've been averaging two sub-80 point reviews per month in 2014, which is half the pace it was in the 2-1/3 years before.  That's not because I suddenly love everything I drink.  Instead, it's due to selection bias.  After doing a few "Cheap Blend Weeks" in the past, I found myself really not looking forward to drinking anything afterwards, such was the result of drinking one uninspiring whisky after the next.  Instead, I am and will be sprinkling oddities (and cheapies) throughout the weeks.  I'm both looking forward to and dreading the first sub-50 point whisky review.

I'm also looking forward to posting my first 97 point review.  I've certainly tried a few that could meet that grade, but never in a controlled review setting.  Will it be this year?  I don't know.  But in my whisky heart, I know that both the best whisky and worst whisky I'll ever try have yet to meet my lips.

"The Standings" was something I used to post every other weekend for a few months back in 2012.  It was pretty silly and oddly time consuming.  Also it was pointless and narcissistic.

So here are The Standings.

The All Time Top 25 Most-Viewed Posts:

1. Chivas Regal 12 versus Johnnie Walker Black Label - A pair of hard to find indie blends.
2. Glenlivet 12 versus Glenfiddich 12
3. Dewars White Label versus Johnnie Walker Red Label - Wherein a commenter calls me a snob and I call him a troll, one of this blog's finest moments.
4. Famous Grouse Blended Whisky
5. Glenfiddich 12 year old
6. Macallan 18 year old - I call a moderately okay whisky moderately okay and complain about its price.  And then its price goes up 30%.  Basically, it's every post I've done.
7. Black & White Blended Whisky - This is the fourth most popular post since 2014 began.  Really, people?
8. Lauder's Blended Whisky - Um...... Must have been all the nude photos.
9. Las Vegas, Days 4 & 5 - Fremont Street and Departure - Probably a lot of viewers stealing photos that I also stole.
10. J&B Blended Whisky - People like blends
11. Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak - This used to be the most popular review on this blog.  Now no one reads it, which makes me hope that people have stopped drinking the whisky too.
12. Johnnie Walker Black Label - The first, briefest, and least lucid of my Black Label posts
13. Macallan 17 year old Fine Oak - This is the bottling from four years ago, when it was better and cheaper.
14 (tie!). Jameson Select Reserve versus Jameson Select Reserve - I'm very happy that people are reading this post because the Black Barrel hype was very aggressive, meanwhile the whiskey is the worst Jameson product by a considerable measure.  My worst bottle purchase in the last three years.
14 (tie!). Willett 5 year old Single Barrel Rye - My first rye post. I later re-reviewed the whiskey and found the whiskey less good.
16. Maker's Mark versus Four Roses Single Barrel - A blind taste off.
17. Isle of Skye 8 year old versus Johnnie Walker Black Label
18. Talisker 18 year old - I really enjoyed writing this post, almost as much as I enjoyed the whisky. I say that free of sarcasm.
19. Diageo, Whisky Killer, Part 2 - The death of Green and Gold Labels - This was the moment when I decided to laxative-up and sh*t all over Diageo.
20. Ardbeg Uigeadail versus Ardbeg Uigeadail - L6 versus L13
21. Glenfiddich 18 year old
22. Power's Gold Label Blended Whiskey - Good ol' Power's.
23. Getting rid of baseball cards
24. GlenDronach 18 year old - Not sure why folks viewed this one more than its brethren
25 (tie!). Glenmorangie Original
25 (tie!). Macallan 12 year old

All of the above, except the Uigeadail post, are more than a year old.  The older the post the more opportunity for views.  Here are the top ten posts one-year-old or younger:

1. Ardbeg Uigeadail versus Ardbeg Uigeadail
2. Needed: Whisky Consumer Advocacy
3. Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch 005
4. Springbank 12 year old Calvados Wood
5. Finlaggan Old Reserve
6. Macallan 17 year old Fine Oak versus Macallan 17 year old Fine Oak
7. Lagavulin 16 year old
8. Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 6 years old, Barrel #57
9. A Poacher Enters the Dusty Hunt
10. Whisky Fail: The Blind Taste Test

The Bottom 5 All Time Least Viewed Whisky Reviews:
5. Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 4 years old, Barrel #85
4. Jefferson 10 year old Straight Rye (Hi Time Select)
3. Auchentoshan Three Wood
1. Taliskravaganza! Day 5: Talisker 18 year old 1986 Macleod's Vintage
Four of these are relatively recent reviews, but the Auchie 3 Wood was posted almost 2 1/2 years ago.  But that's okay, the whisky is crummy and my review is worse.

The Top 3 Posts Beloved By Spambots For Reasons Only They Understand:
The Flailing Writer Goes Gardening, Part IV
The Single Malt Report returns with a Kilchoman Taste Off!!!
K&L Single Cask Whisky tasting with the LA Scotch Club (Part 1)

Some more random facts:
My Johnnie Walker posts are responsible for 10% of my pageviews.
Blend reviews in general picked up 18% of my pageviews.
The big four malts (Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenmorangie) counted for 14% of the pageviews.
21% of views are in languages other than English.
German, French, Dutch, Spanish, and Polish are the top five non-English languages.

The U.S. of A. makes up 57% of my views.  But here are the next ten countries in order of views:
United Kingdom

I hope that this was enough argle-bargle and/or fooferaw to distract you from the fact that I will not have a whisky review posted this week.  That's the sort of thanks you get for being a loyal reader of this blog.  But don't worry.  I'm pretty sure there's something fun up ahead...