Welcome to Drambox!


Hello, friend, welcome to Drambox!

Drambox was conceived several years ago as a way to introduce the drinking public to whiskeys (and occasionally, other spirits) that they would not normally be exposed to. The plan hit a couple of legal snags, and I mothballed the concept.

In the intervening two years, I hosted underground whiskey tastings, bringing in bottles that aren't available inside the United States, unlocking their secrets, and sharing the spirits with fellow whiskey enthusiasts. At the same time, I continued telling stories, both about whiskey (mostly at bars, sorry), and about the news of the day while working as a journalist. The commitment to storytelling never stopped, and today I'm bringing it to the internets, one piece at a time.

I think alcohol journalism is a bit weird, although entirely necessary. The points system is very important to marketers, because most consumers don't have the time or energy to discern between different flavor profiles or subtleties of booze. A score of 98 is higher than a 96, so slapping it on sticker next to a bottle will make it fly off the shelves. But what does it really mean? If someone hates sweet things, are you really going to tell me that a 98 point wheat-flavored bourbon is a better recommendation than a 96 point Islay Scotch whisky?

Then there's tasting note aspect. We're writing about a consumable product here, I know! We need to talk about the flavors. But I find it kind of silly that some "tasting breakdowns" get into the fourth or fifth flavor of a finish, written with such flourish that it borders on poetry. It explodes all over your tongue! Oh, sure! 

This kind of writing has been elevated to an art form, but it's also merely the power of suggestion--have an "expert" tell a casual drinker that he should detect notes of tobacco, and there's a good chance that the novice will find it somehow. Wait sorry, that was my dad's dip cup. Anyway, I've watched a couple order a Pinot Noir, get poured a Cabernet, and exclaim how delightfully on-point it was. Let's not pretend that anything beyond the very base elements of taste, smell, and texture are truly necessary to describe a wine, beer, or liquor.

So what is interesting to the people who put Drambox together? Stories, and giant pictures. Of the people who craft the booze. Where it's made. How it's made. All of that really matters to us, even when it's owned by a multinational superconglomerate. We'll tell you what we think is good to buy, but that list will never include a bottle that you can't reasonably get in a store. We'll still write about weird, hard to get bottles, but only when the story warrants the coverage. And we'll let you know if it's worth tracking down a taste.

This will all take a while to develop. For now, just enjoy the few features that we've put together for you. We'll grow over time, and hopefully we'll be growing along with you as a reader.