The Pressure to Deliver

While many might find tasting whisky for a living quite the perfect career, let me tell you, there are many responsibilities that go along with the position - especially when you're in the business of selling the products you're reviewing.  Every day there will be at least one customer in the store who believes we're completely full of shit.  We simply must be trying to put the most expensive bottle possible in their hand, preying on their vulnerabilities, looking to squeeze every cent possible out of the transaction.  While this scenario undoubtedly plays out in sales situations every day all over the world, it doesn't happen at K&L - at least not with David and me.  I'm hyper-sensitive to to the value of every whisky we import as a special K&L selection.  As David brilliantly summarized in yesterday's Glenlochy post, we painstakingly analyze every barrel we bring into the store - especially the expensive ones. I lose sleep over them on a regular basis, tossing and turning, hoping that other people find them as wonderful as I do.  There are phone calls, emails, and requests from all over the country coming into K&L right now, asking to speak to one of the spirits buyers, wanting to know if one of our selections is truly worth the money.  People want reassurance.  They want a guarantee that their money is being well spent.  I don't blame them!  These bottles are not cheap!  It's a lot of pressure.  If one person, just one of these customers who spends hundreds of dollars on a bottle that only we have tasted isn't satisfied with their purchase, then David and I are responsible.  When you're talking big bucks, there's no room for " a difference in taste."  "I'm sorry, sir, but it looks like we just don't agree." No way.  The whisky needs to deliver and it needs to live up to every expectation from every type of palate, and every type of customer.  I get the feeling sometimes that people think my statements are hyperbolic and designed to evoke a quick sale, as if I wouldn't be here tomorrow morning to face the wrath of our clientele were I to sell them a lemon.  Believe me, we are well aware of the faith our customers have in us.  It's a weight on our shoulders.  It's what keeps me going, but it's also what pains me with anxiety.  I want people to love these whiskies because we think they're wonderful.  There's no worse feeling than when someone winds up disappointed in a whisky I recommended to them, but it obviously happens.  That's part of the game and it's not an easy thing to deal with.  Nevertheless, it's worth it.  It's a great job and we take it very seriously.

We're here to bring you the best we can find.  All we can tell you is that, based on our experience with tasting on a day-to-day basis, we like these whiskies very much.  I can't promise anyone anything.  I can only hope you agree! I'll be up until at least 2 AM for the next five months, worrying myself sick, hoping that you all do!

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll