Jim Murray is often called the world’s leading authority on whisky. The 58 year old Brit has been writing about the drink since the nineties and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. He’s mostly known for his whisky bible. First published in 2003, he has been writing a new version every year. The latest version, Jim Murray’s whisky bible 2016, has reviews for 4600 different whiskies and has sold allegedly over half a million copies and calls itself the world’s leading whisky guide.
Before you say, I want that job, let’s do the math. Although he has a team of researchers and assistants to put together this study of the world’s whiskies, he tastes and reviews every whisky personally. 4600 whiskies per year, comes down to sampling and reviewing 12.6 whiskies per day. He probably reuses certain reviews from previous editions as not every whisky producer produces a new whisky every year. Yet the man must consume substantial amounts of the stuff. And he has been doing so for twelve years already. No small feat.
A substantial following has enabled him to turn his passion into his job. Next to writing he has also worked as a consultant blender with both whisky and rum producers and is well known for promoting the cause of American whisky, Canadian rye, Japanese whisky and Irish single pot still whiskey.
And of course he’s not without controversy. The two latest versions of his whisky bible didn’t include any Scotch whiskies in his top five, something that didn’t sit well with the Scotch industry and its fans. Some people, other writers and whisky experts doubt his ability to list, review and rank so many whiskies and say it’s an impossible job for one man. It’s an argument that’s not out of place. Yet I feel that if someone devotes all his time and energy to one subject and studies it for years has definitely earned the term expert. If you’re interested in whisky, whiskey, rye or bourbon he’s definitely worth looking into.
[Article by Alexander Eeckhout]